Sunday, March 29, 2009
I have found a silver lining to this "economic downturn". I have always been a bit on the frugal side. More so than the rest of my family. And to some extent - the rest of the family (before the "downturn") tried to keep it a secret. Although I do talk about money with my daughter, and for the most part, I think she gets it pretty well for someone her age - I secretly found most of her cohorts' attitude about money disappointing. Last year, we had sleepovers, took groups of kids to events, etc. Did they say thank-you? No. Did they offer to pay? No. You get the idea. Things started to change last summer. We took one of my daughter's friends on a work/vacation with us. She is one of the more "sensible" of the friends. Anyway, to cut down on food expenses, I bought bagged salad and salad dressing to eat at our condo. By the last day, after everyone else used the dressing - it was empty. I just dumped a bit of milk (it was "Ranch"), swished it around and poured it on my salad. My daughter's friend was amazed. She said she would never have thought of it and at her house, they would just throw the bottle out and buy a new one. Fast forward this month. My husband volunteered to drive to an event since the school could not afford to rent a bus. My husband had two additional passengers. One a neighbor's child. My husband was taken aback as this child offered up gas money - and both thanked my husband for volunteering to drive. My husband did not take the money - but, I think she is learning something. Then another child asked my daughter to spend the night. My daughter replied that she couldn't - but perhaps they could go to a movie. The girl chimed in, "I did a bunch of chores this weekend", and my mom took me to the movies yesterday. I don't want to do any more chores this week and I don't want you to pay for me, so, I will pass". Push me over with a feather. I think lessons are being taught in the home that weren't in the past. Lessons we've all heard before - "money doesn't grow on trees" and "don't take things for granted" - and probably a whole lot more. And just to drive my family crazy this weekend, I picked dandelion greens (our back yard is fenced and we do not use any types of chemicals on the lawn) for a stir fry that I will enjoy on my own. Planting vegetable seeds will have to wait for a sunnier day - hopefully sometime this week.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Today, I spruced up my feet. Spring has sprung and I considered going to the nail salon. Anyway, I work with several ladies who swear by the "Pedi-egg" - sold at CVS for $9.99. So, I figured I'd spend that and more to get them "done" - so I gave it a whirl. I'd have to say it was 'meh. I now have moisturizer on my feet under socks. I swear I read something along those lines somewhere about softening them up, etc. Tomorrow, I plan to give myself a pedicure. All this trouble so that I can be "presentable" in sandals. Also, my wonderful husband finally finished our taxes. We get a small refund from the State - so, it was mailed out today. Too bad we owe a bit on Federal - so, it won't go out until closer to the deadline. As for selling the rental property, it is on hold for now. Seems the guy checked out to rent the place, but doesn't seem to have what's needed to actually but the place (yet?). Not sure what the entire story is, and am not really sure I want to know. So, we shall see.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We moved from our last primary residence just over two years ago. We rented the place out because we weren't sure if we'd like our new area. Or perhaps because we became attached to it since it is the house associated with the birth of my daughter, we lived there for a long period of time, yada, yada. Property values have dropped a bit around here - but nothing like some "hot spots". Our renter moved out last month and the agency has been trying to find a "qualified" (one with a good credit rating and ability to pay) tenant since the beginning of the month. Today, I get a call and there is tenant interested in renting the place - but wants to buy it too. I am thinking we can sell it without any capital gains because we have not rented it out for more than 3 of the last 5 years. Not that there'd be much in the way of gains - but it would make it more ideal if there wouldn't be any taxes against it. I will be discussing it my husband tonight to see if there is price we'd be "happy" with - but than a price we'd be happy with - it would be the net sales price - I am not sure what the rental agent is thinking - but she deserves a commission - but, I am not willing to fork over 6%. Also, although we did some upgrades, and have kept the home well maintained, you never know what buyers' will ask for. So, somthing to think about indeed.
I have been under the weather and have been home all week and will be until Monday. I can say I am happy to have health insurance - but even so, having to pay deductibles have added some "unexpected" expenses. I sure thought it would be nice to just sleep in and relax - and for the most part, it is :) I didn't buy groceries for this week - until today. It has been fun creating meals out of the stuff I have/had in the pantry. But, I gathered up my coupons and headed to Kroger. I must say, shopping mid/toward the end of the week yielded me with a lot more "manager" specials. I got lots of fruits and produce today as well as stuff I was out of and I am under budget. A few days ago, I made long night shirts for my daughter and I using advertising t-shirts and polo shirts my husband no longer wanted. I have been sorting through things around the house to get a small load of stuff to take to the consignment store - mainly so I don't have to just drive there to pick-up a check. At work, a former co-worker is being thrown a baby shower - I need to come up with a creative gift - I have two weeks to come-up with one.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Today for lunch, we used my birthday freebie at Red Robins - a Gourmet Burger and of course they also provided a nice sundae too. I switched my burger with my husband's salad and soup and he ate most of the sundae with a few bites going to my daughter. Though not free for the three of us to eat, the food was delicious and we enjoyed ourselves. Then over to Maggie Moo's. My daughter and I split a free regular milk shake - yum. Then we browsed the bookstore. Then to Wal-mart with my $20 prepaid VISA card (it expires in a couple of months and I sure don't want to not spend it) and my $10 Wal-mart giftcard from Mypoints. My daughter needed a few school supplies, so we got what she needed, seeds for a veggie garden, 6 6-packs of annuals, some groceries, and I splurged and got myself the "ALL YOU" magazine. I like the coupons in it (and the articles too :) - but my daughter loved the coupon for a free mascara. I ended up spending .54 out of my wallet for the entire shop. I have to say, since I am watching our grocery budget closer, I think we are eating better, and I can say I have lost a bit of weight. Watching the grocery shopping means I am buying less snacks, more fruits and veggies. Also, I have made some creative soups. I let very little go to waste. Those bits and pieces and stored in the freezer. Then, I made soups or add those bits to stir fried brown rice or noodles. Tomorrow is our "free" lunch out - courtesy of a relative in honor of my birthday.
Friday, March 20, 2009
We combined my husband's business trip with a short "Spring break" trip for my daughter. It was nice just to get away. Even though housework called, no way to do it if we aren't home. We got USA Today's delivered to our door for free. Today's paper had a coupon for a free "Amp up" or something like that energy drink in the "Life" section. We came home to a couple of rebate checks too. Spring has sprung and I hope to get a few plants in the ground tomorrow. I am going to take my $20 pre-paid Visa to Wal-mart and see how far I can stretch it between a veggie garden and some decorative annuals for our front yard. As far as additional birthday freebies Wendy's sent me a coupon for a $1 off a premium combo. But as an anniversary gift, Maggie Moo's sent me a coupon for a free regular shake. And, my daughter just showed me some fashionable scarfs that have been crocheted with sequins added costing between $140-$175 - uh, I think it is about time she learned how to crochet. I said I would help. I believe for $10-$15 in materials and some time, she can make her own.
Monday, March 16, 2009
My birthday is next week! I signed up for a few birthday clubs. So far, I received coupons for a free Gourmet Burger at Red Robin, a free cookie wedge from the Great American Cookie Company, Free Like It Creat Your Own Creation at Cold Stone Creamery, and a free Ice Cream Cone from Maggie Moo's. These are nice gifts ;)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This afternoon, my husband and daughter stopped at the mall and library. At the mall, my daughter was hoping to pick-up a free T-shirt with a coupon she found in a magazine - but alas - they were gone. Gotta be quick these days. But, I got two Trade Secret $10 off anything coupons while I was at an outlet mall back in December. They are only good this month. My daughter got her favorite hair product for $3 with the coupon and my huband picked up a pair of Tweezerman tweezers for me for just under $3 with the coupon. This is not a paid advertisement - but I love Tweezerman tweezers. I lost my first pair, and have been making due . . . can't beat today's price :) I stopped at Publix - the 1 cent item was tortilla chips - eh. But, I got three pizza's (at home fast food) whipped cream and pudding all for under $10. The cashier was quite impressed. The pizza normally sells for around $6 a piece. So, I am baking a pan of brownies - and will be making a triffle momentarily. And I was thinking how frugal some hobbies can be. I enjoy sewing when I have time, but in the mean time, I probably saved a few bucks hemming 2 pairs of jeans and stitching an applique for daughter.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Happy "pi" day! In the last month or so, I have signed up for about 5 free magazine subscriptions and they started arriving this week. Woman's Day, Forbes, Martha Stewart Living, and Metropolitan Home to name a few. Now that we don't have all of those extra channels to flip thru, I pick-up a free magazine to read. A bonus is, some of them have coupons in them too. Next week is Spring Break for us. We will be combining a business trip with pleasure for a frugal vacation. I saw an idea to recycle t-shirts. Taking about 3 T-shirts and making one long pj when it gets warmer. Have you seen the prices of new pjs? A great way to recycle too :)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Frugal stuff from the last couple of days: This year, instead of buying annuals to plant in two large pots and two flower beds, I planted seeds in the pots. The two flower beds, I am going to limit my spending to $20 prepaid Visa card I got as a grocery refund months ago. As I mentioned earlier, my daughter won a saving bond in a poster contest. She can receive her award at the Capitol. Since it is a professional organization my husband belongs to that sponsors the contest, his employer agreed to pay for his transportation/hotel. Since my husband has agreed to be bumped on a couple of flights, we have flight vouchers to pay for my daughter and me to fly. We will have an out of pocket expense of less than $100. Cheap get away for us. Plus, they have some free events scheduled and last year we got some nice freebies :) A co-worker informed me today that she was following my lead and was cancelling her satellite tv service. But she went further, she also reduced her cell phone costs. She is going to look at all of her subscriptions. Of course, we use pre-paid cell phones, so, not much for us to cut at the moment. Still hanging on tight to the land line for some reason though.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
A side benefit of not having satellite TV service right now is that we don't have access to 24 hour news stations. We get the news, but it only comes on about three times a day. Today, I purchased over $75 in groceries and saved over $50 in coupons and specials. Kroger is having another buy 10 of a certain items, and get $5 off. I had matching coupons. Coupons must be a sign of this time because we get a small work related newspaper. For the first time last week, it had a coupon insert. To my surprise, many kept the coupon insert - but my paper had two inserts and one of my co-workers didn't want his - so I had three. Which gave me 3 .40 off Gorton's seafood. My Kroger doubles - and the stuff was on sale for $2.99, plus another .50 off for being part of the buy 10 deal, and another .80 for the doubled coupon. Cheap salmon fillets. Also, if you go to the Gorton's website, you can print off a form for a "premium" calendar filled with an additional $15 worth of coupon with the receipt and 3 UPCs.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I mentioned earlier that we protested the valuation of one of our properties this year - currently just land, owned jointly by lots of people. Many of us protested, and originally, no change to the valuation was made. Today, it appears the valuation was cut in half. My daughter won an art poster contest and will be awarded a $200 Savings Bond. Of course that should come in handy to pay for college expenses. In the news, the State's prepaid tuition fund experience a hefty loss. We received a letter from the State stating that they were attempting to make agreements with individual education institutions. Ugggg.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Frugal deeds for the day: I received a nice rebate check in the mail - although I received a rejected rebate also (for contacts - I need to include a receipt for the eye exam itself in addition to the receipt for the contacts - funny - I didn't get a receipt because my insurance covered it - but the eye dr.'s receptionist said she will provide me with an eye exam receipt since I really did have one). I had enough points in my Mypoints account to order another $25 gift card. This time I ordered a Target gift card. This is for a "birthday" gift and will go in my gift closet. My daughter gets invited to birthday party's - some times at the last minute. And I can say I am thankful I have health insurance. Also Spring break is coming up - and my husband has a business trip scheduled for a place that is "drivable" and has some interesting attractions. So, we will be taking a short Spring Break trip that should be very frugal also. And the seeds I planted in door are finally taking root - I may be able to make a small salad soon. Funny, only 1 spinach seed made it. So, now where the spinach were, I have planted some sprouted carrot tops as I have read somewhere that they can be used a substitute for parsley. And only 2 of my lavendar seeds seem to be "making it" - but hopefully they will make enough fragrance to make up for the "lost" seeds.