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This and that

April 19th, 2019 at 12:10 pm

After posting on Sunday complaining about the snow flurries, I felt a little guilty when I saw Peoria a couple of hours northwest of us had 5 inches of snow. And I know areas north and north east of us got quite a bit too.

We did some thrift shopping today. I found a blouse and DH found a shirt. Last week I found two nice pairs of jeans. One I didn't even have to shorten. I have a friend who thinks buying clothes at thrift stores is just awful. I disagree. I can wash the clothes and I save a bunch on them.

I buy many of my greeting cards at thrift stores. I like saving money. I would rather give a dime or a quarter for a nice card than $4 or $5. Most people don't keep cards so why spend so much?

Every week I buy fresh fruit to make a fruit salad. There is always way too much fruit, so I freeze the extra. This week I cooked it and made mixed berry jam and canned it. One of the grocery stores had lovely fresh green beans on sale so I bought some and canned them in chicken broth I had made. I still have some green beans from last year, but we will be eating those so I'm preparing for next winter.

I had some mandarin oranges that were getting overripe so I decided to try and make orange loaf. I found a recipe and it turned out pretty well. DH liked it a lot and I baked 4 mini loaves and gave two away.

As we progress into Easter weekend. hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Snow? Really?

April 14th, 2019 at 02:26 pm

Sitting here looking out the window and seeing snowflakes.

It seems like every Sunday we have bad weather. Last Sunday was dreary rain. Today it was a potpourri -- rain and now some snow. It doesn't look like it will stick and I'm glad.

Not a whole lot going on otherwise. Today is Palm Sunday and we have Holy Week Services throughout the week and then next Sunday is Easter. I already bought a small ham because for just the two of us, we do not need a huge ham. I know you can freeze it, but even then, that's a lot of ham to deal with.

I went grocery shopping on my own this week. Normally DH goes with, but we had a schedule change and he was volunteering. It was an easy and cheap week -- didn't spend a whole lot. I did not buy any meat. I'm trying to use up what we have in the freezer.

Last fall when I was at Walgreens, they had on the clearance rack those things you boil eggs in instead of making boiled eggs the old fashioned way. I figured for $5 I would try them, but never got around to using them. I thought of them yesterday and so I decided to try two of them. I read the directions and it cautioned to make sure you grease the inside so I did. Well, I'm happy to report they work. The only thing is the end is flat at the top, but they were a breeze to use. I get so frustrated when I boil eggs and have a hard time peeling them and I will even keep eggs to get older ones having read that helps. It didn't. I think I will be using these more often. Wish I had tried them before.

I had some overripe bananas so I made banana bread yesterday -- 4 small loaves. I gave two away and DH had part of one. I will save the other one for him as well. He likes a snack so I figure as far as sweets go, it isn't laden with preservatives and such.

Paid the water bill today. That should be it for awhile for this month as far as bills go. That's good because it seemed like last month was laden with insurance and extra bills. Property taxes will come up in June. I always like it when we end the month with extra in the checking. I try to move some of it into saving over and above what we normally save.

Potpourri

March 18th, 2019 at 07:58 am

First, I want to thank everyone who responded about my last entry. I appreciate the support. I guess I'm sensitive, but it really bothers me when someone posts hurtful comments. One thing I wonder is, does this person or persons realize that those of us who wrote the blog can see their email? And if so, do they know you can research who they are by the email? Anyway, I appreciate the support of those of you who kindly responded.

It was an expensive week last week. My headlight went out and knowing how car places work, we made an appointment to get it replaced. I guess with modern cars, you almost have to take the darn thing apart to get to the headlight. It was high density and the cost was $455 for the very expensive bulb and the hour and a half it took to replace it. Yikes! We had the money in savings so that wasn't the case, but it sure is hard to part with it. A friend teased me I could have just opened the car window and used a flashlight. Now, that would have been a sight, and I'm sure the police would not have found that a bit amusing.

Also in the expenses was the home care insurance policy for DH. Fortunately we have not had to use it, but It seems the spring is fraught with lots of insurance since we have homeowner's, home care, flood, and then both car insurances coming due. Again, we have the money, but it is tough seeing it go out at such a fast pace.

We did get our taxes done. We didn't have to pay either the feds or the state, but not sure about next year. I say this every year, but I honestly feel like if you live below your means and you save and are honest, the tax laws really zing you.

One thing that wasn't as expensive was groceries. We bought some fresh fruit and vegetables and some milk, but we ate from the freezer and pantry which helped a lot. We tend to have a couple of weeks of large grocery bills and then a couple of weeks of cheaper ones. I like it when Kroger has a buy one get one free when it comes to meat because I take advantage of it and then freeze one for later consumption. Guess it evens out. Tonight I'm going to use some chicken and I'm going to trim it and use it and some chicken I have in the freezer that I did the same with and make some chicken broth. I like keeping it on hand to make chicken and noodles as well as soups.

DH and I continue to make good use of the library. I have read 24 books so far in 2019. According to the library receipt, I have "saved" $855.27 by using the library. It looks good at least. I know we get our tax money's worth out of the library anyway.

It looks like spring is finally coming here in Central Illinois. It has been a harsh winter. DH spent part of the weekend working in the yard cutting back stuff that he didn't get to in the fall. He said all the garlic he planted is starting to come up and some of the herbs that come back each year are showing they want to come back. Yay! I'm ready for homegrown stuff. I know we have enjoyed using the stuff I canned this winter.

Hope you have a delightful week and can find some economical ways in your days!


Bargain Hunting

March 9th, 2019 at 01:04 pm

Usually on Fridays we hit the thrift stores. We found some great finds yesterday. One had everything 75% off. I found 3 craft things I wanted. I had seen them a couple of weeks before, but refused to pay the price on them. One is an apron that you embroider. I thought that would be a nice gift for a friend. It was still in the package and had the embroidery floss. We paid 63 cents and tax for it. I started it last night. This year I started something and that was to give a friend a gift for each day December 1-25. Most are just simple things that I either picked up very cheaply or made. I look for things all year. She enjoyed opening something up every day. On Christmas the gift was a little more substantial, but I don't think I spent any more than I normally would have. I've already made a couple of things so far and I think this apron will be appreciated.

DH found a like new polo and then he found me a new pair of Keds for the summer. I'm glad because the shoes I wear during the summer have started looking pretty ratty.

I'm trying to get used to taking my own bags with me. Glad I made a few. I was telling the lady who was checking us out at the thrift store that we would soon be paying for bags and she hadn't heard that the governor is hoping to pass that tax on plastic bags.

We went to a home show in a small town near us. We like it better than the one we have in our city because of two reasons. One is there is no admission. Second is they have Amish made stuff and we like looking at it. Other than getting a couple of free pens, we didn't purchase anything and had a delightful time looking. We had some other errands to run in the small town -- funny how they have things we don't have where we live -- and then came on home. We hit a thrift store and I found a package of Easter sticks unopened. I am making an Easter basket for a friend's granddaughter and she likes stickers. S I was happy to get out of the wind and rain and brew some tea.

My folks were great bargain hunters and could often find things used at a very reasonable price. Hopefully I've picked up some of their talent. DH has no qualms about buying secondhand -- he says he likes the thrill of the hunt.

Senior Discounts

March 5th, 2019 at 08:33 am

Today is senior day at our Walgreens. If we need stuff, this is the day I try to go and get it. Ours is 20% off stuff not on sale. Too bad it doesn't cover prescriptions. It is a good time to buy those necessary items like deodorant and stuff like that.

We try to utilize any senior discounts we can. The last time we stayed at a hotel, we asked for the discount.

I do with our grocery stores would offer senior discounts, but they don't.

We don't do a lot of fast food, so we don't get the senior discounts for any of them.

We have an AARP card and we use it whenever we can. It saves us money on our cell phone bill with Consumer Cellular.

DH often times his Kohls shopping to Wednesdays when there is a senior discount. He found a great buy last week.

So, do you take advantage of discounts, senior or otherwise?

Bags

February 24th, 2019 at 12:29 pm

For some who live in towns and even states that already do this, it won't be a shock, but I guess Illinois is going to have a new tax of 5 cents for plastic shopping bags.

I get why. As a state we need money. And hopefully it will help with the fact there are all these stupid plastic bags littering so many places. Although I imagine people will still litter.

I already have a stash of cloths bags we use when we grocery shop in my car. DH said he needed some for his car so we can get in the habit of using for more than groceries. I looked at the stash of material I have and decided to make some bags.

People who sew often buy material and I hate to admit, I've done this, but mine is basically from thrift stores and estate sales. I bought some to make curtains for our bathroom and kitchen windows and I have some left. I bought some to recover some hot pads. Plus I bought some to recover some seat cushions. I'm not a great seamstress, but then again, I'm not selling my stuff nor am I putting in for a home decorating show, so I'm just using things and reusing things. So, it only makes sense to use the material I have. I had to get creative on a couple of bags, but they are for use, not show.

Anyway, I was busy for a couple of days making bags and I decided to give one to a friend since she has been collecting bags for her grocery shopping. It was kind of nifty material and she put it on her arm and said, "Thanks. They will see me coming at Aldi with this bag!"

That really tickled me!

Another Snowy Sunday

February 10th, 2019 at 12:53 pm

It snowed this morning. Again. OK, I know it is winter, but I'm tired of it. We had been told by the weather forecasters rain with a chance of dusting snow. Well an inch later of snow, and it was slick because the city crews have not been out.

Oh, well. We came out of church and our vehicles were covered. I brushed snow off of our car and then did a couple others for some of the older members. Two ushers said they would get the cars for anyone who didn't want to walk across the parking lot. I think when these things happen, the goodness of people shine through.

Seems like on the money front a lot is going out. We have decided to invest in flood insurance. We don't live in a high flood risk, but with the chance of a possible flood (experts call it a 500 year flood) and homeowners not paying for flood damage, we feel it is better to save the money. We also have a couple other things coming up such as DH's long term care insurance.

I did decide to spend some money on household stuff. I wanted a new cutting board and some new towels and rugs for the bedroom. Kohls had a coupon for so much off, then $10 off if you spent over $50, and everything was on sale. I had a $20 Ibotta refund, and then I also had some money on a gift card from a return I made after Christmas. I looked at the bill...before sale prices and coupons, the total would have been $165.93. After coupons, sale prices, Ibotta credit, and gift card, we paid $31.01 for one cutting board, 2 rugs, and 2 bath towels, one hand towel, and one wash cloth. I know I spent money, but I sure liked saving some as I did it. Hopefully that will be it for spending for awhile.

I pulled some chili out of the freezer for supper. Cold, snowy days make me appreciate chili so much more!

Mr. Cheapskate

February 7th, 2019 at 08:23 am

A couple of days ago I went to give blood at a local church. I knew one of the ladies and she was knitting a dish cloth for their "bread ministry" which is if they have a visitor come to church, someone visits with a loaf of bread and a homemade dish cloth to thank them for coming. She said they only had two people making the dish cloths so I volunteered to make some for her. I told her I would give them to a mutual friend to give her. So, I proceeded to make ten dish cloths.

I dropped them off at our mutual friend's house yesterday. He's a nice man, but I've decided my husband has him pegged correctly. He says "He gives cheap a bad name."

My friend had a good paying job. He gets both Social Security and a good pension. He owns his house outright and the same with his car. But he hates spending money. Any money. Any time.

I get wanting to save, but it has almost become a sickness with him. Almost every piece of his furniture is hand me downs. I know, because one couch was ours and that was over 20 years ago when we gave it to him. He was showing me his new bookcase. He said he found it in someone's garbage and pulled it out. I'm all for recycling, but this bookcase is plastic and cardboard and it was dirty. It won't hold up, but it was free.

One of our thrift shops is run to benefit our Lutheran school association. They are very picky about what they put out and will throw out stuff. Apparently our friend is dumpster diving to get things at the thrift shop. I can see saving money, but never buying anything nice and bringing home other stuff. A lot of the stuff he's bringing home isn't nice. As cheap as my friend is, apparently he isn't too worried about dirt and smoke smell.

I think it has become an obsession with him. And it scares me. I know his mom is frugal as is his brother who is a CPA. But they purchase things -- they just don't go crazy. So, when does it become more than saving money and a sickness?

Bundle Up, Buttercup!

January 27th, 2019 at 02:29 pm

One would think it was January or something here in the Midwest. Cold is a four letter word as is snow and I'm not saying either with deep affection. We received some of both this weekend and I guess colder will be the keyword by the middle of the week with wind chills in the negative double digits. I'm dreading the power bill after this month.

We went thrift shopping yesterday. We normally go on Fridays, but since it was so cold, we waited a day for it to warm up to 30 degrees. Smile I'm happy to report I spent nothing. There wasn't a thing that tempted me and certainly nothing I needed. It was good to get out and look around and walk some besides hanging around the house. Maybe a little mental therapy for us.

I have read two books in the past two days. One is "The Year I Put My Financial Life in Order" by John Schwartz and the other is "The Next Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley and Sarah Stanley Fallaw. The first one by Schwartz was about a writer who fortunately had started a 401K when he first started working in his 20s, and although he made admitted mistakes, he and his wife tried to live frugally, and as a result, doesn't think his retirement will be horrible. It is more autobiographical instead of instructional, but it was interesting and he admitted to some mistakes and how they will have to make changes when they do retire. The second book is basically a revisit of "The Millionaire Next Door" by the author's daughter and how things really haven't changed -- those who have money don't flaunt it and live frugally.

Which leads me to an interesting story about a guy my husband worked with. He never married, and lived in an apartment that was very small and the apartment next to him shared the bath. I didn't even realize we had apartments like that in our city. He never dressed well and to hear him tell it, he was broke. He did say he used up all his savings and went on a world traveling trip, but said afterwards he would have to live on very little because it cost so much. When he died, he left $250,000 to a charity that works with babies and their mothers, and did 3 other charities the same way. He was truly a millionaire, but no one knew it to look at him. No auspicious living for him!

I'll never be a millionaire, but I can see being frugal.

Speaking of frugal, I'm using up all the tea I have in the house before I allow myself to buy anymore. Some of it was gifts and I can tell you some of it is just isn't very tasty. But, I tell myself, I'm saving money!