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Archive for January, 2007

A very bad day.

January 31st, 2007 at 05:36 pm

It has not been a good day.
My 14 month old grandbaby was hospitalized because he is so ill with strep and a stomach virus. He is in another state, and I feel badly that I can't be there to help with the other little boys, and I'm worried about the baby.
My husband's three year old truck broke down and he has to miss an important meeting out of town.
I got my property taxes, and talk about "sticker shock". Some new taxes were voted in, and it really made an impact. I did not vote for the taxes, but such is life.
Hopefully, the baby will be better tomorrow and can come home. The rest doesn't matter.

They don't make it easy!

January 29th, 2007 at 05:43 pm

I decided to take advantage of a few sales today, so went to three different stores.

The first store was Wal-Mart. They didn't have the advertised special. Didn't get a rain check, because I was in a hurry.

Second store was Walgreens. They advertised 14.8 ounce bags of Hershey's Kisses at 2/$5.00, and I want to fill four reproduction advertising tins (Hershey's) I got at the dollar store, for Valentine's Day gifts. They only had the nine ounce bags at the advertised price. So I got a rain check for the 14.8 oz bags.

The third stop was better. They advertised that if you purchase eight select Kraft food products, you will get an instant $7.00 rebate. I also had two coupons.
I purchased eight, 8oz. bags of shredded cheese at 3/$5.00 and the total, with coupons, doubled, was only $4.78. The man who was at the register said, " Wow! You kicked butt on that one!" I laughed. The cash register tape shows I saved 77 per cent. Love those sales!

I make pizza from scratch a couple times a month, so the Italian cheese will be put to good use!

Am I Being A Grinch?

January 28th, 2007 at 03:46 pm

I just read a blog by a guy in Kansas, who represents himself as being "The .... of Thrift", who asked people to send him money, so he can get out of debt. This guy bought a new car last year, that he couldn't afford, and now he is talking about his medical needs, that he can't afford. So we are supposed to send him money. Am I being mean spirited, or does this kind of tactic annoy others as much as it does me? My understanding of being "thrifty" or frugal, is living within your means, not begging for money to fix your problems.
How does this person have the nerve to
"advise" others on how to manage money?

Well, that is my soapbox!

It has been a "no spend" weekend, but tomorrow, I will go get eight packages of Philladelphia Cream Cheese for a dollar at King Soopers (Kroger), as they have a special at $1.00 a package, and if you purchase eight, you get an instant $7.00 rebate. Can't beat that.

I'm amazed!

January 25th, 2007 at 05:34 pm

I just added up the deposits made in my ING account, to date, and I am amazed at how much was added this month.
$400 was transferred from an old, low interest account.
$398.52 was change that has been accumulating for a long time.
$312.20 was money saved, by being very fugal
$27.21 is interest and a referral bonus. Total deposited in the last 25 days: $1,138.93

The five thousand I want to save this year is looking like reality!

"Spring Has Sprung", Sort Of...

January 23rd, 2007 at 11:12 am

Northern Colorado has finally emerged from the deep freeze. It is actually 40 degrees, and sunny, and I have several loads of laundry on the lines. It has been five weeks since that was a possibility. I have to traipse through about 10 inches of snow to hang the laundry, but I can handle that.

I am having a hard time keeping my resolve not to shop for groceries, but I am sticking to it. I was going to make two pans of lasagna, and freeze one, buy discovered I only have enough lasagna noodles for one, so I will freeze the ingredients, and make more at a later date. I did find a gallon of milk, I didn't know I had, when I was digging through the freezer, so that is a bonus.

I think all of the money in next week's food envelope might go into savings!

Sort of a "no spend" day

January 20th, 2007 at 05:33 pm

I stayed home today, so didn't spend any money, except I mailed a check for the obscenely high power bill. An extra week was on the bill because the meter reader couldn't get here because of all of the snow. The extremely cold weather we have been having has really kept the furnace running, even though I am cold most of the time.
I want Spring!!!

Ka Ching!

January 18th, 2007 at 10:52 am

I cashed in all of the change that we have been saving for a long time, and it amounted to $359.00. It will be transferred to the ING account tomorrow. Progress!

Not phony two-dollar bills.

January 17th, 2007 at 03:59 pm

It is cold and very windy. The snow blowing off the roof looks like a mini blizzard.
It is a perfect night for the chili that is simmering on the stove. Cornbread will be baking in the oven soon.

I transferred $250.00 from checking to my ING account today, and decided to deposit all of the State quarters, that we have been saving for years, in an account tomorrow. There must be several hundred dollars. Decided they need to get to "work" and earn some interest.
I also have about 12 two-dollar bills, that I am trying to decide what to do with. I looked on e-bay, and some sell for a lot, and some look like they are going for less than face value. Don't know what makes some valuable, but guess I should research that before I cash them in at the bank.

It has been a no-spend day.

Getting organized

January 15th, 2007 at 03:57 pm

Today, I made out a menu for the week, using food on hand, with one exception. Safeway has London broil on sale for under two dollars a pound, so a stop there is on my "to do" list for tomorrow.
Also figured out the bill paying for the end of the month, and budgeted for the four, yes four family birthdays in the next three weeks.
Getting organized lets me know how much will be left out of the next paycheck, and how much I can save. It is looking pretty good!

"Pretend Money"

January 14th, 2007 at 03:42 pm

Decided to go to Albertson's today, while I could still get out of my increasingly snowy driveway.
Spent $33.02, all on loss leaders. Used coupons, too. The receipt says I saved, $49.27. Yipee! However, since I wouldn't have purchased these items for a whopping $82.29,and my food envelope for the week doesn't have close to that amount in it, I won't be adding the "savings" to my challenge money. It looks good on paper, but the money is not in hand, so my challenge money is still the same as it was last week.
Still, I got some great deals.

I'm goint to return it!

January 14th, 2007 at 10:45 am

Yesterday, I bought a birthday gift for my three year old grandson at Wal-Mart. It was a large Playskool toy that was on clearance.
There was a sticker on the front that said "Coupons for $15.00 off on other Playskool toys, inside".
Well, they were going to expire by the time the birthday rolled around, so I decided to take them out, and use them for other toys.
Apparently, someone had purchased this toy, took out the coupons, AND the instructions, and returned the toy. Some people are not very honest!

The toy is a game with parts, that need to be put together. Don't know if all are there, and with no instructions, it is going back!
It pays to check things out before you give them as gifts.

It is snowing hard here, and it is the fourth weekend in a row that we have been deluged with lots of snow. A good day to stay inside and read blogs! It will be a no spend day.

Resisting a Sale

January 12th, 2007 at 11:52 am

Why is it that it is so hard for me to resist a great sale at the grocery store?

Our Albertson's has a sale going on this week on Quaker Cereal products. You can mix or match, but the best buy is on the 42 oz container of oatmeal. You can get ten for $10.00. Last week's newspaper had coupons for Quaker products too!
We frequently eat oatmeal for breakfast, and I make oatmeal bread every week.
I was all set to run to the store and stock up, when I looked in the freezer, and I have a lot of containers of oatmeal from the last sale!
I am not going to go buy more, but a part of my brain is telling me that when what I have is gone I will be paying between three and four dollars for one 42 oz container, and that is the problem!
I need to keep telling myself that not every bargain is something I need to rush out to purchase!
I read a timely article, this morning, about when saving money can be costly, and it mentioned stocking up on more food than you can eat in a year. Been there! Done that! I have tossed food that was way beyond the expiration date.
It is finally sinking in, I think.

A Positive Attitude

January 11th, 2007 at 01:11 pm

Some of the bloggers on this site are truly inspirational, and have such positive attitudes. Bad things happen, but they just keep on keepin' on, and seem truly happy.
I think that is a secret of success.
I have a friend who married a man from a well-to-do family. He worked for a while, but then just sat back and lived off of his inheritance. My friend, worked full-time during this marriage, and although she married at 18, and never went to college, she worked her way up to a manageiral position, and made fairly good money. Her husband insisted on managing the family finances, so she would turn her checks over to him, and he would "pay the bills". They seemed to be doing well. They had a big, lovely house and even belonged to a country club. From time to time, he would put a paper in front of her and tell her to sign it. When she questioned what she was signing, he told her not to worry about it, it was just a business deal.
Well, to make a long story short, he was heavily in debt from gambling, and drinking, and had gone through all of his inheritance, and the papers she signed were for loans to pay the mortgage, etc.
His drinking got to be a big problem, and she filed for divorce. Only then, did she find out just how much "they" owed. It was overwhelming. She could have filed for bankruptcy, but she didn't consider that. Instead, she first rented out the finished basement of her home. Then, she got a second job. All day, she sat in her private office at work, in nice clothes. After work, she rushed home, changed into jeans, and a t-shirt, and went to her second job--cleaning bathrooms in a large office building. She did what she had to do to get out of debt. She realized she could not keep the big house, and she and her teenage daughter moved into a small apartment for two years, while she paid off the debts. She not only participated in the SHARE food program, she ended up administering it!
After two years of living like no one else, she bought a small home, and you would have thought she had a castle! She loves to garden, and turned the yard into a beautiful, restful oasis, without spending much money. She got bulbs, and starts from friends at work, and did it creatively.
She no longer has a second job,cleaning toilets, but she still has a mortgage, and will have to work beyond age 65, but she is happy and proud, and justifiably so. She could have been angry, and felt that life was unfair, but she chose to put her energy into motion, and I don't know a more happy, productive person.
Thank you, to all of the people who share their hardships, and their resolve to succeed! They will succeed!

Looking forward to April 21st

January 10th, 2007 at 01:54 pm

I did the math, and on April 18th, I will make the final payment on the Discover card, that currently has a balance of over $2,550.00!
On that date, you may hear me screaming, "I'M
DEBT FREE!
No car payments, no mortgage payment, no Credit card debt!
I will definitely be doing the happy dance!
Three more months, and then the anemic savings balance will be looking better and better!
Ole Dave is right, it is worth living like no
one else, so later you can live like no one else!
I'm almost there!

Crouton and Stuffing Mix Recipes

January 9th, 2007 at 10:51 am

Croutons:
Six cups of cubed bread.( I make oatmeal bread in the bread machine and use this, but any kind of dense bread will work)
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt,or powder
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt
1/4 cup of canola or olive oil
Put all ingredients into a zip lock gallon bag.
Seal and shake, and turn bag to distribute ingredients.
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Turn croutons over, and bake another 7-10 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and cool completely
Store in tightly sealed container.

Stuffing mix:
six cups cubed dense bread

1 Tbl. parsely flakes
3 Tbl. powdered chicken bullion (you can crush 4 cubes)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. salt
Spread bread cubes on a cookie sheet
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, at 350 degrees
Turn to brown evenly, and bake another 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool,and put in a gallon size zip lock bag, with all of the other ingredients. Shake to distribute. Store up to four months.
I keep it in the freezer.
It is great to stuff chicken, or turkey, etc. but the best use, is to crush it with a rolling pin and use it to bread chicken, prok chops, etc. Coat the meat, and bake in an oven dish with melted butter. Turn half way through the baking time. It has a wonderful flavor!

More price increases at Wal-Mart

January 8th, 2007 at 10:34 am

I needed juice, and always buy Old Orchard frozen concentrates at Wal-Mart. The last time I purchased it there, it was a dollar a can. Now it is $1.12 a can. I have noticed, lately, that everything that I used to purchase for a dollar there, like GV graham crackers, etc. is now $1.12, which doesn't sound like much, but as a percentage, it is a pretty significant increase.

I am still making meals from food in the freezer, but needed lettuce (not prepared salad), a tomato, juice, barley, and some fruit and cheese. Only spent $10.59, on everything, so not too bad.

Lots of "No Spend" days this week

January 6th, 2007 at 12:56 pm

I have spent money only two days this week, once for gasoline, and once to renew a magazine subscription at a great price.
Of course, I was snowed in for a few days, but there is always on-line shopping!
Speaking of magazine subscriptions, does everyone know about "MagazinePriceSearch.com? They have some great prices. I'd rather read than watch tv, so I do subscribe to a few magazines. They also make great inexpensive gifts.
Anyway, I have done very well, by not spending, and by making all of the meals for the week from scratch, and then creating good meals with leftovers.
Tonight, it is homemade pizza!
Twenty dollar challenge: $61.36

Resisting temptation

January 5th, 2007 at 11:32 am

Yesterday, I received a "Terry's Village" catalog in the mail. It is a clearance catalog, and prices are reduced up to 75% on holiday items. PULS, shipping is free with a $60.00 order!
Before the $20.00 challenge, I would have ordered enough to get the free shipping, and kept it for gifts.
I even went through the catalog and found lots of great gift ideas, but told myself that everyone has enough "junk", and it is not needed. SO, I am not going to order anything. Does that make me $60,00 richer?
I think not, but it does make me $60.00 less broke!!!
Tonight, it is "meat and vegetable pie" for dinner. It is basically stew, that you put in a casserole dish after it is cooked, and top with uncooked biscuits,
and bake in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Yummy.

Living on leftovers

January 4th, 2007 at 05:25 pm

I haven't spent any money on groceries in the past five days. We are eating out of the freezer, and I've been making bread. I had milk in the freezer, too.
Two days, I made pork chops and rice, and French dip, and three days, I made fajitas, from the leftover pork, and made beef and noodles, and beef and barley soup. Made two loaves of Cuban bread tonight. ( Tightwad Gazette recipe), and it was really good, on a cold, rainy night, with the soup.
If I can refrain from spending any money on groceries, for the next two weeks, the money in the food envelope, for the first week in January, is going into the challenge! I know I can do it! Fortunately, the freezer is full!
Thanks, for the recipes that have been posted recently. More would be great!

Is it my imagination, or are meat prices gooing up?

January 3rd, 2007 at 06:21 pm

I looked at the grocery ads today, and the
"sale" prices of meat seem a lot higher than they were a few months ago.
I used to get bone-in chicken breasts for a dollar a pound, on sale, but now chicken legs and thighs are a dollar a pound , on sale!

Fortunately, an Albertson's store nearby marks meat down quite a bit when it is nearing the "sell by" date.
It is getting harder to stay on a grocery budget.

Actually, it seems like the price on most food has increased in the past few months. I calculated that many of the things I buy at Wal-Mart have increased an average of 12%. I imagine much of it was due to higher fuel prices. I'm not holding my breath waiting for prices to go down now that fuel prices have decreased, however.

I guess we will just have to get creative to keep our food budgets on track.

"Transfer Day"

January 3rd, 2007 at 09:38 am

This morning, I went to my credit union, and closed a savings account, and put the money in checking, so I can transfer it to my ING account. The credit union pays 1/2 of ONE per cent interest, so it is history! I was going to keep it open for a mini emergency fund, but since the interest is nill, I will just keep that money in my checking account, and not show it in the register. Besides, I am disciplined enough not to spend the emergency fund, unless it is really an emergency.
My goal is to get ten thousand in ING,and then start putting money in mutual funds every month. After I pay off my credit card in April, saving will be off and running!

It is going to be a "no spend day".

January 3rd, 2007 at 09:24 am

$20. Challenge/Taking the Plunge

January 2nd, 2007 at 12:00 pm

I decided to do the challenge, and I actually have the $20.00 for this week, and then some.
Yesterday, I got $10.00 for an ING referral, and this morning I took an impulse buy back to Sam's and got $25.53 that will go into savings. So for the first two days of January, I am $35.53 richer. It will be deposited in savings later this week.
Next week may be an entirely different story, however!

Saving on food costs

January 1st, 2007 at 01:52 pm

I can't put an exact amount on the $ saved, but I just made three meals out of one.
I made a double batch of French dip, using London broil I got on sale. We will eat some of it for dinner, on a heated baguette (purchased at Sam's, in a bag of six for $2.84. One cut in half is more than enough for one French dip sandwich)
Then with the leftover meat, I will cut up some of the meat and use it for beef and noodles, and the rest, along with the broth, will become beef and barley soup, that will be served with homemade Cuban bread.
The best part is that it is so easy. The French dip is cooked in the crock pot. For the beef and noodles, you just cook the noodles, and add it to the beef with a can of cream of "whatever" soup, and a can of milk. I top it with crushed stuffing mix (homemade). The soup is the easiest of all. I use whatever meat is left, cut up, and use the leftover broth from the French dip, add a little more water and a bullion cube, and 1/3 cup of barley, and simmer until the barley is cooked.
Conservatively, I would say I saved $10.00 on the cost of the three meals.
I'm getting serious about this saving stuff!

Happy New Year, and Thank you!

January 1st, 2007 at 08:57 am

Thank you to everyone who left encouraging, and welcoming messages.
I am feeling confident about my ability to save and get out of debt this year. Hopefully, early in the year!
This morning, I had an email from INGdirect, stating that I had an extra $10.00 in my account from a referral. Now I am $10.00 richer, and a friend is $25.00 richer! A good way to start out the year. Every little bit helps.
I saw an ad in the paper this morning that my favorite thrift store is having a 50% off sale today, but I am resisting temptation, and not going. I need to get rid of "stuff" not get more.
One goal for this year is to set up an eBay account to sell lots of "stuff".

I have a question re. the $20.00 challenge. Do you count tangible money, or theoretical money saved, as in savings on sale items? I think I will count only money in hand. Re. sale items, at the grocery store; I don't feel like it is real savings, in my case, because I would not have purchased the items if they were not on sale.
Is it just a personal preference as to what is counted as "savings", or does it have to be money in hand?