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        )

)
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Birthday Musings and Benefits

January 5th, 2020 at 07:58 pm

Today is my birthday. I"m 59. I'm sitting here thinking I had no idea what my life would turn out to be and how incredibly blessed I am.

DH is going to treat me to a supper tonight at a restaurant we rarely frequent. I'm looking forward to it. Yesterday we went shopping. Clothes shopping is not something I enjoy, but did find a few things that fit that I liked. That was my birthday.

I don't go into detail about our investments and such, but growing up, we didn't have much. My folks worked hard, but most of the jobs didn't pay squat. When I started out, I worked two or three jobs to make ends meet until I could resort to one. My dad constantly drilled into me, get an education and if someone offers to teach you something, learn it gladly. All these things paid off for me. I look at some of the people I went to high school with and they had better opportunities and many didn't take advantage of them. I don't want that to sound like a snob, because I don't mean for it to be that way. Just that some had parents who would have paid for them to go to college and they didn't, and now complain they don't make enough money or that life is unfair. Anyway, we are comfortable. I can basically buy whatever I want and as I grow older, there isn't really a whole lot I honestly want because I have so much now.

One of my friends gave me water color pencils and a book to journal and color in as I read the Psalms daily. Neither of these things I would have purchased for myself, but I'm sitting here thinking, what a thoughtful gift and I'm going to enjoy using these items.

Amber was talking about her credit cash back and I recently had $150 credit cash back on my credit card. I was waiting to get it up to a decent amount and then applied it to the bill. I'm getting ready to use some Ibotta credit at Kohls to buy some new sheets to replace some that have worn out. I was thinking about how old these sheets were and I know one set has to be at least 10 years old. I think we got our money's worth out of them. The other set I'm not sure and I've mended them a couple of times, but the stuff keeps ripping out. I'm using one of the sheets as a cover for DH's chair when he comes in all dirty and sweaty from working in the yard so he can sit and rest before going back out. There' something exciting about cashing in these items that are found money. Like CB I pay off our credit cards each month so we don't owe any interest. I prefer making money instead of giving it to credit card companies.

Having read LivingAlmostLarge's entry about Saving Advice folks being friends as we share our ups and downs, how exactly correct that is. I feel like I have shared many things with so many of you. What a blessing.

Well, I've probably written more than I should, so I think you'll find me coloring!

It's been awhile

December 15th, 2019 at 09:54 pm

I haven't blogged too much lately. I guess I haven't had much to share. I've tried to keep up with reading the blogs.

Like many of you have posted, my Christmas shopping is finished. In fact, I have purchased some craft kits to start on things for next Christmas. I gave a lot of canned items away as well. My Christmas cards have been sent. I do have a little more baking to do, but not a great amount. I always give some sweet breads to some of DH's former coworkers and I'd like to do that this week. For my birthday last January, a friend gave me some holiday ceramic loaf pans because she knows I like to do that.

We had our Christmas bazaar at my church last weekend. I baked lots of cookies and some sweet breads for it as well as made a few things to donate to sell. This one of two fundraisers for our ladies' guild and after expenses, profits are used for missions both locally and worldwide. I do the publicity and I think I have figured out the best ways to get free PR.

On the financial front, we seem to be doing OK. We have a Christmas Club account that we put money in each month and then in November, draw it out and use it for Christmas. So, Christmas is paid for and we won't owe. I was glad to see our investments showed an improvement for the month of November. Like Disney Steve wrote when he said theirs reached over a million, it doesn't change anything. Same with us. We continue our frugal ways. We had a CD come due and our financial guy called us and wanted to know if we wanted some of the money to spend and I said that I knew he had to ask us, but no, what did we need? He laughed and said he wished more of his clients were like us. He doesn't get rich off of us, but I'm sure every little bit helps. He finds better interest rates than what we can get around here and at this point, we aren't ready to do online investing. We prefer brick and mortar banks.

Just about every Friday we hit the thrift stores. We don't usually buy a lot. I have a couple of people who have given me wish lists of things to look for and that's something we do. Well, just want to report I was the big spender last Friday. My total was $1.62 and tax beating DH's total of 40 cents.

It has started snowing and the weather forecast is calling for 4-7 inches. I'm not thrilled. I hate shoveling snow and in a subdivision full of kids, apparently none of them want to make any extra money. We keep some cash on hand just in case we would find someone to shovel when it gets deep.

Hope you all have a wonderful full week before Christmas.

Spendy day and canning again

October 15th, 2019 at 08:23 pm

Today was an expensive day. We replaced the tires on my car. Ouch. But, they needed it. The car is paid for and a couple of months ago we had some big bills, and now the tires, but far better than a pricey car payment every month. I had hoped to wait a couple more months, but the forecasters are thinking we might have a bad winter so I decided to spend the money anyway just to be safe. Plus, DH is going to have cataract surgery in the next few weeks and in between the surgery and post op appointments, I may find it hard to get in and get new tires.

Also had to pick up a prescription. It is asthma medicine and this is one of the worst times of the year for me. Sadly, when I called in for the refill, they didn't have it and had to order it and I guess because it was near the weekend, it took longer to get. Good thing I don't wait until I'm out to refill.

Other than that, I spent the morning canning. I think I'm done for this year except I may make some jam later on closer to Christmas. I refuse to buy any more jars so I'm using what I have. I tried something different this time -- I was making and canning applesauce and I saw on Pinterest a recipe for apple scrap jelly. What it is is basically taking the apple peels and cooking them with water, then running the juice through cheese cloth, and adding pectin and sugar. It has a pinkish tint to it. I followed the recipe, but I don't think it called for enough pectin because it seems fairly runny, but oh, well. It tastes good. Just a good way to use up something and I like trying new stuff.

I talked with our financial advisor about something and told him about my canning. He's such a nice man and has been a friend as well as advisor. When I finished canning and came back from getting new tires, I dropped off a pint of spaghetti sauce, a half pint of the apple scrap jelly, and a quart of apple juice. You would have thought I had given him gold or something. He kept thanking me and said he knew the jars really contained love. It is nice to be appreciated.

Frost, Shopping, and the Weatherman

October 13th, 2019 at 06:21 pm

We have a new weatherman for our local station and I think he believes he is entertaining. I do not need to be entertained when watching the weather...I want the forecast basically, but he likes to think he's clever. Well, Mr. Clever kept saying we were not going to have a frost Friday night. DH happened to go outside Friday evening and came in and said he believed it would frost. So, here we are out with a flash light so he can pick bell peppers and Rosemary in case it did frost. I picked a few tomatoes that were starting to ripen just in case. Fortunately we had picked a majority of the herbs earlier that we wanted to dry.

Well, it did frost. It wasn't a killing freeze, but some of the herbs got it as well as some of the other plants and flowers. DH normally pulls up stuff when they predict a frost because he doesn't like dealing with the plants that get kind of soft and slimy after. That stupid weatherman was wrong and he assured us in the viewing area we would not have a frost. Glad DH was smart enough to go check.

We did go to an outdoor market yesterday that is about an hour and half away from us. It is in Morris, Illinois, along the Illinois-Michigan Canal. We also like to visit the downtown of Morris and go through the shops. It wasn't a huge spend day. We bought an acorn squash from the Morris FFA for $1 and some cinnamon rolls for our breakfast this morning as well as a cupcake from the local bakery to enjoy there. I had taken a Thermos of hot tea with us since it was a bit chilly and that was a nice treat. It was basically just a trip to get us out and about. I liked looking at the booths. I noticed that some had some knitting and crocheted items and I like looking at them.

When we came home I took some vegetable soup that I had in the freezer and heated that up for our supper and made herb cheesy biscuits. Not a super big spend day and we had a nice time.

I noticed that someone had posted that Christmas is 74 days away as of yesterday. I'm already thinking about all the cookies I need to bake for our church bazaar the first Saturday in December. Yikes! Most of my Christmas shopping is finished. DH picked out some clothes from Lands End that he wanted and they sent an email with a huge percentage off just that day so I took advantage of it.

DH will probably be pulling up the rest of the plants this afternoon. It supposed to warm up later this week, but you never know when the frost will be, especially with this weather man!

Saving to Spend (Darn HGTV!)

March 31st, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Each month, when we get our pension checks, I write a check to one our financial institutions and put money away for different things. One is Christmas Club, another is vacation. And another is just a regular savings account and we use it for home improvement.

Well, that account is going to be going down because as I tease DH, we've watched way too much HGTV this winter!

We ordered a new storm door for our front door. Ours is old, doesn't latch, and we wanted to update the look. It has a better window in it so it should provide a little more protection from the outside temperature.

Our front door is also older and had been stained to look like wood. It has faded and become blotchy so we are having it primed and painted to freshen it up.

We have decorative bricks on the lower half of the front of our house. We are getting them painted. When we bought the house, the siding wasn't very old, but we couldn't figure out why they chose gray siding with bricks that are more reddish. So, we are getting the bricks painted and will continue to save for siding down the road. Fortunately our siding looks OK right now and isn't chipped or broken.

Finally, we are getting an area in our bedroom patched. We have a crack in the drywall. It is on both sides and I think it is from the house settling. So the painter is going to patch and repaint the wall.

DH keeps going around saying the new paint is going to make the front of our house "pop" and be whimsical and playful...and oh yeah, "spark joy."

I better get that remote away from him before he OD's on HGTV!

Bargain Hunting

March 9th, 2019 at 09:04 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.

Bags

February 24th, 2019 at 08:29 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 08:53 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!