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Spending and saving as well as cooking

June 2nd, 2014 at 12:47 pm

School is out and it is nice to know I can sort of take it easy for awhile.

Of course, Thursday was my first day off and we ran like crazy people. Not because we wanted to, but things came up at the last minute. My husband's high school principal died and he really wanted to attend the visitation. The man had a long, healthy life and died at 97...it was a good way for DH to remember him and the good memories of his high school days. Plus, he saw some of his classmates at the visitation.

I think one of the best things about being off is getting to do things around the house at a much more relaxed pace. It is nice shopping for different foods knowing I don't have to rush home and fix them after work. And I don't have to have a cleaning marathon every weekend.

DH had his yearly physical Friday morning so I went to Aldi while he was out. I found turkey tenderloins which are seasonal. I grilled them Saturday night as well as grilling potatoes and zucchini so I didn't heat up the house. I was as excited about this meal than if we had gone out to eat at a fancy restaurant. They were good -- I grilled them and then added barbecue sauce right before I took them off. Moist and flavorful and enough for at least another meal.

I was teasing DH we spent big money today. Actually, we did. Our property taxes are due. But, it is nice to know I could just take the money out of savings and pay them and it was taken care of. We also put money in our different savings accounts. We have a lot of different accounts...one is our basic emergency account, we have one we are using for home improvements and we call it our new roof account at this point. We have a vacation account and a Christmas club account and then there is a basic savings account we sometimes put money in just to keep it active. Someone told us we were crazy to have so many accounts, but I explained it helped us plan for things. We know we have a certain amount of money for vacation so if we didn't save enough, it means our spending stops and we don't do as much or go as far. We have a Christmas club so we have a set limit to spend and aren't tempted to spend more. Actually, DH uses half of it for Christmas and half of it for my birthday since my birthday is less than 12 days after Christmas. Of course the same friend who was telling us we didn't need all these accounts is the person who eats out at least once a day and puts everything on a credit card. Think I'll keep my multiple accounts and pay cash.

Baby, it's cold outside!

January 6th, 2014 at 01:16 pm

I live in Central Illinois. We had a snowstorm yesterday and like much of the country, we have extremely cold temperatures. Wind chills are in double digit negative numbers. Brrrr!

Friday night and Saturday were interesting in our city; people posted photos of the run at grocery stores. I guess many of them ran out of things on the shelves.

Yesterday was my birthday and we originally had planned on going out for pizza with some friends. We changed our plans with the blowing snow, cold temps, and terrible conditions. Since I had anticipated going out, I didn't purchase buns at Aldi for our normal Sunday night sloppy chicks. We had them, but I had no buns, so I baked bread yesterday. I baked small round loaves that after cooling, we sliced for buns. Not too bad and certainly pretty reasonable money wise. I did not plan on hitting the stores Friday night or Saturday just for a package of buns! We had been watching the weather and did our grocery shopping Thursday since I'm off from school.

I imagine most of you have stuff in reserve in your pantry and freezer. I know we do. We eventually would need to replenish some things, but DH was talking last night about how we didn't have to brave the craziness at the grocery stores. I like to find things on sale and stock up.

We are going to pay someone to plow out our driveway. I'm sorry, with over 8 inches of snow received, and then drifting, I am not going to shovel in weather with wind chills of -35. The hospital bill will be more than what we pay the guy to plow our driveway. Maybe that's a weird way of looking at it, but I know it will make me sick if I get out there with my asthma. DH has a little heart condition that we don't want to make worse so I don't want him out in it either plus he froze his lungs a couple of years ago and can't handle extreme cold like he used to.

Hope everyone is warm and safe.

Paying with cash article

October 13th, 2013 at 04:14 pm

There's an article about paying with cash costing Americans money.

Not the surface kind of answer, but the fact people are paying fees to pay with cash. I can't figure out if the gist of the article is to go cashless or just reporting. I don't trust media anymore because gone are the days when they just reported the facts...so many stories are so biased.

Here is the URL:

http://www.today.com/money/paying-cash-costs-americans-200-billion-year-8C11363366

This has been a nice weekend, but I have spent money. We walked around our downtown area yesterday. We have lots of small locally owned shops. I like the idea of supporting local small businesses. One place had 20% off things and I did buy quite a few things, but they were things I would have purchased anyway. Two things were presents so saving the 20% was nice. We also went to a local wine store. We aren't wine drinkers, but we were looking around for a nice bottle to give as a present and found one, I think, this person will like. We made our way to the grocery store and came home so I could begin supper.

Today we hit a flea market and an antique mall. We didn't spend much, but we had a nice time looking. We came home to get to work.

DH picked cherry tomatoes. I dried parsley and put it in a jar for this winter. After DH brought in the tomatoes, I washed them and went out and picked some of the onions we have left, some basil, and DH picked a bell pepper. I made two quarts of tomato sauce...that is a lot of cherry tomatoes for that much sauce!

We had sloppy chicks for supper (sloppy joes made with ground chicken) and I used half of a quart of sauce. The leftovers will be lunches for this week. But, I will now have 11 quarts of tomato sauce in the freezer. Not bad for those little tomatoes!

The Witch of Wall Street

June 3rd, 2013 at 07:17 am

I just finished a biography of Hetty Green, the richest woman in America during the Gilded Age.

I found the book at the library and I had not heard of her. DH said she was considered crazy and nasty. Half way through the book I did look her up and it seems that almost all the online sites have the same info...wonder if they got their research from the same place.

The author of this book was more kind than the stuff on the online sites.

In a nutshell, Hetty was born to a rich family, but her family said it was the family's responsibility to make more money for future generations. Hetty was considered a miser. She was considered a cheapskate. Yet, as the author pointed out, if she had been a male, she would have been considered smart. She lived in small places, ate at simple restaurants, and didn't spend big bucks on personal fashion. She raised her kids to be careful with money.

It's funny how we like to compare ourselves to people we read about. I was just thinking that although I'm not wealthy and wasn't born wealthy, I try to find ways to save money. And some of the people I work with consider me a cheapskate.

According to the author, Hetty is like Warren Buffet...the thrill isn't in having great riches, but growing those riches. Maybe that is what those of us on SA like as well.

Taking the plunge

May 30th, 2013 at 07:36 am

Well, we did it. DH and I have discussing this for a few months and we have been buying items very reasonably and ... we put down rent for a booth in a local antique mall.

I am both excited and frightened. My folks always did something for extra money. When I was a kid they had a furniture store and when we moved they had a small antique shop. I am, by no means, an expert on anything, but I am hoping we can make some money as well as have some fun buying and selling.

Our booth is very small and therefore fairly reasonable. I have a variety of items, priced differently. DH has argued with me over this one item...it is a very large candle with a primitive beaded ring around it sitting on a glass plate. He says it is too ugly and I say for $2.00, someone might buy it just for the candle and the plate. We shall see.

We set it up this afternoon. The place is supposed to have a flea market on the grounds this weekend so hopefully it will bring in more customers. I hope we have a nice weekend for it.

Any suggestions for a successful booth?

Wish us luck!

Odds and Ends

May 18th, 2013 at 05:09 pm

Each week I fix a fruit salad. Same fruit. During the winter it is pricey, but we pay for it anyway because we believe it has helped us stay healthier. Our fruit salad consists of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries and sometimes I get wild and add an apple at the last minute or kiwi. Each night I slice a banana and then put the fruit salad over it. It's pretty and yummy, and we like it. That being said, this week DH found strawberries on sale so we had leftover salad. I took the remainder of it in my lunch. The ladies I eat with were amazed that we have fruit every night. Cleaning the fruit and cutting up strawberries doesn't take that long. I know folks are busy, but THAT busy?

I've blogged about the bread making and so far, the kids have loved it. I do have some left at the end of each day and I hate for it to go to waste so I offer it to staff. One lady who I know cooks quite a bit was shocked that it was a recipe and not a box mix for the bread machine. I told her those box mixes about $4 each and why spend so much when with 6 ingredients, you can make basic white bread? So, she asked for the recipe.

We hit a true thrift shop today and found some great bargains. I found two small American flags, made in America, a small Howard Miller clock with a picture frame, some linen napkins, a small blue and white candle holder, and an unused candle...total cost: $6 for all. I did not need any of this stuff, but the candle will go in my stash when I need a quick gift. The candle holder is for me...I like blue and white stuff. We will use the napkins, and the flags are going in our yard. The clock is going to go next to my chair in the family room because I take off my watch when I get home and we don't have a wall clock. It had been a gift to someone who works for a large milling company here in Decatur...there is a small (less than an inch wide) logo on it, but it looks news. Fine with me. Howard Miller is a famous clock maker so hopefully the clock will run for a long time...it had a battery in it and it was working.

About a month and a half ago a university offered an online course to any teachers in our district on financial matters and retirement. You are to sign up, agree to take the coursework, and they pay you $25 for signing up and $25 when you finish. I signed up not only for the money, but also, I hoped to learn some things. I have taken three modules and I can say I have learned a few things about vocabulary and such. Some of the things are common sense like emergency fund and savings accounts. But, it never hurts to learn new things and get paid to do it besides. I don't think many signed up. Oh, well.

It was a beautiful day here in Central Illinois. After hitting the library and the thrift shop, we went to Lowe's and bought some plants. DH has been busily planting tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and herbs. We sure hope for a good harvest!

On the news tonight part of the midsection of the country is forecasting tornadoes. Hope they don't get them and hope they don't come here either.

Hope you had a great Saturday as well.

Scary finances

April 25th, 2013 at 04:44 pm

I am a public school teacher in Illinois. Unfortunately, our state legislators have not made sure our pension funds have been funded like the law says and have, in fact, raided them to pay for pet projects. As a result, our state is having major issues with finances. One topic is to do away with the cost of living raises, or not have them take effect right away. With the teacher pension, one had to reach a certain age before they would kick in. I am not sure about the other pension funds.

A friend if ours is retired and he is worried. I am not sure if worried is actually a strong enough word.

When he worked, he had a position where he made good money for many years. He bought a big house, traded cars often, and traveled extensively. He and his wife did not do without.

He counts on those yearly raises...he said he isn't sure what to do if they don't come...he admitted they owe on their home, cars, have a personal loan and credit card debt.

He was truly grousing and going on and on. But one thing we did notice is they aren't cutting back. They are planning two trips and eating out almost every day. The spending continues.

His finances scare me.

The sad thing is he made good money. I really wonder where they are going to end up. It would be different if he made little and health made him retire. But, there isn't any use to try and talk to him...he feels he deserves to have all the nice things he has purchased on credit.

Tuesday Topic

December 4th, 2012 at 04:44 pm

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.

What a strange economy!

September 18th, 2012 at 04:39 pm

Perusing the paper today, there were two stories next to each other on the same page. One was outlining how so many more folks are having to use the local foodbanks because they can't make their money stretch after paying bills and then how many folks ordered the new iPhone and what a record it was.

Wow...some folks are spending big bucks on technology while others are struggling to eat. Wonder what's in between?

Garage sales were ghastly!

April 27th, 2012 at 07:59 pm

OK, maybe ghastly is a bit strong. But, they were sad.

Each spring our subdivision does sales on a Friday and Saturday in April. DH got up early, showered, and hit them early with a list of things we were looking for as well as a list of things a friend was looking for.

He came home empty handed. He said the pickin's were slim.

I wonder if the economy is showing it's hoary head.

I suggested this to DH -- perhaps folks don't have the money to buy new stuff, so they aren't letting go of anything we are interested in, just trying to sell those things that aren't necessary.

I know the local thrift shops are booming around here. I certainly hope things start looking up for the families in my community as well as the rest of the country. Not because I feel the desire for better garage sales, but it's difficult for so many families to keep their heads above water.

News story on gas prices and the economy

March 1st, 2012 at 04:40 pm

Before heading off to work, I try to peruse the paper for a few local stories and glance at some headlines.

However, one story caught my eye that claimed that the recovering economy can withstand the rising gas prices.

I'm wondering where they got that information. Maybe some cities won't have a problem, but locally, we have had two businesses with major layoffs, and many of our folks who are employed are underemployed. I'm sure having to choose between gas in the tank and food on the table and medicine for health, many will not buy fuel and try to find alternatives or stay at home.

I'm sure our tourism will be hurt this summer too.

I remember when news stories were supposed to be factual and based on true stuff. It seems that news is often skewed by sensationalism to tell the story or the personal views of the editor. I'm a realist. If it is a news story, I want the facts, good or bad. If I want to read an opinion, I'll look on the editorial page. I really wonder where the reporter got those facts on the economy and gas prices. A generalized story on the wire doesn't mean everyone has the same situation. So, I am thinking we might have a situation where the economy might not be able to weather these gas prices...at least near me.

Just call me a skeptic!