Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Are You A Shopoholic?

While I am taking the summer off, I was thinking about why people shop every week or so. Why do we get the urge to spend, spend and spend?

So I am going to give you some things to ponder over the next couple of weeks in the form of questions for you to think about. Oh no, it's a test!

No, it's not. It's just to get you thinking about what you spend your money on. Are they necessities or do you shop because you want to? Does the urge hit you to go to the mall or the local Kohl's, Dollar Tree, or your favorite grocery store? Is that urge because you need something at those stores or is it because you want something from those places? So here goes.

Do you shop once or twice a week at the grocery store or drugstore even though you have plenty of food, HBA, personal care products and cleaning products in your home stockpile? Do you continue to make those purchases while your stockpile languishes in your pantries and things expire? 

Do you stop on the way to your shopping at Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds or Starbucks for a coffee and perhaps a donut or muffin? Could you just as easily bring a cup of coffee in a to go cup and a home baked muffin, donut or slice of quick bread with you?

Do you order in or stop for fast food a few times a week because it is easy? Do you think about how healthy that fast food is or don't you care? Could you have whipped up a quick easy meal at home instead? 

Do you make a weekly browsing trip to Walmart or Target because you want to see any new items that they might have? Do you realize that you will most likely buy something? We all do the same thing at Dollar Tree.  

Did you buy a lot of things on Amazon on Prime Day? Did you do that because you thought they were a great deal or because they were an absolute necessity?

Do you pay cash for those items you shop for all week? Or did you whip out your credit card? Will you pay that credit card in full when it comes due? Or are those cc purchases being added to your credit card that you owe interest on each month? Those good deals that you had to have are costing you more than you think if you have to pay interest on them. 

Have you purchased a new or new to you car this summer even though the car you traded in you still owe money on? Did you have to take out a loan with high interest to do this? 

Do you coupon shop for almost free items each week even though you won't use them? Do some things in your stockpiles purchased with coupons sit in your pantries for years without being used?

Do you buy new clothes every season even though you have a closet full of things to wear?

Are you replacing carpeting every couple of years because it's not getting shampooed enough? Do you change your furniture and decor every few years? 

Do you throw parties, dinners or cookouts that you can't afford to impress your friends?

Do you contribute money to every party, gift, etc. that your co-workers ask you to whether you can afford it or not?

There are a million more questions that I could throw at you but I think these are enough. However I do have a couple more very important questions for you to think about:

Do you do all or some of the things mentioned? Then when an emergency comes up, you don't have the money to deal with it? Some think that an emergency won't happen to them. But we all know that they have a way of rearing their ugly heads! The furnace, A/C, plumbing or appliances break. The car breathes it's last breath. You or a family member needs expensive medical or dental work and you don't have the money. I could go on and on but you get the idea! 

Last questions, I promise. When a crisis hits like those mentioned, would you like to be stress free about it and have the money to pay for it?  Then go back and really put the time and effort in to think about all the questions I gave you before the crisis hit. Can you change some things so that your financial life will change?

Continue to enjoy your summer and we will discuss a lot of these questions come Fall. I may pop in when the urge hits me and I have some free time. 



Monday, June 4, 2018

Going on Hiatus

I have decided to take the summer off from blogging.  My summer is so busy this year with tons of company coming and many projects. So rather than feel stressed trying to keep up with the blogging, it is being put aside until the fall. After all I am not getting any younger so I move a lot slower than I used to.

I will miss all of you and your comments that you share. As of now I have every intention of coming back to blog in September.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, safe and happy summer.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What We Have Done Frugally Recently

These are the things we have done frugally the last few weeks:

- Baked 4 loaves of pumpkin bread. Froze 3. We load that oven up when we do use it.

- Made our own tartar sauce.

- Used our air fryer at least 3 times a week to save the energy of using our oven or toaster oven. The air fryer takes so much less energy as do so many other small appliances.

 - Been eating out of the pantry, freezer, and fridge for weeks now. I rarely go to the grocery store for anything but veggies, milk, and half and half.

- I have only been doing 2 loads of wash in the HE per week and then hanging them to dry.

- I found an outdated bottle of acetaminophen so I called my pharmacist. He told me since they are pills they are probably good for another year or two. Obviously, the manufacturer wants me to buy more. But I would never take an outdated pill- prescription or OTC without calling him. So always check with your pharmacist before you even attempt to use an outdated medicine.

- I asked my dentist for Poligrip samples in case they are needed. He stocked me up but told me not to use it until I am fully healed. He also told me that Polident to soak my denture is a waste of money. Cleaning it well with water is all that is necessary. I will run a test with it since I use those tablets to clean my toilets.  

- My son gifted me very expensive name brand cleaners and hand soap this weekend. They are all natural which is what I use. Five cartons of all purpose cleaner, hand soap, window cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. I was ecstatic. He was gifted many cartons so he shared with me. I will not have to buy these things for at least a year which is a huge savings. 

- Our heat is off and we will try to keep the A/C off as much as possible. We have many ceiling fans and other portable fans we can use.

- We must be doing something right. When I read the electric meter to submit to the company, we used 200 less KWH than last month. I know part of that was the furnace clicking on and off but we have done everything possible to lower our electric bill the past 4 weeks.  Most of our cooking has been on the grill and in the air fryer. We have also been eating lots of salads. I am going to try eating one tonight to see if I can do it. I was able to eat chicken yesterday. Lights are off during daytime hours. TV is never left on for noise. Computers are off when not in use. Our gas usage was also down but that is less heat and rarely using our stove.

- I deposited two checks into our savings yesterday.

- I purchased another pair of jeans and a top on sale and defrayed the cost using $20. in Kohl's cash.   

- The last two weeks I have not had to make a huge breakfast for my family because they have brought and paid for donuts. This weekend I will again start cooking.

- I am still enjoying flowers from both of my sons families that they gave me for Mother's Day. They have lasted a long time. I know have 4 white roses as good as the day they were delivered in a different vase. Soon I will have blooming flowers outside that I can cut and put in a vase.

- I washed the car and cleaned the interior and windows. That saved us $30. to $40. depending on which car wash I took it to. We never pay for a car wash in the good weather.

- I am no longer using K cups for my coffee. Now if I could only talk Hubby out of his. I am using a disposable cup with ground coffee. I had a B1G1F bag of coffee that we purchased when we were in Florida in January. It has been in the freezer to keep it fresh. Right now I am using that and then will use up free Dunkin Donut coffee samples that I have. MY DIL was kind enough to let me know that $5.99 is a good price for the large cans of coffee. Since it was on sale this week, I picked one up. I don't care what brand of coffee I use as long as it is strong. Hubby is stuck on Green Mountain Breakfast Blend Decaf.

- I have been walking every day for exercise. On the days it rains, I use the recumbent bike. 

- Hubby went to the greenhouse at Niagara Produce and purchased two hanging baskets for the front porch. They were the best nursery price in town.

- I am again stockpiling tap water in used and washed out bottles.

- Hubby has been cleaning and organizing his work benches. This way he can find his tools and doesn't have to run out and buy a duplicate. He is doing a great job. I am very impressed.

-We did our own bug control when spring finally arrived. I don't want ants or spiders in our home. A large container of insecticide is so much cheaper than a bug service especially since we buy it at Walmart.

- Finally they are putting the road in behind us and will start building houses again. This should break up the wind and eventually save us on heating bills. 

- I sewed two buttons back on two shirts. They came off in the washing machine. 

- I cut three pair of old jeans off to make shorts. I will not have to buy any shorts this year. I have two new ones I bought last season for going out and these for hanging around the house.

- We are going to sell our weed whacker that we replaced on Craigslist.

- I took Hubby's bottles to Fast Cash and reaped $ 6.30.

- So far I have charged all of my large dental bills on a cash back credit card. I will continue to do that right through getting my permanent denture. This will give us a nice wad of money back. We always pay our CC bills when due. I love making money off the CC company. We never pay interest.

That is about it for now. Please feel free to share with all of us what you did to save some money lately in comments. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Few Questions

I have run out of my favorite K cups. We have a bag of decaf coffee that was leftover from my Disney World Trip. Yesterday, I perfected making a cup of coffee with my reusable K cup. 

Since we haven't bought regular coffee in years, I have no idea what a good price is. When we bought the coffee on our trip, I really didn't pay much attention to the price.

Since the K cups are so expensive, I will be using the disposable cup from now on for my coffee. Hubby still has about 100 decaf K cups. But I regularly drink caffeinated. So I will be on the hunt soon for mine.

So could you smart people who know what a good price for coffee is these days, please leave a comment and give me an idea what price I should be looking for? Thanks in advance.

My project this week is to find a place to sell most of my frugality books that I have collected well over 100 books over the years. Frugality is so ingrained in me now that they are just collecting dust in a bookshelf in our basement. Slowly but surely I would like to sell them.

Any of you have a favorite place to sell them? Do you use Ebay or Amazon? I am not even sure they will sell right now. But if we have a downturn in the economy(which I am not hoping for), they will sell quickly. I loved selling my books to different used book stores when we lived in Arizona. But alas, we don't have any good ones here.

So wanting to clear these books out and use all of that space for stockpile, do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments. 

My son and grandson are on their way here for breakfast. They are again bringing Tim Horton's donuts. I can't eat the breakfast I would make them and I am sick of eggs. So we figure, if I cut the donuts into small pieces for me, I should be able to enjoy them.

He sent me a picture of some boxes in his van. They are a surprise he has for me. I can't wait to see the contents. If the contents hold something good I will share it tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spending To Save Money

Some of the spending that we do is to buy things that save us money in the long run. Hubby made just such a purchase yesterday. 

As long time readers know, we have a landscape company come once a month, after the spring cleanup, right through October. They spend 3 hours here doing whatever needs to be done on our property. They plant perennials and bushes that we order through them. They do all the weeding, trimming of bushes, raking the lawn, raking leaves, splitting bulb plants, etc. One job that we added on last year was weed whacking around all of the stonework that we have around all of our garden beds. This weed whacking job only takes them 15 minutes a month. However at their hourly rate it is an expensive job that could free up time for something more important. 

The reason for this is two fold. Hubby always did his own work and has always loved working outside. But his back no longer lets him do it for any length of time. Prior to the landscape company doing this job, the neighborhood teenager offered to do the weed whacking around the stonework for $5.00 per time. Hubby said no that was too cheap and he offered him $15.00 every time he did it. It needs it every second mowing which is about once a week. Hubby also told him he could use our weed whacker and gasoline and oil. We were happy to give this teenager the job so that he could make some money. Plus this boy was planning on starting his own landscape company when he graduates and was very interested.

The teenager started out doing a good job. We would always pay him right away after he was done.  However after the first couple of times he came, he told us that he would rather use his Dad's weed wacker because he was used to it. After a couple of months, he started do a lousy job. He would miss gardens and then one day he quit and went home without a peep to us. He had only done one side of the yard. Hubby called his house and found out that his weed whacker had broken and it needed to be repaired. It would have been nice if he had knocked on the door and told us why he left after only doing 1/2 the job. That took a month and he didn't want to use ours in the interim. 

He started back up again and then he told us he was going away to work at a camp for a few weeks. Well okay, we would wait for him to come back. Then he returned and everything went smoothly. 

The last time he came, he told us that he and his family were going on a month long vacation in the southwest. Well when they returned, he never came again to do the job. Not a word from him. Our lesson was that he evidently did not want to work. We would never hire him again.

So we added this job on to the landscape company's list. We are paying a lot just to get this job done and because they only come once a month, the stonework wasn't getting trimmed as often as it should be.

So Hubby has been looking and researching weed whackers. He wanted a battery operated lighter weight one. One that he could easily use and not have it hurt his back too much.The gasoline and oil one we have is very heavy. He found this one pictured above that he had been researching at a great price in this week's Home Depot ad. It not only included a battery operated weed whacker but a blower also for cleaning the edge of the stonework and driveway after he trims them. And it was only $149.00 for both. The cheapest price he had seen before this was $179.

So he went and purchased it and figured he would see if it was lightweight enough for him but would get the job done. After charging the battery, he went out to do the weed whacking of the gardens and trim the grass on the edges of the driveway. He also used the blower. He is very happy that both were light enough that he can do it once a week. I also think he enjoyed being able to do it. 

The $149. will pay for itself in just two trimmings by the landscape company. They will be freed up to do more tedious jobs. And Hubby is happy, so it is a win win. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Trying To Make The Best Of It

It's been a rough couple of days. After two hours in the dental chair yesterday, I came home with a numb mouth and nose after having 4 teeth extracted and the temporary partial bridge put in. As the novocaine wore off, the pain set in. I took two tylenol which did absolutely nothing. My daughter in law told me to try some ibuprofen the next time. So before I went to bed last night I did that. 

I slept like a baby. I am normally up anywhere between 3 and 6am in the morning. Today I slept until 7:45am. 

Anyhow last night, I tried to eat some Thai chicken soup. The broth was great but the rice and chicken I couldn't chew. So broth and some yogurt for dessert was it. 

Today, I feel like someone has hit me with a sledge hammer. So I again took some ibuprofen. It hurts to take the partial out to clean it but I must and then put it back in. The dentist wants me to wear it all day round for the first 48 hours so I am doing that. After 48 hours, I can sleep without it.

The right side of my mouth is not feeling too bad. But the left feels like a sharp needle is pushing in my gum when I chew on that side. My dentist does not work Friday - Sunday. Since I have an appointment on Monday, I will have him check to see if there is a stray piece of bone in there which he told me could happen. This side was where the largest tooth was removed so that may just take more time to heal.

Hubby has been great!  He is doing everything for me. He cooks me a meal and them makes himself a  different meal. This morning he made me eggs with cheese melted on top. It was hard to chew on that left side but I managed. I have to still try to eat the proper protein and other nutrition. Tonight he is going to make me Annie's Bunny Pasta at my request. I have a few boxes that I keep in the pantry for my grandson. I am hoping it will be soft enough.

Hubby tells me to rest and he is doing every thing that needs to be done. There is only so much resting I can do. So I will be reading some of the blogs that I frequent that I haven't had time for lately. I will also watch some You Tube videos. 

Moral of this story: Teach your children to take really good care of their teeth from the time they get them. Take good care of your teeth. Otherwise you could end up like me. I grew up very poor so we only were taken to the dentist when we had a toothache. They handed us the toothpaste and told us to use it. There was no such thing as floss in our home. That was the beginning of my downward spiral to a terrific amount of dollars being spent at dentists over my many years. And it just never seems to end. Sure some of it could be genetic but starting off on the right foot when your kids are young gives them a much better chance. 

The other thing I plan on doing today is making a list of the things that I can do to save more money in investments. Also cutting back where I can to reach the goals we have set for the next few years.

We finally have our heat off for good. So I am hunting down the portable fans we have to put in the rooms where we have no ceiling fans. I will have Hubby put a new filter in the furnace. Our goal this year is to keep the A/C off as long as we can but when we do turn it on, we will be ready to go with that new filter. I would like a couple of months without heating and cooling bills.

We continue to eat from our stockpile and always update the inventory spreadsheet. The less money that I spend at the grocery store each week the happier I am. 

I wish you all a great day and weekend.      

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What You Spend Is So Much More Important Than What You Save

Everybody is always talking about how much they saved when they tell you about a purchase. I've been guilty of this over and over again.  I show my grocery shops with coupons and Ibotta and Checkout 51 savings.  Perhaps it would be better if I just showed what I spend.

Unless you actually put an equal amount of the savings into a bank account for 1-2% interest or invest it in the stock market, you haven't really saved anything.

If I buy a Coach or Dooney Bourke handbag at 40% off of say $325., I still spend $ 195. for it. I did that once in my life many, many years ago. Then I realized that I was paying for the name. I now never spend more than $65. for a handbag which is about what I paid for the one I am using. I got it at TJ Maxx marked down. It is wearing just as well as my Dooney Bourke one did. I still have the DB bag which I really need to let go.

Over the years, I pretty much tried to ignore all commercials. But that is hard because you are just bombarded with them. It has gotten to the point that there seems to be more commercials than there is show. So a year or so ago, I quit watching cable TV. It is so much nicer to watch You Tube or Amazon Prime shows. But even those I only watch in the evening when there is nothing else that I am doing.  You Tube is where I can learn to do some things that we would otherwise have to hire out. So that is not a waste of my time. Amazon Prime has some movies that Hubby and I can choose from for our weekly, at home, movie night. BTW, even though it is going up, we have decided that it is worth it for us. Not only for the movies but for the "free" 2 day shipping. We order enough during the year to make it worth it for us.

Now there are exceptions to everything. For example, if you find a top or pants marked way down at the end of the season and use a coupon, the $ 2.00 - $ 5.00 you spend for them is definitely worth it.  If I get an item at the supermarket that is free after coupon then that is worth it. 

But if you are spending $ 200. a week after coupons for groceries for two people, you should be cutting your spending. That is a tremendous amount to spend on food when you only have two mouths to feed. So monitor how much you are spending for any category that you spend money for. In order to do that, you have to track your income and outgo. If you have never tracked how much money you are putting in your family's mouths each year, you may be in for a shock when you do. Include money spent on all restaurant meals and you may be horrified.   

Coupons will not up your net worth. Only saving income week after week at a steady pace will up your net worth. So many young people these days are saving to retire early. We didn't retire as young as they did, but we did get out at 54 and 53. I think these young people have the right idea to save 65-75% or more of their income for 10 or more years to get out of the rat race and do whatever they want. I don't know if we could have done it but if we had to do it over again, we might have tried.

If you are "saving" a lot with coupons and not paying cash or paying your credit card bill in full every month, you are throwing your "savings" out the window. I have known people who charge groceries every week who only pay minimums on their credit card bills. At 9 to 28% interest, they are not saving. They are paying a fortune in interest!  But they always tell you what a great deal they got and what their savings is. They just don't get it. These people should be scared to death because eventually that credit shopping will leave them with nothing.

So the next time you go shopping, think about how much you will actually be spending. Sure grab your coupons but think about the bottom line. When I make a grocery list, I then go back over it a second time and cross off anything that I can substitute something else for. I also cross off anything that I can make cheaper from ingredients that I already have on hand. 

When I went clothes shopping last week, I had a budget that I set to work within. I also took a list of the clothing items that I needed and my coupons. When I was making my selections, I made sure that the tops could be worn with many different slacks or jeans. I also kept an eye on the pricing of the two pair of jeans I purchased. That is why I only spent $120.+ for all of the items. When I go back next week to spend the $20. in Kohl's cash that I got, I will buy a needed item as close to that $20. after coupon as I can. Of course the Kohl's cash is all about getting you back into the store to spend a lot more than the $20. But I don't play that game! 

When you go out to dinner, have a certain amount in mind that you are going to spend before you go. Also, going out to dinner once or twice a week is a big waste of money. You can make it so much cheaper at home. Hubby and I had NY strip steaks that I purchased at $6.99 a lb. for Mother's Day dinner. While Hubby grilled them outside, I put a few frozen French fries in the air fryer.  I also steamed some broccoli and sauteed portobello mushrooms in butter for the steak.  A dinner like this would have cost us $20. each or more before drinks and tip depending on what restaurant we went to. Our dinner cost us a little over $10.00 for both of us. It was so much better than going out on a holiday with the crowds and slow service. Our experience has been that the food isn't as good either.

I am not saying never go out to dinner. I am saying to be mindful of what you are spending each week or month on eating out. Hubby and I like an expensive restaurant in the area. Their food and service is top notch. So we go there to eat about 4 times a year. If we feel the urge to go other times, we go to a local restaurant or one that we have a gift card for.  But most of the year, we cook at home.

So the very next time you are going to spend money on food, transportation, clothing or a myriad of other things that aren't bills that you pay every month like your mortgage, insurance, taxes, electric and gas, etc., think about what you are spending not the savings you are getting. Doing that will free up some money that you can add to your net worth that you can use for goals that you may be working on: paying down all your debt, a down payment on a home, a new to you car, college and/or private school, a trip you have always wanted to take etc. This way of looking at money will get you thinking and you will have less stress in the long run. It actually becomes a game to see how fast you can fund your goal.

I am having a rough time this week thinking about my dental appointment tomorrow. I am very nervous about getting those 4 teeth pulled. So please cut me some slack if I am not on here every day.