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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.....

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!

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

Breathing Easier.....

January 24th, 2010 at 11:22 am

in our neck of the woods. Yesterday, I walked out with the dogs and nearly couldn't breathe. The air was heavy with a horrible odor. We get this sometimes with a refinery/chemical company, but not like this. I was really worried something had happened out there. We're not near anything, but with the right weather conditions it can get a little rank out there. I called the emergency notification line but there wasn't anything major reported by any plant in any of the expanded area. Hubby went outside and told me it was a refinery-like smell rather than chemical. I finally thought to get online and found out that a tanker had run into a barge in a canal passage not even near where we live. The smell was from crude oil that had leaked. Most of it had been pumped out or contained. But, if that is what a small amount of spilled crude smells like even at this distance, I can't imagine what it smelled like nearby. Hubby said it was sulfur so I figured it was a heavy sulfur crude and it was. The hydrogen sulfide is toxic, and I believe flammable. They did evacuate a bunch of people, but said there was no danger. The breeze that kicked up yesterday and today has dissipated what we had hanging around here. I was impressed with the response stuff, and they have a ton of people cleaning it up. We were very lucky I think. It could have been a very big disaster.

On another breathe easy note, Hubby doesn't have to have any more surgery at this time. He's on a medicine/exercises/new type of pillow, splints on the hands regimen. So far, the exercises have helped his shoulders and the splints his hands. The meds have helped his legs, and we just got the pillow. We're working on it. The doc said it wasn't one thing this time. He has several issues at once. We go back in six weeks and we'll find out what he thinks of our efforts. Other than that, the MRI gives him a couple of places to watch.

We took a walk yesterday at the mall since outside really did stink. It was part of the exercise regimen. We promptly found 14 cents. Finding coins was something we used to pass the time during the exercise part of his surgery recuperation. We are just too curious this time to see how much we find total. So, I decided to keep track here of found money and coupon savings. Might motivate us even more. The coupons are only for things we will actually use. I'm thinking of putting the money in the dryer fund. So here's the start:
found money .14
coupons-grocery 1.25
coupons-household 16.00

total day one 17.39

It Always Seems So Quiet....

January 17th, 2010 at 02:01 pm

when a visiting kiddo leaves. DD and Fiance visited for a couple of days this weekend, and I sure appreciated all the technical help they gave me. Our kiddos always help me with the electronic gizmos that I have questions about (like what on earth am I doing). I get a crash course on stuff they do as easy as breathing.

We spent a little on eating out as we were all on the run at times. I had snacks and breakfast and drinks but we ate here and there. We often shared things though, so it shouldn't be too bad. We shopped for a couple of needed things, but most I got on sale. They talked themselves out of all things they saw and that is good. They are doing a better job of control than I am. We did find out that Fiance is going to be out of a job by the summer. That's both a relief and a worry. He doesn't like where he is, which is sad because he's a very easy going guy. But, they also have no idea what's next. We will be supportive of whatever they decide to do.

Hubby is having such mixed results with the medication they tried him on that it will be a relief to revisit the doc and find out what was supposed to happen. That will happen this week. Having company made the time move faster. What is getting confusing is that they don't feel that this time the things with the hands/shoulders and legs/feet are the same problem. So, we may be addressing two issues at once. To top it off, he had to go out to the plant one night and work all night to help fix something then all day, so he's been so tired and bodily wore out that we can't tell if that affected some of the results.

Why is it that they put all the multitude of instructions on the steroid medicine on one bottle in such fine print that neither one of us can really read it without a magnifier? We finally read it off the accompanying paper and made marks on the bottle in large print to remember how many pills on which days. We could make out the words, but the numbers were almost impossible. Sixes look like fives when they are that small. And, vice versa. We also needed the help to remember what day we were on. Sheesh. I have trouble remembering why I walked into a room. This getting older is getting more funny by the day. You have to laugh. What else can you do....

Missed You, Too, Lux!

November 29th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I fell off the blog wagon. We had the ole move the wedding up six months thingy with DD that put a crazy spin on the summer and fall. But, she eventually moved it till next year. Whew! I am still in debt a whole lotsa money, but working on it. I still don't have a dryer or most of cable stations. Makes me feel like I'm back in the olden days of my youth. Kinda interesting though. We have to plan more. We did see ourselves following our budget so well that we combined categories and now just keep track in bigger bunches. Still on budget, just not any better on debt. Sigh. We haven't added to debt except for wedding and college expenses...and oh yeah, the dang car keeps me stressed by breaking down on trips. But, I've always gotten where I was going or back home so that good people can fix her up. I want to keep her on the road for a couple more years at least. Sometimes, it feels like she has as many miles on her as I do.....

We had the gang over for Thanksgiving. They decided that it would be better held here. But, THEY did ALL the cooking. Man, was that fun! But, they left all the leftovers, and now we have a fridge full of food. I made a list of around seventeen meals we could make out of all the leftovers. Hubby said to start prioritizing what to eat first. The rest could go in the freezer I guess. Kinda full already though. Will make for some interesting meals as we work our way through it.

I've gotten most of my Christmas shopping done. Staying pretty much on budget...hope I can keep that up. I pulled out all the wrap out to use up this year. My plan is to finish up and not step into stores or browse online. Since we are ALL trying to be frugal this year (most of the kiddo persons are teachers--man, teachers don't get the credit they deserve...very long days and weekends with salaries that don't reflect that!) so we are all getting creative with gifts. Or trying to think outside the box with gifts. And, I kinda like that. And, my brother just had his first start college and his second get to driving age. Boy, is his fun just starting!

I try to get all my books used or swapped or something. I have been doing pretty good with my book "hobby." One of the few times we actually went to the bookstore and bought a new book Hubby and I bought the SAME book on the same day at two different stores. We definitely need to work on our communication. I am returning mine. I just regifted a whole series to DS. Feels good to recycle some of the ones we won't be keeping. I've also gone through a bunch of clothes and recycled them to relatives who actually do wear them. I am beginning to enjoy this mindset. I feel like I'm not consuming as much, and I'm recycling stuff that can be used. Except that Hubby's old chair has GOT TO GO. Or be dealt with somehow. We are getting an older couch from DS that will be perfect on our back enclosed porch. Just need something to crash on out there. And, either Hubby or someone passed on a weedeater to them. We seem to do a swap around the family sort of thing.

I am getting fed up with the debt. I know that it is just not being dealt with, and most would just say buckle down and get it done. That's what I'm going to do next year. Freedom year. Wonder what it feels like....

To Fern and Cheryl (Homebody)....

April 23rd, 2009 at 07:02 am

I got home and retrieved my vitamins for the eyes. Don't tell my doc I forgot to take them with me....

They are called I*Caps with Lutein. Those are the yellow ones. Except if you smoke. Then, you take the greens ones without Vitamin A. Or something like that. Since I don't smoke, I guess I didn't listen too well to that part. The red ones are the regular ones. I found them at Walgreens, and sometimes they are on sale. He told me to take one twice a day, but I haven't been doing that until I find out how my stomach will take to that much. So far, I haven't had any problems with them. He told me to take them now and forever because they've proven that they can help prevent macular degeneration. And, since I have a family history of it, he's hoping to prevent it from happening to me, too. Since he is a prominent eye surgeon in this area, I am taking the vitamins!

I haven't talked to my Dad about what was in the shots that he has been taking. I don't think he's on any different medicine, just the shots. I'll have to ask again. He's been able to arrest the degeneration and is now being monitored without any more shots at this time. However, the damage has been done. He's the type that won't go to the doc unless he absolutely has to. But, I have to admit, he was so brave and all about having shots in his eye every few weeks. That would have made me nuts.

My grandfather lost a lot of his eyesight to the degeneration, but until my Dad got it I don't think I had realized what had happened. I am thankful that there is a treatment now, and I sure hope it helps your father, too!