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What a spendy month so far

June 20th, 2019 at 07:50 am

It's been a speedy month so far. Property taxes are due. We pay the whole amount because I'm always worried I'll forget the second installment. License plate sticker was due. And then we hired a painter to do some painting.

But fortunately we have the money saved back. None of these were unexpected.

Plus I'm glad we hired the painter. He did a marvelous job on painting the brick trim on the front of the house and the two doors. They look like new. We had a slight crack in the wall between our master bedroom and bathroom from the house settling and he fixed it and painted the wall and it looks great.

But I hate to say it, I'll be glad when the spending stops. Yikes! I realize some folks live this way -- spending everything they have coming in. I don't know how they do it. I'm not talking about people who are the working poor and they can't help it. I'm talking about people who make good money, but don't stop spending.

I've kept busy in the evenings. I have been crocheting scarves to go along with the hats my church group is working on. Last week I finished embroidering a pillow case that I need to sew together to cover a throw pillow. It will be a Christmas gift. I just remembered why I hate using the floss that comes in the kit -- it was horrible -- it tangled all the time. I asked DH to remind me if I ever get another kit, to provide my own floss.

My money saving trip today will be to the library. I'm out of books to read. I've read 64 so far. My goal is a 100.

Re: Soggy Saturday Comments

June 15th, 2019 at 04:19 pm

In my email, I've seen three comments on my blog from today from Wink, CB in the City, and Lucky Robin. However, when I try to go to the blog, it says there are zero and that I'm not logged in and it says when I try to log in, I'm already logged in.

Anyway, thank you, Wink, CB, and Lucky Robin for your nice anniversary wishes! I appreciate them.

Soggy Saturday

June 15th, 2019 at 12:01 pm

This weekend it has been forecast that we can get over 2 inches of rain. If last night and this morning is any indication, we are going to be "soupy." We needed some rain because the ground was getting dry, but like usual, it is either feast or famine when it comes to precipitation.

Today is our 29th wedding anniversary. I posted some photos on Facebook. DH wanted to get married in his mom's back yard under a huge oak tree. We didn't have a lot of money for a big, fancy wedding. Anyway, 4 years ago we had the chance to renew our vows under the tree. It was torn down a couple of years ago for a business to go in. One of my college friends asked why we did the back yard wedding and I said we could either pay for a fancy wedding or put a downpayment on a house and we chose the latter. So, 29 years later, we are still happily married and own our home.

Speaking of the home, when we bought this house 21 years ago, there was brick trim on the front of it. We always thought the color didn't match the siding or the roof, but it wasn't a priority. But, after having fixed up other things that had more importance, we paid a professional to prime and paint the brick. My DH has watched way too much HGTV because he says it "pops" now. It does look a lot better. We are going to have the same painter paint the front door to go along with it. Cheaper than replacing it and it should freshen up the front of the house. We have a savings account we put money in each month and we call it our home improvement account. The painter is getting paid from saved money.

No big plans for our anniversary. We did go through a local Chevrolet Museum. We have different places here in our little town and we decided that since we go to museums when we are traveling, we should also visit the local ones. I never realized there were so many Corvair models. So, I learned something new today.

Greeting Cards

June 11th, 2019 at 08:10 am

CB blogged about getting birthday cards at Walgreens and how expensive they are. No kidding. Butterscotch commented that they are more reasonable at Dollar General and they are. I get most from there, but every once in awhile I want to get a special card for DH. Our anniversary is coming up this Saturday. I spend a lot of time picking out a card not only for the message, but for the printing origin. One thing that frustrates me is Hallmark prints both in US and China, yet the ones from China aren't any cheaper. I figure they are pocketing the bigger profit. Anyway, I search for ones printed in the USA.

I lucked out...with the Walgreens reward system I had enough to get the $5.99 card free. But is it just me that almost $6 for a greeting card is ridiculous?

I write a shut in every week and quit buying stationery from retail places. Seems that many thrift stores have new in box stationery for a fraction of the cost. I figure people bought it, never used it, and it was donated. So, I buy it and use it. I figure I must be one of the few who actually writes letters.

Vintage and Current: What Will Last?

June 8th, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Yesterday DH and I decided to take the day and go to some out of town antique shops/flea markets and thrift stores.

As I wandered around, one thing that came to mind is all the stuff that has some age to it -- a lot of it was around when I was a kid and some even older, and the fact that most of it is in good shape. I realize a lot of has to do with the fact people didn't damage it, but I also think it has to do with the quality of how it was made. I commented to DH that I bet a lot of the stuff that is cheaply made won't be around and we had a discussion on how this cheap, disposable stuff is really hurting our economy in the long run -- landfills are filling up and people figure why take care of something -- it's just cheaper to buy new. I have a few pieces of furniture that are older than I am. As long as they are taken care of, they will probably be around after I'm gone. I have some dishes that are the same way. I rejoice in using them, but I also take care of them. We have purchased some furniture made by local Amish. That stuff should last awhile as well.

So, here's a list of some things that might be around for awhile:

Blue Willow dishes
well made furniture -- some old, some new
pens -- I use refills
metal crochet hooks
quality pots and pans
decent flatware
glass pitchers

Do you have some things you think will be around and not disposable?

Our shopping wasn't very extensive. We probably spent less then $20 and that included stopping at an A & W and having two frosty mugs of root beer.

Today we went to the library book sale they have each month. I signed up for the library's summer reading club and was given a certificate for a free book. I suggested that DH look for a kid's book since he reads so many to different classes, but he couldn't find anything he wanted. I couldn't find anything I wanted and so we gave the certificate to a retired pastor we knew who was there -- he and his wife are nice folks, but they struggle on making ends meet. I'm sure he will make good use of the coupon.

We also hit our local thrift stores today. Again, not a lot of shopping. I did buy two American flags, not the tiny ones, to have on hand. Each Memorial Day we put a flag on my husband's father's grave and so I have one for the next two years. It was fun looking and at one of them I got to visit with a friend, so it was more of a social gathering than anything.

Baking for the Sale

June 6th, 2019 at 08:18 am

Once a year my church does an annual rummage sale. There is also a bake sale. Yesterday I spent some time in kitchen baking some small loaves of sweet breads and two 7 x 7 pans of carrot cake. I actually did 3 carrot cake, but one I kept for DH. I haven't made carrot cake for awhile so he was very pleased and when he got home from walking, he wanted a piece right then. I'm glad because I wanted to make sure it was good enough to donate.

A month or so ago we had some clementines that weren't moldy, but had started to get a little shriveled. I decided to search for a recipe to make orange bread. I figured there was one out there and there was. I tried and DH loved it. Hopefully the folks at the sale will feel the same way since I made some for the sale.

Here's the recipe in case you are interested:

Orange loaf

1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 T orange zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, zest and juice. Add dry ingredients slowly until mixed. Add to greased pans and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean. Brush with glaze after you take from oven.

I made the small pans and started checking them after 20 minutes. I think a bigger loaf is closer to 40, depending on humidity and oven temp.

Glaze: 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Blend together and brush on top of warm bread.

Gas Tax and Day to Day Stuff

June 2nd, 2019 at 11:34 am

I live in Illinois and doubling the gas tax is just about a sure fire bet. The General Assembly has passed it, so that means our gas tax will double to 38 cents a gallon. Ouch. I understand that we need it for roads and such, but if the legislators hadn't allowed the powers to be to take money from the original road account, I think we would have been in better shape and had more money.

Fortunately DH and I don't have to drive to work so our driving is for appointments as well as things we choose to do. But I worry about those people who are already having a time of it making ends meet and now this.

The Governor is also wanting to legalize Marijuana so I imagine that will go through with flying colors. I am torn on this issue. First of all, if it is legal, then maybe people won't treat it like they did when there was prohibition. Yet, I'm also worried we will have people using it and driving and being a bigger menace on the roads. Of course, maybe they won't be driving with the higher gas tax.

I just feel like all Illinois is wanting is more money. I understand why we need it, but I also wonder if there are ways to cut some of the spending like we have to do in our own personal budgets.

I do think DH and I will do a little less driving. We enjoy going to some of the area towns to visit. We may not go as often. I don't think the towns will miss us horribly, but I'm sure every dollar we spend helps their economy. Get enough people going and spending, it does make a difference. Perhaps I'm just too simple minded on the whole tax thing.

In other news, DH's garden is growing. He has some small green tomatoes on a few of his plants. If we could just get less rain and more sun, it would sure help. So many of the area farmers are struggling to even get their crops in. And so many in the heartland are facing the devastating effects of flooding. I picked some lettuce and a couple of green onions yesterday to make part of a salad tonight. I really like having fresh from the garden vegetables.

A couple of weeks ago I planted the end of celery in a pot. It is growing. I had to put it in a tall pot because last year when I did it, a bunny decided it was for his buffet.

I bought a weaving loom at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. One can make scarves and other things. I finished my second scarf. I paid $5 for the loom and I feel I did OK with it. I like learning new things and I can actually use some different yarns with it that it is easier to weave with than crochet with so I feel that is good stewardship.

Aldi had blueberries on sale this week so I bought extra and made some blueberry jam and canned it. I think it is my favorite type so I was excited about that. A friend is kidding me about filling my pantry, and yeah, I do that. There's a satisfaction to having stuff in the pantry when I want it, especially knowing what's in it like the jam.


May 30th, 2019 at 08:09 am

Every year DH buys Miracle Gro soil and for the past few years there has been a rebate. I always send it in and this year we realized $16 ($2 a bag). Usually the rebate takes a couple of months, but we received it in less than a month. We deposited the check in our Christmas Club account.

Lowe's has been having 11% rebate too. When we purchased the new storm door, I submitted the rebate and we received a small rebate back. We used it to buy some plants. When I bought the plants, it said they had the rebate going again so I submitted it. It won't be much, but I figure it is found money.

I continue to use Ibotta, but sadly, so much of the stuff we buy isn't something they give cash back on. I refuse to buy something just to get the rebate. But, I'm up to over $20 and my lifetime amount is over $80, so even at a dime or quarter at a time, it adds up. I guess we aren't big shoppers. I see the TV ads for Ebates and realize it wouldn't do us much good. I don't buy much online and what I do, is a specific product that probably wouldn't give us a rebate.

And, the other day I found a nickel in the parking lot!

Reusable and savings

May 26th, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Creditcardfree posted about reusable v. disposable and I thought I'd piggy back on the entry.

I really try to use things that are reusable. I live in Illinois and they are talking about charging for plastic bags at the stores. For years DH and I have used reusable bags. I hate those plastic bags. We still get some from time to time, but whenever I can, I try to use our bags. I know Chicago already charges for them. I wish we hadn't gotten away from paper bags. If I get any, I hoard them to reuse.

One thing I think of is using cloth napkins. I have a selection of them. Most were bought at rummage sales and thrift shops. I have a few that were purchased new...not by me, but DH bought me a set and a friend has as well. I wanted some brown ones and made them out of material to go with some placemats I had.

I go through kitchen towels like crazy. I have some nice ones I try not use unless someone is coming over, but I have some well worn ones I use all the time. DH uses paper towels and although it drives me crazy, he helps clean up, so I don't holler. I pick my battles.

For years I carried my lunch. Actually my whole working life. My last ten years I carried a soft sided insulated cooler. The first one was a present and it was ideal for lunch. But it wore out. I had duct taped it, but eventually it got really nasty. I bought another at a thrift shop for a buck for my last couple of years. I used a Thermos to carry water or iced tea for my lunch.

We have one of those filter pitchers for water. We still buy some bottled water, but we drink a lot of tap water run through that pitcher.

I also carried a Thermos for coffee. Made my own at home and then took it to work. I use insulated cups now if we are going somewhere. If we eat breakfast out, I take an insulated cup along in case I want the remainder of the coffee and I don't have to ask for a to go cup. I do that with iced tea if we go out and I order it. Normally I drink water, but every so often I want some tea. I have my parents' old huge Thermos and I bought some smaller older ones with the glass insulation. Yeah, they are not the kind that bounce, but I think they keep stuff hot longer.

I crochet my own covers for my Swiller handle. I tried crocheting one for the Swiffer duster and I haven't quite got that one to work as well, but I use what I have. I also crochet dish cloths. I use the leftover yarn from the hats and scarves I make for my church knitting group. I found a pattern on Pinterest to crochet a dish cloth and attach it to scrubby. I've made some of those and given those as gifts. One friend loves my dishcloths and is always happy to get a few.

A friend of mine only uses paper plates. Says she doesn't want to do dishes. I think of the expense and waste. Wow! I just emptied the dishwasher and I wonder how many times my plates have been washed either by hand or by the dishwasher. Same thing with our glasses and cups.

My grandmother and my mother used to put peonies on their family graves. They always used coffee cans. That's what I did yesterday when we put flowers on the graves. I felt fortunate that our peonies waited to open up right before Memorial Day weekend. A friend of mine kind of got snobby and said she paid the local florist to put together the decorations. I'm thinking to myself, that's nice, but wow, what a lot of money. We usually take stuff to clean the tomb stones with us and I wipe them down and then throw the rags in the wash. I guess I'm not fancy. I personally think it is the idea we remembered our ancestors. When DH and I walked around the cemeteries yesterday, we tried to pick up around other graves. A couple had vases that had overturned so we righted them and put the flowers back in them. DH brushed grass off of some.

I am a jar saver. DH kids me, but I have all sorts of shapes and sizes. Never know when I will need one. I try to use jars to put leftovers in them. I actually used one for a grave yesterday. It is a friend and the stone is small, so I used a small jar. I sat it on the grave since it is flat on the ground. It held the flowers just fine.

I have quite a collection of Pyrex and Bake Lite dishes. Besides using them to cook with, I use them to store stuff in the fridge. Great way to heat leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, that is a good way to reuse food. Every so often if we have food leftover from a couple of days, I tell DH we are having a buffet which means it is clean out the fridge night. He doesn't complain because he can eat what he wants. I try not to throw out much as far as food. I'm ashamed to say a Kiwi got away from me. It was hard as rock one day and the next it was moldy. Not sure how that happened, but I wasn't happy about it.

I save my egg cartons for a friend who has chickens. I did save one for myself to put the garlic in to dry before we needed to plant it. It was ideal for putting the cloves in.

I also save my cottage cheese and sour cream containers for a friend who has a restaurant. She uses them to take home leftovers that can't be left at the restaurant. They make chicken salad and she boils chickens and she gives away the broth in those containers as well.

So, what do you reuse instead of buying disposable?

Whirlwind Week

May 23rd, 2019 at 08:38 am

Ever since I retired, it seems like the days and months go by very quickly. This week especially.

We reconnected with a teacher I worked with a number of years ago. He and his wife and another couple and my dh and I went out to eat and then back to their house for dessert. Two of us provided dessert as a way to save a little moolah. I imagine we will get together more often and take turns cooking as the summer progresses. Anyway, they gave us a tour of their home. it's beautiful and large. They have a condo. Newish cars. As well as lots of hobbies. Long story short -- they are retired, but still working and didn't plan for retirement and now worry how they will make ends meet. Ouch.

The next day we met another couple to celebrate her birthday. We decided years ago to quit giving gifts. They buy whatever they want when they want it and how can you deal with that.

Last night we invited a friend to join us for supper; his wife and daughters were out of town. It was nice catching up.

In between this, I canned some green beans, crocheted and knitted, and did some house cleaning.

The weekend is soon upon us. We don't do big stuff for the Memorial Day weekend, but do put flowers on the graves of our loved ones. I was concerned because our peonies looked like they would b open and gone before this weekend, but it looks like we might be OK. My family always used flowers from the garden when we could. DH's mom would buy a big live display for her husband's grave, but didn't decorate anything else. So, DH wants live stuff on the graves.

I can't say this was the most frugal week, but we don't go out that often with people so it was a nice way to catch up.

DH has two small bell peppers already on two of his plants and the tomatoes are have blossoms. Here's to hoping for a good garden. Our damp, cool weather hasn't been good for the garden and the lettuce, radishes, and onions haven't grown much because of all the rain. Hopefully things will dry out by next week (we received rain the last two nights).