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Archive for January, 2008

Double whammy

January 30th, 2008 at 09:23 pm

The Feds lowered interest rates another 1/2 per cent, today, and at this writing the market went down, after having been up a little.
This does not bode well for retirees, who in many cases, are living on savings interest and investments. This population is going to suffer with this economy.

It's great for those wanting to purchase a home, and are smart enough to lock in a FIXED rate.

I think a lot of people are going to get frustrated with saving, and seeing low interest rates.

It might have been the optimal day to transfer savings to a CD. I just switched my ING account to a CD, and probably just got in under the wire.

It all adds up!

January 27th, 2008 at 04:52 pm

This is going to be a day of accomplishing things that add up to small savings. Accumulatively, it's the small things that can make a big difference.

It is supposed to be near sixty today, and I am going to do laundry and hang it on the lines, outside, for the first time in months. The sub-zero weather we have had, earlier this month, has not been conducive to this activity!

I am going to make homemade beef and noodles with leftover brisket that is in the freezer.

I am going to make a cake from scratch, that will be dessert for much of the week.

I am going to shampoo the living room carpet myself, instead of hiring someone else to do it.

I will call out-of-state family, because my cell phone service allows unlimited calls on weekends.

I will cut coupons out of the newspaper inserts, but only for things that are not convenience food, and only for things I need.

I will stay at home, and not spend any money!

Staying the course!

January 26th, 2008 at 04:28 pm

This is going to be another no-spend day.
I've done well with the cash in the "grocery" envelope this month. I still have $20.00 left, and if I don't spend it, it will go in savings. I have a well-stocked pantry and freezer, so I don't think I will have to spend any more on groceries. Yesterday, I got a free gallon of milk, with the purchase of cereal(on sale, along with two $1.00 off coupons), and have been purchasing mostly loss leaders, so the grocery budget was low this month.

It is "warm" enough at 44 degrees, in Northern Colorado,to hang laundry outside, but the wind is blowing so hard, it might end up in Wyoming! I really hoped that I could hang sheets outside, but that isn't going to happen.

Faithfully reading and blogging on this site has helped me to stay the course this month!

$100.00 rebate arrived

January 24th, 2008 at 10:11 pm

My very old laptop computer "died" and I shopped for a new one in December. Staples had a Compaq Presario on sale for $429.00, after rebate, with a free HP printer. The rebate arrived, and is going directly to ING. I love the computer! Didn't need a new printer, but it is going to make a great gift for a college bound relative.

Loss leader savings

January 23rd, 2008 at 06:58 pm

I went to Albertson's today, to get a few loss leaders, that I needed.
I Spent $6.53 and saved $12.30. This is how I like to shop!
What I purchased:
2 boxes of Zesta saltines $1.00 each
15 pounds of potatoes $1.99
1 dozen eggs $1.00
1 18 oz jar Peter Pan peanut butter $.75
1 pound frozen corn $.79
1 can Hormel chili FREE
Oh, and on the receipt is a coupon for a free loaf of French bread, for doing a short survey.

Comparison shopping

January 22nd, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Now that prices on food have increased significantly, I am doing a little updated price comparisons.
Yesterday, DH shopped for a few things at King Soopers (Kroger),(while waiting for glasses to be made next door) a store that doubles coupons.
I don't use many coupons, and have suspected that every-day prices at stores that double, make up for it with higher prices.
So, today, at Wal-Mart, I compared prices on the same brands, that DH purchased.The rice and beans were the respective House Brands.

18 large eggs: Kroger-$2.89 Wal-Mart $2.60
5# rice: Kroger $2.99 Wal-Mart $2.48
2# Gr. Northern beans Kroger $2.69 WM $1.42
Crisco 48oz. Kroger $4.89 Wal-Mart $3.94
5# Pillsbury flour Kroger $3.29 WM $1.96
SAVINGS: $4.35 on only five items! Staples that we always keep on hand.

Say what you want about Wal-Mart, but I will continue to shop there for staples, for which there are rarely,( or never) coupons available.

A First!

January 22nd, 2008 at 08:46 pm

It was seven below zero this morning. Little Lhasa was a "chili dog". I went to Wal-Mart to look for a dog sweater. They were sold out. So, I wandered around in the store for 15 minutes, doing some price comparisons while talking on a cell phone to DD2.
I didn't buy a thing. Walked out of the store empty handed! Another no-spend day.

Fish Story, updated

January 22nd, 2008 at 01:34 am

DH decided to go ice fishing this morning.
He caught three fish that I estimate to be worth about $126.00 each.

When he pulled the last fish out of the water, his glasses went into the water!

Three hours and $380.00 later, he can see again. It does a good "fish story" or a new take on the "one that got away" however!

Frugal contentment

January 21st, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Snow falling, blanketing the Spruce tree the kids and I planted years ago, a fire in the antique stove, bread baking, a feeling of contentment.
I spent the morning making bread and brownies, making frugal homemade versions of rice-a-roni, and hamburger helper, six in all, for frugal meals in the weeks ahead.
I wrote out a menu for the week, using things in the freezer and well-stocked pantry.
I listened to CD's that my son made for me.
The stereo system is 15 years old, but still sounds great.
Finding contentment with the things I have, and being able to live frugally is not drudgery. Attitude makes all the difference.

Another no-spend day

January 19th, 2008 at 07:57 pm

This is the second no-spend day in a row.

It is a cold rather gray day--a good day to stay home, by the fire.

Tonight, we will have "breakfast" for dinner. I have a lot of (sale) ham, eggs, and homemade oatmeal bread for toast. To me, it is "comfort" food, and is also appealing because it is so easy to prepare.

My change is adding up, and I should be able to deposit another $50.00 in my ING account next week. I'm getting about $50.00 a month interest there, so that is helping the emergency fund.

Does anyone know how much aluminum cans bring, per pound, these days? DS has a lot of them to give me to recycle.

Freebies and bargains

January 18th, 2008 at 09:25 pm

I said I wasn't going to purchase any food this month, but absolute necessities, and eat what is in the freezer and pantry, but I didn't stick to that resolution. Two stores had great loss leaders, that we could use, so I bought four packages of sausage links for a dollar each, a spiral cut ham, for a dollar a pound, and four boxes of Kellogg's Raisin Bran for a dollar each. The boxes had coupons for a free movie, and with those four coupons, and one I already had, I sent off for the movie for the little guys.
The ham will make numerous meals, as well as ham and bean soup, and the sausage will be used with eggs or pancakes for "breakfast for dinner", so the $16.00 investment will go a long way, and provide many meals, so I don't feel guilty. DS gave me money to get some coke for him, and Walgreens has a rebate, so I went there for the Coke. They had a big sign in the entry that four cartons of Coke would cost only $6.00 after a $5.00 rebate, so I went to the shelves to get four 12-packs. The sign on the shelf said
Three for $11.00 or $3.99 each. So I talked to the manager, and said that his sign does not compute with the prices on the shelves, so he charged me $11.00 for the four cartons, instead of three. Glade refills were BOGO and had a $1.00 off coupon, and a $2.00 rebate, so I got those too. With the extra 10 per cent when you choose a Walgreens' gift card, I will get $7.70 back. Not a bad day of shopping.

Unexpected visit to the vet with "Little Lhasa"

January 14th, 2008 at 07:02 pm

Yesterday, we had to make an emergency visit to the vet, resulting in a $108.00 bill, including the antibiotic. That was certainly an unplanned for expense, but the dog is certainly worth it.

Today, I went to Sam's to pick up one item, and saw some great shoes on sale. I tried them on, put them in the cart, and then asked myself if I REALLY needed them, and put them back. They were great shoes though. They even sell Clark's there now.
Oh well, I don't have $26.47 less in my checking account since I didn't make the "impulse" buy.

More savings due to this site!

January 11th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

After reading an entry about calling "Direct TV" and asking them if they can reduce the monthly fee for "customer retention", I figured it can't hurt to ask. I didn't get as good a deal, but they did reduce my monthly fee by ten dollars. That's $120.00 a year saved, so I am grateful for the advice. Thanks!

Nesting

January 9th, 2008 at 07:26 pm

Grey skies, snow softly falling, a vanilla scented candle burning, a good day to cook and prepare food for the cold days ahead.

I have boneless pork ribs and barbecue sauce in the crock pot, and on the stove, a double batch of homemade spaghetti sauce is simmering. Later, I will make a two pans of lasagna, one for tonight, and one for the freezer. Half of the spaghetti sauce will go in the freezer, too. Tomorrow, we will have shredded pork sandwiches on baguettes.

Deciding to eat what is in the freezer, and not shop has been both an adventure, and has added to savings.

Good Grief!

January 8th, 2008 at 01:44 am

I just got my gas/electric bill for a 37 day period. It covers my house and my mother's house.
It was $480.00 and change! I am not happy!!! I keep the heat at 68 for 12 hours a day and 60 for 12 hours a day. I turn lights out, don't have the TV on during the day, and use the dryer only when the weather is too bad to hang laundry outside.
I had company, including small children for about two weeks, and had to turn the heat up, so that is part of the problem, but that is an obscene bill! Part of the time, we used the wood stove to supplement heat.

I got another bill for sewer assessment, that is already $172.00 a quarter, stating there will be a 12 % increase this year, and at least 11% increase next year.

On the news, I heard that the governor's task force wants an additional $100.00 a year vehicle registration fee, on top of already very high rates. They also recommended a 13 cent a gallon increase in tax on gasoline. Yikes! It is a good thing I am being frugal. If I wasn't I would be up the proverbial creek!

A freebie for the dog, and a dollar for me!

January 7th, 2008 at 07:24 pm

I went to Wal-Mart to get a couple ingredients for lasagna, and decided to use a couple coupons I had. One was for $8.00 off on a seven pound bag of Iams Natural dog food. It cost $7.00, and they deducted the $8.00, so they paid me a dollar to take it home! I saved a total of $13,40 and paid $9.68 for the dog food, four 13.5 oz. bottles of Pert shampoo,(the ONLY kind DH will use) and four cans of Campbell's soup.
It's a good day when you save more than you spend.

Six no -spend days last week!

January 6th, 2008 at 07:54 pm

Last week all I spent was $7.00 on milk!
Eating out of the pantry and freezer is great. We ate very well, (pork roast and rice, homemade pizza, baked chicken with homemade stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy, fajitas, with homemade tortillas, hamburgers and homemade mac and cheese, quiche and round steak). The money in the food envelope for last week will go into savings.
Next week, I will have to purchase ricotta cheese for lasagna, but that is all. This is working out well.
DH even caught some fish, ice fishing, so we will have fish for dinner tonight.

I'm taking the plunge

January 5th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I decided to ruthlessly chop $300.00 a month out of my already low household account expenses. I even went to my ING account, and entered the $300.00 as a transfer to take place on 1/31/08. That will motivate me to make sure the money is available!
I have made up weekly menus, using what is available in the freezer and pantry, and have vowed that I will not shop for anything but absolute essentials. Now, barring Murphy showing up at the door, I will add a few hundred to savings. If this works, I will try again next month for a repeat performance.

The good news is that my husband's missing hearing aids (he's not old, just hard of hearing--he wants that made clear!) showed up after a two week hiatus. They got scooped up into a Christmas light box, along with the bulb protectors for the large, colored, bulbs. When we took down the lights today, and dumped the light protectors on the kitchen counter,to place them back on the lights, what to our wondering eyes should appear, but the missing hearing aids! Those little guys cost a total of four grand, so they were SUCH a welcome sight. My vow to become more organized was certainly fortuitous. Normally, I would have tossed the empty boxes in the trash, and piled the lights in a corner of the basement, never to see the hearing aids again. Life is good!

Little things add up to savings

January 2nd, 2008 at 04:31 pm

I have been thinking of ways to save small amounts of money, by doing things that take a little effort, but save money in the long run.
This morning, I skinned and de-boned chicken breasts,that cost $1.00 a pound, instead of buy boneless, skinless breasts that cost significantly more.
I dug out leftover turkey gravy from the freezer, and thawed it out for dinner.
I peeled potatoes that were not exactly looking pristine, and were a little shriveled, but still good. Before I found my resolve to save, I would have thrown them away.
I have a plastic tub of dishwasher detergent under the sink. Some moisture had gotten into it, and formed large, hard chunks. I would have thrown it away, at one time in my life, but I got out a wooden mallet and crushed the chunks. It is now usable, and I won't have to buy more for at least three weeks.
It was two degrees this morning, the furnace has been working overtime. I decided to start a fire in the antique wood stove. I'm burning old, rotting fence posts from our property, so there was no extra cost involved. DH cut them up this fall, but I've been lax in bringing them to the house, and keeping a fire going.
Seems like there are lots of little ways to save, if one just makes the effort.
What are some of the things you do to save?

I'm shocked!

January 2nd, 2008 at 01:30 am

I have a notebook that I use to log in the balance in my IRA. I'm fairly consistent about entering the date and the balance. I rolled over my retirement account, when I quit my job six years ago. I was burned out and decided to take six months off. I did so well, being frugal, that I have not gone back to work. I have not added a dime to my IRA. I have a modest savings account with ING, and add to it a little at a time, when I can.
Today, I added up the increase in my mutual funds from the last day of Dec. 2006 to the last day of December 2007, and the increase in my ING account.
I was amazed, and totally surprised that the two accounts have increased $48,976.74! It was a great year, and I didn't even know it.
I think we get blindsided by all of the doom and gloom we hear from the news media, and believe we are worse off every year. Not true. I am not working with a lot of money, about $2300.00 a month, in the household account, from my DH's income. I never made more than $47,000. a year at my job, and it was a professional position. Even though I get off track from time to time, and spend too much on family gifts, etc., my net worth is increasing at a rate that I find amazing.
Watching the small expenses really does make a huge difference over the long haul.
This really makes me want to stay focused and keep on being frugal.

Chocolate-chocolate pie!

January 1st, 2008 at 05:00 pm

I am starting out the new year, by trying to get organized in the kitchen.
I have planned a week's menu, using what is on hand, made six half-pints of pizza sauce, and made a chocolate pie using chocolate milk that was on "borrowed time". DH bought it on Christmas eve for the little ones, and there was quite a bit left. I planned to make a chocolate pie for dinner, so I used the chocolate milk, instead or regular milk, and it tastes great. Saved it from being tossed.

I have resolved to label and date anything that goes into the freezer, this year. I just threw away two containers of "mystery food". I am hoping to avoid "refrigerator surprise" too. Getting organized will save a lot of money, when it comes to cooking.
Tonight, we will have homemade pizza, with homemade sauce, and I have five more containers of sauce in the freezer for the future. Chocolate-chocolate pie with whipped cream, left over from Christmas, will be dessert. Not exactly low cal, but I lost 13 pounds this fall, and have kept it off, so I will "splurge" on calories tonight!
Happy New Year everyone!