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Daily Udate

June 12th, 2015 at 05:45 am

Dark and rainy morning here in the Midwest. Most likely a good day to go back to bed, but the girls need a ride to church where they are helping out with a drama camp.

Frugal triumphs yesterday
1) Saved gas and had girls bike to church
2) Made homemade mac and cheese and chocolate chip cookies for dinner
3) Opened the Capital One account for $50 bonus in 90 days

I missed having a NSD because I spent $6 on elastic ankle supports for my oldest son who was complaining of some pain after the last soccer game/practice. I am so glad that the season is ending tomorrow, and I imagine if the pain continues he'll go to see the doctor. We've never had any sports related injuries which is surprising with all the sports/dance the kids do.

Moved up one extraneous expense (pom camp fee for younger daughter). It is in August, so I assumed I could pay in July and had it on the list of "To Pays". They'd like payment now, so my additional principle payment to mortgage drops from $200 to $103. Oh well, so the juggling of the money balls continues.

Still operating from the premise of economic choice - decided to put off an outing to see the first run movie Jurassic World to next Tuesday when it is $5 at the local Cinemark. We'll treat the cousins and then have a sleepover, should be a lot of fun. If we had gone today - would have been $8/person. Still spending the same amount, just including others.

Frugal doing for the day:
1) Library for movies and books and wii games
2) Eating from pantry/freezer
3) Still on track for my weekly budgeted spending of $125 on groceries, looks like we'll be using frozen fruit in the Vitamix for our smoothies, since not planning on shopping til next Tues or Wed.

Organizing goal for the day:
1) Books > final cut to shelf/picture books and early readers to basement
2) Final bag up of items for tomorrow's drop off to SVDP

All is fine in and out of the money realm. Smile

Frugal festivities continue

June 11th, 2015 at 07:55 am

along the lines of:

1) Opened capital one savings account with $5K from EF - will get $50 in 90 days (this was in lieu of opening checking accounts - which I had planned, but never did). Also considering the Discover savings account for DH and making another $50. Will most likely divert those bonuses to Dec FL trip.

2) I have decided to take a seminar this summer - one week long the first week in August. Tuition during the summer is 35% cheaper than in the fall/winter/spring sessions.

3) I returned an impulse purchase to Sam's Club - $5.xx. I realize that I don't look good in orange and I never will, and I really like my white/black/grey palette. Note to self: avoid clearance priced clothing in the color orange/melon or turquois/aqua green. These will never, ever work for you.

4) I returned the Christmas gift to the store DH purchased it from and have a store credit for $76. I didn't have his debit card for it to be credited to - but I do like the store he shopped at, and will have it for future needs or whims.

5) Cleaned up the jewelry that I'm going to hopefully sell tomorrow.

6) Limited driving today and designated it a NSD.

Frugal Doings

June 10th, 2015 at 05:11 am

1) Tracking spending (again) and realize that I save 10% average weekly on the groceries using coupons on things we use regularly Aldi's had almond milk and Greek yogurt on sale, so I stocked up a bit on those items (still cheaper than regular store)

2) Took two surveys at the bottom of receipts and yielded one free donut at Dunkin Donuts and free fries at Portillo's.

3) Today will spend $3 on Wed. morning kid movies at our local theater

4) Cashed out $150 in Target gift cards from PNC Bank to put towards younger daughter's ipad needed for school

5) Passed on textbooks to nephew for his frosh and soph years

6) Cancelled oldest son's registrations to Boy Scout Camp (he's going on a different trip with extended family that week) so that resulted in a $280 refund.

7) Gained back 1# of 8.5 lost - need to make better food options - definitely attributable to carbs. Frown

8) The Christmas trip fund has $225 thus far (two of DH's checks from side gig plus money my daughter didn't spend on her trip to FL that need not go back into the cash flow).

9) Going to move $5K to a savings account at Capital One for a $50 bonus to be credited in 90 days.

10) Going to work the smoothie recipes around the seasonal produce on sale coming up

11) Younger daughter found a dress for my brother's wedding at Nordstrom Rack - can't say that I've ever been there - but will most likely visit again. My limit was $30 and she found the cutest Betsey Johnson dress (but smallest size is 2 and it will have to be altered) for $48.xx after tax (down from $130?!). She covered the overage, and I'll cover the alterations. So cute, and the girls are now done with clothing for the event.

Smile

The old Polish proverb goes:

June 9th, 2015 at 01:42 pm

"Not my circus, not my monkey."

Flipside of that is:

"Not your circus, not your monkey."

In the event that anyone feels the need to offer unsolicited advice along the lines of "what I think you should do" or "I don't agree with you" - such comments will be deleted. I'm not asking for anyone's approval on or acceptance of what I or my family does.

You don't like how we chose to celebrate birthdays, move on and don't comment.

I try to afford people the respect that I would like to receive. Life is too short for such drama.

Smile

Money Tides Might Have Turned

June 5th, 2015 at 08:02 am

Today is the first day of *the*frugal*summer. We slept until 9:30.

The goal for the summer is have at much free and frugal fun as possible this summer, with the goal being a nice trip to Florida in December (birthday and Christmas gifts for kids/funded with our savings and Christmas cash from grandparents). We've got everyone on board.

We are having our celebratory year end dinner out tonight at Portillos (minus daughter in FL). We've saved our change (and I will obviously supplement from the Consumables category). Managed to effortlessly save $32.50. (Everyone's change and my singles plus a random $5).

We have on our calendar of (almost free) things to do:
1) Visit Lincoln Park Zoo
2) Participate in library reading club
3) Free concerts in the park
4) Car show (free) on Friday nights
5) Trip to MSI where we have a membership already
6) White Sox game three tickets from rained out game for a different game
7) Volunteer at local humane society
8) Feed my starving children outing
9) $1 movie at our local theater - kids movies on Wed mornings
10) Use a groupon for a visit to the local pool (skipping a membership this year)
11) My girls are volunteering as counselors at three camps my church is running - one son is also a counselor for one camp, and several are attending various ones
12) Summer reading for upcoming grades starting in the fall

We're trying to calculate the value saved on some of these things and then using that to fund our account and keep it afloat.

And my oldest son hap opted out of BS Camp (that I just paid $280 for but should be able to get a full refund) to go on a "Boys' Outing" with my brother's new father in law, brother in law, stepson, and nephews. It sounds like a whole love of fun in a huge RV with camping, fishing, biking, etc. I secretly wish they'd invite me. Smile

So, all in all, heading in the right direction. Smile

Simplifying/Streamlining/Confession

June 4th, 2015 at 05:15 am

Since the school work is winding down, I'm finding more time to tackle problematic areas in the house (yesterday was organizing my cookbooks/transferring out winter boots/coats from closet/tackling year end papers and supplies from the kids). Consequently, lots of things are going into the trash or donate boxes. Very satisfying to see progress with less.

That said, we're tending to value experiences over stuff. We don't need more stuff. I don't think we want more stuff. DH and I talked about a trip to FL in December as birthday/Christmas gifts to the kids (5 birthday from 8/23 to 12/22). Factoring in what we receive as gifts (cash from parents) it is probably do-able. Excited about that plan and putting it into action.

Streamlining: Just trying to work smarter, not harder. Tomorrow is payday and there isn't anything exciting or mind blowing about that. I was down to my last $8 (this appears to be the theme "Running out of money the Wednesday before Friday's payday". My mom lent me a trash sticker (cost $3.82 weekly for trash pick up) and three eggs. The kids ate left over and DH and I had scrambled eggs.

Confession: In going through my closet I found a black patterned tunic my husband bought me for Christmas. He let me know that the sales gal helped him out. I don't exactly like it very much. At all. My mother loved it and bought herself the exactly one. Twinsies with your mom who is nineteen years older than you: Not gonna happen. Good news is it has the tags on it, and I have the receipt. I can return in for a store credit. Back it is going, and is will be forever a distant memory, until I see my mother wearing it. Right? Wrong? It cost $73 with tax. (Side note: DH did get me beautiful earring, too, that I love and wear with regularity when I get a bit spruced up!)

And I'm going to see about selling two rings and diamond necklace. Rings were from the dating days when I wore them (and I believe DH purchased them from MILs friend who had her own version of a pawn shop) and the diamond necklace was a hand-me-down. My children have their own nice jewelry and these aren't sentimental items - in the least.

Tomorrow is first full day of summer when I won't have to be a responsible parent to get up and say good-bye to a school-bound child. Last day of finals for younger daughter. She had a tough, tough time with Spanish -- thinking about dropping it for next year and doing Latin.

ETA: $4.81 impulse purchase (shirt from Sam's) going back. Will count that in my "smart money" too.

Random observation:

June 2nd, 2015 at 02:44 pm


It costs more money to eat whole foods, but I'm thinking that it is totally worth it.

10-day green smoothie cleanse turned out profitable; weight loss of 8.5# for me, and 15# for DH. I am pleased to say that I followed to a T with the exception of 1 small cup of 1/2 caff coffee in the morning. (I hate to say what I was drinking pre-cleanse). I've also managed to kick the sleeping pill habit. It's been a rough go, but I think I'm finally finding equilibrium with wake/sleep times natural to my body.

The kids are getting way less processed snacks. I've yet to become totally reformed, but we've said good-bye to soda (opting for lemonade/ or Arnold Palmers). We've said hello to healthy bytes and home-made cookies. Less bread, more chicken. (Like 7# of chicken in one week - with seven eaters).

Went out to eat today with my mom and daughter at Egg Harbor. (Not sure if those are around the US or just Midwest?) And I had a fresh fruit crepe, passed my English muffin on to the others, and drank water. Smile

Today I spent $68 at the grocery store for the next few days. Save $6 in coupons and got a free milk.

Calling it a wash --

May 27th, 2015 at 05:36 pm


On my way into Walgreens, I was approached by a gentleman who appeared to be in need. His minivan was an older model, and we had made eye contact, I smiled and nodded. (My new thing is try to always be positive, I caught a glimpse of all the tired parents in the car line after dropping their kids off at high school and no one particularly pleasant - I'm trying hard at that).

His request was very specific - he was in need of some type of fluid for his car - I am bad with motors and I can't say that I'd know which fluid it was - his debit card had been turned down and he needed $6.10. It was broad daylight and I wasn't too weary or concerned because he seemed legitimately in need. I told him that I'd see what I could do.

In Walgreens I was buying items on sale and with coupons for maximum savings since my funds feel somewhat depleted. My coupon savings was $8.00. I had to take $10 cash out over my total (wouldn't allow me the $8 that I saved), so one my way out I handed it over to the gentleman. He was quite appreciative and we blessed each other.

He said he'd pay it forward. I'm thinking that small acts of kindness like that can make the difference.

Feeling happy with the outcome.

Calling it a wash --

May 27th, 2015 at 05:36 pm


On my way into Walgreens, I was approached by a gentleman who appeared to be in need. His minivan was an older model, and we had made eye contact, I smiled and nodded. (My new thing is try to always be positive, I caught a glimpse of all the tired parents in the car line after dropping their kids off at high school and no one particularly pleasant - I'm trying hard at that).

His request was very specific - he was in need of some type of fluid for his car - I am bad with motors and I can't say that I'd know which fluid it was - his debit card had been turned down and he needed $6.10. It was broad daylight and I wasn't too weary or concerned because he seemed legitimately in need. I told him that I'd see what I could do.

In Walgreens I was buying items on sale and with coupons for maximum savings since my funds feel somewhat depleted. My coupon savings was $8.00. I had to take $10 cash out over my total (wouldn't allow me the $8 that I saved), so one my way out I handed it over to the gentleman. He was quite appreciative and we blessed each other.

He said he'd pay it forward. I'm thinking that small acts of kindness like that can make the difference.

Feeling happy with the outcome.

Interesting observation:

May 26th, 2015 at 11:59 am


As the reality of having little to no extra funds until next payday (extraneous category was totally depleted and then some), my sudden whim for wants increases.

< in money, > in wants ?!

What is that about?

I'm rather disgusted with myself and should never meander around Sams during the early hours when they let Business Card holders in. I actually stopped at looked at $89 Coach sunglasses (?!) and a three-tier tray made of galvanize steel for $24.99 (?!) (One decorating blog I follow does sinfully delicious home vignette decorating in one of those - Why couldn't I?). And an orange yard stool (heavy glass maybe)down to $19 from $39 (but, it would match the colors in my neutral and drab family room!)

I really don't know what do say to myself. I am literally stretching my dollars and turning in my pennies for solvency (I could use credit cards or transfer from my savings in the event of a "real" emergency). Where is my fortitude?

Wow, I am feeling really off-kilter and out-of-whack.

Watching the dimes ...

May 24th, 2015 at 05:47 am


I tracked the spending - and while it has been within realistic realms - I added up the amount spent on snacks and trips to Wendy's after sports practices. And DH's obsession with premium beef jerky while filling up his car. That adds up quite quickly to a family meal out at Portillo's.

There is a soccer tournament going on this weekend (Sat/Sun) with at least ten most likely 12 games for three players. I did yesterday's run, DH is doing today's. I had to be there at 7:00 AM yesterday and DH's start time was 8:15 (its about a 45 min drive). Anyhow, I let everyone know that there is a family dinner out on the calendar to celebrate the last day of school for the last remaining student 5 (on 6/5). At Portillos, (their new favorite place) and that is where all the "snack" money is going.

This meant that I packed healthy snacks and drinks yesterday, and sent more snacks AND sandwiches today. My thrifty Boy Scout made a comment about those dimes will turn into dollars. That made me laugh.

DH and I are doing a raw food/green smoothie cleanse for 10 days. That wasn't as costly as I thought since it used frozen fruit and fresh greens. I did have to go to the health food store for ground flaxseed. I am hoping to lose 6-8# and am sticking just to walking, actual bike riding, and using the recumbent bike at the Y.

It's busy, busy coming up these next two weeks with my own school work, kids' final projects, DH's work schedule. Etc. My first inclination is to run to the prepared foods (i.e., packaged and processed) but I'm not doing it. I'm making home-made mac and cheese plus something in the crock pot, and I've got ingredients on hand for homemade cookies. I also have a recipe for no bake energy bites which I can finally make since I have the ground flaxseed.

Hope everyone has a restful weekend. And if you know a veteran, say "thank you."

I know that several of our SA family are military families, so I thank you for supporting your loved one as they make this country as great and safe as it is. Smile

Meet Flo, my new best friend

May 20th, 2015 at 05:28 am


The renewal of the insurance policy on the rental property went up to $1,042. That was roughly $120 increase across the board.

I happened to get a flyer from Progressive. After a quick (HA, not really, rather longish) phone call Flo, I was "outsourced" to another provider who deals with rental properties.

My replacement coverage was raised to $220K for the dwelling and my policy dropped to an overall cost of $795 annually. I paid the $130.34 for the policy to go into effect on 7/19. I will then make ten payments starting 8/19 for $65.67.

I'm pretty pleased about that. Once I have my other paperwork for policies in front of me, I'll call back for a quote on the primary/cars.

Small (positive) money blips

May 19th, 2015 at 09:42 am

1) Opening a savings account in DH's name with Discover. Minimum required to open account is $25, with $50 bonus credited.

2) Opening a checking account in my names with Citibank. Will maintain the minimum and make one bill pay for two consecutive months for $125 bonus.

3) Being much more diligent with spending and couponing. I managed to save 50% of items we use regularly by matching up CVS coupons and manufacturer coupons. Definitely spending smarter.

4) Will have enough money left at month's end to throw some crumbs into my IRA. At least $100, hopefully $125.

5) Volunteering to work the used book sale at younger daughter's high school. I will first dibs on her books for next year, plus a discount!

6) $5 free dollars at Old Navy will be used to purchase a new uniform polo for my son. The light blue color just doesn't allow any survival rate as do the older grade's dark blue.

7) Also decided on adding a specific item to my wardrobe. I will be replace two or three different old and faded items. The cost is $34.95 at American Eagle. If I wait until the 24th, there is $10 off of $40. I can always through a pair of socks onto the purchase to get the discount.

Totally stealing CB's thunder with this quote: these are all bricks to building my financial empire. Smile

How the other half shops ...

May 15th, 2015 at 09:57 am


DH took the day off to watch the boys' Spring Sing at school. We then had a $25 gift card to spend at the upscale grocery store (foodie organic Heaven, apparently).

I understand the importance of making wise food decisions for one's family; I'm embracing some small changes this week forward.

We wandered aimlessly before deciding the funds must be spent because we wouldn't be returning (we've had the gift card at least several years).


We looked for ginger and ground flaxseed- no luck on either of those. Frown Here is what we spent:

$10.99 for take and bake organic pizza
$2.99 x 2 Lentil soup mixes
$6.99 on honey roasted peanuts
$2.50 for a protein bar

OOP was $1.51.

What I am doing this week for healthier living:
1) smoothies x 3 mornings breakfast
2) home made no-bake energy bites
3) salads x 3 lunch/dinner
4) making homemade air freshner w/essential oil
5) only 1 2L of soda to go with pizza.