Monday, August 27, 2007

I have it all

Big clutter

and Small clutter!

Secrets of Successful Savers and other tips found in older magazine articles A Series #5

Simple Ways to Save - It takes just one dollar at a time by Chrystle Fielder, Woman's Day 2/19/02

This article offers some ideas to keep more of what you make.

1. Establish a saving habit with $0.75 a day. - Principle is 3 banks 1 saving, 1 investing, 1 offering/charity.

2. Don't discount small change - spend only paper currency & save your change.  This works, I have a glass wine jug that it goes in.  I also started setting aside coins that were minted in "special" years anniversary, births, graduations, I will scrapbook a few once I've completed the collecting, but for now it creates a pile of "untouchable" change!

3. Open a separate savings account for special occasions - Know you have a trip to make or big party to plan for, divide up what you'll need & start setting it aside in a special account for only that purpose, kind of like Christmas accounts.

4. Save first and enjoy what's left. This only works if you aren't negative into your living expenses...

5. Track your paper trail - basically track your spending, keep all your receipts & find where you are spending needlessly, or where you need to make cuts.

6. Give cash a chance - only have so much on hand & try to force yourself to not go over.

7. Stop spending money on things that fall in value. - Ok, but food & household things are hardly investment items!  I guess I do this by not buying the most expensive items available, sure I could spend $100 on a pair of shoes, but I'd have to go through 10 cheap pairs to equal it.

8. Use coupons the right way - Save the money you save using them, makes sense, if you have the ability.  If you are using them to be able to stretch your food budget this won't work!

9. Save on long distance - I think cell phones have eliminated this for lots of people.  Only a few in the stone ages (like me) are with out & have to rely on our phone company!

10. Don't go car shopping in person - research what you want & what to expect for cost.  With Kelly Blue Book you can go in with dealer costs, trade ins & what features are worth.

11. Rotate your balance to lower interest on credit cards.  If you can take advantage of 0% interest offers, then pay as much of the debt down as possible before the term expires.  When I do pay interest on a card (we have a couple we are paying down) I try to add the finance charges + the minimum payment and make that my minimum payment then pay what I can over that.

12. Save big by paying off your debt. It's the interest game, if you are getting less interest than you are paying out (in most cases it's a huge difference) using savings to pay off the higher interest debts makes financial sense.  It's a matter of what is comfortable for you though.  I know I feel better when I have a cushion in the bank.

13. Let the kids do the shopping. This only works if your kids are older!  If I let the Prince & Princess loose on the store with our budget we'd have frosted animal cookies & oreos, maybe some bread & milk!  I do try to take them once in a while so they see just how it all works.  They still seem to think that I'll just run out at 9PM for a snack because they don't want to eat anything left, don't know where they got it from, we've never done it for them!

14. Once a week go over checkbook issues with your spouse.  I wish.  I have tried the weekly sit down, asking what he paid, how much he paid, where the receipts are... sometimes you just have to accept your reality & try to make that work!

15. Set savings goals you can comfortably accomplish. I like the idea of making it a game.  Maybe we'll figure one out!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tackling the clutter

One pile of paper at a time.  I am realizing that I still save "important" papers like we still operate a business.  I have to remember I can't deduct every McDs excursion.  So why am I still saving all the receipts???  Someone save me from myself!  Or maybe I need to get off my behind & find something to do business at.  I could consider the blogging a business, after all I have made money at it.  Hmmm.  Too much serious thought for a Saturday morning!  I am off to go to a Craft Fair with my sister!  I'll worry about it Monday, when I start cleaning again!!!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Article Series #4

Are you throwing money away? John Nardini, Woman's Day 11/19/02

42 easy ways to fatten your wallet...

1. Avoid late fees - Duh! If we paid our electric bill late every month for a year the late fees would = one hour of pay (gross pay). That stinks! I don't want to waste my time working for what is essentially nothing. Figure if we paid all our bills late (one of the credit cards used to charge $35 a month if late, ouch) I'd probably spend 2 weeks working for FEES, don't even get me started on the ATM machine!!!

2. Don't let credit card debt linger - basically sending the minimum payment will drag out the process into a decades long waste of money.

3. Skip credit cards with annual fees - there are just too many options out there to settle for something you have to pay to have.

4. Get the most out of your gas purchases - I didn't know that filling up in the early AM or late PM could make a difference on the volume of gas, hmmm. Apparently gas is denser then. I don't think I've ever read that before.

5. Make sure your car is in top running shape - I'm not a "car" person but I do know enough to keep the oil changed & check the tires every so often!

6. Keep your trunk empty - this article was written by a man! I keep an assortment of items in my van at all times, sorry the benefit of having emergency supplies (napkins, wipes, plates, cups, blankets, toys, window cleaner, sweatshirts, etc) far outweighs any % of gas mileage saved!

7. Skip the extended warranty when you buy a new car - OK, most new cars come with a warranty & if you take your vehicle in before it expires your shop will probably do all the necessary or unnecessary work to leave you with a "new" car.

8. Compare Insurance prices - it also pays to keep multiple policies with one company (extra discounts).

9. Drop collision or comprehensive coverage on older cars - I will be keeping mine thank you, it is worth the $0 deductible glass coverage. I do drive a mini van afterall!

10. Ask about discounts - air bags, ABS, anti theft, multiple policies, my favorite - safety courses.

11. Join a credit union - Been there done that, they are a great value, just find one that is convenient. Ours was more hassel than it was worth.

12. Find out about discounts - Lots of banks waive fees if you use direct deposit, look for free checking, free with interest is better!

13. Order checks from an outside company not from the bank. They are SO much cheaper.

14. Balance your checkbook every month. Don't trust the bank to find errors, unless they are in their favor. And if they are, my experience has been that they will just make the corrections & not tell you what is going on.

15. Return unwanted items quickly - sounds familiar... Don't remove tags unless you are 100% certain you are keeping it. The Prince got a shirt for his birthday that makes him look like a stuffed sausage, but we couldn't exchange it because (even though I specifically said not to) he removed the tags.

16. Shop in the men's department - article claims that socks, turtlenecks & plain white tshirts are cheaper there. I'm not sure about that, and if I bought socks that fit me I'd be in the boys department not the men's & then I'd loose all my socks to the Prince.

17. Lower your dry cleaning costs - What dry cleaning costs??? Even if it says dry clean only I still wash it, I've never had an issue EVER. Even suit coats have gone in the washer on gentle, fluff dried then hung while still damp. If you aren't as brave then find a good local dry cleaner, or try the "dry cleaning" wipes that go in your dryer.

18. Stop at your grocery stores discount rack - Yup, breads, discontinued items, managers specials on meats, we've been here before!

19. Buy in bulk - sure, but only if it's cheaper & you have the room.

20 - Get the most out of your meat purchases. - Sure. Goes with meat your butcher, I've had pork loins slices for boneless chops, I've also found that it isn't hard to do it myself.

21. Refinance your mortgage - maybe back in 2002 that was good advice! Now do your homework.

22. Prepay your mortgage - You can pay extra per month or make an extra payment every year. Unless you have higher interest debt then pay that first!

23. Cancel PMI after you own 20% of your home. Read your fine print, we can't cancel ours until a specific date no matter what the % is. And what is it based on? Equity? Value? or the Loan? Our home has been valued at $120+ our loan principal is $70, but it doesn't work that way. I wish it did we pay over $800 a year for it.

24. Compare tax assessment with your neighbors - Sure you can challenge them if there are discrepancies, but I know in our area what usually happens is 1) nothing 2) you get reassessed higher 3) they raise your neighbors assessments.

25. Learn to do simple home repairs - Not everything is as easy as they make it look on HGTV! Do your homework. It won't be cost effective if you have to run out & buy a ton of special tools.

26. Shop homeowner's insurance (renter's insurance) - again, multiple policy discount!

27. Ask about discounts - non smokers, fire extinguishers, alarm systems.

28. Increase your deductible - this will save you money on your premium, but you'll have to pay more out of pocket each incident. We've only been in the house for 4 years & we've had 1 claim & 1 incident that should have been (tenant disaster of 2007).

29. Itemize your return - If you have enough deductions. We do not.

30. Donate - if you itemize that is

31. Double check your return - or triple, quadruple...

32. Use your "included" phone minutes, sure just don't go over...

33. Drop unused services on your phone - My services are a package & it would cost me more to have the few I use so check your rates first.

34. Take advantage of energy audits offered by many power companies - If yours offers!

35. Replace standard light bulbs with CFLs - I think that is a dead horse (pardon the phrase). All of the appropriate bulbs have been changed.

36. Adjust your thermostat - We immediately changed to digital. If you can't/won't keep the thermostat at a normal 68, may I suggest coal, pellet or wood heat! Our coal furnace keeps us at a balmy 75+ all winter. Whether I want it to or not.

37. Allow sunlight to warm your home - This will be nice with the upstairs apartment. I am also having hubby install a couple solatubes in the bathrooms (both are convenient for the fixtures). They will light dark spaces & our local discount home store has them for $100.

38. Insulate your home using furniture & wall hangings. I guess this depends on you house, but then the carpet didn't block the draft & stuff against the walls is fine, but we can't place furniture in the worst areas (windows & doors or registers).

39. Keep your refrigerator and freezer at the recommended temperatures. No one likes frozen eggs or squishy pop-sicles any ways!

40. Check the seal on your fridge doors. I know these can be replaced I have had to do it in the past, just don't mix up the fridge & freezer pieces!!!

41. Keep appliances lint & dust free. I try to remember to clean the coils, really I do!

42. When using your oven peek through the window or wait until food is almost done before opening the door. - If only my oven had a window & if I knew when it was "almost" done I wouldn't be peeking!!!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Secrets of Successful Savers and other tips found in older magazine articles A Series #3

25 Ways to Save on Groceries - Check out with a fatter wallet, by W. Eric Martin (Woman's Day 9/1/02)

Great article with lots of helpful advice, let's look at the main points...

1. Shop Alone - I know contradicting to the shop with a buddy from the 1st article.  I really think this is personal preference, I know I spend less $ and time when I am on my own.

2. Avoid individual snack packages - sure sound advice, but nutty bars don't count do they???

3. Buy spices in small doses - depends on the spice.  I usually buy my spices at our local Big Lots or the spice store at the Market my Mom works at.  My cinnamon is a Big package, bought that at Sam's Club along with the chopped onion flakes.  But things like dill, thyme, sage that I don't use constantly I do buy in the smallest, cheapest packaging available.

4. Give generics a try - since 50% of my shopping is done at Aldi I already do this one!  I am also okay with store brands, even for things like OTC medications, our medicine cabinet looks like an advertisement for Equate.

5. Weigh your choice - basically if you are buying prepackaged produce weigh it to make sure you are getting the most for your money.

6. Compare cost-per-pound or cost-per-unit - Do this every time I'm in the store.  I rarely buy anything with out checking.

7.  Meat your meat maker. We now buy most of our meat from the company my hubby works for, so I know I get better quality stuff than what is available at the mass marketers.  But before we'd always scout the racks for discounted meats.  We'd stock up & put it in the freezer.

8. Check out the chicks - roasters, fryers, it's all a label!  I usually buy whatever is cheapest per pound.

9. Become a gourmet - learn some flavorful dishes that use inexpensive ingredients stir-fry, Italian pastas, udon noodles.  I stir-fry tons, we love rice, I also love Mexican flavors so we use a lot of tortillas.

10. Start your own herb garden - sure grown your own it's cheaper! 

11. Invest in a freezer - or 2!  I don't know what I'd do with out my freezers!

12.  Make that a really large freezer - suggests contacting a meet processing plant to stock up on meats.  We did this one year splitting a cow purchased at the county fair.  We ended up with 1/3 of a half of a side of beef!  It didn't cost us much over all, I think our per pound price was under $2 and we got a lot of steaks for that.

13. Shop with leftovers in mind. Turkey is prime for this, I always buy the largest bird imaginable.  When the rare leftovers occur I put them in freezer bags & pull it out later for casseroles, salads, & soups.

14. Forget your reliance on the supermarket - Drugstores & Pharmacies often have non perishables at reasonable prices, watch your ads.

15. Plan Ahead. - The article goes in the direction of "if your family doesn't eat the whole thing then take out what they won't eat & freeze it, and don't put dressing on the salad as a whole" I take this as plan a menu, or at least a pantry plan to be able to make your core dishes

16. Learn when to leave leftovers behind - don't try & squeeze leftovers out of EVERY meal, leftover fish isn't the greatest & that pizza crust (unless cold & for breakfast) will never taste as good the next day.

17.  Count on discount stores - Aldi, Big Lots, Dollar General, all places I frequent for food stuffs, toiletries, & basic household items.

18. Visit price clubs with a friend - basically so you can split purchases, this has rarely ever worked for me!

19. Buy the newspaper on Wednesday - or what ever day your grocery store sales come out.  I try to buy on Sunday to get the coupons.

20.  Say sayonara to soda - we rarely ever buy soda.  I try to buy it if it's on sale, just to have on hand & prevent the convenience store stop.

21.  Cut corners on coupon clipping - I use the Internet for this, free samples often come with coupons, web sites sometimes have offers for coupons.

22. Save bread by shopping at thrift bakeries  - I do not care for bread frozen long term so driving all the way to a thrift store is out for me (nearest one is 40 minutes away).  I do check the day old racks at the stores I shop at (last find was a dozen donuts for $1.99).

23.  Stock up on fruits & veggies in season - We bought 2 flats of strawberries, now I have a bunch of frozen berries for the winter months.  Plus the garden we are growing is starting to pump out the produce tomatoes, beans, peppers, zucchini, mint, we have lots!

24. Consider a slow cooker - Couldn't live without one so I have 3!

25. Hunt for salvage stores - never seen one in my area, I do send my husband into their store room to check for open cases of stuff, maybe you could contact your local restaurant suppliers.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Secrets of Successful Savers and other tips found in older magazine articles A Series #2

Another article I "clipped" was "29 Ways to Get Through the Christmas Crunch - Last minute time savers to take the stress out of your holiday season" by Karen Miles (Woman's Day 1/2/01)

I have started actively thinking about the impending holiday season since I am to be hostess for our family Christmas & there are 8 birthday's & 2 anniversaries in November & December.  The sooner I start the less overwhelmed I feel!  So now is when I start pulling out the idea files & making lists of supplies, gift ideas & forming a budget.

This article has some great gift ideas, I define great by if I'd love to get it, it must be great!

1. Toss in a towel - who doesn't need a good fluffy large bath towel?  I know I do, there is always one or 2 that's time has come and is ready for the rag pile, so a towel with a collection of soap, sponges, scrubbies would just send me to a happy place!

2. Give a cup of tea.  I love the idea, especially if you can find a vintage tea cup, saucer & quality tea.

3. Picture it perfect. For me this would be a collection of printer papers, ink, & a collection of nice frames, for others scrapbook supplies, mini albums.  Anything to get those pictures off of the computer & out into the world!

4. Gift is in the mail.  Who doesn't want to write more, connect on a more personal level than email.  A gift of stationary, nice pens, stamps, even a card assortment would be a great gift.

5. Easy does it - found a great gift, buy a bunch of them.  Chances are there is more than one person on your list who would love it!  For me that is Golf, anything golf related covers 9 people on my list!

6. Greetings in a jiffy - sending out your Christmas cards online seems awfully impersonal to me, now ask me how mine were sent out last year!!!  I sent e-cards to all my out of town friends & family.  I was hoping to send out a newsletter to update but we'll see if that happens this year!

7. Whiz down the Internet aisles. There are now a zillion Internet stores to chose from.  I go for ones that either give me cash rebates or points ( ,  &

8. Make it a movie. this one covers the gift cards for movies, make a night of it, don't just give the rental certificate.  Put together with some popcorn, movie candy, & a nice bowl.  We picked up a few plastic containers that look like cardboard popcorn containers and put them in stockings last year for us & the kids at a dollar store.  Now we each have our own when we hang out on the couch and watch a movie.

9.Give to a Cause. donate to a cause in the name of the receiver.  Maybe some people can get away with this, but I'd do a ton of research to make sure the person would support the cause on their own first. 

10. Send a maid.  Hallelujah!  Gift certificates for carpet cleaning, maid service, oh heck the local home improvement store would WOW me!   Ok, so maybe not the carpet cleaning, but then I won't have that much carpet left in a month.  I'd have loved it last Christmas!!!  A gift card to the home improvement store is always appreciated here, any little bit helps & it's nice to feel like your priorities are recognized. 

11. Email online dollars - the website the article mentions is long gone, but I have received gift credit cards in the past.  Prepaid cards that are good where ever you want to use them.  The only problem I had was not using the full amount, it operates as a credit card so you need to know exactly what's left the next time you use it.  Solution, spend it all in one place!

12. Just send cookies. Yum. Who would scoff at a basket of cookies, plate of cookies, bag of cookies, oh heck a package of Oreos would suit me just fine!  If I were giving, I usually use a decorative container plastic or tin that can be reused.  I like the idea of food baskets spaghetti basket (pasta, homemade or store sauce, spices, cheese, etc), with the cookies you could do cutters, frostings, sprinkles.  I'd love to get a coffee basket nice big mugs assorted flavors & types, different flavorings, sugars, creamers.

13. Bag the scents of Christmas - the article talks about no-sew sachets, I have mad scented coasters before using squares of fabric sewn over smaller felt squares that sandwich some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice or even pie spices.  This is a great use for spices that may be at the end of their shelf life & you want to get rid of them.  Then when you put a warm cup on them the scent just fills the air, mmmm, nice!

14. Frame it - the artilce says to glue fabric to the frame & give it as a gift. I'd just go buy some themed scrapbook paper & make myself a mat to match or compliment the photo I'm giving.   

15. Tag the kids for this job... tip is to have kids use holiday cookie cutters to make gift tags.  Anything to keep them busy this time of year works for me!

16. Make a grand entrance - swag a doorway, use fabric or greens for this one.  I have some greenery garland that we purchased 8 years ago that I use to decorate the doors with.  I have changed the bows out once.  They are worth the investment (I bought them after season clearance saved 80%!). I have some with lights, some with bows, some with ornament/bow clusters.

17. Give old ornaments a second chance.  Put them in a bowl, makes a nice center piece.  I've also used silk flowers in an arrangement, sugared fruit on cake stands, spray painted fake fruit. 

18. Dress up those canes. I haven't done this exact tip (dip canes in chocolate) but I do buy a variety of candy canes because I use them as coffee stirrers.  Not sure I'd recommend this with the fruity versions!

19. Jingle all the way. Jingle bell wreaths on the door.  I have one, I was going to make one myself but then I got one as a gift.  Love it!  After a couple days it got annoying on the door, so we hang it to the side of the door now!  My door decor is a wreath hanging I made connecting 3 greenery wreaths with ribbon & then decorated with floral picks to coordinate with the ribbon.

20. Trim in a hurry - I can't keep our tree simple like the article suggests (lights, ribbon bows, baby's breath, maybe ball ornaments of one color), I have too many sentimental ornaments now.  But I do have more than one tree usually.  I do have a bunch of floral picks in my ornament case, I haven't replaced the baby's breath yet, but maybe this year.  My hubby is an icicle person, but I dislike it with a passion!  I use ribbon & beaded garland now.  It isn't as messy as the tinsel icicle stuff.

21. Tie it in a bow! This I do, use ribbon EVERYWHERE!  I am finally after 8 years of the same pattern getting tired of it, but over the years I have acquired yards upon yards of the wired red plaid that I was drawn to.  I have bows on the tree, bows on the doors, bows in the kitchen, bows on the light fixtures, bows on the lamps...

22. All dressed up and ready... Dress up the dolls & bears for the holidays.  There are a couple bears that I like to put bows on & set under the tree when there isn't anything else under it!

23. Entertain without the fuss - bring a dish to pass.  When doesn't the potluck help you entertain easier!

24. Need party fixings in a snap? check out online party supply retailers for ideas, ok I don't do this AT ALL!!!  I usually get whatever I need at Aldi & use my "good" stuff to display & serve the food.  Unless you are serving something weighty (prime rib, steak) any old plate will do, why spend $$$ on pretty plates?

25. Spice up your ice. - adding mint or berries to ice cubes or even making them out of juice is an ok idea, if they work with what you are serving.  I usually make a decorative ice ring for the punch or if you are serving wine an ice chiller frozen with holly, cranberries, flowers/petals works nice too, just remember to keep it on a deep platter to catch the melt off.

26. Sit right here. If you need place cards you can easily create your own using greens, flowers, chocolates, anything really.  I don't use these ever, so I've never had to make cards, I have given "favors" which can either go at each place setting or in a large display if you are serving buffet style.

27. Keep those little elves busy - have stuff on hand for the kiddos.  Enough said right!  I have the youngest kids in both families right now so it is usually up to me to provide the entertainment!  Usually crayons, movies, favorite toys, even video games depending on where we are!

28. Toast it. If you are serving breakfast cut out the toast with holiday cookie cutters.  This is a great idea for pre holiday lunchboxes too! I bet Santa bologna tastes better than regular!

29. Your house and mine. Throwing a progressive party isn't anything that would work for my families.  Sounds nice though, maybe if we were ever to have a block party!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Secrets of Successful Savers and other tips found in older magazine articles A Series

Not that I save EVERY magazine I've ever bought, received or read, I just save the ones I find useful information in. The rest I just tear out the "good" stuff to file it & toss the junk. So in going through a stack of magazines I recently got from my Mom I found a few good articles that were worthy of rescue.

The first was "Secrets of Successful Savers - What they know that could work for you" by Elizabeth Blackwell (Woman's Day 4/23/02). This article is packed full of interesting & frugal advice like returning something that isn't as fabulous as you thought it would be, find something for nothing by using your local library (ours has a decent collection of videos & DVDs as well, I'm sure a larger metropolitan library would have more).

The best paragraph I read was "They're willing to work short-term to reach a long-term goal." This can be interpreted in so many ways. The author relates a story about a man who wanted a set of leather chairs for his new house & decide to work part time for the store to take advantage of the company discount & pay for the purchase. When I read the header several things went through my mind. Being a fluttering flygirl (FlyLady) I hear you can do anything a little at a time, baby steps. I also hear if you do a little now (save a little, do a little) it will have a significant impact on the bigger picture.

A couple zingers under quick strategies were don't run errands hungry; never carry more than $20 cash; next time you need a pick-me-up don't head to the mall head for family & friends; don't look at clothes in the front racks, head right to clearance.

A) I am so guilty of not eating before I run errands, yes I have noticed that sometimes I spend more, others less mostly because I'm in a hurry to get home & eat.

B) That is an impossible one if you only carry cash, I don't have checks or any credit cards. I do have a couple debit cards that are always with me, but I keep the balances fixed so I don't use them often.

C) I have stopped the run tot he mall for that boost. Of course the mall is an hour away now so it's a hassel to get there. Hope I can keep up the habit once we move back to the area! (not happening any time soon at least)

D) I hardly ever look at clothes that aren't on the clearance rack. Unless I'm in Wal-mart & I even head to the clearance signs there first. I rarely ever pay full price for clothing.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Finally a ME spree!

Well not really a spree but I did pick up a few much needed items for my closet! If you are a regular reader you may have noticed that I keep mentioning I need clothes. Well that is because I have lost a significant amount of myself (I'd love to say weight but I just dropped a size & not an ounce followed, perplexing). When I started losing weight I was a 22W. I had managed to get back down to an 18 (16W depending on cut) in between kids but after the Princess I was standing still at 18W. I am happy to report that Saturday I was able to put on a pair of 14W Capris . I didn't end up buying them because a different pair of jean Capris fit just as good & were way cooler.

I still feel more comfortable with larger on top, but that's just my body type. I did find a bra that helps me look slimmer. It's that Dolly Parton thing, I can't even begin to think how difficult it must be to dress her figure!

Sew, anyways, I went to the mall with my sister on Saturday & found a few pieces of quality clothing that make me feel good, look good & the best part is I don't look like a frump. My main goal was to find an outfit to wear to the company picnic on this Saturday. I didn't want to be standing around talking to people & have to hike my shorts up every couple of minutes. Just so unbecoming! I picked up a couple of tops, the jean capris (40% off sale), a pair of black shorts, a couple headbands (cheaper than I could make them for of course), a pair of camo crocks, a pair of Rocket Dog sneakers (BOGO 50% off split with my sister), plus I got something to say I've started Christmas shopping (clearance rack). I spent under $100, which I didn't think was too bad for what I got & the fact that we were at the mall! I do love a good sale, and we did the bulk of our shopping at Burlington Coat Factory.

I will admit that after I got home I felt guilty about every single purchase. I'm just not good at spending money on myself. Even when it is absolutely necessary.

Of course we find out that the van is going to cost almost $1000 to fix because it has a broken spring on top of all it's other problems, hubby called & said the GOOD news is that it doesn't need a new radiator... THAT's the GOOD news??? The new price is only twice what we were anticipating. All I have to say is that the thing had better run problem free for at least a year! At least it will be done, on the road & then we can move on to finding a second vehicle.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

2007 Goals July update

I said something in July about updating goals, sorry!

1. Teaching my kids about money... We have a system the 7 year old gets $7, the 3 year old gets $3. They give me $2/$1 for their savings accounts. The Prince has already earned $25 & saved $10, the Princess $15 & $5. It is almost time for a trip to the bank to make deposits of their savings. My issue is letting them spend their money. I know it's theirs, but I feel like I should still control it for them. We pay the neighbor's 12 year old to mow our lawn ($10 a mow, he only rides, we have to do all push & detail, he doesn't even pick up) and he usually turns around and buys a 24 pack of pop. It isn't really setting a great example for our kids. I want them to learn that they should get something for their money. Am I just being too uptight? After all until 2 days ago the Prince wouldn't drink pop. The things I think he should spend his money on are the expensive video games he wants, you know, the $50 ones. I do expect that they will use little bits to buy treats, but usually I keep something on hand for them to snack on or treat with.

2. Saving money... It is really hard to "justify" saving money when you have SO MANY expenses. I have been trying to squirrel away a bit with every paycheck but with some major expenses looming it has become hard. Plus since we closed the only checking account we had, I have no way to fund the ING account yet. I am going to go with next weeks paycheck & open an account in town. They have been pushing the FREE checking thing and the account we have our paychecks deposited into doesn't do ACH transfers. Don't ask me what that means or why they don't, but they don't. All I know is that I can't fund the accounts with it.

3. Organizing... I have accomplished a bit of this lately. The living room has been livable for some time. I think I finally found an arrangement that works for us. Plus even with the chaos of replacing a window it isn't too messy. We still need to finish the window, we have to replace all the interior trim because the new vinyl is about 4" thinner than the older wooden one. So bummer we can't reuse the old trim, but we did manage to find a piece we can create a header out of in the attic. now all we need is inside trim & a sill. The bathroom is organized, I probably tossed a garbage bag of stuff from in there. Gross toys, empty bottles, misc junk... Now everything is organized by use; basket of nail stuff, bag of hair accessories, first aid kit, medications, hair brushes & sprays, etc, etc, etc! Small victories, it has managed to stay mostly organized despite it's frequent use! Woohoo.

4. Exercise & weight... Still maintaining the weight thing. Not sure how, but I am. I walk whenever I feel up to it. For some reason I have been extremely tired lately, gonna ask the Dr. to figure out why.

5. Creative time & organized computer time... I haven't been sewing too much, summer not really a good craft time for me.

6. Potty Training is DONE! We have started reading Harry Potter to the kids at bed time in her room, so she will fall asleep & then we tuck the Prince in. She will stay in there for a long time some nights & just a while others. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it soon. Took the Prince until 5 to get it right

7. Emergency kits - Ok, slacker me. I have a picnic basket packed, does that count???

8. Routines - My routines are forming, I am trying to squeeze in more actual housework in the AM, but I still usually end up doing most of it in the afternoon after I get a few hours of work in.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Me a Frugal Subversive???

I just received the "Frugal Subversive Award" form Mum of 6. Thank you! Cool to think that "I" could be considered subversive!

If you are given an award and want to take part in this meme, you can in turn select three other bloggers who have inspired you to be a frugal subversive. Passing the rules on with the award will make it easier for everyone to participate. Congratulations on the award. I hope it helps you spread awareness near and far.


1. When you are tagged, write a post with links to three blogs who have inspired you with their frugal creativity or innovation.

2. In your post, please link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme and save the award graphic.

3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you are tagging, so they they know they're received the award.

4. Display the Frugal Subversive Award badge to identify your blog as part of the movement that is turning its back on consumerism at any cost.

Now I have to identify 3 bloggers that inspire me to Frugalness... the problem is I know that I will probably nominate the same blogs as everyone else does! But I gotta go with my 3 faves! I'm also not sure about the "turning my back on consumerism at any cost" philosophy, but I do what I must to get by. Hopefully at the end of the year I'll be ahead & it will all be worth while!

1. Frugal For Life - Dawn is a font of information & always seems to find the best tips!

2. The Simple Dollar - Trent, while more of a focus on finance, can get into frugalness & make you go hmmm!

3. Little Wool Gatherings - Melissa isn't trying to write a frugal blog, but her crafts are nothing short of inspirational, and making things myself is one of my "subversive" hobbies!!!

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