Friday, March 30, 2007

Frugal Friday Tip #3

Not to beat a dead horse (okay why is that even something we say...) but the recent loss of my hard drive is really getting to me!!! I lost my Aldi price list. I feel I had been taking it for granted, don't know what you've got till it's gone...

I used the spreadsheet on my computer & my old receipts to create the database. I even had it set up as a shopping list... If I put in quantity it would calculate total cost, so I could plan my trip in advance & have more than enough cash to pay (didn't want to have to pull out the credit card). This kept me from overspending, also I could compare other store's sale flyers & any coupons I had to make sure I was getting the best price for items I use regularly. When ever I sat down at the computer I'd update the QTY needed to reflect what I had used up or noticed that day, so come shopping day all I had to do was print it out & go!!!

The only thing that I found didn't work with the price list were eggs & milk. Our Aldi varies the price of these, so sometimes I'd be off. But only a little...

I found this worked better for me than a price book, it wasn't hard to keep up to date & it helped me stay in my budget by not buying things just because. So I will be sitting down to re-create my list very soon...

Frugal Friday

Shower Curtains & Rings

Frugal for Life had a poll posted a while back that asked if you washed your shower curtain.

The results showed that 61% of respondants do in fact wash...I am a non washer! I do re-use them, unless they are just too gross for words!

I usually buy the cheap ones (I don't spend more than $5) & when it gets too gross to stand to be around anymore (or more than 4 rings have pulled out, usually happens first) I get a new one. If it is still in good shape, no tears, I'll rinse it with the hose outside & use it for "garage type stuff" paint tarp, etc. They are great under kids when they paint or craft! I do the same with vinyl table cloths.

I have found that spending a little more $ ($5 vs. $1) & getting the mildew resistant style is worth it, the curatin is heavier, lays better & more likely to have metal gromets for the rings to go through. The last one I had lasted twice as long as the $1 one I had before it. And it was still in good condition for re-using. I used it under my last outdoor paint project...

I AM going to upgrade to metal rings, the plastic ones break too easily. I've broken new ones installing them...grrr!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Second Life???

I have enough trouble with the first life...

Capitalism 2.0 posted an article about Coldwell Banker is the first Realtor of “Virtual Real Estate” in Second Life...

Ok, did I miss something, I watched the new reports & hype, I guess it didn't sink in just how popular this stuff really was...

Can someone please explain it to me like I'm a 4 year old. I don't get it! I have played Disney's Toon Town & dh is involved in the Beta of the Lord of the Rings, but what do you do in second life? There isn't a plot or game is there? You just spend your hard earned (or your parents) money to "live" somewhere else??? I am sure that it is all consuming, I find I spend way too much time sitting in the office avoiding housework already & I only blog!

I am getting into the myspace thing, but mostly because my sister is & we have to comment on each others...dorky I know...but at least I'm not selling or buying virtual realestate with $ I don't have...

Do people have that much disposable income that they aren't saving for retirement? They could send some to me! I'd even send them something tangible in return!!!

If you are one who has found the online realm to be your thing, please don't be offended by my ignorance! I just do not get it. I am dorky enough in my real life...that said I'd love to check it out!

Can I hire a virtual housekeeper to give me more time to blog??? hmmmm...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Cleaning...

I should be outside, it was supposed to be raining all morning here, so I made plans to work inside... Now it is 67 & we are going outside very shortly! It's too nice, & oh well if the laundry doesn't get done!!!

I am spring cleaning my blogs, so you may notice little changes here & there... I will be cleaning up the label section as well, too many categories even though I was trying so hard to keep them limited!!!

Ok, I'm off to go enjoy the great outdoors!

Cool contest for blog Spring Cleaning!

Contest ends soon, she's drawing names April 1t!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Saturday to all!

I am still getting used to the new computer & missing all my files...
It is so empty with out them! I feel weird, naked even. Files I have had for years - sob - Gone!!!

Ah well life goes on & another life lesson learned. I should send that one to TLC for their life lesson figurines!

So the land of frugal has become CHEAP! We had to spend more than 1 paycheck on the new puter, so dh could still work, so we are now a paycheck behind. Plus the apartment still isn't rented. We are really trying to not be picky, but what is it with tenants & pets & kids, it is only a 1 bedroom... I'm not thrilled about having another persons animal here again & I'm not sure where an older kid would sleep???... but then I do want it rented...

I will have to go buy a couple groceries, mostly milk & cheese, but we'll be living out of the pantry for a while. I'll let you know what I create, since I don't have my recipes I'll be out there looking for new ones!!!

I have decided that I am going to start sewing more for resale. I just haven't decided what. We aren't going to open the ice cream concession trailer back up this year, it just doesn't make sense to open the 1 location when it lost $ last year & the main location had to carry it. I hate to let it go, I don't like being a statistic, but it just didn't work for us. Our lifestyle isn't ready for the work all summer off all winter thing. Maybe when we retire to a warmer like 35 years!!! I'm sure people will still be eating ice cream!

I went to a PartyLite candle party this afternoon with my sister, it was fun. I do like the party part, it was just all the work I didn't like! Seemed like an awful lot of stress over something insignificant...candles. I love them, but really! I only ordered some aroma melts for my melter, since all I have is vanilla & it is strong. I ordered Fresh Green Apple, to match the hurricanes I'll be putting in my sconces when I spring clean. Then the house will smell fresh & clean like green apple!!!

While I was there I got invited to a Pampered Chef party, love them too! I really do need to replace my wooden spoons. They just last forever & I use them for everything. Guess I'll have to make sure I'm setting aside spare change so I have $! I have until the 21st of April to save up! Not that the spoons are expensive or anything, I just try really hard not to make random unnecessary purchases... FABRIC DOES NOT COUNT!!! (hehehehe)

New Online Affiliate Program

Small Business Mavericks has announced the launch of their powerful new affiliate program. It is a 2 tiered commission plan. You can earn 35% on products you sell directly & 15% on products sold by people you refer to the program & become affiliates.

I have just signed up for the affiliate program & am awaiting approval so I can't offer any real feed back yet. They asked for the usual affiliate information. It was easy to do & only took a couple minutes!

The website seems to feature two books written by Caroline Melberg. The first "Local Small Biz Marketing Secrets How to Use E-mail to Skyrocket Your Sales
Without Burning a Hole in Your Pocket!" for $49. The second "How to Get Massive Publicity on a Shoestring Budget!" for $39.

So if you are into math, if someone bought a book from you you would earn between $13 - $17. If you referred someone who sold a book you'd earn between $5 - $7.

The website offers a free newsletter, which I have signed up for. They also have links to free articles & Melberg Marketing.

I'll keep you posted!


LoudLaunch - Compensating bloggers for their unbiased opinions, reviews, and analysis. View the LoudLaunch campaign release this post was based on.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Frugal Friday Tip #2

I know I missed last week, Friday kind of snuck up on me!

Well, I had intended to pull one of the vast # of tips I had stored in my harddrive, but alas it has decided to die/crash/leave me up the creek with no paddles...
So we had to do a very unfrugal thing & buy a new computer. It will actually cost more to repair the laptop(???). So we bought a desktop bundle & will have to save $ to have the harddrive shipped out for retrival. I do so hope that it can be rescued
I hate to have to spend the money, but our lives & businesses were on that puppy! Lesson Learned, copy stuff to CDR! The cost of the 100 CDRs would have been a fraction of the $400 we will have to pay to MAYBE get all my data back.

So my Frugal Friday Tip for today is to back up your files. Write them to disk, find an online host & upload them. It would have been worth the time & expense for me to still be able to pull up the pictures of my babies & my 5000 recipes... ;-(.

Frugal Friday

Monday, March 19, 2007

Baby wearing

I admit it... I never got this exercise. I loved the idea of "wearing" your baby, something about comfort & closeness. It was just never a priority to me. I did have a baby carrier, it even converted from front to back. I watched the video & we made it work for the front a few times with the Prince. By the time the Princess was born I had misplaced the video & darned if I could figure out what snaps went where. Didn't want her falling out while we were walking.

We even had one of those back pack like things for when they became toddlers. The Prince was ok in it, except he was heavy and trying to find a spot to get him off wasn't easy. But it was convenient for when we went to a couple festival things. We didn't really do anything with the Princess, second child, less money, increased gas prices... We just don't travel as much as we used to.

The idea of wearing her around the house seemed novel. At least then I'd know where she was if I had to go into a different room. ~ My children became mobile WAY to early. ~ I just couldn't figure out the carrier we had & there was no way I could have convinced dh to buy a new one.

I was just introduced to Attached to baby. They seem to have a ton of varieties & styles of slings, carriers, wraps & pouches. It also seems that the price of such things has come down in the few years since I've looked at them. I think the sling might have been a better option for me than the carrier. It SEEMS less confusing & with fewer parts!

I am really attracted to the baby legs. I have seen these in numerous places & have made them a mental must-have for my sisters kids (when she has one!). They just look so comfy & I want a pair for myself...

They also have doll carriers, wraps & slings so the older sister can pretend, how cute! If the Princess had one & we were (not possible!) going to have another, my fear would be she wouldn't pretend...

They even have an outlet for us frugalites!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Prince & DH are off to swim lessons & the Princess & I painted our nails! Figured I'd pop in for a brief hello & happy day!

We started the day with green eggs & banana pancakes! The Prince will go to a sleepover at the Granny's. I'm not sure what we are doing after that. There is a possibility of going out to a bar later, but who knows!

So tomorrow I will start digging out the Easter stuff! I have already started looking at what will be going in their baskets. I'm sure we'll get "Happy Feet" from the Grandparents. I think I'll stick with chocolate & the cool new shoes I've already purchased! The Princess got a pair of pink camo rain boots & the Prince got a pair of camo sandles. I don't think we'll be getting any toys, they'll be lucky if I don't toss the ones they have :D.

I'd love to say I started spring cleaning already, but I haven't. We only had 2 days that were warm enough & now it has snowed again. No sense in cleaning when the stove is still going, just don't write in my dust!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blogland coolness!

Surfin my link to's & found Hustler $$$ Top 100 Personal Finance Bloggers . Yours truly is #69. I must be in a mood, because obviously in a list of 100, someone has to be 69, but I instantly thought, hey how cool~~~~ in my best Bevis & Butthead fashion...

Thanks for the link! I can't wait to read the other 99 blogger postings!

Laundry on my mind

I have been contemplating making the homemade laundry soap which uses
1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax, 76 oz
1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 55 oz
and 1/3of a grated bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap

I have my reservations about using it but I think that I will pick up the ingredients. My main reservation is that I love, no LOVE liquid laundry soap. I never had luck with powder, especially since I only use cold water.

Stop the Ride Stephanie made it for her Make it From Scratch Carnival, only she used Ivory soap.
Frugal Upstate Jenn offered it along with many other great laundry tips!

Right now I am using All Small & Mighty, Triple Concentrated Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear, Case Pack, Nine - 32 Load Bottles (288 Loads). I bought it locally with a $1.50 off coupon. I really like the free & clear, because there is no smell to conflict with my new favorite fabric softeners, Snuggle Exhilarations, 3x Concentrate Fabric Softener, Melon & Lotus Flower, 32 Loads (Pack of 9) that I picked up on sale with a $1.50 off of 2 coupon. My laundry doesn't smell too girly either, but it doesn't exactly smell manly!!!

I found these recipes at Soaps Gone Buy

3 Pints Water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha Soap, grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer, NOT baking soda though!!)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
2 Gallon bucket to mix it in
1 Quart hot water
Hot Water
Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan with 3 pints hot water and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load. One batch makes 64 loads. Cost per load averages .02 per load.

Second Recipe:
1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap
1/2 cup Washing Soda (Arm and Hammer again)
1/2 cup Borax (20 mule team Borax)
2 Tablespoons Glycerin
2 cups water
Mix first three ingredients together, than add glycerin and water. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup per load. This one works best in cold or warm water.

Guess I'm saving my empty liquid bottles!!! Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Clothes Line...

There is nothing more frugal or green than hanging clothes out to dry, unless of course you beat them with a rock in the stream to wash them first (eww). I was recently made aware, that 35,000+ home owner's associations in CA have banned the back yard clothesline (Laundry List). ***Gasp*** On one hand I am shocked that CA has proven (again) that I want to live there less than I do in NY & how can a state that is currently considering legislation to ban the incandescent light bulb condone the banning of the most Green practice I know...

Ok, so you don't want to see you neighbors undies hanging outside, yuck, but what is wrong with sheets & blankets. Personally, I love to dry somethings outside. Jeans, undies & towels are a big no no. Towels especially, for some reason I have always had them get stiff & scratchy, not how a big fluffy towel should be!

It is a sign of spring here, when the quilts & sheets start dotting the landscape. The laundry line is a far more compelling sign than that of run over skunk (also a sign of Spring!)

You haven't lived until you've driven by an Amish house with the collection of blue & black strung all over. It's just a lovely sight.

5 minute finances #10- Buy some clothespins and a rope

I miss my clothes line & we will be rehanging it as soon as the weather is cooperative. I had one strung in the only possible place, between a tree & our garage. It was movable because it wasn't the most out oF the way location, so why it was pulled to the point of falling down I will never guess... I think they forgot it was there? The green rope was camouflaged against the yellow garage? As long as it gets rehung I really don't give a rip... :D.

Stop the Ride's wordless Wednesday photo is of her laundry out on the line...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The potty training week!

Well we have done it! It is almost like a lightbulb went off in the Princess! She is finally using the potty 90% of the time, she likes her little potty chair, but will use the bathroom. She has mainly been wearing her "my Little Pony" panties & doing very good at keeping them dry. She has been working on the last pack of pullups for a while now, as she started last week remaining dry all night. I have already noticed the savings to our weekly budget! Of course we have to dance, everytime & I think the chocolate bribes helped (we bought a bag of nestle crunch minis). Small price to pay for such success!!!

Now if I could just convince her to sleep in her nice big girl bed...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pay Per Post - What's going on?

I was just checking out the opportunities over at Pay Per Post & they have this offer up to speculate on what their "Big Announcement" will be... Big News... We are supposed to guess, no matter how crazy we get.

I don't even know where to begin trying to guess what they have up their sleeves. Being new to the pay per post world I am guessing it could be anything! I don't know anything for sure but it could be a worldwide initiative to eliminate bad TV commercials (So easy a Cave man could do it...OK). Or maybe it's a rule update allowing bloggers with "real blogs" to begin posting sooner than the 90 days.

But I think I heard somewhere that they are going to hire aliens to help increase site traffic for their advertisers, kind of like the USPS (Men in Black II says that most of the postal workers are aliens!). I now have visions of the guy with lots of arms sorting mail in the box, smoking a cigarette. Maybe they'll have the alien guy pushing buttons & moving wires to connect us with the alien colony living on the dark side of the moon. Really they have found a way to pay per post away terrorism. After all we are one interweb, even if Al Gore did invent it.

Well that is about as crazy as my imagination gets. I must not be watching soaps enough lately...

Monday Morning

So we were finally able to show the apartment this weekend. It isn't 100% finished but we are close. We'll be listing it in the paper this week.

Still need to do:
Clear coat the floor (requires a trip to store, I only have oil based poly)
hang mini blinds I bought yesterday
clean larger mini blinds
hang shower curtain
clean tub
touch up bedroom ceiling
install stove & washer
clean fridge
finish clearing out our tools & leftovers

Then we'll be done, for now atleast. If anything we learned how much we need to put insulation in the attic & rewire the upstairs on our project lists. Each apartment has it's own sub panel, but they run into our panel as one, except of course for the circuits not run into the sub panels... Make sense to you? Didn't to me either!

I put frosted window film on the lower part of the bathroom window. My plan was to eliminate any window covering, allowing more light in. It worked, the film looks great & I don't see a reason to turn on the lights unless it's dark out. Before the window had a blue mini blind covering it & the lights got left on all day & night (did I mention I pay the electric bill...) I also hung the roller shades half way instead of all the way at the top of the windows in the main living areas. I will also be moving the kitchen blinds. I figure privacy isn't an issue, but the more light we can let in the lower my electric bill will be!

I wish I had that option downstairs. Our kitchen is so dark the only 2 windows look onto a covered & screened in side porch. I have to have lights on all day, as long as we are in the room. I had the main light converted to CF light bulbs, but they went upstairs with the old fan. My new fan is too pretty to put the ugly twisty CF bulbs in. SO next time we are at the home store we'll pick up 4 of the prettier ones!

I hope it gets rented soon, the longer it sits empty the more I want to keep it that way! I really don't want anyone messing up all the work I just did...

Ahh spring cometh...

Time to break out the capris & shorts! And for us girls that means shaving all the way up. Come on, unless you are dating, you know that winter is the season we save our $ by not buying the weekly pack of disposable razors. I can say (somewhat apprehensively) that I only purchased one package of razors before winter began & I am just now needing a new pack. I have also noticed the facial hair issue & boy do my eyebrows need a trim. I know lots of women have the facial hair issue who have lighter hair, but with my dark brown, almost black hair the peach fuzz isn't exactly peachy...

So, I have started looking into other types of Hair removers like waxing, sugaring or inhibiting. I dislike the grocery store hair remover creams. If I leave them on long enough to work they give me a rash (or at least ugly red marks). I am then having to use them a day before I go anywhere, who can plan ahead that far ahead. What do you do if they aren't 100% effective tweeze, shave??? And it isn't like the hair stays away for long.

So I am looking to the web to find a better alternative to shaving & cheap removal creams. The hair removal kits of "Hair no More" look interesting to me, especially appealing is they claim to be 95% effective for 4-5 months! It almost makes the $75 price tag seem worth it, since the razor that I have just discovered costs $13+ for 4 replacements & that is 1 months worth in the summer... I'd spend $65+ just on razor cartridges over the 5 months, forget the time spent precariously perched in my shower risking life & limb to get at that weird spot just above my heel...

Of course there is always the sugaring option. Works like wax, but it isn't supposed to stick to your skin. I'm not sure how that makes it less painful, but I remember the infomercials of that stuff the Aussie Mom invented to help out her daughters with hair removal. So if Mom "invented" you would think it wouldn't be sheer torture. I hope!

I might have to look into this one a little more. I just bought a fabulous pair of capris (had to I am 2 sizes smaller than what I own now! WooHoo) & I want to look my best in them.

Monday Morning Smile!

Ok, so in surfing the Carnival of the Recipes I found this little chuckle at KeeWee's Corner. Always good to start a Monday out with a smile :D.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Frugal Friday Tip #1

Ok, I need to start something to keep me on track!!! SO I am going to try to join the Frugal Friday bloggers over at Biblical Womanhood.

How do you make cheap coffee taste better?

Don't get me wrong, I love a cup of gourmet coffee & I really dislike cheap icky tasing coffee, especially since I like it strong. But, we can't afford the $20 a week of gormet coffee we'd drink if it was all gourmet. So I buy a bag for us as a treat & then buy the big can at the grocery store (or Aldi) for the rest of the week. Well, to make the cheap coffee taste better I have found that adding a dash of ground cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing helps a ton! It cuts the bitterness & adds a "Cafe Vienna" quality.

Of course adding a homemade flavored syrup (Gingerbread Latte Syrup) can help too, but if you don't like sugar it won't help you :D.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Wednesday...**Updated 5:30PM!

It is anti-procrastination Wednesday in the FlyLady world. I am going to clean my kitchen!

The mission that I have chosen to accept is to clear off my side table & counter. Most of my small appliances are out on the counter & the side table is where EVERTYTHING gets dropped when we walk through the door.

I am also going to:
Painting the ceiling in the upstairs kitchen
Touch up bathroom walls
3rd coat of gloss on cabinet doors
Take hardware off above fridge cupboard before painting
Install repaired window (with dh)
Start priming the floor (front of windows & inside of closet)
Laundry (1 load)
Make spaghetti sauce w/meatballs for dinner
~I bought the meatballs, only because it was cheaper per pound than ground to MYO, what is up with that???
Vacuum the Princess's room & living room

My To do for Thursday is:
zone mission (kitchen)
finsih kitchen cupbaords for hanging
wash mini blinds upstairs
put up window frost film upstairs bathroom
clean floor & tub in bathroom upstairs
WALK with my sister
scrub my tub out with comet & soak toys overnight in bleach water

VACUUM house
Paint kitchen floor, first coat

Left to do in apartment
Move stove upstairs, convert back to gas
get washer & install
buy 2 mini blind to replace broken ones


There is one thing I cannot stand about our Satellite service & that is ALL the shopping channels we have to wade through. I will admit to shopping at one but only online, I don't sit there & watch all day waiting to pounce on a deal. That would be the Home Shopping Network (HSN). I can say that the bed I sleep in, the comforter & sheets as well, the laptop I am typing on, even our video camera have been purchased from HSN over the years. I have found the best deals in their clearance bins (the bedding) & taken advantage of their flex pay (bed, camera & laptop). The only thing better than hitting a good deal is having Home Shopping Network Coupons when you shop.

I love shopping online. I will be searching CouponChief for coupons before I checkout, no matter where I am shopping. There is no reason a good deal on something you need or want & have saved for can't be a better or great deal!!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Our weekend

I think my life is far too focused on these darn repairs... I'll post our $ totals once I know what they are. I'm sure it will depress me, but I'll get over it. It'll just be one more notch to my side of the not wanting to re-rent it argument! There is nothing frugal about this, but we are trying to do our best, using things we already have, replacing with energy conservation in mind...

We spent Friday at Lowes. Pretty much all day, I don't recommend it if you are trying to NOT spend $ ! I did get lunch out of the deal (and dinner & lunch the next day thanks to leftovers!), we used a couple gift cards we ordered with our tax refund.

In trying to decide on a light fixture for the kitchen upstairs we spotted a ceiling fan that I instanly fell in love with! So we ordered it for our kitchen & we are going to move our current fan upstairs (I don't like it, too white!). So ours will be going upstairs as soon as that ceiling gets painted (today). Woohoo! I love that somehow in all this I am getting things I want too!!!

Still have to do:
Finish painting bathroom cabinet door fronts then done!
3rd coat of gloss white on waiscotting
paint upper walls in bath
paint over spackle in closet/pantry
replace 13 plugs & 2 light switches
paint 1 wall
paint bedroom ceiling, I still have a couple spots to touch up, but it's mostly done.
paint kitchen ceiling
New light fixtures
Fix window replaced with new plexi & glued & strapped frame, it'll hold just won't be able to use it (of course it's one of the curved ones...)
caulk kitchen counter
paint upper cabinet & rehang It is mostly painted (1 more coat)then I need to finish once it's hung...
wash blinds & rehang
clean carpet
clean rooms
hang shower curtain
hang curtain hardware
install digital thermometer
caulk & paint kitchen floor *Started caulking yesterday
bring stove upstairs
replace back apartment stove
install washer
I'm sure there is more, but I can't think of anything yet!!!

Of course our home is starting to look abandoned! I managed to get the dishes almost caught up yesterday & a couple loads of laundry folded & the kids stuff is put away... I will have my bedroom back by the end of the month or there will be mutiny here! I have to cook something that really qualifys as food for dinner & we need to vacuum, but I need to get that apartment rented ASAP!!! Priorities, I know...

Friday, March 2, 2007

Blog Party Time

Sew What's Up has my main linky to the party, but I think I was asked to bring the music from My Favorite Power Ballads

GO check it out enjoy the blog surfing!