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Archive for December, 2007

More Bonus Fun

December 31st, 2007 at 03:27 pm

Today at work I received two more gifts/bonuses. I received a nice box of Godiva chocolates. It was very well received by me! It was nice because it was from Mrs Fussy Pants. She is a dear lady but she demands alot! So I felt honored knowing she must really appreciate the things I do for her. That will be shared tonight with my kids for New Years Eve! I also got a card with $5 in it from a couple who is also semi fussy. So that was nice to remembered for all I do. I got alot of coupons at work today, magazines, a book and some blank envelopes. Silly little things I hate to waste! I get to take them home instead.

This week I must get to the bank and deposit all my cash gifts and rebate checks before I decided to spend it.

The R word

December 30th, 2007 at 04:25 pm

Have you been watching any of the news shows this weekend? When they come to the money and economy part they have predictions for 2008. Most mention the word RECESSION. I think as frugal people we need to be really focusing on the climate of the nation right now and what we can do. Most frugal people know to have an emergency fund, save more then you spend, and watch things like credit cards and too much debt. All in all great ways to protect yourself. But how can one ...starting today and now protect yourself from the R word??


One way is really thinking more carefully about money choices rather that reacting. Being much more careful about your money and less flippant. Making choices with eyes wide open as oppossed to eyes sorta shut. Or worse case making money choices blindly! There are zillions of ways you can save....but for each person it is different. But....each of us needs to really start now. Becoming green in the money department is key. I think being green is great but we have to be wise with our money environmnet and how we spend our money as it too is a precious resource. I do not want to have to work more....I want to work smarter and wiser!

I dislike New Years resolutions. My ex husband used to make them FOR ME! Talk about a bad way to start off the New Year!
Now I make new choices every year. Choices that are positive and choices that help me live hopefully better. Yes I think we are in a recession......but there are ways we can make improvements and safeguard or money. We can even encourage others. Not in a prideful way but by example. Lets face it many still have their heads in the sand.

Happy New Year. May it be full of peace and contentment. May you be smart or even smarter with your frugal lifestyle and finances.

Movies

December 28th, 2007 at 08:51 am

I am pretty proud of myself that I have not been swayed to go to any movies so far over the Hoildays. In most cases after taking my kids to the movies I feel I have wasted my money and my time. I just feel that the movie companies have stolen from me each and every time I walk into a movie theater. Now when I watch a DVD at home I NEVER have that feeling.
I remember going to see Narnia and being thrilled I went. That is about the last time I felt good about a movie. I am amazed at how so many families just go over and over to the movies. I frankly could not justify it as a frugal person.

I think as frugal people we have to be on our guard as far as entertainment goes. Plenty of cheaper alternatives. Plus I hear all the talk about recession and again movies are way down on my spend list. Saving is way up on the list.

Going thru your stashes

December 28th, 2007 at 08:43 am

Today we are going thru our stashes....here a few things or catagories I do not need to buy more of....

1) shampoos and bath products. My girls are well stocked. Any leftovers are for me.
2) gift wrap of any kind
3) greeting cards and card making supplies
4) puzzles
5) reading materials-esp books

Look thru your stashes...it is a good time of year to take stock.

After Christmas thoughts

December 27th, 2007 at 08:58 am

Happy after Christmas everyone. Yesterday we returned a few items my kids got from the other relatives......those of my ex's.
I did not think it was too crowded out there. I bought some wrapping paper and that was it, about three rolls. I really needed some gift bags...but none were cheap enough. I will buy some red ones on sale after Valentines' Day.
My ex bought my two little girls cell phones. I was not too happy. I think it was a silly present for girls so young. Oh well....can't compete.

I returned the top my mom got me and of course without a receipt I got the low ball price. The jacket I got is too big...really really big and I have no energy to search every store in the world to see who can claim it. So I will wear it around the house to keep warm. I wish she would leave receipts on the items. Better yet I wish she would not buy me clothes that are HUGE. I just don't get it. When someone loses about 110 pounds....their sizes change. I don't get it....I never will understand what she is up to.

My kids got a calendar someone in my ex's family made with photos of everyone. I glanced thru it and it was WAY TOO PAINFUL!!! BIG mistake. Of course there were photos of my ex and his new wife at their wedding and them hugging on every other page. Plus my ex's family hugging her. I am really praying my kids take the calendars back to dad's house. It is certainly not a thing I would like to stare at for 365 days this year. And no I am not going to play nice and forgiving.....I will never acknowledge her or my ex or play nice ex wife. Sorry.
I am able to maintain a level of "no comment" with my kids but I will not embrace any of their shananigans.

I have a small stack of cash and checks from rebates, work bonuses and owed money for my savings account to go to the bank. I am trying like the dickens to not use it! I figure if it goes bye bye I will not spend it. I am looking at a tax bill that is due in two weeks for $2000. I am not looking forward to that.

I am looking foreward to being frugal all over again in 2008....! I already started with cutting my own hair! I took alot off and I love it! My oldest daugher yelled at me saying I was way too cheap. I just don't care! I am slowly learning to do things my way and ignore the comments of disdain.

The kids are with dad this weekend....so I can take some Holiday decorations down, turn the heat down low and eat cheaply! I think my son will be here as he will not go to see dad anymore. I hope he goes but I usually stay out of it.

I also will cash in my penny jar. Last year I had 600 pennies. I hope to have more this year. We are planning on having taco bell with it. A new one just opened in our town....so we are going to have a treat.

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone.

Merry Christmas!

December 23rd, 2007 at 07:07 pm

Had a nice visit with my parents on Saturday. They stayed a short time which is their way of visiting. Short and very sweet. My parents bought me some clothes but they are way too BIG! My mom forgets that I have lost alot of weight and so she keeps buying everything way too big for some reason...so I hope to return them. They also bought me a designer handbag which is something I NEVER DO! It was a fortune as she left me the tags. I may just keep it because she will wonder why I do not have it. All very thoughtful to be sure. They liked their gifts so I was so glad about that.

Today is laundry and cleaning. A tad boring. I did eat lunch out with a gal pal. She gave me a gift card for groceries!!!! It was so pracitical. The kinda of gift I LOVE! So we had fun eating out and talking.

My son is not flying in tonight because his flights were cancelled due to bad weather. So now he flies in on Monday around 7pm. I now have to get him and take him to my ex's house where his entire family will be. I am so uncomfortable with this whole dilemna. I am really stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know for sure my ex is doing this to make me feel bad. I may have to suck it up and just do it. My main prayer is my son arrives safely now! I am a wreck just thinking about him travelling during Christmas eve. Hopefully he lands fine and on time!

Well enjoy getting ready for Christmas--be blessed!

This and That

December 20th, 2007 at 05:16 pm

Well I am so proud of myself. I had to get a gift for my mom and she is well....impossible! I gave myself two hours to walk around the mall today... a deadline of sorts. The mall was full of dazed men and moms and strollers and kids and bags of stuff every which way!!! CRAZY LAND!

I found a darling new store with cute...I mean CUTE country high brow vintage knock offs...stuff I LOVE! Well it was ALL on sale 25% off the entire store! I found a darling real outdoorsy looking tree that had pinecones on it and it looked real and natural and whispy looking....adorable! Well my dad has been sad that my mom will not put up any decorations let alone a tree. So I bought this tree and added some Dollar Tree lights and it looks like a decorator created this! So that is for my mom and sorta my dad as well. I think they will really like it--plus it can stay up for the winter season too. I also got my mom a "tin" of 10 old movie classics. She loves old time movies! The cost was $12.99 for those...again I think a good deal. So my parents are done. My dad got a tin too...the Dale Earnhart DVD tin from WAL MART. He loves NASCAR!


All teacher gifts are gone or are going on Friday. That seemed extra brutal this year.....shopping for them. We got it done I am so glad they are on the way to the teachers!

I need to grocery shop on Friday--before the school Christmas concert. I am going to LOAD UP. Saturday is lunch with a gal pal and cookie making. Keeping the cookie making SIMPLE!!!! We just want some treats to munch on of course.

All in all I can not complain. Things seems to be moving along smoothly. I am looking forward to some fun and also some quiet time as well. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Tips

December 20th, 2007 at 05:06 pm

Hi Again! Three residents gave me tips this Christmas. I was very very shocked. One dear lady who I help alot and basically is fun to talk with gave me $50. She and I get along so nicely I consider her a friend of sorts. Another gentleman who I help alot and seems to like talking to me about everything like sports and the latest newspaper article gave me $20 and one little lady who is has terrible demetia gave me $10...which for sure is from her son. SO I earned $80.00 from three people who seem to like the nice care I give. I have never been tipped before and frnakly I felt super good about it. I enjoy my work but it was nice that a few folks really wanted to bless me. Friday is my last day of work till next Saturday the 29th. I am back on that day. I will be home with my kids and enjoying my time of rest.

Wrapping bonanza

December 17th, 2007 at 06:05 pm

I spent all afternoon on Sunday wrapping my children's gifts for Christmas. I got all of them done! Had alot of fun wrapping and tapping and labeling. I put on some old movies and really had a nice time. I still have tons of wrapping paper left so I am not buying any after Christmas!!! So they are all done and put away. Still need to get my mom a gift and I am really REALLY AT A LOSS for her!
I sure hope I find that great gift soon!!!

Should be done by Tuesday with all other gifts I need to purchase. I sure hope so....we are getting to the end of possible shopping days for me. This weekend is cookie baking....and puzzle doing time----total relaxation.

List for Tuesday

December 17th, 2007 at 06:00 pm

work
purchase 6 tins of cookies for dance teachers.
puchase two small dance sister gifts
Make chilli and corn bread-(skipped this on Sunday)

Sunday to Do's

December 16th, 2007 at 05:17 am

wash sheets for 3 beds
finish Christmas cards
wrap gifts
make Chilli and cornbread
work on journal
look at new bills and perhaps balance checkbook

Have a good Sunday everyone

Must have CD for the Holidays

December 15th, 2007 at 03:55 pm

If you want to buy one CD to add to your Christmas collection I have a good one!
"NOEL" by Josh Groban is a masterpiece!
I have been playing it all day and it is simply a heavenly CD. At many points of the CD I have been in tears. Enjoy it and be blessed by it's heavenly sounds of the season.

Christmas Bonus

December 15th, 2007 at 03:47 pm

I got my Christmas bonus from the "company" yesterday. I got $83.00 after taxes of course. I was sorta neutral about the whole thing. I mean it is not a ton of money so to speak but then anything "free" is very nice. So yes I was neutral a bit on the bonus. I cashed it and promptly have spent it. I went out to lunch today with a gal pal.We went to a new place and it was very very nice and charming. I had a wrap sandwich and it came in a spinach wrap. It looked like a Christmas sandwich!
It was wonderful. I have half left for dinner. We gave each other little gifts which I took my home to tuck under the tree! Just so sweet. I hit the grocery cause it is SNOWING A TON! So everyone went to stock up....it was crowded!!! One of the clerk's there who I am friendly with said it was insane!! I think judging from the empty shelves alot of parties are happening tonight. They had no diet SPRITE.....and no cranberry juice. I smell punch!

Today I mowed. I did not want to but my neighbor borrowed some gas from me so I decided if he was mowing I would too. So I bundled up and mowed. Half way thru the mower dies. I could not push it for some reason. I was so bummed out since I had about 1/3 of the yard to go!!! I literally wanted to cry for some reason. I felt so helpless to fix the situation. Well low and behold I noticed a yard service down the street working. I got brave and walked all the way down and begged the crew chief to run his huge mower over my grass. He said no at first since they were already swamped...then he said OK. So I got mowed but it cost me $30.00----so my bonus went for sucking up leaves. Fun. I am glad in a sense. Since I am single I think alot of my neighbors are waiting for my yard to go to pot and my house so they can gossip about me. Maybe I am paranoid......but I like to keep the yard in nice shape. NOW the snow is flying and I accomplished the leaf job. I feel so proud of myself for some dumb reason.

I am enjoying the weekend. I am getting alot done. I would of slept in this morning but a stupid telemarketer woke me up. That really got me upset. UGH! It is nice to have things crossed off my list. I hope you get lots done too! Have a good weekend!

How is Christmas coming along?

December 13th, 2007 at 05:39 pm

Still seem to be spending money! Friday is IT!!! I am going to look at all my gifts and figure out if I am truly done. This week we bought teacher gifts. My girls LOVE to give gifts to all the teachers. I hate to squeelch the gift giving feeling...so we bought more gifts than I like for teachers. We tried to be reasonable and practical. My one dd loved wrapping them all and labeling them...it gave her such joy!!! Truly heartwarming.
We are expecting bad weather over the weekend so I want go out and finish any shopping ON FRIDAY after work! My girls are at their dad's so cheaper weekend lies ahead. I am planning on eating out with a friend.....I saved some cash for that.

Today I went to the outlet discount store near me. I have been needing a heavier type winter snow coat for shoveling snow and horsing around. I found a nice men's ski coat for $9.99. It is black and khaki. It looks like it came from a Gander Mountian store. Outdoorsy and sporty looking. I decided to get it since I found one that fit. I am very happy with it. I also found some black sweat/yoga pants that are nice for $5 and a little sweatshirt jacket for the little one for $2. Pretty good deals. I shyed away from anything Christmas like decorations or wrapping paper....as I do not need anything. I was glad I stopped if only to snag that jacket.

I am going to send out a few cards...to some people who frankly need a card. I will also include a brief family letter.
I have several friends who have had some tradegy this year and I like to send them a card. I have been sending get well cards to a friend's daughter who is in college. She is having a second round of treatment for cancer that re-occured. She is down in the dumps I think as she is a very upbeat person most of the time....so more cards will be jamming her mailbox from me.

Next Friday is payday. It is rumored that our holiday bonus will be included. I am still hoping I get a few tips from regular residents who I tend to go out of my way for. We will see. I am not counting on it...but we will see. I may have mentioned on my blog that a few residents grumbled directly at me about giving gifts to the service people. It was hard to stand there and listen to them complain as I emptied their gross stinky trash or changed their soiled bed. Oh well....some people are naturally crabby and not happy no matter what you do.

My friend has her house sale on Friday and Saturday. She is selling my rings for me. She has a huge following doing estate sales and does them very well. This one is in a very upscale part of town. She is expecting a large turnout. Hopefully she unloaded my rings and got some nice money for them. We will see. Maybe she has some good luck with them.

I am looking forward to a nice relaxing weeeknd alone. I had a rough week it seems. I had to see my ex and his new wife and baby at a school basketball game. This was the first time they ventured out "in public" to a school event. Luckily I had a friend along so we sat far away and ignored the whole thing. It sure felt awful. Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it still can hurt for me sometimes. Every year my kids spend Christmas eve and Christmas day with my ex and his family. That was what my kids did every year since being born...so that is the tradition they know. I have to be alone which I dislike so much. So this time of year is difficult. I really sympathize with those who are alone or who do not have family.......gee sorry I did not mean to get so down here. I do love Christmas and I do try and stay as upbeat as I can. I am a realist too.....you have to keep Hoildays in the right perspective.

Have a great weeeknd everyone.....and stay warm if it is wintery in your area!

Good Read

December 13th, 2007 at 05:25 pm

I am reading a book from the library caleld "Nickeled and Dimed". It is one author's social experiment to live on min wage type jobs around the country and then she wrote about it. So far it is interesting. It gives one great pause to think about how so many Americans have to live. Many of the people mentioned must live in their cars or very cheap hotel rooms. Again it gives good perspective on life living on such small incomes.

Getting Inspired to be frugal

December 8th, 2007 at 10:03 am

What makes you frugal? Why do you try so hard to save money? Why do you do the right thing? Many things inspire us to be this way. It is a choice. Really.

Some choose to spend and be in debt. Some choose to fritter away money. Some choose to not save for the future hoping that somehow....some way they make it in old age.

If you look back I am sure you will see a pattern or a turning point in which you decided to change your ways. For me growing up I felt a sense of responsibilty from my parents to work hard and save. They were great parents who gave me a good childhood. I never want to seem ungrateful or unworthy of it.
I always was taught to save and to spend money wisely by parents who were wonderful role models. I worked jobs all thru high school and beyond. I enjoyed being a good worker and being rewarded. That is where the people pleasing part of me begun. I loved to save in my small bank account as a young person. It made me feel safe knowing I had my own money tucked away.

When I got married I felt responsible to not spend too much and to be frugal. My husband at the time, was building a new mortgage business from bare bones and we were taking risks at the time to grow it. I stayed at home and mothered for many years. At home with children I loved it and enjoyed it...yet I lost myself and any sense of control of money and finance I once learned and knew. I depended on my husband to make all the choices and descions. I got lost in the shuffle. Yet I felt I had to be somewhat frugal at the time so I could be at home. As his business grew I lived in fear that it all could fail or go bust. He liked risk and lost money in may stocks that went south.

Now I am divorced with four kids and I choose to stay frugal. I have to make it work as I am responsible 100% for my future. I do not like risk for the sake of taking risk. I choose to be frugal as a way to also be thankful and grateful. I also feel it is a safer way to live. Safety agrees with me.

At times it is not easy but at certain times in my life being frugal has been an inspiration and has lead to many other blessings. When I choose to be frugal I feel empowered not denied. I feel contentment not emptiness. It can at times bring me such joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. Being frugal can indeed be very inspiring.

Paycheck

December 7th, 2007 at 07:36 pm

Cashed my paycheck today. It included some vacation pay. So my check was larger.
We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner tonight. It was nice. Went to get some gifts and was able to pay cash. That is super sweet. Need to conserve it. Car goes in on Monday as a light went on. Thankfully I will get a free rental car to use. Since I am alone I have no one to help me as far as getting me there and back...so I need the rental car. Hopefully it is cheap to fix! My mechanic is very honest and treats me right. I think he knows I am alone. I think he treats me nicely and does not rip me off.

I am keeping my heat LOW. I hope it saves me money. I am really trying. I usually keep it very low during the day when I am gone. It is hard with children as they do not like to be too uncomfortable.

I splurged and bought myself some moisturizer today. Someone at work had it and I loved the smell. I got it at Dollar General. Silly I know but I have a hard time buying for myself. It all seems to go for childrens' needs. Cracker Barrel was HUGE splurge....yet it was cheaper since I was two kids short and only paid for three dinners.

My house sale friend has my rings and is selling them next week hopefully at her house/estate sale. They meant alot when they were from my husband....now that they are from my ex I have no feelings towards them. She and I agreed on a price and hopefully I get it. If they do not sell I get them back. I will go to plan B or C if they do not sell.

How is your shopping coming along? Right now I have to spend money on my ex. The kids need to buy him gifts for Christmas and his birthday. It sure stinks to be the bigger person. He informed me he is getting them passports as he wants to take all five of his kids to Mexico next year for a vacation. Nice for them. I do not take my kids anywhere that nice. I never have liked to travel. He does. It is a way to flaunt his money as well. The kids get to go many places and see many things. I am glad it is his "thing" to travel. I enjoy staying put.

Christmas gifts

December 6th, 2007 at 03:57 pm

I have stopped shopping till I re-check my stash piles. I will do that next weekend when the girls are at dad's house. It is way too hard to do it around them. I have whittled my gift list to people I HAVE to buy for as well. I have really narrowed things down. I also will only send out few cards. I have not really received too many. A clear sign of the times! I also noticed alot of homes around me do not have lights up and on for the season. I have a spot light but only turn it on here and there. I really hope to not buy too many more gifts.

Today a lady gave me a box of candy for delivering the newspaper each week. She asked me how long I have been delivering. I told her about three years. I think she felt badly she had not blessed me for three years. I really never expect anything from anyone. So that was a nice treat that I shared with my kids. In the past I would felt guilty and would of re-gifted it. Now I see it as a blessing to enjoy with my kids! Again...a nice treat to get a gift.

A Bit of Houskeeping

December 5th, 2007 at 07:37 pm

Have spent the week using all my WALGREEN coupons to buy the TP on sale this week. Silly. But I stock up on TP when cheap. I have a huge stash now. Also bought a bunch of tissue boxes at the Dollar Tree. Getting prepared for winter colds I guess.
Using up what I have this week as best as I can. We will have breakfast for dinner on Thursday. Tonight we had a turkey dinner with most of the fixings.
This month will be very hard on my checkbook as I have so much dance stuff due. Why the dance teacher is hitting us all at once around Christmas is so weird to me! I have to pay deposits for around 8 plus costumes plus competition fees.
I am so glad I have a part time job! So that will be very hard this month.
Girls are with me this weeekend, so I have to have snacks and meals ready for them. We are also doing some Christmas shopping. Should be a very nice weekend.


Great quote

December 5th, 2007 at 07:30 pm

From the Oprah show. Author Elizabeth Gilbert said...." I want a bigger, smaller life" Isn't that kinda deep??
I look at it as I want to keep things simple and lean but yet live life fully with much contentment. Gosh I found her words really powerful. She wrote a book called "Eat, Pray and (I think) Love". Sounds like a good book as alot of the audience seemed very very touched by her book after reading it. I think her quote could apply to many areas of our lives.
Be blessed by it.

Side Job Update

December 5th, 2007 at 05:57 pm

Ok...I have decidee that my boss is a very sweet lady but she way too PASSIVE in her management style. She does not speak up and does not go to bat for her "girls" on any level. She would rather them get in trouble for HER mistakes and screwups then for her to take it and admit that she messed up.
So I went over her head and talked to the property manager and I asked her about my side job. She was super cool about it. She pretty much was Ok with it and did not have a big problem with it. So I was all set to start on Thursday but the client now wants to wait till after the Hoildays. Fine and dandy! At least I know I have side job opportunnities. I also decided today that I will not say anything to anyone about what I am doing. I will be totally quiet about it. The girls I work with are way too chatty about personal stuff....and stuff gets around!!!!!! So MUM is the word. I got a very nice kudoos today from a sweet lady today. Because of me she told me......she decided to leave her bed and eat in the dining room. She said I gave her courage!This is a woman who has not left her bedroom for 1 year. She told me I gave her courage to venture out. I was so happy for her. I was so happy for me.
She was going to eat dinner in the dining room again tonight....she was so excited to get out and begin life a bit with this small step. I was excited for her. I feel like I have purpose in so many areas of my life. At times I struggle with that.
My ex really socked it to me on many levels....and to begin to see myself in new ways is really a great gift to myself. It was a wonderful Christmas bonus for me!

Tips and Christmas Bonus

December 5th, 2007 at 05:45 pm

At work a small committee of residents handed out a note saying they would like every resident to fork over $75 to be divided between all the staff at our assisted living home. I will say I am paraphrasing a bit...it was worded very nicely with a true spirit of giving and thankfulness I felt. At first I was kinda shocked that they would ask. Then I decided that maybe that it was better they did such a letter and that they spelled it out clearly. Boy I heard alot of grumbling from the residents today. Three of the residents who are super super demanding got very upset and pretty much griped at me about it. They are the top three people who need help all the time and ask for help for every little thing all the time. I am not sure how I feel about it all. To tip or not....to bless or just figure heck they get paid to help me. I am not sure what is the proper way to handle things. Needless to say I felt really uncomfortable taking their heat a bit, but I decided to deflect the heat a bit and not really say much.

It was realy hard when one lady ripped the paper in a few pcs in front of me and then handed me the letter all torn up.
Christmas sure can be an odd time of year on so many levels!

Change Jar

December 1st, 2007 at 12:25 pm

I collect pennies all year long in a mason jar. I always cash it in after Christmas. It does not make tons of money but it is a friendly reminder to myself to save daily and that every little bit adds up over time.

I am enjoying my weekend. I paid my bills, sent some Chritmas cards and completed a mail in refund. I raked all the leftover leaves and mowed. So the yard looks pretty good. Worked on de-cluttering as I go thru the day...papers and magazines, old mail are getting tossed. Laundry and tidy work await me.

Keeping the heat as low as I can stand it. Lights are off including the Christmas tree for now. Sunday I will make a weekly menu and grocery shop.

Have a good Saturday!