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Archive for May, 2015

Spendy Days

May 31st, 2015 at 06:45 pm

May and June seem to be spendy times around here. Part of it is because we have homeowner's insurance and car insurance coming due and then the property taxes come due around the first of June. Sunday afternoons are usually spent paying bills and reconciling the checkbook.

This week was especially expensive. On Wednesday we met friends for supper out for her birthday. On Thursday we spent the night in a hotel since they were blowing insulation foam into our crawl space and we couldn't stay in our house which meant supper out again. Breakfast was included with the room so that was good, but it also meant driving an extra 20 minutes to get to work on Friday. I planned that I wouldn't be able to take my Thermos with coffee so I had taken coffee in a fruit jar and put it in the fridge at school. Added creamer and had "iced" coffee instead of hot. It was fine and at least saved money there. Since we couldn't yet get back to the house, we wound up eating lunch out -- well, DH ate it out, he stopped and bought a sandwich for me to eat at school. We ate out again Friday night -- wow three days in a row. We have friends who eat out every night and I personally do not know how they do it. I was happy to eat at home last night as was DH.

It seems like the end of the school year is always kind of expensive anyway. Our administrator is retiring as is another staff member, and two people are leaving so of course there was the collection for their gifts. Then, another person is having a baby so there was money for a shower gift. Our staff decided to do secret pal stuff this year and I don't know who decided we needed to do an end of the year gift of $25, but I thought that was a little outrageous.

Granted, I'm griping. I have the money for all of this. All those meals we ate in and all those leftovers that were repurposed and consumed allowed for that. Those coupons that were clipped and sales that were used allowed us to have the money for all that. Perhaps I'm just become so tight I hate spending money.

I know we will spend money in June too. It is our 25th wedding anniversary and we are renewing our vows. Small ceremony under the huge oak tree we were married under. Our pastor being the kind soul that he is said all he wanted in terms of a fee was 3 chocolate chip cookies from each of us. I've already given him a dozen...that man has a sweet tooth and I know it! We are going to have professional photos taken since we didn't have them for our wedding. We have invited 3 close friends to the ceremony and we are treating them and our pastor to lunch. Not a huge expense overall, but we think it will be nice.

Speaking of weddings, Mary Hunt of Everyday Cheapskate said she interviewed someone that said the typical wedding costs over $31,000. Yowza! That is a heap of money! That makes my spendy days look like chicken feed!

Happy Memorial Day!

May 25th, 2015 at 09:04 pm

Happy Memorial Day! I'm sure most of us have been touched by someone in the Armed Forces whether it is a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, child.

Today the news stations broadcast the president putting a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. It was a beautiful ceremony and made me remember a number of years ago when DH and I were on a trip and we saw the changing of the guard there. The ceremony was moving and everyone in the crowd was quiet and respectful. I think that helped make it special.

As we remember our soldiers, both those we know and those we don't, think good thoughts of how blessed we are to have people who have fought for us. I'm including a couple of photos from my vacation in 2009 and the changing of the guard.

Save some to spend some

May 24th, 2015 at 07:13 pm

We've been spending money at the local garden center. DH has a decent vegetable garden for the small space available and yesterday he bought some flowers. He enjoys gardening so it is relaxing for him and the vegetables are pretty darn tasty.

Yesterday's plants were a bit pricey and he probably could have gotten fewer and less expensive ones. I pointed out that we save money on other things so we can spend it on things we really want.

A couple we know love to spend. Last fall he was telling us how they had custom made curtains for their kitchen windows. Two windows. Not picture windows or extra tall windows. Just basic kitchen windows. And the tally: $1500. We've viewed these pieces of cloth at the window -- they are nice curtains, but I can't see where they are worth $1500. But that is how they roll -- all the curtains and drapes are custom made and cost thousands of dollars. Yet, they moan and gripe about being short of money. They hit the home equity quite a bit and have taken out personal loans to finance vacations and other odds and ends.

I like nice things too, but last year I hit a garage sale and found two brand new in the package sheers that matched the curtains I found on sale. All in all, I spent about $32 for curtains and sheers and was pleased. This friend told my husband I must not care about him since I spent so little on the window coverings. DH looked at me and said he didn't think that was so; he thought they looked OK. What a strange mindset.

So this weekend, other than buying the flowers, we are working around here. I'm getting ready to pick some radishes that are a little larger than we prefer for raw eating. I saw a recipe on roasting them and it looked pretty good. Here is the url:

Supper is pork loin, mashed potatoes, carrots, radishes, and cottage cheese. The pork loin and carrots will make up another meal later this week. Yet another way to save money so we have it for other things...and those other things WILL NOT be $1500 custom curtains!

Thinking things through

May 17th, 2015 at 06:44 pm

Last week we ate out with another couple to celebrate birthdays. It was a reasonably priced meal and planned in our budget.

The conversation was about what this couple was planning on doing. They've always been spenders, not savers. But they laid out their plans...a fancy vacation and taking the whole family. This is in addition to going south for the winter, and all the other things they are constantly doing, not to mention all the things they are buying.

After we parted, I asked DH if we were too careful. This summer we are planning a short vacation in addition to celebrating our 25th anniversary. After hearing all the things this other couple were doing, it made me feel like a stick in the mud.

Yesterday we went to the library and checked out some magazines and books. We went to the grocery store and bought things on our list for our planned menus. DH bought bell pepper plants to put in his garden. We came home and he worked in his small garden. I picked radishes, green onions, and lettuce and made a small salad as I prepared things for two meals: roast pork loin for supper and Italian wedding soup for Sunday's supper. Hubby mowed and I did laundry. Last night after cleaning up and showering, we watched some television and read some magazines, and went to bed satisfied we had a nice day.

Thinking back on Friday's conversation and my original thoughts, no, we aren't boring. I think we are more satisfied. Upon reflection, these people are always telling us all the cool things they are doing and how their family is superior and their other friends are better and so on and so forth. DH and I are happy with each other. Unlike this couple, we feel financially secure. We know that this couple will have to finance this vacation.

Knowing that things don't bring happiness, sort of helps me put things in perspective. I don't have to one up these folks on things to be happy. I don't have to finance my vacation because we save and plan for ours. And, finding enjoyment in the simple things I think is important because then we don't have to continue searching for bigger and better things to make life more exciting.

Thanks for letting me sort this out.

Saturday Happenings

May 9th, 2015 at 08:03 pm

The past two weekends we have been to two estate sales. Both were pretagged. The same person ran them. Prices are 100% on Saturday, then 25% 9-12 on Sunday and 50% off 1-5 p.m. The first one, we didn't go on Saturday and hit it up Sunday afternoon. We bought a bunch of things. We decided to change the stuff over the couch in the family room and DH fell in love with some of the cross stitched samplers this woman had worked on. Her handiwork is beautiful and they are lovely and all were professionally framed. I also bought a small hand stitched, hand pieced quilt. I will use it as a throw. Due to my allergies, I cannot use any of the throws that are being sold because I'm allergic to anything with acrylic in it.

Last week we went on Saturday. It was a smaller sale. I bought a new name brand purse, two pairs of brand name shoes that had never been worn, and a vintage pot with lid that had been manufactured a few miles up the road. We are happy with our finds and I have no problem having some of these items that were preowned. We donated the print and shelf we had over the couch to our church's rummage sale. Both sales had lovely items and for the things we bought, reasonable prices. I'm buying things I'll use.

This weekend I'm happy to be home. Work has been exhausting so I am trying to catch up on my housework and laundry. I did finish a book (number 30 for 2015 so far). We did hit the grocery store earlier. DH is out puttering in the yard. We have church tomorrow.

So, my chores include laundry, ironing, cooking, and cleaning. I'm looking forward to a relaxing evening. Overall, it will be a low spend weekend. I'm also going through some of our things so I can donate them as well to the church rummage sale.

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

Pity Party or Exhaustion?

May 4th, 2015 at 11:41 pm

I'm sort of feeling sorry for myself. Then I'm beating myself up over feeling sorry for myself.

Our school district started state testing last week. I am in charge of it for my school so I get to work early and get the computer lab ready and I help each classroom teacher as the class tests. I shred scratch paper, and fill out paperwork. Then, before and after testing, I do part of my regular job.

On Friday I was exhausted. After supper we went to the grocery store (DH had already made the Aldi run earlier in the day) and came home, put things away, and tried to relax. I wanted to watch Dateline, but found myself dozing off.

Went to bed and slept hard for awhile, then woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep thinking of all the things I needed to do at both home and work. Saturday was running errands and cleaning. Sunday was church, cooking, and paying bills and reconciling the checkbook. I then checked emails and Facebook and saw all these photos of folks having all this fun.

Hence, the pity party. I have to go to bed early because I need lots of rest or I become ill. I keep to a cleaning schedule because of my allergies and because I like a clean house. I keep to a bill paying schedule to keep tabs on my finances. I attend church because it is important to my faith.

Yet, I see some of these same people who complain about their homes and upkeep, claim to be more involved at church than I am, and gripe about money. I don't know if I'm truly jealous because I can't go out of town on a weekend during the school year or do a bunch of fun things because it would exhaust me or if I'm just so tired that things are getting on my nerves.

Deep down I know I am truly blessed. So, I start telling myself I'm not very grateful for all the things I have in my life. I have a wonderful husband. I have a lovely home. I'm lucky to have a nice home that I can clean. With my health history, I'm fortunate that I haven't had too many illnesses lately. I have to work on the keeping healthy party -- eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest.

So, now I grapple with I feeling sorry for myself or am I just irritable because I'm tired?

Dibs and Dabs

May 3rd, 2015 at 07:07 pm

Almost every Sunday I fix the same thing for supper: sloppy chicks which are like sloppy joes made with ground chicken. Not exciting, but DH likes them and it means we have a hot meal and he has a couple of lunches besides.

Being frugal, I have noticed that there are times when DH doesn't use all of the sloppy chick mixture. There usually isn't enough for him to have a good sized sandwich. So, I usually put it in a small container and put it in the freezer. Yesterday, I decided to see how many of these containers I had and if there was enough for a meal. So, after taking all the dibs and dabs out, I had enough for a meal and leftovers too.

Before church I put some beans to cook in the Crockpot. I soaked them overnight. I thought they would be a nice addition to sloppy chicks. Actually what gave me the idea was I saw some baked beans on sale in the grocery flyer and thought I should use up some of the dried beans I had in the pantry.

It is beautiful here in Central Illinois. Actually fairly warm...feels like early summer instead of spring. DH worked very hard to put in 9 tomato plants, 2 rosemary plants, and 2 sage plants yesterday. Normally he plants on Mother's Day weekend, but since the forecast is calling for temps in the 80s this week, he thought it was safe to plant this weekend and give them a head start. His radishes, onions, and lettuce are all up and his carrots are just beginning to pop through. Hopefully it will be a productive gardening year!

I was thinking about how much we save by repurposing some of our leftovers. We spent around $142 this week at Aldi and County Market. A couple of things weren't food items, but cleaning items that were on sale and I had coupons. Considering that money goes for 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 suppers, plus snacks, I don't think that is too bad. We eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. We have cut down on our meat consumption...I may buy a small pork tenderloin roast and it will make up 2-3 meals. And the freezer and Crockpot are my good friends as they store and cook for me.