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Archive for March, 2008

Family Parties

March 30th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

When I was married my ex's family celebrated every birthday in his family with a large party including a huge meal.
Now that I am divorced I am now free of these large cumbersome burdens of entertaining constantly. Each cousin, brother, sister in law.....mother in law, granny, aunt...you name it we had to have a party for them. Basically they partied with food if you sneezed it seemed! I am not against family time but having to do it about every other weekend grew to be just too much. Plus the cost involved to feed about 20-40 people at one time was ridiculous! I feel such a release from all that entertaining. I feel released from trying to impress everyone. It is amazing how much time and energy and money I put into these events.

What a wonderful place to be in my life.....

What are some things you have given up or have made an effort to reduce? Have you purged an area of your life and made an effort to live more simply and more honestly with your time, energy and resources???? It is always good to review ones self to see waht areas we need to work on from time to time.

Grocery Store

March 30th, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Ugh...whata day at the grocery store.
Things are nuts there. Even with coupons and store brands.....it still cost about an arm and a leg. Gee not too fun.

Eating at home is still way cheaper and the best way to go all around as far as saving money. Along with bringing my lunch to work. Still makes so much sense.

Keeping track of keeping my fridge really organized and clean and neat along with my pantry is really key for me. It takes a small amount of time throughout the day for me to stay on top of things.....but it is really worth it.

I wanted to buy bird seed but passed...too much money! Also had a coupon for laundry soap....still too much money. Bought the brand that is priced the best. Again I will hit the Dollar Tree for some items I still need. All in all fridge is full along with the pantry so I should not complain too much but be grateful for all.

Hello again-it's tax time

March 30th, 2008 at 01:55 pm

Hello friends! Happy Sunday to you.
Yes I had my taxes done. It was shocking to say the least. I have a hefty tax bill to pay this year. I was not totally prepared for the stagerring amount I owe. On one hand it is good as I am doing well with my very long time investments yet I still have to pay tax on what I have gained and earned. This was my very first time on my own as a single filer. I will be much better prepared next year to weather this terrible storm. I also have lined up a call from my investment guy to talk to my tax person....I think they need to be on the same page a tiny bit more. Once that occurs I may be able to save a bit more next year. I will have to spend the rest of the spring and summer working on building up my emergenccy fund a bit. I look at it as a challenge. One that spurs me not depresses me or makes me want to give up and maybe quit being frugal.

On that note I returned some clothes I bought for me and spent it on clothes my kids needed. We did some shopping at Sears and I found some awesome buys. We also only bought a few things......thankfully alot of spring clothes still work and we can make do with so much of what we have.

Spring break was maybe a little boring for the kids as we did not do much as far as trips or big things. We did see a movie ( Horton hears a who was darling by the way) minus movie snacks....and we did eat at Subway for $10. We rented two DVD's and played alot of games. My girls seemed to have entertained themsleves around the house while I worked as well. Just being able to read or sleep in was nice and welcoming. The girls cleaned their drawers ands closets too.

It has been hard to hear about everyone's fab trips and getaways....but I think we have just decided that there is a time a season for trips and now has not been a good time. In mid June the girls will go away with their dad for a week to South Carolina and stay at a luxury condo on the beach.

I have been really trying to stay as frugal as possible at least in my own life and I am looking at it as a daily challenge to do my best. Groceries have been tougher this week with everyone being home.....but we have managed to do pretty well. I have kept the pantry and fridge very neat and organized which helps so very much. This week should be better since we are back to school. Today I will grocery shop. I will try and keep things reasonable. Store brands help along with my coupons and simply questioning purchases for a moment helps. I now will put items in my cart and later take them back out.......so much can be impulse!

I am trying to get as many free samples as I can--- shipped to me. That is really a nice source of products, I use them alot.....again it just helps. This week I need to hit the Dollar Tree for a few things...that place helps as well if you stay focused and not buy too much junk or stuff.

Also just looking at things around the house and re-usung them in new ways. I needed a small table for the radio in the kitchen....I went to my porch and found a great little shabby chic table.....perfect. I do have to buy a matress and frame for my little one. I will be purchasing that very soon. That is something I need to do very soon. My parents made a head board for her as a gift. It will be nice to have her room look a bit fresher.

My little one is not having a birthday party. Instead we are having a best friend over for lunch and a movie play date. I think that will suffice. She seems very fine with the whole idea. Frankly I can not handle the stress and it simply is better to down play such hoopla with her. So that is the plan.

Every month seems to have more and more money challenges for me. I wonder where it all goes and why I can not save more. Sometimes I wish I could go back to my old life when I was not working and not worrying about money. I had a very care free time back then. Other times I welcome all the challenges as I feel it helps me grow and it has made me stronger as a person. Frankly I look back and at t imes I was very selfish I think. I might of lived in a huge bubble. It helps to come here and write and to share and also learn from others. One day at a time. Have a good Sunday everyone.

Happy Easter

March 23rd, 2008 at 01:41 pm

Hello Friends and Happy Easter! After church and some chaos is reduced today I will take some time and sit and write a bit here. It has been very hectic for me on a number of personal levels so I have not been able to really get to my blog here. Alas it is finally spring break here in my home so I have a bit more time to think and write and compose myself a bit. Have a lovely morning or day. By the way we have 6 inches of fresh Easter snow here. Someone down the street made a snow bunny in their front yard, complete with carrots! Life is too funny at times. Enjoy!

This and That kinda of a Day

March 12th, 2008 at 12:14 am

I did some grocery shopping today at Wal Mart. Sorry I just can't help myself. Prices are just too good to pass up.
I did not purchase too much since we are leaving to go out of town. YES!! I got the day off at work.....I will miss getting paid as I took it as a non paid day off. That is OK....just glad to have that flexibilty thank goodness.

Gas prices are crazy----$3.45! of course I am driving out of town....but the flip happy side is I will get some gas money from the mom going with me. SO we will be sharing the gas cost.

This week I got a ton of bills. I am prepared. I have made my Feb spousal support stretch like crazy! So I am doing fairly well as far as having the money for the bills ready.

I made a deposit WITH CASH on recital costumes....all those $5 bills and $10 bills that I stashed.....really made a good dent in that bill. I have a $28.00 check for delivering newspapers to cash on Friday along with my paycheck...yahoo!
Another big help

I ended up getting a horrible migraine today......I get them here and there....luckily I got to lay in bed for 1 hour and it was then gone. I can't afford to be sick with kids and work. I have some meds that really help and when they kick in I am so much better. Plus my ex had the girls over for dinner...so I did not have to cook a thing.

Thursday I will hit WalMart to buy a few clothing items, just a few pcs to get me thru this weekend. I need them so badly. Without the girls I should be able to shop quickly and make some choices rather fast.

Today I got some nice return address labels for free......I hate ordering that stuff.....so I was glad to get a bunch for free. I got some pretty free Easter cards at work....I may frame them for a decoration. I got some newspapers and some interesting catalogs to browse thru.
That's it...oh a nice old lady gave me a lunch treat for Weds. She always gives me little treats after I clean. She is the queen of candy too. She enjoys handing out fun treats to all the ladies who stop in.

Still lots of snow here....some has melted with the sun....but there is still a ton. It sure is amazing to see so much snow in huge mountian like piles.

Well have a good evening everyone.

Too much snow!

March 9th, 2008 at 01:28 am

We are having a blizzard. It is official.
So far about 18 inches. Crazy! What is even crazier is I went to work! I put in about 5 1/2 hours. I worked quickly and then left. So glad. Most cities are now declaring that no one is allowed to drive on the streets. Yes it is that bad.

This is when having a stock pile or pantry is so helpful and so critical! No one can get to the store. You also get resourceful in entertaining yourself.
It is nice too as there is no "spending"! Yahoo.

Nothing free at work today. I did help myself to a donut today from the cafe for free. I needed the sugar boost. Just glad again...to get in and then quickly get out. Hopefully a good day on Sunday.
I will wash three sets of sheets and organize tax papers for my appointment on Thursday. I also will keep the house tidy. I paid some bills today so I am up to date. I will also putter in my room and get rid of things not needed. I want to go thru my freebie baskets as well. My son leaves for college in the afternoon. Hopefully he gets back OK ---so far his college is open for school on Monday. Spring break or should I say his snow break is over with. He will be home on Good Friday for four days to celebrate Easter. So far all my kids will spend Easter with their dad. I will miss them.
It is still hard to be seperated on hoildays. They are used to spending it with his family. Just tough. Maybe I will work and spend time with the older folks.
That is a thought I had.

Have a good evening everyone.

Blizzard Alley

March 8th, 2008 at 12:51 am

I am now officially stuck in a blizzard.
Hope your weather where you are is better then mine! Went to the store around 7am before work to get a few more staples.
Gas at the gas stations is now selling out and there is not much left around here for some reason. I did buy some for the blower. Fingers crossed my son and I can get the blower going. I am supposed to work on Saturday. My boss said if it is too bad out to not bother going. I was shocked. I thought she wold say I HAD to be there or get or risk getting fired. She seemed pretty laid back about it all. We will see. I only live one mile away so I would be the best person to go in on a bad weather day. I will see what the morning brings. They can live without cleaning for one day.....the cooks and nurses HAVE to report.

Nothing too good for free at work. Just some TP. I took some yogurt for lunch which was a nice change of pace. Yogurt can really be a great lunch for not much cost outlay. A good habit for lunch. Plus how hard is it to take yogurt to work....? It involves zero brain work early in the morning.

My girls made it to their dad's house. I was glad---just nice to have "some" peace for a couple of days. I think my nerves needed re-charged. I was running on "E".

I don't think I will be eating out with my friend....the weather seems too ify right now. I am bummed but what can I do ??

Have a good evening everyone. Stay safe!

Laundry Tricks and Tips

March 7th, 2008 at 03:09 am

Here a few tips that help me in the laundry room.

1. Decorate your laundry area or room.
I have cupboards in mine and an open bookcase I had around. I keep school uniforms folded on it. I have cute wallpaper and some decorative country stuff. Baskets and old quilts make it homey and sweet. I also have a radio. Important to have music or talk radio. When I need to work alot in there.....I haul the small portable TV with VCR and watch an old movie as I work.
2. Keep socks organized in the laundry room. Each person has a drawer or two. Including mom! It is very easy to organize them quickly. Rubbermaid plastic drawers are what I use. Forget the sock hassles!!! This system of mine is genius!
3. Use a shower rod that is spring loaded to stretch cross the room or across two shelves in my case. Have plastic hangers to hang up clothes to dry.
4. Use drying racks. I set mine up in the dining room. We never eat in there so why not??
5. Wash as much as you can on cold
6. Of course cut your dryer sheets in half.
7. Make use of all space. I have an old bulletin board covered with contact paper across my utility sink. I can fold clothes on it or rest a laundry basket.
8. If you need some extra work space use a TV try table or two. Easy and they provide a surface to work on if needed.
9. Hang pegs in your work area.
10.Laundry never ends so keep things positive with a good work area that you keep neat as much as possible. Also limit your clothes and keep it basic.
11. Have laundry rules with children. My children for the most part need to gather and sort their own clothes. My older ones can do alot of their own laundry. When I have extra time I will launder things for them.
12. I got rid of my HUGE ironing board. I bought a small nice table top one from a garage sale. I have a HIGH quality iron that is a great help when I do need to iron which seems rare anymore. The small iron stores nicer and the older kids can use it without much hassle.
13. Sounds odd....but have a small clock in your laundry area. It helps to motivate and to stay on track. It also might encourage you to throw in one more load or to keep folding till American Idol is on.

I hope this little list inspires you to get control in your laundry room and motivates you to set up things in an organized fashion so laundry is not such an ordeal. Good Luck!

Rolling along

March 7th, 2008 at 01:06 am

We are expecting another winter storm. I am so bummed out since I could barely get the driveway shoveled! We had so many layers of ice it was very hard to get it up. Oh well...the sun melted it some.....but we will have to see what the weather brings. We are supposed to get between 4-10 inches. Crazy.

I was off today from work. I did my newspapers and laundry and a tiny bit of shopping for some staples. I put gas in the car and made phone calls. I took my son to the dentist. Yahoo this new dentist he loves. So glad he made a connection with this guy. He is happy to be back in the groove of seeing the dentist. I also made an apt with the HS guidnace counselor to see about placing my oldest daughter in the local public High School. Busy day that's for sure.

Grilled cheese and soup for dinner along with some leftover steaks strips I had.
Tasty on a cold night.

My son is now NOT GOING to his dad's house. He will hang here till Sunday when he leaves to go back to college. I thought he was going to his dad's but he is not. So I will not be totally alone now. I am flexible.

Good Week

March 6th, 2008 at 02:25 am

Hello Friends! We have had horrible weather here. ICE AND SNOW! Tons of it.
Children did not have school today. I had to get to work. Again..thankful I live one mile away! The manager where I work has offered to us a vacation pay for all those who came to work faithfully today! I was so glad I made it in and did not even think about not going in. Now I will be rewarded. Four hours of "free" pay.

Nothing too new to report. Just rolling along with kids and house duties. My son is working for his granny and two uncles all week. It has been really nice to have him around....despite the money woes. He seems to be enjoying his quiet time away from school. This weekend my kids are off to their dad's. I will be organizing tax piles for my apt next week to get my taxes done. I also will be putting away old bills that I have thrown into a huge pile of a mess. Friday after work is speed cleaning time and clutter control. Saturday I work and of course we are expecting another winter storm.
I am eating out on Saturday late afternoon with my girlfriend. It is a huge treat for me to go out. We need some adult time and I am looking forward to it. I got two DVD's from the library in case I want to watch something different. I also picked up a book on caretakers and their stories. I hope to gain some insight for my job. Basically a restful type of weekend with not too much spending.

Next weekend we travel for dance. I get paid next Friday....so I will have cash to travel out of town. I pray the weather is decent. These weekends are fun but super tiring. I also need to buy a soft type roof carrier for my SUV. It simply WILL NOT hold all the luggage we take. I figure it is a good investment since we travel for dance and always have extra riders with us.

Not much free at work.....some rolls of toilet paper. Lots of coupons and some stickers for notecards or for my girls to craft with. Also some cute notepaper for lists or whatnot. Newspapers as well that are free to read at lunch.

I have had some temptations to buy a thing or two this week....I have resisted.
I have not eaten out either. I have packed my lunch and snacks and drinks.
I am really making my cash stretch!!!
Also I am trying to really use what I have on hand as far as food goes. It is not easy at all. It is a habit I need to do better at cultivating.

Have a good rest of the week everyone.



Rough Friday

March 1st, 2008 at 03:03 pm

I went to the bank to cash my paycheck when the teller told me my son had overdrawn his checking account and has been charged $33 a day for the past three days. I had to fork over about half my paycheck to cover his rear end. I was very mad as I stood at the teller's window. I just feel like my son is getting in debt. He now owes me about 370.00 dollars. I just am really tired of things right now. He needs money for things at school, he has a part time job at school but it seems to never end or for him to get ahead. Maybe I am whining and that is just the way things are. I feel like I am drowning in kid expenses and that I can not save much anymore. I am very confused and feel very discouraged today. When I think of myself as old I wonder how the heck I will be able to live. Kids need this kids need that.....I am really in a slump today. It does not help to keep seeing news reports that things stink all over the place right now. I can't seem to make sense of it right now. Just difficult.
I KNOW I AM NOT ALONE. I just can't seem to figure out how to curb so many expenses that my kids seem to rack up.

I just felt sick cashing that paycheck and then handing most of it back to the teller. I work hard and it seems if I treat myself to a candy bar I feel it is not justified and feel tremendous guilt. I feel very depressed over money today.

My daughter birthday is in April and I just don't even want tohave apart or buy her too many gifts. Sad but that is how I feel. I am not looking forward to her birthday---I just look at everything as money and expenses.