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Archive for December, 2012

Complaining is easier than changing

December 30th, 2012 at 09:30 pm

Ever notice that some folks complain about this and that and ask for suggestions, but when offered possible solutions, prefer complaining instead of changing?

One friend complains all the time about not having enough money. Yet, she and her spouse smoke, drink, and do not plan for anything. With Christmas coming up instead of hitting the grocery store when the paycheck came, they didn't. Christmas Day came she and she wondered what store was open since they had invited a sibling over for dinner. Each Christmas is a stress because they don't have the money she wishes she had and although I have suggested she open a Christmas Club so they would have something saved, she informed me that is old fashioned, and unnecessary. Often they are out of money before the next paycheck comes in. Any suggestions that have been made on saving money is argued that she already knows how to live with little money. Yet, about every other week is another complaint of being broke.

Another person I know complains about having little money and how the house payments are killing them. When I hinted that we save money by not eating out as much and cutting our spending a snarky remark was made that DH and I have plenty of money. If I came out and said point blank that they should curtail their spending, it would result in hateful words. So, the complaints go on.

Another couple we know eat out at least once a day. Spending is fast and furious, yet there is a gripe that there isn't enough money and a bigger home equity loan is sought.

And yet another couple complains about not having enough money. They too eat out all the time. Every single thing is put on credit cards and we are ridiculed because when we do go out, DH pays with cash. Don't get me wrong, we use credit cards for certain things, but they are paid off each month. These folks are always talking about how they are broke.

One thing these folks all have in common besides the obvious of not having enough money is they are big complainers and instead of taking measures to try and alleviate some spending, they gleefully spend and then gripe. Guess it takes less effort to complain than actually do. I guess this makes me sound kind of cruel, but after awhile, it gets tiresome. I no longer give advice if asked because it is a waste of time.

Busy Thursday

December 28th, 2012 at 04:31 am

I have enjoyed my holiday break. Today was a busy day at our home, DH wanted a new watch for Christmas. We had a Christmas Club so I had a good budget. He really wanted one that is solar charged and I bought him one. So today we took it so he could get links removed so the band would fit. While there, I had the band replaced on mine that was a few years old. It was ready to break so I figured it would be a good investment.

We dropped some things to a local food pantry. They not only take food but also clothing and kitchenware. We had some clothes to donate and I wound up with so many muffin tins is beyond me. We also had a turkey we got free and it was far too big for the two of us. The only thing that irritated me was seeing some if the clients who were waiting for the pantry to start calling numbers for food boxes were outside smoking. I wanted to say maybe you'd have more money for food if you weren't smoking, but I kept quiet. One of the things we like about this place is the clothing and kitchen stuff are given to clients. They do a lot of good.

DH had received a Target gift card so he wanted to stop and see if they had a DVD or CD he wanted. He looked around and finally decided he didn't want anything. I looked at Christmas cards, but I didn't buy any. I really hoped to find some that weren't made in China. I may be looking for a needle in a haystack, so to speak. We then went to Kohls. DH had Kohls cash. He found a shirt on clearance for that. We walked around the mall a little for some exercise. We did see some people we knew so they was good,

We had meal #4 of ham. DH said said he was "hammed out." So, I put the remainder in the freezer to be revisited at a later time. Last night I had roasted a chicken for something different so tonight I used the broth, leftover chicken, and leftover roasted vegetables from Christmas and made chicken stew for lunch tomorrow. I had baked cornbread for Christmas and we finished it up tonight. I still have some honey wheat bread I baked for dinner Sunday so I think I am going to put olive oil on it and toast it to serve with the stew. I am trying to use up what we have and not waste food.

We were going over our finances and since we have curtailed our eating out, we are seeing more money in the bank account. One of the ladies from church was at the mall and we were talking about how much money one saves by planning meals and creating a grocery list. She said her husband takes a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and some jelly to work. For his mid morning break, he toasts a piece of bread and puts a little peanut butter and jelly on it. She said that often his coworkers tell him how much better his toast looks and smells than what they bought out of the vending machine. As she said, it just takes some planning.

Purchasing inner struggles

December 24th, 2012 at 04:25 pm

I struggle often with do I spend too much or too little? Am I deserving of nice things, or should I do without?

I grew up with parents who were frugal. They had to be. They grew up during the depression and although both worked hard, they never really made a lot of money. More often than not, most of my thinks were used. Don't get me wrong, I did get some new things, but unlike many of my peers, most of my things were what we call recycled nowdays.

I went through a stage in my life where I only wanted new things. I would wait and save and scrimp until I could afford them.

But, as a I age, whether it is new or used doesn't seem to have the significance anymore. In fact, I kind of like buying something really nice that has been used thinking I got a good deal.

Last night we had an early Christmas dinner with my brother and his wife. Most of the things on my table had been purchased preowned. The plates and glasses were bought at flea markets. The table cloth was bought at an antique shop. The centerpiece was picked up at a flea market. The napkins were purchased at a garage sale. All but one of the trivets were bought at resale places. I thought it made a pretty table setting with the blue and white dishes. I thought about putting out Christmas linens, but figured since my dishes are blue and white, why not go with the theme?

I enjoyed using my things. After all, if they had been purchased brand new, I might have worried if we spilled something on them. They just seemed like old friends we could relax with. If something is spilled or stained, well, so be it. We could enjoy the company and the food.

I still sort of struggle with things...but I will say I enjoyed using many of them last night. I think many people save their tablecloths for good or their cloth napkins for company. We use them all the time. I don't have fine china...we have the same dishes we use day to day. Some have become chipped, but I'm not a fancy person, so unless it means hurting someone, I keep using them. I think I have saved quit a bit of money buying used things and I have enjoyed using these items.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Is cooking a lost art?

December 19th, 2012 at 01:26 am

Yesterday we had meetings to discuss English/Language Arts Common Core standards and discussing students. One staff member said she was shocked her students didn't realize cookies could be baked st home, I said that very little true cooking is taking place and the time in the kitchen with mom and grandma has become a thing of the past.

At first some registered disbelief, but then we talked about it and they said it probably is true. I know most of the people I work with rarely cook or bake. One gal said her child won't eat something unless it comes from the microwave.

So, what do you think...has cooking become a lost art?

Spa treatment...

December 18th, 2012 at 10:09 am

After work yesterday I decided I needed a facial. I deserve it, right? So, my plan was to stop at an exclusive spa and ....

OK, not really. I used sugar and some facial soap in the tiny closet we call the master bath. It was refreshing.

We often watch HGTV and marvel at how picky some of the homeowners are...they have to have a grand master bathroom. When our house was built in the late 70s, I think the master bath was just for convenience, not an in home spa. Although it would be nice to have a little larger, it is sufficient. It has a shower, stool, and sink. Plus, there's less of it to clean!

Christmas Menu

December 16th, 2012 at 08:33 pm

I have our menu for Christmas figured is pretty tame and doesn't differ too much from year to year:

Ham (bought at Aldi)
scalloped potatoes (potatoes, onions, and cream bought at Aldi)
green beans (Aldi)
peas (Aldi) -- hubby doesn't like peas and I do so I'll be having two vegetables

We will have leftovers for supper and then ham for other meals. I'm not sure what we will have for dessert yet. Maybe I'll bake a cake.

We have been eating at home quite a bit and it is amazing how much money we have been saving. We used to go out for brunch after church, but since we live so close to church, decided to just come home. Fixing scrambled eggs and toast and a breakfast meat isn't difficult and since I always make a large container of fruit salad for the week, having that with the brunch, makes it reasonable and easy.

It's kind of damp and gloomy tonight so I think we are having chili tonight. DH doesn't mine routines and we've been having chili on Sundays lately since the weather turned cool. I guess that is why he likes having ham and scalloped potatoes for Christmas.

So, what's on your Christmas menu?

Sad, sad day

December 15th, 2012 at 03:44 am

My heart goes to the families and school staff of the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut where so many children were shot and killed. Prayers for the survivors.

I was called cheap

December 12th, 2012 at 02:08 am

We were talking about food and grocery shopping at work the other day. One teacher asked me earlier this year for some easy, reasonably priced recipes. I shared them and she has had success with them.

Anyway, I was talking about how I try to use leftovers if I can go save money. For example, we have been having sausage patties on Sunday for brunch. We usually have a few leftover. Last week I took the leftover sausage and put it an egg strata. This week I will put it with macaroni and cheese. One person sort of turned up her nose and said I was cheap. Using leftovers?

Maybe I am cheap, but I like to think I am saving money and. Of wasting food.

Tuesday Topic

December 5th, 2012 at 12:44 am

A calm Tuesday in the Midwest. My kind of day, that's for sure.

Well, calm for me anyway. Seems the boys at my school were riled up and no one knew why. So many were making such poor choices and I don't even think they could verbalize why.

I wonder if that is the problem with so many folks who are unwise with money. Can they verbalize why?

It is interesting hearing this one couple justify buying a new vehicle last week. Both felt they had to buy a new vehicle because the youngest will be driving next year. She said that they got a great deal and $3,000 cash back which just about made up for what they owed on the other one?!?

Their family isn't the only one I knew who trades vehicles while still owing money. It's one thing if you have an accident and you owed money and had to replace the car, but to go out and buy another when you didn't have the original one paid off.

I'm not nosy enough to ask, but I wonder how many cars these folks never paid off and rolled over. Maybe I really don't want to know.

New Name Brand Purse

December 2nd, 2012 at 10:39 pm

A couple of weeks ago DH and I went to Springfield to venture into a couple of antique malls. We collect Blue Willow dishes and we like to see if there are any good deals out there.

Most of the items we purchase really aren't antiques. I tend to buy things that have already been used because I can usually get them more reasonably.

Anyway, I saw this nice black leather purse. I checked it out and it was in mint condition -- no scratches or tears and the inside was pristine. It was $8. It had three sections and had sturdy straps. DH said it looked like a deal. So, I bought it.

This purse piqued my interest. It had a name plate and I looked it up on google and it is a name brand that is sold by Macy's and Nordstrom's for between $200-400. So, I really felt like I got a deal!

A gal I work with is always talking about her name brand purses and how much they cost. So, I asked her how she liked mine. She went on and on about how great it was and wanted to know where I got it and how much. She is certainly one who has to have the name brand and the prestige of buying it at a fancy store. I finally admitted I bought it for $8 at an antique mall. She suddenly lost interest.

She has made a couple of derogatory remarks about my $8 purse. It doesn't bother me for a number of reasons. I didn't buy the stupid thing to impress anyone, I bought it because I liked it and it seemed like a well made purse for a reasonable price. And I certainly didn't buy it for the name because until I googled it, I was blissfully unaware of this name brand.

And, knowing this gal is deep in debt and is always after the next brand item makes feel realize there's something missing in her life that her buying isn't filling.

So, I feel I am a winner...saved money and found a practical item.