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Archive for August, 2013

Goals Update

August 16th, 2013 at 06:10 am


Today is payday and rental income deposit day. I am able to pay $2,000 toward my property tax goal.

I am allotting $200 for birthday plans for my ten year old. $100 for his party with friends, $40 for the food for his family party, and $60 for a gift.

I am doing a better job in the menu planning/grocery shopping arena. I found a simply inexpensive recipe (four ingredients) for cookies that I took to a meeting that I think I'll make for lunches rather than store-bought stuff. I'm also in the habit of making a bit pot of soup for DH's lunches. On Sunday night usually and then I just divide it up into small containers for ease.

DH took the boys to a free activity at the library, family lego night. They hear a story and then use it to inspire original Lego creations that are displayed. My son with the reading difficulties is enjoying his summer reading book (due Monday) following along with CD audio books.

In the thrify department, I spent $5 on a Xmas gift for FIL. A logo-branded Green Bay Packer Hat, on clearance $14.99 down to $5. I told my husband that the sale karma was with me. I felt bad about not having liquid funds to get him a T-shirt on sale at Old Navy and told myself that something better might turn up. And it did.

My goal for next payday/rent collection is $1,800 to the property taxes. I think that is reasonable.

Mini Money Updates

August 12th, 2013 at 09:37 am


It was a no spend weekend. We had an outing to Cantigny in Winfield on Sunday. It was French Connection Day. My mom was with us and paid the $5 parking fee and walked around for a few hours. It certainly would have been nice to have disposable funds to buy some of the cute Parisian inspired doo-dads which I really don't need or to snack on croissants and other delicacies. Maybe next year ...

We did go for a bike ride around our subdivision (free) and I was surprised by how much fun my boys got out of doing a word search with me laying on the bed watching an old black and white episode of "Thriller" - scary, but not too scary.

I was approved for a Bank of America credit card. If I spend $500 in 90 days, I will get $100 deposited. I can do that in one month with gas and groceries, and will use that $100 for Christmas. I also got a $20 Victoria's Secret gift card for signing up for the insurance program. I don't shop there with regularity and always pay the balance in full, so no out of pocket cost there.

I saved a bundle on textbooks for my freshman and sophomore daughters. By using Folletts (preferred vendor) I would have spent $980. I spent about an hour on Amazon and saved over $300. I was approved for the Amazon card and saved $10 (every little bit counts). I also made a call to Folletts (where the remainder of the books came from) to see where they were shipped from. They were local so I saved another $20 by shipping just ground, they got here in two days. I was worried that the Amazon books (coming from five different vendors) might not have gotten here in time, but Saturday the last of the books arrived.

DH is talking more about how dismal it is at work and how a lot of high ups are moving on before anything is officially announced about the merger and new location of HQs. I do have my bouts of concern. I do take comfort in the EF of $20K which I'm preserving at all costs. So onward we plod ...

Update from the Conflicted One

August 9th, 2013 at 07:35 am


Attitude tune-up complete.

Winston Churchill said "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

My mom and stepdad came by yesterday after my post with a 15# bag of Blue Buffalo puppy food. And an XXS harness for Teddy. And a garbage can for the girls' room (my mom helped them organize) and today will be bringing buy a shelf they found at Hobby Lobby. More treats like Baby Bell cheese, makings for my husband's favorite two ingredient dish out of Trader Joes, and a water melon.

I said it was totally unnecessary, but thank you. My mother then set me straight. My stepdad had a mid-life career change to become a teacher with the tuition and books paid for by my grandpa (her dad). And my grandparents paid off the mortgage and reduced the house payments.

And I suppose that I am coming across as a bit stressed about money by my concern about DH's potential job loss. And I take my mom's ads and coupons. And I've mentioned twice now that I'm disappointed that I can't find a job for the hours I'd like. And I wasn't planning on $980 for books, just $500. And my mom was worried about where from the budget is the other $180 going to come from (since I was able to get them for $680). And my mom was with me when I picked up the free samples of the Rxs for my daughter (which saved $400+).

So, with that, my mom will be helping out. With treats and items that will make life easier or more practical. (There will be a garbage can for the boys room coming and hooks for robes). And if I need money, I can always ask. Though she knows I most likely won't.

And I can also expect a dinner once of week of grilled chicken breasts.

So, I am no longer conflicted. The root of the problem lies deep and I suppose that it really only has to do with me feeling undeserving and inadequate at some level. Sort of like, I'm fine without your money and help. Makes me sad.

Off to read the blogs.

Feeling a bit ... conflicted

August 8th, 2013 at 12:14 pm


I am just having a hard time accepting things.

I'm proud. I know where my pride comes from. Don't need to analyze myself further than I already have.

I've refused cash money from my parents. My mother was pestering me about letting her pay for getting my hair colored with highlights. Even if its a gift and I like it, I wouldn't be able to maintain it, so I figure why bother?

I was a bit annoyed when my mother wanted to know why I wasn't going to buy my daughter uniform pants three days before pay day. I was quite frank and said, "I have $8 in the checking account until Friday. I need to buy milk." Well, my mother then bought the uniform pants for my girls.

My parents this week have purchased "fun snacks" from Trader Joe's where I don't shop. I'm an Aldi's girl for the unforeseeable future.

Today they have stocked up on Blue Buffalo dog food for the puppy. Granted they gifted the puppy, but I've taken care of the shots, etc. I don't mind a few things here and there, but I think this will become a regular scenario. In my mind I will quickly be becoming someone's charity case. But if it is my mother, am I really a charity case?

I saved $300 on high school textbooks by using Amazon for six of them. I opened up the Amazon card and saved a whopping $10. That will be a $400 bill that I need to take care of next month.

I am preserving the $20K emergency fund. Pretending as if it doesn't exist. More coworkers of DH are jumping ship. He's in the new position and still doing most of his old job (the irritating employee that was the catalyst for him moving onto the better job has quit so he's working different departments and different budgets.) The guesstimate is now 30% likelihood that HQ will be in IL. I'm thinking about doing some Christmas shopping sooner than later.

I'm having a hard time just being able to say thank you. Not sure why I'm finding myself in this rut. Oh well ...

Thrifty finds and building the stockpile

August 5th, 2013 at 03:31 pm


Today at Walmart we found an xxs fleece jacket for the puppy - convenient that it stays on with Velcro and doesn't require over-the-head dressing. Whopping $2.50. He's 4 pounds right now and I don't anticipate him putting on a lot of fat to keep him warm in the colder season.

I had $60 cash allotted for the clothing category. I spent $34.00 on Nike gym shoes for youngest son. I paid cash at Kohls and saved an additional 10% because it was tax-free weekend in Illinois. I also paid $8.50 for uniform shorts for him. We are now done with BTS clothing items. This week my mom bought the girls their uniform pants. How lucky we were to find a 0Tall for the older one. $18 remains in the clothing fund.

Entertainment will be the $1 movie this Wednesday. We're also planning on the $.50 cones at Burger King on Wednesday night.

My girls are doing great taking care of their own minor expenses ($8 for eyebrow waxing and coupon stacking for make-up) Smile Daughter used a coupon for a free Puppy Bath at PetSmart, so our Teddy now smells like a tangerine and got his nails trimmed!

I spent $20 from this spending period to help grown the stockpile. I ended up with two liquid Allegra allergy meds and two Purex liquid laundry detergents for $15 OOP (using coupons and ECB in addition to buy one get one free, and buy one get 50% off). These are things that we'll definitely use. I'm getting a better game plan for the grocery spending. I've also spent $4 on two expensive hair products that the girls like to use.

The decluttering and organizing were a bit derailed with the return of the men from Camp, so that put a lot of additional laundry and organizing into the mix.

All for now, off to catch up on the blogs. Smile

August 2nd Recap, Purging and no splurging

August 2nd, 2013 at 05:12 pm

Recap: $7.07 for a gift for party DS is going to on Sunday. Used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby. Paid scheduled fixed bills from today's paycheck.

Still working on purging and decluttering. Tomorrow I have three big bags of random stuff I rounded up while going through things, two bags of hand-me-downs to our friends, and one big bag of trash to the dumpster.

I rearranged the furniture in the dining room after getting rid of picture I didn't love (leaving tomorrow). It looks a lot nicer. I've also rearranged the china cabinet, rotating things in and out.

We didn't splurge and spend $5 for a Little Ceasar's pizza. I usually do that sometimes when I'm single parenting. Not tonight. That is $5 that can be spent elsewhere. It was Tyson chicken nuggets and French fries. With Gatorade to drink. I'm definitely trying to cut down on soda and sugary drinks. I think if I can increase the appetizability of plain water with lemon and lime slices that might be a "fun" option too.

Today I mowed the lawn and went to the bank. Tonight is the major carpet cleaning session.

So, there is the spending, purging, and non-splurging of it all.

Also: Totally forgot this big budget helper ... I called over to the pediatrician to see if they have free of my daughter's asthma maintenance meds ($165 per month insurance cost - not covered since we're meeting deductibles now - and any nasal spray). I ended up with two months of Flovent and two months of Nasonex, saving me over $400 for the next two months.)

August 1st Recap

August 1st, 2013 at 04:11 pm


Spent: $64 at the vet for the puppy.

Recouped the cost by having my mom gift us a $60 gift card to JCP which will use to get daughter 0Tall uniform pants.

Frugal doings: Last day of free soccer camp for boys (included in annual fees). Borrowing my brother's carpet cleaner rather than renting one. Using "found" Bissell carpet cleaner solution found when purging the laundry room.

I imagine that this will be a recurring theme of August's posts since I am in frugal lockdown mode.

Organizing Efforts

August 1st, 2013 at 06:07 am

Well, it feels as though I spent most of the day tackling organizing and decluttering, and it isn't very obvious yet. I did the laundry room revamp. It looks much better and feels more spacious since I moved out an odds and ends small cabinet. I purged tons and consolidatesd some cleaning supplies. The top shelves I've designated as "pantry" and organized a new stash of cereal and pasta (using Target's spend $40 take off $10). I also stocked up on dog food, and it is nice to be able to just look and see how much of an item there is.

I had one daughter go through all her clothing items. I went through the younger boys stuff and have a bag for the friend we regularly pass down to.

I have decided that I do not love a picture hanging in my dining room. I purchased it years ago for $12 and while I like the artist (Daniel Ridgway Knight), I don't like this work. I am taking it back to the resale store so someone else can buy it and enjoy it. To offset the blank wall, I'm moving my china cabinet/breakfront over.

I tackled the coat closet and dealt (*sigh* again) with shoes and winter items. The girls' occasion shoes are going in a bin in their closet.

I've managed to organize my ironing and will probably tackle DH's shirts that have been accumulating for awhile. I also did a quick go through of books that we own and am scaling back, by hopefully 35% in the long-run. My dad has retired and is looking for a project and is going to help give my fireplace a makeover, with a new mantle and some shelves on each side. I am excited about that prospect.

Wow, this was a random list of incoherent (albeit organized-related ramblings) acts.

Well, it is August 1st now and the switch to ultra-frugal has flipped. The nice thing is that there are groceries and gas and no need to scramble out to buy needed items. The puppy goes to the vet, but that is already factored in. We've two two parties, but I'm going small on the gifts.

Frugal things: free soccer camp for boys (included in soccer fees), rather than outing to Starbucks - used a coupon for a free bakery item from the Starbucks at Target and cracked open some frappucinos and sat on the deck, reading, playing and listening to library items. My mom and dad brought chicken over for dinner for us last night, my dad fixed my printer that had an odd and bad paper jam.

All is good.