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Archive for December, 2004

New Years Eve

December 31st, 2004 at 03:28 pm

I guess my neighbor and I have different ideas on shopping. She went to the store and picked up things for a Garden Ranch Pizza that I need to make for Church for tonight. Oh well, I paid with it from an $11 debt that had been repaid to me that I never thought I would get.

For carrots, she bought those individually prepackaged baby carrots. Ugh! Oh well, a few package for the girls' lunch.

For cheese, she bought pegraded.

For the olives, she bought generic. Yeppee!

We are making the pizza dough from scratch.

For the ranch dressing, we are making it also from scratch.

I will be driving 44 miles one-way to church. But aside from the pizza and gas, we will not be spending anymore for New Years Eve celebration. So for entertainment purposes, it's pretty cheap. For religious purposes, it's priceless.

Haven't wasted any other money, although I am tempted to buy a book called A Simple Life, a 12-step process, or something like that.

My girls are going to the neighbor's church for celebration. The cost if $5 to get in plus extra money to buy things. Big waste! But they're paying for it from their own money.

Nice Dinner

December 30th, 2004 at 06:40 pm

Visited a new site call Hillbilly housewife. Has a lot of good recipes that look really good. The recipes include things like making your own white sauce instead of a can of soup. Here's a link http://hillbillyhousewife.com/.

I made a recipe tonight for dinner from that site. It was very yummy. It is called Chicken and Rice Casserole. I didn't add the optional ingredients, but I did sprinkle some cheese on top. I used the chicken that I had almost lost from non-Christmas dinner. I should get at least 2 more dinners out of that chicken. I used homegrown peas and homemade butter that I would have normally not made and lost to spoilage. I also used my convection oven to cook it in. When I made rice for the meal, I made extra so that tomorrow we can have rice cereal for breakfast.

Yesterday, we also attempted to make her Preacher Cookies, but it didn't work. So we add milk and had a nice chocolate ceral for a snack.

Off the Wagon

December 29th, 2004 at 12:24 pm

I spent almost $50 on 4 frugal cookbooks on half.com. I culdn't resist. Cookbooks are one of my addictions.

I quit smoking yesterday. I know, I know! I have been trying to quit for 11 years. I have tried the pill, the patch, and the gum. I became homicidal on the pill, allergic to the patch, and addicted to the gum! Please pray for me that I will be successful this time.

Almost blew it big time

December 28th, 2004 at 04:44 pm

I had taken out a whole (expensive) organic chicken out of the freezer to cook for Christmas dinner. Only no one was home except me, so I didn't cook. I totally forgot about the chicken! Good thing is was freshly butchered and then immediately frozen by the Hutterites as it is still good. Smells fresh even though technically it isn't. It's in the oven even though it's too late for dinner. I'm afraid if I wait another day, it will no longer be good.

Ouch! My credit card bill came in today. My husband was suppose to pay it in full last month. The bill shows no payment made. I called my husband and he said that he paid $200 of a $400 balance via internet. Payment was not recorded, so he will be checking on it tomorrow. Late fee is $25 plus $5.92 interest. Another grip I have is the bill just came in today, yet I barely have enough time to pay it on time. It's due 1/6 and the payment won't go out until tomorrow. I live in the backwoods where it takes extra time for my mail to get where it's going.

Good Neighbors

December 28th, 2004 at 11:11 am

I needed to buy a few things for our potluck New Year's Eve party at church. My neighbor was going to town, so she took my list. She is also returning some library movies for me. Bless her heart.
Now I don't have to drive the 15 miles to town.

My neighbor just let me borrow a movies she had rented!

She doesn't do these things because I need it financially, she does it because she knows I hate driving to town.

Savings pennies on dinner

December 27th, 2004 at 09:30 pm

Used a rubber spatula to extract all the soup and sour cream from the containers.

The recipecalled for flat noodles, but I have too much abundance of elbow noodles, so I used them instead.

I intended to turn off the fire and let the noodles finishing cooking in the hot water, but I was too late. Next time I will bring to a boil and then let is sit in the water. I think it still should finish cooking.

Used a lid to bring the water to a boil faster.

Buyer Beware

December 27th, 2004 at 01:33 pm

This hasn't happened since my no spend year began, but I thought this would be interesting. I was searching for frugal living books at half.com and came of with "Pennypinchers" that was really cheap, so I bought it. I turned out to be a mystery noval of a type I don't read. The moral of the story: Buy at half.com, but go to Amazon.com for a description.

When I was getting the water hot to run the dishwasher, I collected the cold water and watered my plants. This doesn't save me any money as I have a well, but it does help prolong the septic system.

I ran out of table salt, so I decided to us the pickling salt that I bout a few years ago but never used because I never canned pickles.

Made popcorn using old fashion way instead of microwave. The seasoning that I used was the seasoning I had saved from the last batch. Normally, I would have thrown it away. This time I saved it.

Going to use the free calendar I received instead of buying one.

I found out it's easier to keep the cordless/answering machine phone unplugged at night. It's just too convient to have it during the daytime. Besides, I didn't want to listen to the girls complain.

Have no plans to go anywhere today, so I won't spend any money. Well, I did have to renew the ad in the paper to sell my pups at a cost of $23. It takes up to 8 weeks to sell all the pups. But I did delete the "Christmas Puppies" header, and so it was $5 cheaper than I had been paying.

I do not have unlimited internet hours, so when I'm typing or reading an article, I shut down the internet. I only have one phone line, so this helps free up my phone too.

Saving money on utilities

December 26th, 2004 at 11:44 am

I hung a load of laundry today. I am lucky in that when someone added the second story to my house, they used a metal beam to support it. It is in the living room, and it has a lip on it. So during the winter, I put clothes on a hanger and hang them on this beam.

One of the prior owners enclosed a breeze way. We use it as a junk, storage, and craft room. We added a door so that we can close it off so that we don't have to heat it when not in use, which is most of the time.

When the second story was added, they put a sliding door on the stair entrance. This was a really good idea. (There are only 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs) When my girls are at school, we close it off so that we don't have to heat it when they're not home. Since heat rises, sometimes it get too hot up there, so the girls close it off. I don't have to heat it then either.

Allowed the dishes to air dry in the dishwasher.

Keeping the dogs in the house today. So we won't have to heat their dog house.

Didn't go anywhere today, so I didn't spend any money.

I didn't go to church today. This saved 88 miles of gasoline. Wish I would have gone to church. The savings wasn't worth it.

Some financial history

December 25th, 2004 at 10:11 pm

Comment #2. Everyone has to determine their own needs vs. wants. The main thing that I determine the difference is if it is consumable. Food is consumable, shoes are not. Toilet paper is consumable, dish towels are not.

Junk food would be considered a want, so I will compromise by making my own snacks (my girls won't like this one). However, in the event that my church shoes wear out, I would consider that a need.

A budget...hmmm! I probably shouldn't be discussing this. I don't think Jeffery will like it, but since you asked, I will tell you.

I tried a budget in my very early adult years. When I put everything on paper, my expenses were greater than my income, but I had never spent more than my income. Always had enough money to pay my bills. So I gave it up and never tried again. Jeffery said on one of his budget articles that I was not realistic on my budget. So, I would advise you to take his advise.

However, I have never spent more than I make, nor do I like using credit other than car and house payments. The only time I got into financial trouble is when my business partner decided that since I had good credit and he had bad credit, he would just charge everything in my name. One time he opened a checking account in my name and bouced $750 worth of check that he wrote within the first week. Don't ask me how he did it, but he did. I ended up having to file bankruptcy on about one million dollors. I still have repercussions from this 14 years later with tax leins showing up as unpaid even though they are paid.

Getting back to the budget, this works for me because I have never lived above my income and had a small savings for emergencies. And by nature, I am frugal. As a small child, I was the only one that always had money because I saved my money for the big things instead of the little things that didn't last such as candy. My husband use to say I was so tight, I squeaked when I walked. My sister said, "you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip". I say, just give me a turnip and watch me! I guess this is why not having a budget has worked for me, but I wouldn't recommend it for others.

On the flip side, I am a compulsive shopper. One time, I spent $5,000 for three months in a row, and this was not paying any bills. My husband was aghast, but he never said anything to me. Eventually, he complained to our adult daughter, and she told me. Those 3 months I did manage to spend more than we made, but we could still afford it. There is an interesting lesson to be learned as to how and why this happened.

When I and my girls moved to the north, he stayed in California. He decided it was easier to manage money if I paid everything by credit card as he balanced my check book. Everyone knows that credit cards offer free money, and boy did it change my spending habits. I never knew the amount I was spending because I didn't keep a running total, and he got the monthly statement. Within the 4 years I have been in the north, we were $30K in debt. Of course he never told me this either. I put 2 and 2 together when I started receiving consolidation offers that were always about $30k. When we sold our house in California, we used the proceeds to pay off the debt. Ouch!

I now have a local checking account, and I refuse to use the credit cards, and I balance my own checkbook. Since I get an allowance that I have put myself on, it is now a game to see how much I still have before my next allowance comes. So far (4 months), I haven't had any left because I manage to give it all away to charities.

I hope I didn't ramble too much, but money really is my favorite subject.

(Sorry Jeffery. I really did want to save you the .03 cents, but I thought this should be posted as an entry so that maybe others could learn from my mistakes.)

Saving electricity

December 25th, 2004 at 03:07 pm

I decided that since I was home, there was no sense in keeping plugged in the cordless/answering maching phone, so I unplugged it as I have another phone I can use. We'll see how it works. Hope no calls come in when I'm otherwise indisposed. Hope I also remember to plug it in when I leave.

On second thought, maybe it's better to have it plugged in while I'm home for the convenience of a cordless, and turned off when I'm not home. That way long distance callers can call back on their dime when I'm home. Naw. That probably borderlines cheap instead of frugal.

tooth paste

December 25th, 2004 at 12:07 pm

Oh, I forgot, when I brushed my teeth, I used only 1/4 of the amount that is used on the commercials.

On the not so frugal side, I think the sonic tooth brush is a very good investment. It is capable of vibrating things off your teeth the the brushes can't reach. It has a beep that lets you know when to move on to the next quarter of your mouth. It is also great for cleaning dentures and partials--no more stains without having to soak them!

Used recycled (my own) dental floss. You recycle the toothbrush, why not the floss?

Used only about 1/8 amount of recommended mouth wash. I highly recommend the anti-bacterial mouth wash. With this and my sonic, I never get cavities, an and with flossing, I will prevent gum disease.

Todays progress

December 25th, 2004 at 11:51 am

When I took a shower, I washed my hair first. That way the conditioner could stay on my hair while I bathed so that I would not have to stay in the shower longer to wait on the conditioner.

I put vasoline on the back of my hands instead of lotion. During the winter, the back of my hands dry out so much that it starts to sting. I don't mind getting old, but I don't really want my hands to go first. If you just use a tiny bit, you don't have an oily mess, and Dr. Dean Adell (sp) says vasoline in the best lotion one could use.

I used recycle deodorant. I just saved all the little bits of deodorant that you normally throw away. When I had enough, I put them all in the same container, and I melted them in the microwave. Now my deodorant is free.

I hate burnt coffee, cold coffee, and reheated coffee. This morning I put my coffee in a thermos to stay hot all day. Now I don't have to pay to keep it hot or reheat it, and it won't get burnt.

I had a free breakfast at the neighbors, and got a Christmas present that I can regift for a birthday present.

I also walked to the neighbors when I usually drive. When your thinking about frugal, so many ideas hit your head during the day. BTW, my neighbor is 1/2 city block away and it was snowing.

My girls went out with the neighbors all day, so they fed them. I only had me to make dinner for was myself. So I ate eggs and potatoes. The eggs cost about .30 cents, the potatoes were free from the gleanners club. Oil and propane probably cost another .10 cents. So it cost .40 cents to eat dinner for a family of 3!

I listened to the clock radio instead of the stereo, which I left unplugged. The clock radio had to be plugged in anyways, and the stereo was cheap so there wasn't any difference in quality of sound.

If I wanted to be cheap instead of frugal, I could have added my additional stuff as a separate post to earn .03 cents each. But I didn't want to save/earn money at the expense of others. It didn't seem fair to Jeffery. I'll only post a separate one if it doesn't go with my topic.

No Spend Year

December 25th, 2004 at 12:35 am

I am in the process of starting a no spend year. I intend to post my successes and failure. This will include my frugal decisions as well as my failures at spending money.

I no spend year is a little modified, is that I intend to spend money, but not on my wants, just on my needs. I still plan on giving gifts and funding charities, as that is their needs/wants not mine.

Feel free to travel this journey with me. Maybe my successes and failures will motivate and challenge you.