I was digging thru a couple of largely ignored cupboards a few weeks ago, looking for some hunting thing that Hubby couldn't find. What a bunch of stuff! I was going to say junk, but it really wasn't. I have been avoiding some areas for the last couple of years, thinking that I was going to have a really kick-a** garage sale at some time....... in the future....... Yeah, it never happened. I'm not packing this stuff back in, so I started just giving it away. I don't really feel like all of the prep time, goofing around, etc. that goes into a garage sale anyway. And we are not talking big ticket items here, Example : a pkg of light bulbs with he tiny little bases. I probably grabbed the wrong thing off the store shelf, I don't think I ever owned anything that used that kind of bulb, and they were only $1.10 brand new. About a half dozen diapers, newborn size, left over from when my Granddaughter wore that size, last year! 3 or 4 goodie bags for kids from my daughters baby shower! We made them up with some little things to keep the kids occupied during the shower. I don't have time to mess with selling that stuff, so I started giving it away. A couple of the big things i freecycled, a new board game, some candles, most i took to work and left on the table in the break room with a note "take me home" My boss took the handful of homemade Barbie clothes for her granddaughter, goodie bags, crepe paper streamers, a sandwich baggie of leggos, half used colored pencils, kids size mittens, all disappeared in a gratifying hurry. All went to someone who wanted them, and I don't care if I ever have a garage sale! Oh, and the Christmas tree that I dragged up from the basement? My daughter is going to take it. I was commenting that I really would have liked a smaller tree, I was going to look for one on sale after Christmas this year, and she offered to trade me! She has a tabletop tree that was given to them last year, and were talking about looking for a big, full size tree on sale this year, after the holiday (clearance shopping? that's my girl!) Problem solved! I still have a few things, a half finished latch hook pillow top, a game board with no pieces, (but still good, its a card game so you could still use it with a deck of cards and a few pennies,) and a small photo album. Then I'm going to get brave and open another drawer! Why Not? Oh, and the pink snowman? Well, that was a pump top soap dispenser I bought for myself a few years ago, It was so cute, and I was going to use it my my kitchen sink. Well, when you filled the little guy up with orange, anti-bacterial dish soap, he turned a really bilious color, sort of like he had a really bad spray tan, if you know what I mean. So, its been hiding in a corner, until I got a bottle of pink hand lotion for Christmas! Now he's a beautiful blushing pink! Now that I can live with!
Viewing the 'Saving Money' Category
Somewhere along the line of your life, you get to the "tipping point." That point at which you realize, that some major purchase you are contemplating, may very well outlive you! Ours is the lawnmower. We bought a lawnmower this past week. A brand new riding lawnmower. The first new riding mower that we have ever owned! Our married life has consisted of a series of used (mostly VERY used) riding and push mowers, sometimes both, sometimes singly. All of them were given to us by various family members and friends, most were headed to the curb before we got them. Luckily I have a very handy Hubby and Father, who managed to keep them going with a variety of fixes and prayers. (does anybody even know what baling wire is anymore?) But we had hit the end. The riding mower we were using is almost... as old as I am (there is a FEW years difference)... and while the engine got rebuilt last Summer, the deck is trashed. Chunks are falling off as you cross the yard. They don't make replacement parts anymore (it's so old) etc. etc. We actually started out looking for a good used mower, but as we visited a few likely prospects, I began to imagine a world where you didn't have to know the secret formula to get the mower to run. One that doesn't use a quart of oil during each weeks mowing, one that you don't have to hook the battery charger to for an hour before you start, one that you don't have to hang on to the hydrostat lever because it will suddenly run away with you, you know, one that you don't have to dance under a full moon and chant to the lawn Gods... sorry, I got a little carried away there, but you get the idea. That thought was suddenly sounding pretty good to me, and as we talked about it, I realized, if a new mower lasts as long as the one we are using now, we will be too old to mow lawns anymore, and won't ever (hopefully) have to get another one! Being the main lawn mowing person in the family, this was something I could really get behind! So, after a little more shopping, and some dickering with the local dealer (those guys at Sears etc. can't dicker) we came home with a lovely new Cub Cadet mower! I love it already. (if self love is narcissism, I wonder what lawnmower love is?) If we take care of it, (we will), that will be the last mower we will ever have to buy.... now I feel old!!!
I just read a blog that made me laugh. In fact, I have read several lately about having money/investments in multiple banks. When did this get to be such a new and radical thing? I can't imagine why it has never occured to those consumers, that you can choose different banks for different services. Maybe because we landed in the era of "big banking" where one bank could "do it all" for you. We have savings in a credit union, this is the only place that Hubbys employer will deal with to debit from his paycheck directly into the savings account. Its also in a neighboring town, so harder to get to when we're tempted to withdraw money. (for us, this is good) We have checking and savings in our local (regional) bank, this is where my paycheck is direct deposited, and an automatic sweep puts money into that savings, every time I get paid. This is the account I pay bills from. We also have savings in another regional bank, they have a branch in our hometown, and also the town where hubby works, so he can cash his paycheck there if he wants, without a fee. We don't have any money in CD's at the moment, but the third local bank usually has better return rates on CD's, I always used them before. I consider this all to be plain, everyday banking. If we had money invested? That would be a different story. I don't have any desire to watch the ups and downs (especially the downs) on a daily or weekly basis. Hubbys 401K is invested in a Vanguard fund, and I do glance at the quarterly statements, but not very closely. I was looking at online savings a while ago, but then the rates have dropped on them also. I think that when we get the emergency fund to where I like it, then I might revisit a few of those. I think that being frugal involves not only saving money, but trying, even in a small way, to be smart with where you keep it. Hubbys Grandpa (true story) used to complain that he kept cash buried in jars in his backyard, but he had to dig them up every few years and exchange the cash, it would get MOLDY! I laugh every time I think about that! And I thought I had problems!
Let me say first that I am NOT recommending any of these, only reporting what I've heard! I just saw an article on 12 surprising things that you can do with Vicks Vapo-Rub. Well, I wasn't surprised by most of them, but there were a couple of new ones. It was the comments that got me! For years my MIL told all of us that her Mother used to make them swallow a ball of Vicks when they had a sore throat, I was quietly sceptical. But, oh no, someone else in the comments had a Granny that did the same thing! I am amazed, and nauseated. I don't know how they kept it down. Just the thought of it..... you get the idea. It got me thinking about some of the other "home remedies" that have come down thru the family. We never had Tums in the house when I was a kid, and it wasn't THAT long ago. If you had a stomach ache/upset stomach, you could drink baking soda and water (tastes terrible), or make a tea with some caraway seeds and hot water. (also tastes terrible) I don't remember that either worked very well. Especially avoid the soda if your problem is alcohol, my MIL also had a very funny story about her Hubby coming home, under the weather, shall we say, and the two did NOT mix well. He always broke in at this point to say that she was trying to kill him, or it felt like it anyway. WE did use a lot of Vicks, but only on chests and throats, Hubby says that his Mom rubbed it under their noses, and that it would take your skin off after a while. Maybe it used to be stronger. FIL told of the Army soaking your feet in kerosene to kill athletes foot, and "bugs" on any part of the body , kerosene also. Wow, and they smoked a lot?!?! Mint leaves could cure a headache, you wet your forehead and stuck them to it, fresh or dried were OK. (this never worked for my Mother) We did always have aspirin in the house, and cough syrup. Hubby remembers the whiskey and honey cough remedy, I don't know if you quit coughing, or were just so fuzzy that you didn't care anymore. I remember putting table salt on cuts and scrapes, stung like the devil, but I don't ever remember one getting infected. And lots of cold water on burns, but nothing else, you just put up with it until it healed, but I also don't remember having many burns. My inlaws were big tonic and salve people, they were older, hubby was at the end of a bunch of kids. My Mother took you to the Dr. (mostly because her parents never took her) but ours was an old osteopath, and more often than not you got directions for aspirin and vitamins, minerals, soaks, etc. I remember breathing treatments before nebulizers, a bowl of hot water with ?? steeping, and a towel over your head. And this was in the late 50's and 60's! We were still quite rural then. I do remember my SIL telling of getting head lice in country school, and the remedy that came from the drugstore reeked so badly that you ended up cutting the hair, nobody could stand it. Well, her grandmother wouldn't let them do it, SIL had long, beautiful black ringlets, so she rubbed vaseline all over the scalp, and wrapped a towel over it all, and you kept it on for 2 days. Then after 7 days, you did it again, and 7 days again. It supposidly did work, smothered them I guess, but imagine trying to wash vaseline out of your hair! It was a remedy from the "old country" and you used goose grease, who has goose grease here! Wouldn't you smell like a rancid pate?
Sometimes trying to be frugal is confusing, or maybe it's just me,(being confused), read on and you tell me.
My Hubby loves the Farmers Almanac! When to plant, where to fish, it's kind of like the local entertainment guide for rural folk. I picked it up tonight, because I was going to be sitting for just a moment, and I hate idle hands. Anyway, inside the cover, on the title page is all of the usual info, and a lovely woodcut style print of sheep and...raccoons? I wasn't aware that coons (as we call them) had become a farm commodity! See what happens when you don't keep up with the local news? I am in the know on fish farming, and we do have several more exotic farms in my homestate, (elk, buffalo, deer), but somehow I missed the scoop on coon farming? Most farmers I know have dealt with their share of coons, mostly trying to get them to vacate the barn, and quit sponging a free meal. (boy can a coon make a huge mess in the feed room!) What frugal endeavor could a coon be involved in? Could they be trained to do something? although they are mostly nocturnal. (night shift workers?) They are good climbers. (linemen, tree trimmers?) Security? They can be sassy! (try chasing one out of the cat food dish!) I didn't read far enough to get the whole story, If I find out something interesting, I will let you all know. Although, I think that Daniel Boone did have some success in this field............ Coonskin cap anyone?
I may have mentioned that I do sewing and alterations as a little home business. It was a big home business at one time, I did complete wedding parties, but it was usually an "also". I did it along with working other jobs, sometimes a couple of them. Well, business has been pretty great lately. People are fixing things, rather than replacing them. Good for me, and good for their pocketbooks, I'm sure. I am sometimes puzzled tho, every once in a while, I end up with an item that no one ever picks up. A few times, the owner has passed away before they got back to me, or the phone number they gave me was changed, or they just ignore my messages for, forever. I'm never sure how aggressive I should get about trying to find people to return items to. Sometimes, I see them other places, and slip it into the conversation, some of them I had never heard of before, they got my number from a friend, I have actually left items on the doorstep, and figured if I got paid it would be a bonus. Most times I do get paid, and only once in 20+ years has anyone ever given me a bad check. I was just thinking about this today, when DD#2 brought home a pair of jeans from her friends brother, that needs a zipper. The brother was going to throw them away, and what do you know, DD#2 has been paying more attention than I thought. "OH NO," she says "my Mom can fix them!" I had to laugh at that, she has complained long and loudly, in the past, about my thrifty habits. She called it cheap, I called it thrifty. So, if the item has been around here for more than 2 years, of if I can't even recall who gave it to me, it will eventually find it's way to the thrift store. So far, I haven't ever had anyone call about something that I re-donated (is that a word?)
All of which describe my house! We are hosting a brunch after church on Sunday, in honor of my Grandbabys baptism! I am perfectly happy that my DD#1 asked me to host, we are kind of centrally located for the folks who would be likely to come. However.....it made me take a good look around the house, and OH BOY. I always comment that I do Fall cleaning as opposed to Spring cleaning, I have been out in the yard all Summer, not cleaning house. So this was a big wake up call, get things straightened up! So far today, I have opened three cans of paint, and if I have enough time, I might get to four. A little touch up here, a little spackle there...... And I have to figure out what to do about the cieling fan/light in the bathroom. I took part of it down a couple of weeks ago, because we had wasps coming out of it. Well, I think we got rid of the wasps, but just in case, I was trying to figure out a way to keep them from coming thru again, You get the idea. I have already warned DD#2 and #3 that they will be home on Saturday for an extra good, dust/sweep/mop/vac session, lots of groans, but too bad! There isn't time to do something with my sewing room (downstairs bedroom) so we will just close the door, and ignore the whole thing. I just washed the curtains from the living room, if I have time to do the dining room and kitchen good, but they look OK if I don't. Oh, and the wallpaper seams in the dining room peeled a little in the humidity this Summer. I need a wife! Someone to do all of the regular stuff, while I tackle the never ending honey-do list. Well, the dryer is calling, TTFN.
This entry can safely be subtitled - Mother Knows Best. My DD#1 bought a pool 2 Summers ago. It was middle of the Summer time, and the pool was on clearance in the bigbox store. The style that has the inflatable ring at the top, and you just fill it up. I had refused to have a big pool for years when my kids were small, too much work! And money, and time. I knew who would end up out in the yard every day skimming, testing, clorinating, cover on, cover off, etc. But she was 23, and definately old enough for the fussing, so..... Any way, the pool had been up for this past Summer, its third, until about mid July, and it sprang a leak around one of the fittings for the pump. She epoxied and fixed, and finally got it going, and we got a BIG wind storm, and it ended up empty, lying flat in the yard. Its been there ever since. This was about the time that she bought a house and moved, and I didn't fuss too much, I thought this way they could move it to the new place, it was already drained. Well, last week she discovered that someone who shall remain nameless (one of her sisters?) nicked the pool with the lawnmower. Now the pool is essentially junk, and who is the only person worried about getting it off my lawn? Me of course! DD#1 doesn't want it anymore, so I put it on the local Freecycle. Surprise, surprise, no one wants a pool with a hole in it! I even offered the ladder and pump with the proviso that you had to take the pool also, but no bites. So, I called her today, and told her that she must come and take this thing out of my yard. Its HEAVY, it will probably take three of us to roll it up, and tie it into a bundle, I know because I tried. Then she and SIL can do whatever they want to with it. I did end up doing my share of the testing and skimming, but I have to admit, it was very nice to go out in the evenings, and float around watching the stars come out. Will I get one for us? No, most likely not, it was a lot of work! (time, money, yada, yada) Told ya so!
Remember the old chestnut " horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow" Well I'm here to tell you, me and the horse, we both sweat! I didn't realize how much until I tried a deodorent without the anti-perspirent. I got a sample from one of my survey companies of a new scent of some brand of deodorent (they don't tell you which one, plain white label). I am supposed to use it for two weeks, and then answer some questions, SOP. By the second day, I was not liking that sticky feeling in the pits, yuck! By the end of the first week, I had wet patches under the arms of my uniforms by the end of a shift, good thing it's night and nobodys looking! I tried putting a little body powder under there, too little and its still sticky, enough to kill the stickiness, and I'm wearing cake batter. I know that the aluminum that they put in anti-perspirent isn't supposed to be good for you, but i'm going to have to invest in some dress shields otherwise. Maybe I'm just a sweater (someone who sweats a lot, not the furry thing)and I never realized it. Although I do get that little trickle down the center of my back when I'm working hard, or in the sun, who doesn't? Someone is going to have to do a lot of convincing before I'm giving up my Degree, or my scrubs may go on strike.
I read an article in The Mother Earth News (I think), several years ago about small town living in New England. The gist of it was that folks in that small town all wore several "hats" job wise, in an effort to make a living. I don't remember the specifics but the author delivered newspapers, fixed chainsaws and something else, in addition to his regular job, to make end meet, so he could stay in this lovely rural town. I was reminded of this when I was clicking thru some financial blogs, and noticed that many of them advocate taking on a part time job to pay off debt. I know that Dave Ramsey is big on this. I can comment on this first hand, I once had 4 (count'em 4) part time jobs simultaneously, for about 2 years. I kept hoping that one of them would turn into a full time job, I would have liked any of them, but no luck. I finally thought that I was meeting myself coming and going, and my blood pressure was killing me, and dropped 2 of them. This was a good solution for the short term, but it gets to be very exausting! And, to be truthful, they all were only minimum wage jobs, so even if one of them had been full time, I likely would have been looking for something else anyway. I do still dabble with one, I have a small home based business, I do sewing and alterations. I would love to do this full time, and have several times over the years, but it's just not steady enough income in this area. I like to know that we can pay the bills every week, not just the week when everybody needs a zipper in their jacket. Maybe I should learn to fix chainsaws?
I used to be a rabid couponer. I carried my little file of coupons, clipped to the calculator like a warrior looking to defeat the enemy. The enemy being my grocery bill, I guess. But I kind of got away from that, for a lot of reasons. I still use some coupons, maybe 5 or 6 on average, in a weeks shopping. But things have changed. My Mother and I get 3 Sunday papers between us, and swap the coupon flyers, then I take them to work for the girls there. But there are some weeks that I only clip one or two coupons. It seems like all of the coupons are for things that I just don't buy! So, just for fun, I did a little informal inventory of what exactly was in those 3 circulars this last weekend. Almost 1/3 of the coupons were "personal care items" shampoo, body wash, lotion, razors, shave creme(gel/mousse)and hair color (lots of hair color!) etc. I hardly ever clip those, because they are all for the more expensive brands, and I don't buy them anyway. Even with the coupon, the bargain/store brand tends to be cheaper. Remember, I'm shopping the dollar stores here in rural America, I'm about 20 miles from the nearest big box, or drug chain. Next came what I call household stuff,about 1/4 of the total, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, floor cleaner, furniture polish, and smelly stuff (or anti-smell stuff)! Good grief, we must be the smelliest nation on the planet! Scented oils, scented candles, air freshner, carpet freshner, pet freshner, furniture , shoes, etc. etc. All that anti-smell stuff was more than 1/2 of the household category. I clipped exactly 2, Tide laundry soap, and Ajax dish liquid. What a waste of a tree. The rest was food. Lots of lunchmeat, boxed dinners, seafood (must be fishing season somewhere), try something new, (everything is new!), but I have noticed that lots of those coupons require you to buy 2 or 3 products to get the discount, especially cold cereal. They have been doing that for a while. I don't have room in my cupboard for 3 or 4 boxes more! Besides, I buy most of my cold cereal at the dollar store, and mostly their store brand. I must say that I am deeply in awe of those shoppers who combine the coupons with sale items (you know, you see them on TV) and come out of the store with $232 worth of stuff, and they only paid $63.42! To me, thats like knowing how to beat the stock market, we all know it can be done, but it's just so darn much work you won't catch me doing it!
Remember the old Ma and Pa Kettle movies? I used to love watching them on a Saturday afternoon. Somedays, I am Ma Kettle. Total chaos every day, but somehow it works out in the end. At least, I hope so. Canned salsa yesterday, pickled beets today, and did a mountain of dishes. One thing about cooking from scratch, it's cheaper, good for you, and makes a pile of dishes every Day! This is night 4 of 7 in a row, and going OK, quiet nights so far. I's supposed to rain tomorrow later, and be cold and windy, so I am going to try to pick the winter squash in the garden when I get home in the morning. That is the last thing out there. Gotta Go, can't be late for work.
Well, its true, Summers officially over. Know how I can tell? I took the window air conditioner out last night. I don't think that we used it more than 5 or 6 nights thru the whole Summer anyway, its been an unusually cool and rainy Summer in Michigan. I started putting some of the laundry in the dryer again. The last few loads don't have enough time to dry anymore, so the electric bill will be going up a little. I am siiting in the sewing/computer room looking around for something that I can throw/give away to clear out some of the clutter, and not having much luck. I pronised myself that I would try to find 2 things every day to relocate, hopefully out of the house. I have dabbled with the flylady on occasion. But, unless I empty the wastebasket, and relocate a couple of things upstairs, I'm pretty much at the saturation point. I need less stuff or more house, and I don't want more house. Hubby laughs at me. When we pass beautifull, brand new, big as a barn houses, all I can think of is "who is going to clean them?" Not me thanks!
I have been getting mysterious packages in the mail the last few days, and they were all completely free. I got a $50 gift cert. to Paypal from one of my survey companies. So I ordered myself some corelle dishes to match my pattern from Ebay. I have 3 companies that I do surveys, and product testing for, one of them for more than 20 years. It's been fun over the years to see some of the things that I tried out finally come out on the market, or not. I know that this has become a big scam lately, my best advice to you is that I have never paid a single dime to any of these companies ever. If they ask you for money, delete them. (or throw away, I started these all thru mail before the web) But I just love a bargain!
I noticed something in the grocery store today. Potatoes were on sale $2.59 a bag, whites or bakers. So I picked up a bag of white potatoes, and it felt a little lite. The white potatoes were only 8# to a bag, and the bakers were 10#. Now they usually come in standard sizes, 5#, 10# sometimes you can find 20# bags. I wonder how many shoppers didn't realize until later, if ever, that the whites were a smaller bag. They were both in the same display, although I did notice that someone had crossed off the line on the sale tag that gave the weight. I know that many other products have downsized the amount of product, while still keeping the same packaging and price, but these are locally grown potatoes, so they had to have come right from the grower like that. Good Grief!