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A little this, a little of that

October 4th, 2018 at 08:22 am

It certainly hasn't been a thrifty week.

However, the spending was planned. Tuesday was Senior's Day at Walgreens. I was waiting to buy different things that we use like allergy medicine to get the 20% off. I also used coupons. So between the regular priced stuff that was 20% off, and the stuff on sale that I don't get 20% off, and the digital and paper coupons, I saved over $80 and spent over $200. I hate to see that big number, but the stuff is what we use each month so I would have bought it anyway.

DH's car insurance was due and once he turned 70, the premiums really went up. But, at least we had the money to pay for it.

A couple of months back I bought some material at an estate sale. The downsizing sale was at the home of a quilter and she bought premium material. I pulled some of it out yesterday and made some napkins and two potholders. I can't even describe the beauty of working with good material. I also cannot understand why people don't hit up thrift stores and estate sales for material...far cheaper than buying retail. I've found so many craft items that way. Granted, I could afford to buy them retail, but DH says I like the thrill of the hunt, and I think he's right.

For Christmas last year I asked him to get me the cheapie Singer that was on sale for $69. I'm not an excellent seamstress, but I can sew a little. I have used it so much and have enjoyed using it. My friend is an excellent seamstress and her machine cost way more than $1000. She can afford it and I'm sure it gives her great pleasure.

Today is Thursday and is grocery shopping day. Last night was clean out the fridge supper. Last week I think I spent less than $30 on groceries total. We didn't need much and I was just buying stuff we use each week like bread, milk, fruit, and chicken. I made a couple of meals from the chicken and lots of broth besides. I used up stuff we had in the freezer and we had a couple of meatless meals too. Today's shopping isn't going to be horrible, except we are buying some extra stuff for the church's food pantry.

It has been pretty warm and humid here in Central Illinois. Yesterday it was around 90. Today it is supposed to be in the 70s before it goes back up. It should give the a/c a break for a day, anyway.

Thrift Shop Treasures

September 30th, 2018 at 10:43 am

DH and I hit thrift shops each week. We have 4 favorites, but there are some others we try to go to once a week. And we are fortunate that most of our thrift shops are really nice and reasonably priced on most items. This last week we only purchased a couple of items for a friend and she paid us for them. We didn't find anything for ourselves, but it was fun looking.

I have a friend who sort of turned her nose up buying stuff at thrift stores which I thought was weird since she would buy stuff at flea markets and antique shops. But, I guess she's come over to my side. I found some brand new, unopened craft items and she was thrilled to pay me for them.

Last week we went to a small town and stopped in the thrift shop and I found a brand new pair of flats for $6. Decent shoes that should hold up and I was pleased to get them. I have worn some sneakers this summer I snagged for around $10 last year. They were like new. I'm not going to buy shoes just for the sake of buying shoes, but if I find something decent and affordable, I am going to get it.

I have really found some amazing craft items. I snagged a pair of pillowcases last year for 69 cents that they had tucked the embroidery floss in with them. I embroidered them and they are on my bed as I type. I found another set last week that hadn't been opened for $1.50. That will be a nice winter project for me and I still have some of the original embroidery floss left over. I get a lot of the yarn for the hats I loom for church. It is brand new with the sleeve still on it. It works great since it is usually one skein of this color and one that -- not enough to make anything big, but great for hats.

DH found an amazing shirt the other day for $2.25. It is a dress shirt and in excellent shape. He is a clothes horse so I can't complain when he finds a good deal like that.

Some of our friends have given us a list of things to look for and about what they would like to spend. It gives us something to look for and helps them out too.

I sometimes struggle with buying stuff I do not need. So, I am really working on that. I am not saving money if I buy something that I don't need. I'm would be just shopping for the sake of shopping and I do not want to do that. I have to have a place for something or a use for it before I can buy it. I had gotten rid of a bunch of shoes at the beginning of summer that were worn out, so I didn't feel guilty buying the shoes. The yarn goes for the hats so I don't go crazy buying it, and I take the hats to church every two weeks to add to the stash when we meet. I have some pillowcases to replace so once I get these new ones finished, the old ones will either go in the trash or maybe I can recycle them into bags. I saw something on Pinterest. We keep cloth bags in our cars for grocery shopping.

But, each week it is like a treasure hunt at the thrift shops!

The Care and Feeding of Friendship

September 29th, 2018 at 01:56 pm

Lately I've noticed that so many don't seem to understand that being a friend often means putting a little effort into it.

I'm almost to the point where I am staying off Facebook because of the rabid political posts on both sides. I still email and I do Messenger. And I'm one of those old fashioned folks who writes letters and cards.

However, I've noticed that other than two people who are honest to goodness friends, I'm the one who does the reaching out. And to be honest, I'm weary of it. If I don't call, write, message, or email first, I don't hear from them. Most then respond, but then nothing. Yesterday it all sort of hit me all at once. There are a couple of people who we email at least once a day. But, I didn't hear from anyone yesterday.

I'll admit it, my feelings were hurt. It didn't have to be a message the size of a small book. And I had emailed in the morning like I almost always do.

Today, I didn't email. I figured I would wait and see. This afternoon one did respond and basically blamed me because she hadn't received a message from me. Really? I'm the only one who can start?

I just don't understand, I guess. I thought relationships take some effort on both ends. And I'm just feeling like I'm being taken for granted.

I don't want to lose friends, but I'd like to be the recipient of a message that wasn't a reply to mine. Guess I'm picky.

In The Mood

September 20th, 2018 at 07:59 am

I'm not talking about the Glenn Miller piece either!

It's funny how so many things revolve around how we feel about something. I know I have really been in the mood to can and fill up the pantry with home canned items as well as things that are on sale. I know by the middle of the summer when stuff starts coming on, I really am in the mood for canning.

I have also been working on Christmas gifts. I like to have them finished before Christmas. I'm not a person who handles working under a deadline that is stressful. I've finished all mine and I'm making some for a friend for her stocking stuffers.

DH is starting to clean up the yard and garden for winter. He surprised me today by cleaning the siding and the windows. He normally doesn't notice stuff like that, but he did. I do think "moods" truly effect many of our actions.

Tomorrow is garbage collection day and I've already planned on decluttering some things that cannot be recycled or reused. I'm in the mood for a tidier spot, that's for sure.

So, what motivates you?

Staying busy

September 19th, 2018 at 08:38 am

September is half over, and I continue to stay busy.

I feel really blessed to be retired. It enables me to have time to do a lot of things I wouldn't have had time to do.

We are still getting some tomatoes and bell peppers. I made and canned some more spaghetti sauce. I had given some to a friend for her pantry earlier.

Last year when I was making hats for our church group, I had leftover yarn that there wasn't enough to make another hat from, so I crocheted dish cloths. I have donated them to our church rummage sale. I know this may sound petty, but it kind of hurt my feelings when they only put a quarter each on them. I don't think they are worth tons, but at least 50 cents. But a quarter? The local thrift stores sell smaller ones that are just a mish mash of colors for $1 and I at least try to make mine pretty. Well, I decided this year I'm just going to make them for friends. That way I don't get my feelings hurt. I asked a couple of friends who like them if they would like some for stocking stuffers and they were grateful. So, I feel like I'm using up the yarn and it still does some good.

I have a bunch of rubber stamps. I decided to get them out and start using them again. I bought a blank ink pad and then stamped a design and then colored it with colored pencils. I can say I don't care for the stamp pad. It didn't really ink the stamp very well. Anyone have some suggestions?

We did spend some money, but hopefully it will benefit us in the long run. We paid a guy who does guttering to replace our downspouts with larger ones and to put gutter guards to hopefully keep leaves and debris out of the gutters. We had the money saved so it wasn't a debt inducing project. I called a company to come out and give us a quote on mending the ceiling in the family room where we had a leak a couple of months ago. They will have to patch it. We have popcorn ceilings and there is a small hole so it just isn't painting.

Beautiful Weather

September 10th, 2018 at 07:35 am

After a few weeks of extreme heat and then a couple of days of rainy weather, we have gotten a nice break of lovely weather. It is around normal temps 70s and the sun is out.

It was nice to see so many of the neighbors out working in their yards yesterday due to the incredible weather.

DH mowed after he picked up sticks and branches. We had some rain and some wind a couple of days before. I started cutting herbs to wash and dry them. It takes awhile to let them air dry, but I'm in no rush. It's nice having them to use all winter too.

I know some folks are not anticipating good weather with Florence. Hope you all stay safe.

Frustration and more found money

September 5th, 2018 at 08:55 am

My last entry was about found money so to speak. I received a debit card from the hospital that overcharged me $200 almost two years ago. As a couple of you mentioned, they should have paid me interest because If I had been two years late in paying, I would have paid interest. No kidding.

Well, yesterday DH and I took the debit card to our bank which happens to be the bank the debit card supposedly was issued from. I wanted to put th money in savings. There is a branch manager we deal with and he is a good guy. He asked if I had activated the card and I said yes. Well, long story short, I had to use an ATM to get the money. We don't use ATMs so he had to help us with that. And then we were charged $2.50 to get the money. Even he was surprised at that. He said the hospital uses these debit cards instead of using checks, but somehow it really isn't affiliated with their bank. Grrr. I emailed the hospital this morning expressing my distaste for this, between the lost interest and the cost of using the ATM. Honestly, I was afraid of using the card to purchase things because I was afraid I would be at the grocery and it would get rejected or something.

DH and I went to a book sale run by friends of the library on Monday. We didn't find any books. DH parks in what we call the back 40 because he doesn't want to get his car dinged or dented. Well, it most certainly paid off. As we were taking our stroll, I found a folded up $20 bill in the parking lot away from all the cars. I had the bank manager check it yesterday to make sure it was legitimate and it was. So, besides the money from the debit card, we put that $20 in the savings too. So that was a good thing.

Found Money

September 1st, 2018 at 08:02 am

Yesterday's mail had a surprise. It was a prepaid card that said that I had overpaid at a local hospital to the tune of $200. I checked it out and it seems legitimate. I remember I had a procedure two years ago and remember thinking that I was overpaying since a friend has the same insurance and he said that he never paid more than $100 for these things and I was billed $300.

Of course it took over two years for them to realize this, but hey, it is found money in my book. On Tuesday we are going to the bank and cash it out and put the money in savings which is where it would have wound up to begin with if we hadn't had to use it. So, it was a nice surprise.

Grocery Market Snob

August 31st, 2018 at 08:03 am

I've concluded I'm a grocery market snob.

I'm not saying that I only shop fancy stores. Hardly. Aldi is my number one store and Kroger is number 2 with Dollar General and an Amish bulk food store filling in for different things. Plus DH raises tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bell peppers, and herbs.

Actually, I think I'm just a food snob.

A couple of years ago DH and I went to Dollar General to buy some cleaning supplies and we are standing in line with my fistful of coupons behind two women who each have a cart full of 2 liter soda pop. They pull out their SNAP cards to pay for them. All I could think was what a waste of money and nutrition.

Don't get me wrong. I am not totally against drinking soda. My dad worked as a warehouseman for Coca-Cola for 22 years. Of course, when I was growing up, having a bottle of pop was a luxury, not something you did all the time. Back then you had either a 6 ounce real glass bottle or a 6 1/2 ounce bottle and you paid a deposit on the bottle. It was made with real sugar. Granted, it still wasn't the healthiest, but one wasn't slurping down 32 ounces at a sitting. I've noticed in the store that there are small cans coming about and I wonder if it is because people are realizing that huge bottles and glasses aren't the best. At our local gas stations they have something called "Polar Pop" and I asked someone what the draw was and they said it was because it was cheap and you got a lot. I guess it is a huge styrofoam cup with your choice of soft drink. I can admit I've never bought one. I drink mostly three things: coffee, tea, and water.

As for the snob part, there are certain teas I really like. We found a cinnamon tea with citrus added that makes a wonderful iced tea that tastes a bit sweetened without sugar. Yesterday I brewed 5 quarts of it to have in the fridge to enjoy with our lunches.

I also look at what people buy in their carts at the grocery store. One person I know brags about only shopping once a month. I was wondering how that could be until I saw her cart. Cases of beef stew, pork and beans, and bags, and bags of chips and cases of soda pop. Not a canned or frozen or fresh vegetable in the mix. I guess it is more reasonable to buy all this, but I just can't imagine it is very healthy.

I've been reading more and more about eating a mostly vegetable diet and all the benefits it can provide. I'm not sure DH and I are ready to fully embrace that, but we do have a few meals (besides breakfast) that are meat free. Although I cringe when I have to buy fresh produce at the store, but think it is cheaper in the long run if it helps us keep healthy.

So sadly, I have to admit that I do sort of think I'm a snob when I see someone who only has junk in their basket. I'm not talking about the one or two item folks who just run in to get something to fill in. I'm talking about the basket full folks who have all processed foods and very few nutritious choices. I'm not talking the poor who fill up on starches. I get that. I'm seeing people who make a good wage. I just wonder if they are doing the best for themselves when do buy the cheap stuff.

So, I'm a grocery market snob. Hopefully a healthy one!

Problem with SA site

August 30th, 2018 at 07:58 am

Anyone else having problems with the SA site? It says I have to log in, which I do and it says I am logged in, but if I go to comment on anyone else's blog, it says I'm not logged in. So, I have to manually put in my information if I want to comment. Frown