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Archive for December, 2011

Taking Care of Things

January 1st, 2012 at 12:32 am

We celebrated New Year's by having an early dinner. Our favorite restaurant has a loyalty program and we had some money coming, so we splurged and had steaks. Yum!

As we were leaving, an older couple had already gotten into their car. It was an older Crown Victoria. That baby was shined up and looked pristine. Not a speck of rust or dirt. I bet the inside was as clean.

DH said you can tell that an older person owns it because they know how to take care of things.

How sad. But true. How much money can one save by taking care of things? I have some pots that belonged to my grandmother. I am sure they are over 50 years old. She took care of them and I've taken care of them and we have both gotten good use of them.

That being said, how many things are made nowdays that can last? A friend of mine said when she and her hubby went television shopping, they mentioned that their "old" television of over 7 years was going out and the sales clerk said they were lucky to have gotten that much time out of it -- things aren't made to last, but to be replaced.

Our bodies are also examples. If one eats right, exercises, and tries to stay content, usually the body lasts far longer than if one parties, smokes, and is angry all the time. Not always, but usually.

I would say taking care of things can help save money. I know many of the items in my kitchen are old -- Pyrex and Corningware especially because my family or someone else took care of them. They are serving me well.

So, even if the businesses expect me to replace things, I'm going to continue taking care of things to try and get the best use out of it. Hopefully it will pay off for me by saving some money as well as less to throw out.

Found a penny!

December 30th, 2011 at 08:35 pm

We were out and about doing some grocery shopping. We were at the meat market and my dh looked down and there was a penny. Of course I picked it up and put it in the furnace fund. I'm not too proud.

We also hit Aldi and found lots of good things for meals for the coming week. I was excited to find blackberries for 99 cents for the package. That's a treat. Although I like to save money, I also splurge on fresh fruits, even some out of season.

Last week a friend was talking about her baking. She said she had been using margarine in her cookies and said she thinks they have changed the formula and wanted to know what I used. She was shocked when she heard me say I use butter. I told her I get a pound of it for under $2 at Aldi here in town and I can choose between salted and unsalted and I'd rather have butter than margarine.

She sort of turned up her nose at first. She said she never thought of Aldi and why would I want to shop there. I said to save money, of course.

Granted, we could afford to buy our groceries at one of the other chains, and we still fill in at the other stores, but if I can get fruits, dairy, and vegetables more reasonable and it's not out of our way, why wouldn't I? After all, it gives us extra money to either save or spend.

Guess some folks still feel the need to pay full price for everything and then mew about it.

TLC's Extreme Cheapskate

December 29th, 2011 at 03:56 pm

I viewed half of the new TLC program, Extreme Cheapskate last night. I caught the part where the guy has no spend weeks throughout the year and he and his wife eat what they have. On the last day he scrounged up change to go buy some meat. The man had over $7 in change after riding his bike here and there to pick up pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. His idea of a good meal? Two goat heads.

Now, I think I like to save money, but I am not brave enough to try boiling and then roasting a goat's head. He said the eye was a delicacy. Ick. Actually double ick on my part. His wife said she would let him enjoy his "meat" and ate whatever else they had.

The next part was a kid who bartered for things. We just saw on the news where a town in Maine is doing a lot of bartering because so few have money. But this guy on the TLC program was almost, in my opinion, greedy.

I imagine some of the stuff on these programs is for the glitz of television, but geeze, to me a no spend day doesn't mean rounding up change and then going to buy something. Perhaps I'm too literal.

As my husband would say, this guy gives cheap a bad name.

Merry "Takemas"

December 27th, 2011 at 03:18 pm

As I'm catching up on some blogs, I was reading CB in the City and how one felt when the other gifts were grander and more expensive.

In this morning's paper, reporters talked to those who were out and about yesterday and so many said how they were out buying things they didn't get for Christmas and wanted.

I'm not going to get real preachy here or anything, but somehow Christmas has become a one uppance on gifts and if you don't get what you want, then by golly, go get it!

It's kind of sad when we measure the pleasure of Christmas by the gifts we receive.

When I was growing up, my mom would buy things on sale and wrap them up. She liked seeing lots of gifts under the tree. I understand her reasoning, but as a 16 year old, receiving Pepto-Bismol and an Oil of Olay knock off wasn't exactly very thrilling. Especially when a friend would call and go over her list of things her parents gave her...I figure it must have been hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And, as a teenager, it was difficult to listen to her go on and on and be excited for her.

I admit my husband is very generous. He always has been and remains today. But, I don't sit there and look at the stuff and say, "gee, why didn't you get me this?" I am pleased he thought enough to buy me what he bought me.

When I was little my grandmother didn't have a lot of money. I knew she bought me something like a toy or outfit, but then she would give me some fudge and peanut brittle -- they were always good. So good, that's how she made money -- by making it and selling it during the holidays. I know I didn't get to eat a lot of it, but I remember receiving them. Interesting enough, I don't remember the other Christmas gifts she gave me.

Don't think I'm criticizing the bargain hunting of the day or days after Christmas. I was out in the frenzy for a bit buying cards and wrapping paper for next year.

But, I'm just commenting that society has made Christmas a time for taking overall. Perhaps Ebenezer (the unchanged one) and I can have coffee and discuss it.

Christmas news?

December 24th, 2011 at 03:52 pm

I opened up Yahoo this morning for my email and saw a news report that shoplifting is up this Christmas season.

Last night on the world news they reported that people were running, pushing, shoving, and even shooting over some Air Jordan's that were on sale.

Another story was a guy who decided to shoplift a $79 VCR, except he picked the wrong time -- the store was sponsoring a Shop with a Cop event. The guy admitted what he did was stupid, but not once did he say he was sorry he stole something.

Bah. Humbug.

All this insanity for stuff. I like things, but I'm not going to get in a fight for a pair of shoes, no matter how trendy they are.

On the positive side, they did an update on the report about "angels" who paid off other folks' layaway. Very uplifting and inspiring that they didn't give their names and hence no credit.

Our local food pantries reported that demand was certainly up and the one we support reported they gave out over 380 Christmas baskets. There were other agencies who also gave out baskets. Our town has over 70,000 folks and then there are little towns nearby. what a great need in this economy.

I think this puts it in perspective...I don't want to guilt anyone into thinking they shouldn't buy presents for their friends and family. I know I did and was the happy recipient of some nice things.

But, fighting to get a pair of shoes and the news report said that most were listed on Ebay soon after...

I hope the news is good at your home and that you have a wonderful Christmas and that you are satisfied with what you have and have the contentment of a group of loving family and friends!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Shopping...are you finished?

December 23rd, 2011 at 03:34 pm

So, are you finished with your Christmas shopping?

I finished yesterday...hubby loves Dr. Pepper, but we don't usually buy soda at home. So, I thought I'd buy him a six pack of the small cans as a surprise. I found a small box to wrap them in.

I had a field vision test yesterday so I stopped on my way home from that. Hubby was at the mall -- he walks there when the weather is bad or the air temp is cold. He said it was funny. During the week, the mall had been pretty uncrowded. But he said on Wednesday it was a lot busier. Yesterday he reported it was pretty wild. I bet today is a mad house. And I'm glad I am not in the crazy place! Of course dh complains about all the people getting in his way while he walks -- I told him he should appreciate the obstacle course because he says it is boring to walk around in circles.

I heard on the news last night that people tend to spend more if they wait to shop at the last minute. That makes sense...people probably overbuy or figure since they are there, they can make up for not buying stuff. Plus, I would assume that inventory is down and choice is limited.

If you are out shopping in the frenzy, you have my sympathy. I am sitting here relaxing with the computer in my lap and a coffee mug steaming by my side. Hope you can enjoy the same type of relaxation soon!

Christmas is coming

December 22nd, 2011 at 02:36 pm

Remember the line in "Miracle on 34th Street" when they talk about commercialism...and Peanuts had the same thought.

Well, when these movies were written, Christmas wasn't as commercial as it is now.

I remember as a kid, right around Thanksgiving, Santa would ride a Norelco razor down a snow covered hill, and I knew Christmas was coming. The stores didn't rush Christmas by putting things out in June, and maybe I didn't hear the retailers guilting people into shopping to help the economy.

Nowdays it appears the stores are putting Christmas items out in the summer...even candy. I am thinking how "fresh" those chocolates can be if they are sitting on store shelves in July and August. I know chocolate has a decent shelf life, but...that means they made the stuff even earlier.

And, of course, Chia has to bring out their pets. I'm not trying to make a poltiical statement, but is there anyone else out there who thinks a Chia Obama is a bit crass? What next, a Chia Lincoln, complete with beard?

It's always exciting to receive the first Christmas card and then go to the mailbox and see who else we get cards from.

The church services with the lighting of the Advent candles also tell me Christmas is coming as well. And I like the cards and candles a whole lot better than the Chia pets and months old candy.

I wonder how Scrooge would react to this commercialism.

Bothersome Buttons

December 10th, 2011 at 02:25 pm

Are we the only folks who have problems with buttons? I'm not talking about buttons on the phone or remote, but those fastening devices on clothes.

Last year my husband purchased a very nice coat -- it was on sale, but wasn't a casual coat. It's not super dressing, but a happy medium. He wears it because it is warm and looks a little nicer than the every day coat he has. Now, he bought it near the end of the season last year so he hasn't worn it much. Last night he pointed out that the buttons were already becoming loose.

It seems like most of our clothes with buttons, I'm always having to secure them after a couple of wearings. Are we the only ones?

The saying "a stitch in time saves nine" might mean less sewing, but my stitching means I don't have to search for new buttons for lost ones. Or purchase them. And believe me, if you have to purchase new ones, they are pricey for such little things.

Oh, bother!

Cold, Crushed, Coffee.

December 10th, 2011 at 04:02 am

Every work day I brew coffee and fill a small, older Thermos bottle. I enjoy coffee and I refuse to spend the money and purchase coffee "out."

Today, as I was getting my things out of the car, I dropped my Thermos. I heard that sickening crunch and then the tinkle of broken glass liner.

I not only missed out on my coffee, I lost the Thermos! Phooey! I looked on-line and most sites said that even if you could find the replacement, the shipping costs would probably be prohibitive since it is fragile.

I bought the Thermos used and got a good deal. It more than paid for itself. But alas, I need to find another Thermos or go through coffee withdrawal.

More Spam Chuckles

December 7th, 2011 at 12:19 am

My spam folder said it had 5 emails. After last Saturday's money saving offers, I thought I'd peruse it and see what other goodies I can turn down.

The first one is for an electronic cigarette...and I'm so special I'm one of the few who had it offered to me. Well, since I don't smoke, guess I don't need an electronic cigarette to stave off my cravings for nicotene. Saved a chunk of money there, I bet.

The second is about my order was received. What order? I haven't ordered anything. It has a link with a p.o. number. Well, sorry, I didn't bite on this one. I'm not sure what they think I ordered, but I'm not going to click to find out either. I saved money by not ordering in the first place.

Two others have something to do with cars, with one being a humongous sales. Maybe they figure I'll need a bigger car after buying the Viagra or something. Nah, I just hit delete on those. I'm not in the market for a new car so I think my cost savings just went up on that too.

One doesn't have a subject or even a sender. Guess a ghost sent it. Well, it is probably written in invisible font and I'm not opening it up to see what was might be too scary!

With my email addy, it isn't easy to tell what gender I am, so I guess the spammers are just trying to see if they can hook me with something. They don't call it it phishing for nothing!

Goodie Baskets

December 4th, 2011 at 08:45 pm

Years ago my grandma made peanut brittle and fudge. Her friend, Gussie baked cookies. Now, my grandma has been gone over 30 years. But even then, people would buy these goodies from these ladies because some would prefer to buy quality products instead of trying to make them themselves during the holidays.

The past couple of years I have baked cookies and made other goodies, and given them as gifts. I hope that they are tasty enough that people enjoy them. I enjoy doing it -- maybe it makes me think of my grandmother -- and I hope that is brings joy to the folks who receive them.

Besides the goodies, most of my friends already have more than enough "stuff" and I'm at a loss at what to buy them. It used to be, years ago, folks baked things to save money. If you've been to the grocery store lately, baking isn't always the cheapest option.

I found a good deal on the baskets and bought the cloth napkins reasonably as well. I washed and ironed the napkins before putting them in the baskets. Anyway, I thought I'd share my bounty before I started giving them away.

Spam Folder...Ho Ho Ho

December 3rd, 2011 at 04:48 pm

That's my chuckle over the stuff in the spam folder...

I open it up every few days just to check and clear it. Well, one company sent me two emails about my preapproval for a credit card...within 30 minutes of each other. The first one was at 5:49 a.m. and the second was after 6 a.m. Sorry, I have no intention of responding that early in the morning for a credit card. See, I saved money right there by not replying and taking them up on that wonderful offer and going out and spending money on the credit card!

There were two identical emails for penis enlargement and the subject line was Christmas is coming! Well, not being male, I don't have a penis so I don't really need to enlarge anything I don't have. I'm not really sure what that has to do with Christmas unless it is a gift you give yourself, that is, if you have the equipment. Fortunately, I can save money here too since I don't need that part of my anatomy enlarged.

In that same vein, there were two emails also with the subject line Christmas is coming and they were for Viagra. Well, again, I don't really need Viagra...see paragraph two if you skipped ahead. I saved money again! I'm getting richer by the second!

The latest email in my spam folder stated it was warning me that someone ran a background check on me and that they looked up my arrest record and I need to click on their url and find out who. Well, my arrest record is pretty short. I had a speeding ticket about 8 years ago. I deserved that ticket, so I'm not grousing about it. But, my record is pretty small -- I live a pretty simple life -- so I think I'll pass on finding out who ran a background check on me. I am pretty sure they will want me to pay for the privilege of finding out who supposedly checked my criminal background. Nah, I think I'll save my money and not purchase that little treat either.

Well, I say it has been a prosperous morning here at the computer. I saved a ton of money by not investing in their schemes. And, I had a chuckle besides!