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This and That

July 7th, 2019 at 05:32 pm

I've sort of been out of it this past week. I'm trying to catch up on reading the blogs, but my mind and heart were not into earlier. Two people I worked with at a school died from cancer. On the same day. Then my sister -in-law passed as well, so it has been sort of a sad yet reflective week. Although none were a shock, it is still hard on one.

We've had extreme heat and humidity and it really takes it out of me. I struggle with asthma and it makes it difficult for me to breathe so I've also been feeling a bit tired.

But enough with the morose. We've been eating lighter due to the heat. DH is starting to get a few more tomatoes so we are enjoying them. He has lots of Basil and other herbs as well as onions. I made a Tomato Basil salad that is chopped red onion, chopped Basil, sliced cherry tomatoes, red wine vinegar, some olive oil, and then added Feta cheese after it was all mixed. We've also been enjoying some lettuce that DH planted. He has planted radishes twice and the first time we had so much rain, they didn't do well and this time, it got really hot right when they started coming up so we figure they won't do well. Oh, well.

On the money front we haven't been going crazy spending. I'm happiest at home reading or making scarves and hats for my church group so I don't have to get out in the heat. DH used to work on a bookmobile and there is a new mystery series about a lady who drives a bookmobile so we both read it and then had fun discussing it. Staying home certainly saves money!

A little paint goes a long way

June 26th, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Recently we hired a painter to paint the bricks on the front of our house that were trim, and to paint our front door and side garage door. What a fabulous job he did and everything looks so fresh.

Yesterday, I painted the foundation in the back of the house that had been peeling. I had to take a wire brush first to get the peeling paint, but after that and cleaning it off, I painted and what a difference that made. I put a second coat of paint on the shed doors, painted around the front door trim and the side door trim and then the mailbox. I had to repaint the black numbers on the mailbox as well as the light pole and address numbers there, but everything looks so much brighter.

DH hates to paint. I don't mind doing it, but I know I'm not as good as the professional we hired. But, a nice coat of paint sure spruces things up. I had the paint for my little projects from doing them before. I did buy a new brush for the foundation because I didn't want to tear up the good brush that I clean well each time I use it. I guess I saved money by using up the paint I already had and trying to keep things going instead of replacing things.

What a spendy month so far

June 20th, 2019 at 07:50 am

It's been a speedy month so far. Property taxes are due. We pay the whole amount because I'm always worried I'll forget the second installment. License plate sticker was due. And then we hired a painter to do some painting.

But fortunately we have the money saved back. None of these were unexpected.

Plus I'm glad we hired the painter. He did a marvelous job on painting the brick trim on the front of the house and the two doors. They look like new. We had a slight crack in the wall between our master bedroom and bathroom from the house settling and he fixed it and painted the wall and it looks great.

But I hate to say it, I'll be glad when the spending stops. Yikes! I realize some folks live this way -- spending everything they have coming in. I don't know how they do it. I'm not talking about people who are the working poor and they can't help it. I'm talking about people who make good money, but don't stop spending.

I've kept busy in the evenings. I have been crocheting scarves to go along with the hats my church group is working on. Last week I finished embroidering a pillow case that I need to sew together to cover a throw pillow. It will be a Christmas gift. I just remembered why I hate using the floss that comes in the kit -- it was horrible -- it tangled all the time. I asked DH to remind me if I ever get another kit, to provide my own floss.

My money saving trip today will be to the library. I'm out of books to read. I've read 64 so far. My goal is a 100.

Gas Tax and Day to Day Stuff

June 2nd, 2019 at 11:34 am

I live in Illinois and doubling the gas tax is just about a sure fire bet. The General Assembly has passed it, so that means our gas tax will double to 38 cents a gallon. Ouch. I understand that we need it for roads and such, but if the legislators hadn't allowed the powers to be to take money from the original road account, I think we would have been in better shape and had more money.

Fortunately DH and I don't have to drive to work so our driving is for appointments as well as things we choose to do. But I worry about those people who are already having a time of it making ends meet and now this.

The Governor is also wanting to legalize Marijuana so I imagine that will go through with flying colors. I am torn on this issue. First of all, if it is legal, then maybe people won't treat it like they did when there was prohibition. Yet, I'm also worried we will have people using it and driving and being a bigger menace on the roads. Of course, maybe they won't be driving with the higher gas tax.

I just feel like all Illinois is wanting is more money. I understand why we need it, but I also wonder if there are ways to cut some of the spending like we have to do in our own personal budgets.

I do think DH and I will do a little less driving. We enjoy going to some of the area towns to visit. We may not go as often. I don't think the towns will miss us horribly, but I'm sure every dollar we spend helps their economy. Get enough people going and spending, it does make a difference. Perhaps I'm just too simple minded on the whole tax thing.

In other news, DH's garden is growing. He has some small green tomatoes on a few of his plants. If we could just get less rain and more sun, it would sure help. So many of the area farmers are struggling to even get their crops in. And so many in the heartland are facing the devastating effects of flooding. I picked some lettuce and a couple of green onions yesterday to make part of a salad tonight. I really like having fresh from the garden vegetables.

A couple of weeks ago I planted the end of celery in a pot. It is growing. I had to put it in a tall pot because last year when I did it, a bunny decided it was for his buffet.

I bought a weaving loom at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. One can make scarves and other things. I finished my second scarf. I paid $5 for the loom and I feel I did OK with it. I like learning new things and I can actually use some different yarns with it that it is easier to weave with than crochet with so I feel that is good stewardship.

Aldi had blueberries on sale this week so I bought extra and made some blueberry jam and canned it. I think it is my favorite type so I was excited about that. A friend is kidding me about filling my pantry, and yeah, I do that. There's a satisfaction to having stuff in the pantry when I want it, especially knowing what's in it like the jam.

Rebates

May 30th, 2019 at 08:09 am

Every year DH buys Miracle Gro soil and for the past few years there has been a rebate. I always send it in and this year we realized $16 ($2 a bag). Usually the rebate takes a couple of months, but we received it in less than a month. We deposited the check in our Christmas Club account.

Lowe's has been having 11% rebate too. When we purchased the new storm door, I submitted the rebate and we received a small rebate back. We used it to buy some plants. When I bought the plants, it said they had the rebate going again so I submitted it. It won't be much, but I figure it is found money.

I continue to use Ibotta, but sadly, so much of the stuff we buy isn't something they give cash back on. I refuse to buy something just to get the rebate. But, I'm up to over $20 and my lifetime amount is over $80, so even at a dime or quarter at a time, it adds up. I guess we aren't big shoppers. I see the TV ads for Ebates and realize it wouldn't do us much good. I don't buy much online and what I do, is a specific product that probably wouldn't give us a rebate.

And, the other day I found a nickel in the parking lot!

Reusable and savings

May 26th, 2019 at 12:36 pm

Creditcardfree posted about reusable v. disposable and I thought I'd piggy back on the entry.

I really try to use things that are reusable. I live in Illinois and they are talking about charging for plastic bags at the stores. For years DH and I have used reusable bags. I hate those plastic bags. We still get some from time to time, but whenever I can, I try to use our bags. I know Chicago already charges for them. I wish we hadn't gotten away from paper bags. If I get any, I hoard them to reuse.

One thing I think of is using cloth napkins. I have a selection of them. Most were bought at rummage sales and thrift shops. I have a few that were purchased new...not by me, but DH bought me a set and a friend has as well. I wanted some brown ones and made them out of material to go with some placemats I had.

I go through kitchen towels like crazy. I have some nice ones I try not use unless someone is coming over, but I have some well worn ones I use all the time. DH uses paper towels and although it drives me crazy, he helps clean up, so I don't holler. I pick my battles.

For years I carried my lunch. Actually my whole working life. My last ten years I carried a soft sided insulated cooler. The first one was a present and it was ideal for lunch. But it wore out. I had duct taped it, but eventually it got really nasty. I bought another at a thrift shop for a buck for my last couple of years. I used a Thermos to carry water or iced tea for my lunch.

We have one of those filter pitchers for water. We still buy some bottled water, but we drink a lot of tap water run through that pitcher.

I also carried a Thermos for coffee. Made my own at home and then took it to work. I use insulated cups now if we are going somewhere. If we eat breakfast out, I take an insulated cup along in case I want the remainder of the coffee and I don't have to ask for a to go cup. I do that with iced tea if we go out and I order it. Normally I drink water, but every so often I want some tea. I have my parents' old huge Thermos and I bought some smaller older ones with the glass insulation. Yeah, they are not the kind that bounce, but I think they keep stuff hot longer.

I crochet my own covers for my Swiller handle. I tried crocheting one for the Swiffer duster and I haven't quite got that one to work as well, but I use what I have. I also crochet dish cloths. I use the leftover yarn from the hats and scarves I make for my church knitting group. I found a pattern on Pinterest to crochet a dish cloth and attach it to scrubby. I've made some of those and given those as gifts. One friend loves my dishcloths and is always happy to get a few.

A friend of mine only uses paper plates. Says she doesn't want to do dishes. I think of the expense and waste. Wow! I just emptied the dishwasher and I wonder how many times my plates have been washed either by hand or by the dishwasher. Same thing with our glasses and cups.

My grandmother and my mother used to put peonies on their family graves. They always used coffee cans. That's what I did yesterday when we put flowers on the graves. I felt fortunate that our peonies waited to open up right before Memorial Day weekend. A friend of mine kind of got snobby and said she paid the local florist to put together the decorations. I'm thinking to myself, that's nice, but wow, what a lot of money. We usually take stuff to clean the tomb stones with us and I wipe them down and then throw the rags in the wash. I guess I'm not fancy. I personally think it is the idea we remembered our ancestors. When DH and I walked around the cemeteries yesterday, we tried to pick up around other graves. A couple had vases that had overturned so we righted them and put the flowers back in them. DH brushed grass off of some.

I am a jar saver. DH kids me, but I have all sorts of shapes and sizes. Never know when I will need one. I try to use jars to put leftovers in them. I actually used one for a grave yesterday. It is a friend and the stone is small, so I used a small jar. I sat it on the grave since it is flat on the ground. It held the flowers just fine.

I have quite a collection of Pyrex and Bake Lite dishes. Besides using them to cook with, I use them to store stuff in the fridge. Great way to heat leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, that is a good way to reuse food. Every so often if we have food leftover from a couple of days, I tell DH we are having a buffet which means it is clean out the fridge night. He doesn't complain because he can eat what he wants. I try not to throw out much as far as food. I'm ashamed to say a Kiwi got away from me. It was hard as rock one day and the next it was moldy. Not sure how that happened, but I wasn't happy about it.

I save my egg cartons for a friend who has chickens. I did save one for myself to put the garlic in to dry before we needed to plant it. It was ideal for putting the cloves in.

I also save my cottage cheese and sour cream containers for a friend who has a restaurant. She uses them to take home leftovers that can't be left at the restaurant. They make chicken salad and she boils chickens and she gives away the broth in those containers as well.

So, what do you reuse instead of buying disposable?

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!