Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This month sure flew by fast.  We are experiencing a heat wave here.  So, I have been using gray water to water my trees.  I have a bunch of peaches and pears that look promising - so, just want to give them a little boost.  Today, my daughter and I are planning to drop some more items off at the consignment store and check to see if she made any funds.  I also plan to do a bit of grocery shopping since we will be having a cook-out on Wednesday to celebrate the 4th.  We have invited my dad over.  My daughter ad her friend will be heading to the movies this afternoon for some entertainment since it is too hot to do much outdoors.  The two were hoping to use the pool - no additional cost to us - part of our HOA fees, but it wouldn't be fun or healthy.  I plan to return a couple of books and try to do some home maintenance and maybe some cook ahead for us.  I also plan to find some use for 2 bags of mint some kind soul donated in the breakroom at work.  I know I am going to look-up microwave drying for some of it to make a face scrub.  May try to use some in a recipe.  The ones I left in a window sill at work in a clear vase seem to be doing well - hopefully by this time next year - I will have plenty myself.  I have founself becoming a lazy shopper.  Even though I got an e-mail from Bath and Body Works with some enticing deals - I have talked myself out of it.  The economy?  I am talking $2 per Wall-flower re-fill and a $10 off $30 coupon. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6/28 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Filled the car up with gas at lunch time - and was excited that gas is now a tad under $3 - yippee!  Easily amused aren't I.  Oh, a lady at work left 2 packages of specialty tuna and a fresh tomato from her garden for me.  I helped her on her project.  Today was payday for me - a rare month with 3 paydays :)  So, I added to my daughter's new-to-her car fund.  Called the insurance company - my appeal just got assigned - good thing I called.  I am sure they were hoping I would forget.  My daughter culled some more clothes for the consignment shop.  She also did some heavy duty cleaning and made some peanut butter cookies. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6/27 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Got a decision from the tax assessor of our beach lot - the valuation has been dropped just a tad under $30K.  That means less property taxes - I am sure that will be the next mailing - the amount owed.  My daughter made spinach pie - and substitued the cheese for straight mozzarella - it is yummy.  Last night, I also made a batch of vegetarian curry so that we don't have to cook.  We have a heat wave going on.  The insurance company has not called back with their decision yet.  Since I want them to take their time - I will give them another day before I follow up.  Besides, I am too tired to be nice today.  I poured enzyme cleaner on my tub last night - now I will clean it.  I have changed my work schedule to go in an hour later - and of course stay an hour later.  That extra hour actually ends up making the end of my day longer because of the traffic.  But, it feels so luxurious to be able to sleep in a 1/2 hour or an hour in the morning.  I have beeing sleeping in 1 hour extra every other day and taking a brisk 20 minute walk on the other morning.  It is so nice to do so.  Frugal to work on keeping myself healthy - and free too :)  My daughter's new-to-her car fund is building up steadily - knock-on-wood, Murphy hasn't visited.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26 Expressions Happy Birthday to my dear husband edition :)

Frugal deeds for the day:  I called the insurance company and got an agent that seems very inexperienced.  I couldn't make any headway with him - so, I asked for his name and told him I was planning to e-mail the CEO, the State Attorney General and the Insurance Commissioner that he told me there was nothing else I could do - but take my business elsewhere for that 1 property.  He seemed a bit hesistant when I said I planned to move all my business - remember - we have primary properties, rental properties, cars, etc.  Okay, doofus said it was a waste of my time to move everything - he must think I am unaware that usually, insurance companies offer discounts when you insure multiple properties/cars with them.  So, while taking down and getting the spelling of his name - good thing I was calm as it was too early in the a.m. to get too worked up - he said - well, I can transfer you to the Executive Resolution team.  I said I would like to speak with them - then he told me they weren't available - but he could transfer me to an affiliated insurance company for that one property.  I told him to go ahead and get me a quote - he said I had to stay on the line - the doofus transferred me - and the insurance company said they don't insure primary residences in my state - uh, by now, I am a bit annoyed and the agent transfers me back to my insurance company and doofus is no longer available - so, kind lady on the line offers to transfer me to the Executive Resolution Department - and long story short - he is going to ask them to reconsider and promises to get back with me tomorrow.  So, hopefully, everything will be satisfactory tomorrow - otherwise - I will have to draft the promised e-mail and fire it off.  As for nice freebies, someone at work has left mint for the taking.  I got a large bag of it and plan to make a facial scrub with it.  But, I have also put a few sprigs in a vase at work on a window sill and hope that it will root.  I understand that mint is a weed - so, I am hoping a few will multiply in the weedy area of our backyard to grow a weed that is useful.  I may try to make mint jelly, etc.  My daughter made some awesome Baklava today - and since she has Phyllo dough sheets left - we are having spinach pie for lunch tomorrow.  I got up early today and walked - free exercise.  I saved tub water and watered the plants outside just a few moments ago.  Now, I will use the homemade enzyme cleaner and clean out the tub.  I polished my nails at lunch.    These are my frugal deeds for the day.  My daughter bathed the dog - saved us some pet grooming $.

Monday, June 25, 2012

6/25 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  On the personal finance front, the tax assessor heard the protest of 31 of the 73 owners of our beach property.  We should be getting a decision in a month or so of his decision - hopefully, reducing the value - and thus our property tax on that property.  As for the foreclosure property we bought last year, the tax assessor will listen to all of the reasons my husband and I think that it's tax value should be dropped way more than she originally suggested.  Next up, we are in a bit of a tiff with our insurance company.  Seems they want to offload us for our primary residence - but keep all of our other business - rental property, cars, life, etc.  We aren't taking this lightly as I am sure the attorney general will be interested as the insurance commissioner - seems we had a few too many weather related claims - sorry - but that is what insurance is for - and we cannot control climate mishaps.  Although we have been a customer with them since the late '80's, "the house" has always "won".  Now that one property in the last 5 years burned up more in claims than they made on that policy - they want to cancel it - is unacceptable.  So, I plan to call tomorrow - my husband - the nice guy called twice . . . now, its the meanie's turn.  When we returned from our trip - we mostly had a dearth of junk mail.  But, we had a few nice freebies - and a .16 dividend check from Wendy's.  I will try not to spend it all in one place - har, har.  Oh, and whilst I was away, the team I work won a semi-annual award - and we each were given credit to take 2 days off . . . times sure have changed.  It used to be $.  But, I would appreciate the time more than the $.  Time to kick-up our frugalness - this is the last month for us to save toward a used car for my daughter.  We have made great progress - and hopefully, she find a great reliable car that she is also happy with - and of course, fits her budget.  We are teaching her to buy a car with cash - if you don't want to fork over the cash for, she probably should not be buying it.  Hope the lesson sticks.  Oh, and did I mention that I find the British method of marketing magazines addictive?  They have "goodies" in some of the magazines.  I purchased a knitting/crocheting magazine for 2.99 lbs - and it had 2 skeins? of yarn in 2 pretty colors, a crochet needle - and instructions on how to make a cute pillow.  My daughter got one with sunglasses - and another with a Benefit cosmetic product.  Just facinating :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6/24 Expressions Oui Oui Paris - Part Duex

                                                            The Lovely Venus Di Milo

Frugal deeds of the week:  Okay, so, we saved money on the airfare, lodging, food, and enterainment and racked up a few nice freebies.  On to shopping - so, we are not into kitsch so much - but my daughter's friend wanted an Eiffel Tower replica for her brother - best price - the street vendor - for which she paid 5 Euros - we saw the same one in shops for 15 Euros.  My daughter wanted a - "I Love Paris" sweatshirt because there were some chilly/rainy days and she didn't fully believe us when we said it could be cold and rainy - she got one from a store near the Hilton Arc for 20 Euros - of course, she said the same sweatshirt a few stores over was 15 Euros - but she didn't feel so bad because it was selling for 45 Euros near the Palace of Versailles.  Lucky for us, we only picked up a few goodies - my husband and I picked up some boxed cookies and candies to take to our respective offices from the supermarket.  The girls' did splurge on some French perfume - supposedly an exclusive chocolate scent.  I have to say cabs cost us more than the meter price because there were 4 of us - after 3 people, there is a surcharge.  In addition we had a total of 6 pieces of luggage - surcharge for some of those also.  The girls brought extra luggage - a waste because they didn't wear or use some of the item - hence - a waste.  My husband purchased a set of converter plugs for around $16 at Target - they came in handy.  At all of the hotels - we were able to get access to free wi-fi and send e-mails using my husband's Nook or my daughter's friend's Kindle.  I had a great time flipping through cable tv channels - remember - we don't have any service other than the "free" stations at home.  But even more entertaining was watching Snooki from the Jersey Shore speaking in French, etc.  There were many different language channels - including English - so, no worry. 

                                          The magnificient Arc De Triomphe . . .

Now for a few bads:  We ran into several scamsters - fortunately, for the most part, we were not hoodwinked.  Anyway, at the Louvre - several Americans said they were pick pocketed.  Also, on the bridges over the Seine River - beware - women are pretending to "find" a gold ring - and if they can catch your interest - ask you to trade it for money - or perhaps get close enough to pick pocket you?  In any case - we saw them drop the ring out of their hand and it seems they were being shoo'd away.  We did "donate" a few Euros to some pitiful looking women pretending to have a petition for the school of the deaf - in retrospect - I believe it was a scam also.  And while the service of British Airways was excellent - let's just say, traveling economy class for such a long flight is tiring, muscle cramping, etc.  Fortunately, I had a Livingsocial coupon for a massage and a wrap (I thought it was for losing weight - but it was for moisturing instead - which I was grateful for - as long flights are dehydrating).  In addition, I have to say, we had 6 hours in Heathrow airport - can we say we vacationed in London also.  So, I got my first forray into Herrods - expensive - but I got 2 tins of shortbread for gifts at a bargain (sale) price of 10 lbs - close to $20.  My other tip is - when you have foreign coins left and don't want to bring them home - use them at the airport - and then charge the rest on a no foreign exchange transaction free credit card - like our Hyatt card to get rid of them.  Will add another picture - next adventure . . . saving money after we returned home.

                                                            Notre Dame . . .

Oh, and before bidding Adieu for now - I wanted to add that we went to the Museum of the Invalides and visited the grand tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte . .  . it was quite interesting.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6/23 Expressions Oui Oui Paris Edition

                                          The fabulous Louvre . .  .

Frugal trip tips for Paris:  This was a fairly frugal trip for us.  We used 25,000 British Airways miles and $5XX for each ticket.  In addition, we used points to stay at the Hilton Arc De Triomphe, Hyatt Vendome, and Hilton Orly.  Great thing was, each provided a fantastic breakfast for us - for the 4 of us, at the Vendome (stayed 1 night - reserved 2 rooms) would have cost us 200 Euros - yikes - we did pay tip.  Also, at the Hilton Arc De Triomphe - we had access to the executive lounge - so, we were able to eat light lunches and dinners, snacks and drinks.  Don't worry, we did eat out a few times.  Tip:  at the cafe's - there are 2 prices - takeaway and sit and eat.  We did takeaway a couple of times and ate on the balcony or if we were eating sandwiches - while we were walking.  Next big money saver - since the girls were under 18 - they showed their passports and were able to get into most museum for free.  The exception was the gardens at the Palace of Versailles - but they got to do the museum tour for free.  Nice trip - we took the train and it was very reasonable.  We stopped at McDonalds - no fair - the French McDonalds has a wonderful coffee/tea bar - the McCafe - and also, some very nice pasteries at reasonable prices!  British Airways was generous with meals and drinks and they also gave us travelers toothbrushes and toothpaste on our flights.  Also, we got to watch as many movies as we had time for on our own individual screens - and no charge for the headset :)  Hilton Arc De Triomphe had excellent food, service, and nice smelling toiletries.  They also provided us with throw-away terry cloth slippers - which I did not throw away.  The Hyatt Vendome upgraded one of our rooms to a suite - it was so luxurious - for "free"!  Heated bath floors, very nice Nescafe Coffee Brewing machine - I think I am hooked - and a nice assortment of very nice teas and water in the room.  Oh, and a box of chocolates - 4 pieces - about $15 at the store that we thoroughly enjoyed!!!! And they had some very interesting beauty accessories - a comb - guess they don't want anyone with messy hair running around, hygiene bag, etc.  Most interesting was the price list for hair treatments that can be done in the privacy of your room - hair dye - confidential - 1,000 Euros anyone?  I imagine it to be for a white collar criminal with money - escaping the authorities by changing their looks with a confidential hair dye treatment :)  Anyway, I will post a few more pictures now - and add more to the adventure tomorrow :)

                                                           The famous Eiffel Tower - we didn't get to go up - a 2 hour wait in line for the elevator ride - and about 30-45 minutes if we wanted to walk up.  It costs Euros to do either - but none of us were up for the wait - so, we settled for this picture :)

                                          View of the city from atop the Arc?

                                           Aveur (not sure I spelled that correctly) - but that's bye for now :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6/12 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mail was good today - got the freebie bag with nice samples and coupons from Target.  I have to say they are really nice and useful.  Tim Horton also sent a dividend check for .34 - don't get too envious :)  I used up two of my husband's old ratty t-shirts and a baby crib for the kitchen rug - and it gave hours of relaxation therapy and a sense of accomplishment - priceless.  Still cooking from the pantry.  Lots of rain this week - so, no need to water the plants. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

6/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I won some more Greek yogurt coupons.  We love them but they still seem a bit overpriced.  I realized I do enjoy cooking - when I have the time.  I made Asian dumpling for lunch - and they were delicious.  I chopped - with my new sharp knives - onion, spinach, and baby carrots and sauted them - then added to them to a bit of ground meat I had left in the freezer.  I had wonton wraps from Kroger - from the "natural" section, still showing the manager's special sticker of .99.  Those, with a bit of brown rice and we were set for lunch.  Of course, my daughter had leftover veggies in peanut sauce since she is vegetarian.  For breakfast, we all had baked oatmeal.  Used up the last of the eggs, some oatmeal, raisins, and cinnamon/sugar.  Added a bit of soy milk - and we were all satisfied.  For anyone affected by the oil spill, the on-line claims form is up at - I believe.  There was a 1 page ad in the paper.  I've filled it out - and it was pretty easy.  On the financial front, I have not checked our stocks and mutual funds for weeks.  The market has been too volatile - and I know I will let it affect me.  What I don't know - won't hurt - in this case.  Read some tidbits in the paper, says it is a good time to travel to India and Europe cuz the dollar has gained some strength - which would offset an in increase in airfares - apparently.  Good thing we purchased our air tickets to France last year - using our British Airways miles.  So, going when the currency exchange will be a bit more favorable will surely be a nice thing.  We got some rain and the flowers and plants are doing so well - and of course, the rain keeps the water bill down.  I think the economy has impacted many - walking in our neighbor yesterday, I noticed one of the "neighbors" has an extensive box garden in their yard - and they had 2 rainbarrels under their gutter spouts.  Looks to me like they built a greenhouse too.  The first thing most people notice is the increase in food prices.  There's only so much one can do to save at the grocery store - the next step is to grow it yourself.  Just harvesting a few herbs has been rewarding and watching my fruit trees grow is comforting too.  This year, I should have more than a handful of pears and peaches.  Looks like the muscadine grape plants will be producing some fruit as 1 blueberry bush.  Maybe not enough to make jam - but surely enough for a little snack.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

6/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I stayed home all day . . . and walked in the neighborhood for exercise.  Then I got a hankering for recycling - so, now I have started a rag rug for the kitchen with old t-shirts (who doesn't have a million of those?).  I am also still cooking out the fridge and pantry.  It is amazing what you can come up with even if you have to tweak a recipe.  Today we had veggies in peanut sauce with brown rice, omelet with goat cheese and herbs from my "garden", and a few other tasty concoctions.  Mail was wonderful - got some Listia winnings - including certificates for free drinks at Starbucks :)  I will need to do another de-cluttering and trade my junque for stuff I would rather have.  Got a few freebie magazines in the mail too. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

6/8 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Pictured in an Asiatic Lily my daughter planted.  So beatiful and vibrant.  Unfortunately, one of the blueberry bushes we purchased at the same time did not make it.  But Lowe's stood by its policy and refunded our $.  We also did several other money saving errands - mainly returning stuff.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

6/7 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Tomorrow, I will return a couple of purchases to TJ Maxx - I don't like the shoes/work clothes as much as I thought I would.  Should have tried them on in the store.  Also, a blueberry bush that I purchased from Lowes is not pretty much a goner - it will be going back for a refund or exchange.  I have decided to change my work hours and go to work one hour later and stay an hour later so that I can get a "walk" in before heading out to work and getting a minutes of extra sleep too.  I need to go ahead and make a life change so that I can become healthier.  I plan to give myself a manicure tomorrow.  I went to the beauty school and got my hair done and my brows waxed. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

6/4 Expresssions

Frugal deeds for the day:  First, the on-line claims form against BP damage is available at:  Pictured are the $4 Cala Lilies I got from Kroger on Manager Special . . . I know, I wasn't going to buy groceries this week - well, I went in to use my 4 free Greek Yogurt coupons - got the yogurt and the pictured plant.  The recycled pie tin is from moi.  I mailed out a bunch of small items I "sold" on listia.  Yippee, my daughter got an internship at the local hospital - no pay, but competitve and great experience.  Her first "interview" too.  I am so proud of her - sorry for that "proud mama" plug :)  My daughter and I are cleaning away; that's frugal too right.  It has been raining - so, cheap water.  And I redeemed a couple of free Frappe coupons at McDonalds.  So, I am being frugal - but still throwing in a few frugal luxuries while I am at it :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

6/2 "Make Money While You Are Sleeping Edition" . . .

I have been thinking about the subject phrase for a while.  Okay, while I think most of those ads - and I have never clicked one - are scams - it is true, you can make money while you are sleeping :)  Passive income falls into this category - so, yup, I don't need to click on those ads.  And passive income is my favorite kind of income - now, I just need to figure out how to increase it.  Does that make me lazy?  Earning interest while you are sleeping is great!  Generating rental income while you are sleeping is great - although I don't think the you want the IRS to think you are totally passive in this respect - although we do get rent while sleeping - we do have some days where we really aren't sleeping :) when it comes to rental income.  Now, if I could figure out a way to increase weight loss while I am sleeping - yup, I am sure we are "losing" weight while we are sleeping - but . . .

6/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  So, my daughter and I are going to eat what we have and spend no $ money this week since we have plenty - I have a few free Greek yogurt coupons in my coupon pouch - so, may use those.  But in any event, above is part of the roasted veggies - zucchini, grape tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  The seasoning - I used "Greek'n Greens and Seasoned Salt from .  This is not a paid advertisement for them - but the seasonings are wonderful and relatively frugal.  So any way, I plan to use the veggies in pasta and salads.  To be even more frugal and kinder to the environment - I tried to be very mindful - seems easier when you have time.  So, while rinsing the veggies - I rinsed them over a pot to catch the water to use on my outdoor plants.  The peels went into the compost.  I used as much of "residual" energy as I could.  For instance, I boiled the pasta for about 5 minutes, turned the stove off to let the pasta finish cooking with hot coil and boiled water - but for a lid, I placed a cookie sheet with sliced veggies waiting for their turn to go into the oven - I had 4 cookie sheets going - 3 roasting while the other was waiting.  Used the pasta water on the plants too for a bit of fertilizer.  Today, we are going to clean, sew, and then I will take my daughter to get a gift certificate for her friend - for her birthday.  They are baking at her house for their "party".  For free exercise and entertainment - we have been "walking" our dog (currently - we think she is meany).  Anyway, earlier - we saw 2 adult rabbits grazing in our back yard - they have a dug? a small opening to get in and out under the fence - too small for the meany.  They must like the grass and weeds in the backyard because we don't use any chemicals back there.  Anyway, now there is baby bunny running in and out of the bottom of our deck - lattice makes it easy for it to get in and out - and keeps the dog out.  The dog almost got the baby - it was "shivering" with fright - so, my daughter wants the dog on a lease so she can attempt to get the baby.  In the meantime, we are hoping the baby finds it way out of the yard through that hole dug by its parents? or friends.

Friday, June 1, 2012

6/1 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mail call:  got the Interactive SAT "game" and quick nail polish.  My daughter and I are going to try our best not to shop for any groceries this week.  We have plent in the pantry, fridge, freezer . . . so, might as well eat what we have.  We also plan to list a few more things on ebay and listia.  Also, she found a dress she no longer likes.  Tomorrow, we are going to try and upcycle it.  So glad the weekend is here!