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March Report...

April 1st, 2010 at 08:31 am

Where did March go? All of a sudden, I'm working on April.

I had almost 40 dollars left in the utilities fund for this month, so I added it to the found/saved money. I, also, had some change we've been finding along the way when we walk. I had enough to get to the next couple of 20 dollar levels and put that into the dryer fund. With the warmer/wetter weather and needing a water delivery, I suspect the utilities fund will be back to smaller overages if any at all. I'm working on that.

I clobbered the food budget for the month. We've been eating a lot of fresh salads and vegetables and fruits. I, also, have had to clean out the hurricane pantry and baking supplies and replace some things. We usually spend approximately 200 dollars a month on food, but this month is was more than doubled. On the flip side, we hardly ate out at all. And, then shared or with coupons. I think our eating out came to less than 30 dollars total. Maybe, that's why our food budget is higher. We'd just run our errands and then return home. Ws weren't on the road this month, so we weren't eating elsewhere either. I still have a freezer full of stuff to eat up before hurricane season starts. You don't want fish or ice cream in the freezer when it dies for two or three weeks.

I was also amazed at the fact that I didn't put ANY gas in my car in March. We did take Hubby's truck to do errands on the weekends, but my other errands were bunched up and spaced out. I didn't have but one trip in the car to another town for a doc visit, but I filled up the end of February and now have half a tank left. I was out yesterday to mail a package and was going to fill up for the holiday weekend, but decided to wait until April. It is the principle of the thing. I know that some months I don't use a lot of gas, but I've not straddled a whole month to see it in black and white. If it had been a goal, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it.

I've been leaving the air off as long as possible. It doesn't get that hot in the house, but the humidity is building outside, and it is going to get uncomfortable inside. Especially at night. I'm going to have to break down and use it. It has been fun watching my electric bill slide downward. It is leveled, but the "real" cost is shown. Now, the gas bill goes down, while the electric goes up. One time in another home during this time of year, my gas was unused and electric way down so the company came out and changed my meter. They thought it was broken. Not the fact that I wasn't using much. That was pretty funny to me.

I usually don't get Spring Cleaning fever, but this year, I'm cleaning out. I've been working on a long needed redo of the laundry room. Where does all this stuff come from........

Frog Leg Chili?......

March 6th, 2010 at 11:03 am

The Spring festival season has begun. And, with it comes other stuff like cookoffs and such. The news was talking about a chili cookoff that included frog leg chili. I'd almost go try that out for fun except for the fact that here it would be so spicy that my head would blow off.

We always budget one night at one local festival for the food. The food sponsors are local organizations and are manned by volunteers and all the money goes to local groups. So, we always try to make it one night to get our favorites and to see what else people come up with. You can buy almost anything on a stick, including cheesecake. And, fried everything, including twinkies and snickers and oreos. The food is expensive, but some of it is pretty good. I have to stay away from the spicy stuff, but I can manage to find some interesting stuff to eat. Funnel cakes are always fun because they coat them in sugar and cinnamon, and then you try to eat them in the wind. We look like snowmen after that. I often put a bottle of water in my jacket pocket so I don't have to pay for the drink. I can then order more actual food. It is always interesting to see who you'll bump into that you haven't seen in a year or two. You'll usually find someone you know at the food row. Funny how we all look older.....

Sharing.....

March 4th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Hubby's office wasn't in the plans. I had tried valiantly to keep my "stuff" out of the room. I had even envisioned adding in cable so he could watch ballgames while he listened to his music and worked or played his games. But, then the printer went back in there and then the filing cabinet since I file most of the stuff I print. I still tried my best to keep out of there. Then, after a weekend of events with the kids, we came home with a couch.

DS and family had gotten new living room furniture for Christmas and wanted to know if we wanted one of their old couches. It had rained every other time we could go get it, so I had plenty of time to figure out what I would do with it. My "office" and project work space is out by the kitchen in a rather large enclosed porch area. Since so much stuff was migrating back to Hubby's office, I was clearing out a lot of junk. I had a rug out there and an extra little table and the second television. And, room. For a couch. A long time ago, we'd had one out there. So, we brought this one back and gave it a try. And, it works. It is like that old thing that if you change the furniture, you want to change the drapes and the rugs and everything. Well, I only wanted to remove the "office" and perhaps make the whole space into a sitting room/bedroom for company. One of our spare bedrooms is the office and the other is being converted from storage to a space for grandkids to stay. It has lots of toys and books and a cat. The adults have to camp. I'm trying to figure out how to use Hubby's office during the day and disappear like smoke during the evening hours. It also means facing up to the fact that I have to finish my projects. That might be a bonus to the situation....

A Small Addition....

February 25th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

to my dryer fund. I took a cue from ImaSaver and added in the extra left from my utilities budget to the February coupon/found money totals. That made me reach the next 20 dollar tally for the year, so I added that to the dryer fund. I thought about adding in any extra from the whole budget, but I should put that on debt.

I'm skipping the BIG library book sale in a neighboring town tonight. It would cost me 15 dollars to get in the preview night and then the books are about a dollar apiece. I usually find some awesome buys, but I've bought a bunch of used books this month. I'm calling it even. I've also swapped a bunch, so I have no reason to get more. The last year or so at the sale, I stocked up on books for children and my bookcase in that room is full. Sigh, I just love browsing, but I end up with way too many.....

Utilities extra 11.00
Found money/coupons/sales 2.00

Got Me Thinking....

February 22nd, 2010 at 09:52 am

because of Campfrugal's entry. Thank you, Campfrugal, for my trip down memory lane. My kids roll their eyes at my stories. I was raised on a mini-farm. We grew all our veggies, and my grandfather raised our meat. We had eggs delivered on Fridays and milk on Mondays. We went to a store for things like toilet paper and chips maybe every two weeks. We made our own cookies and drank our ice cold well water. I can remember my first grocery shopping in college. I had to buy things that we'd always had in the freezers. My inlaws were amazed at the fact that I'd hardly ever gone to a restaurant and so didn't know what to order. We picked blackberries from one of our fields, and Dad grew blueberries after I left home. My other grandmother had apples, and her pears put store pears to shame. Sometimes, we'd get amazing peaches from Mom's boss. One of my neighbors grew strawberries and raspberries--he'd share the raspberries with me. The other neighbor grew popcorn. We'd often sit outside with BIG bowls of popcorn and iced tea. We made our own ice cream on the weekends. I, too, can remember a neighbor's pigs getting out and the roundup, roosters crowing in the mornings, chasing down a horse or two that ran off, and one mule chase for two elderly ladies. Needless to say, my upbringing was a little odd to most of the kids in school. I loved it!

Procrastination.....

February 19th, 2010 at 11:26 am

sometimes works out in crazy ways. I've worked up our taxes, and we should be getting a smallish refund. I'm not sweating it because next year DD probably won't be able to be counted so we'll lose that on our taxes. Then, we'll probably break even. However, I often don't send it in til March. Yesterday, a horrible event happened in Texas. A man flew a plane into an IRS building in Austin. The mess looked horrible on television, not to mention those poor people inside. My taxes go to Austin. I wondered if that was the building. Can you imagine all the people that have sent their information in only to have it burn up in that disaster? I suppose that procrastinating once again on the tax return might have helped me not to have to restore the paperwork. But, I feel the most for those people and families involved. It is so tragic.

I went to the grocery store for the first time in two weeks yesterday. I had been out of town babysitting DGD for a week, then eating out of our freezer. There, I ate food I brought with me for breakfasts and their food they left for us for lunch and dinner. So far this month, we've only spent about 150 total for groceries. Got a couple more things to get, but I think we can finish more out of the freezer. That total doesn't cover toiletries and paper goods. With coupons and savings, I added a bit to the February total.

Today is baking cookies day, but I haven't gotten started. In the spirit of finally getting some sun and a couple of days of warmish weather, I've been sort of spring cleaning in the book boxes. It's driving the kitty nuts because the books are stored in her room. All this moving stuff around in there is messing with her day. I'm procrastinating there, too. I'm supposed to be priming kitchen cabinets......

Off To A Good Start.....

February 1st, 2010 at 01:16 pm

in the found money department. I only went to the Post Office. A lady about five people in front of me dropped a coin and left it. By the time I got up there, no one had bothered to pick it up so I did. Hey, a dime is a dime. So, ten cents starts off February.

Got more of my tax documents in today. I hope to sit down soon and look it all over. I certainly hope the bottom line is good news. I would really like to have a smidge of a refund to add to our debts.

We ate out last night with a gift card given to us at Christmas. We're not counting that toward the dryer fund because we wouldn't have gone there nor spent the money if not for the card. But, thanks anyway to the inlaws!

I've got to start planning the freezer cleanout before hurricane season starts. I've already been going through the supply pantry to find any outdated or close to being outdated foods and using them or tossing. I am hoping that we will then need minimum groceries for February. Then, we'll start stocking up starting March. A few items at a time. I used to have that stocking up money in the budget. Now, I'm going to try to incorporate it into the regular groceries.

It is such a dreary day, I think I'll go read a book for awhile.....

Found money .10 total


Ah, That Warm Baked Cookie Smell.....

January 31st, 2010 at 12:19 pm

is doing me in. Can you really save money on store bought baked goodies when the smell of baking in your house lures both you and Hubby to warm cookies? As a kid, I baked cookies on the weekends for our family. Now, I am rediscovering how enjoyable that is in the winter. Warm kitchen and the smell of cookies. Sigh. I make it a point to eat one of the first batch and one of the last. Hubby is having a harder time of it.

I was filing away a few receipts and found that I had saved about 7 dollars in sales and coupons in the last couple of weeks. Coupled with the 41 cents we found on our walk yesterday, that makes 7.41 to add to our January total. Hubby is really good at this finding money thing. He finds most of it.

I was so excited about hitting our debt harder this month. Then, we got a tuition bill from DD. Sigh. When DS started the per credit cost was about 50 dollars. Now, the per credit cost is almost 250 dollars. No wonder we are going around in circles on this. This is the last semester though. Then, perhaps I won't feel like I'm around and around the same ground......

Coupon and savings money 7.00
Found money .41

total 7.41

Maybe This Will Work.....

January 27th, 2010 at 12:56 pm

because I've made my goal for January of adding at least 20 dollars to the dryer fund. I counted up all the change from the Frog which includes the found change from quite awhile. I ended up with 9 dollars to add to the fund plus a 1936 Liberty head dime. Pretty cool. Note to self...pay closer attention to what coins are in the Frog. You don't know what you might actually find in there. Then, when I went to the store, I saved with coupons and sales at least another 3 dollars. I'm a beginner on the coupon stuff. So, I added 12 dollars to the January total which made the total over 20 dollars. I added the 20 to the dryer fund. I had been putting some extra money in there for a bit before I got the idea to get consistent. It is now up to 100 dollars.

I have decided to ask Hubby to let me count his change before he adds to the Frog. Most of the time, he keeps it. But, most of what he keeps are quarters. So, if he is going to add to the Frog and I am going to be adding found change to the Frog, we don't want to be counting some of it twice. So, I am going to count it when it goes in instead of when it comes out. Mostly, because I don't always put the found change in the Frog. Sometimes, it ends up in the car change thing or purse. This way I can be consistent...and sorta honest with myself.

I went to the doc to pay for some documents they filled out for me, and they returned the self addressed envelope I had given them. Anyone know how to get an unused self stick stamp off an envelope?

Thank You, Ima Saver.....

January 26th, 2010 at 10:50 am

because you've made me think. Hubby and I got into a conversation over a restaurant dinner (I had a coupon and we shared!) to set the parameters of our challenge. I thought that the coupons for things like the dinner which we probably wouldn't have done without it wouldn't be counted in the challenge. But, the things we would need or buy or things on sale that we would normally use anyway we'd count. We wouldn't count sales from some stores that we knew weren't sales at all compared to other stores but just handy at the time. Like Hubby's cokes. At the regular market they are often on "sale" but I know that their usual price at another place is that price anyway. So, it isn't really a "sale" at all. Sound confusing? It is going to take some time to sort out and get into a habit.

But, to explain things in the conversation, I referred to Ima. I told him about her challenges, and that she physically puts the money in an account. I told him about her envelope method and that she puts the extra into these accounts. I then told him that over the last few years, I have watched her save 15 to 20 thousand dollars each year. His mouth dropped open.

Unlike Ima, I'm going to have to use the extra over the budget for debt repayments. But, we are going to save the change, coupon money, and found money and when it adds up to 20 dollars, we'll put it in the dryer fund.

One day, when all is paid off and the kids totally on their own.....I'm aspiring to be another Ima Saver.....

Found money .23