Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Hair Salon Dilemma

Well, today is my hair salon day. I counted my money in my "Other" category and I do not want to spend all of it on my hair. I love my hairdresser but she is expensive.

Usually I get a cut, color, highlights and style which has cost me up to $140. Sometimes I just get roots done along with the cut and style. What she charges is never consistent. We will see what she charges today.

Today I am focused on what I can get done so as to not spend all of the money in my "Other" category. I definitely need a cut and style and roots done. But I think I am going to let the highlights grow out. 

Then I will see if I like the color of my hair this time. If not, I may experiment with coloring it again myself. If that works out, I may just get a cut and style every 6 weeks. So I will be on the lookout for a great deal at one of the drugstores on hair color. 

I am also going to quiz her on what she charges for roots or a full color. I am going to admit to her that I am on a budget. Honesty is always the best policy.

I am off to the hairdresser now and will report back to you when I get home. 

What do you guys spend on your hair at the salon? Am I paying the norm? I am not sure. 

I am trying to build up my "Other" category, not spend it down every month but it is hard with the cost of the hair salon.

I'm back after a side trip to Rite Aid which is right next to my hair salon.

My hairdresser colored my roots today, cut, and styled my hair. She charged me $ 75. and I gave her a 20% tip of $15.00 so total OOP was $ 90. Am I tipping too high?

I usually get my hair cut every 4 weeks but I pushed the next appointment out to 6 weeks. We will see if the roots last that long. If not I have root spray that I can use. I feel like I am addicted to going to her. She does such a great job. I did decide to grow the highlights out and let her know.  

While I was right next to Rite Aid, I stopped in and did a couple of great deals. For all of you who have husbands who use Gillette Mach 3 razors, the Day Logic razor 3 blade, 5 ct. fit them. They are on sale this week for $8.00 each and when you buy one you get $8.00 in bonus cash to use next time you buy something. The deal is limited to 2 so I got them both at once. So tomorrow 2- $8.00 bonus cash credits will show up on my account. So next week, I can use it toward an $8.00 order after my coupons are applied. I can save the other one for the following week or do a $16.00 plus coupon order. I love free money from the drugstores. Just always remember to give the cashier your Plenti Points card after your coupons have been scanned. The $8.00 automatically comes off when your card is scanned so I don't do it till the end of the order to make sure I am at $ 8.00 or a bit over. Rite Aid is supposedly trying to fix this so that you have more control over when you use those credits. You must use any credits though within 60 days of earning them. 

The candy bars were on sale for $ .50 each so I used 2 of the $ .50/1 Q's from our Smart Source this past weekend making them free.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Don't Spend Your Future

I read an article the other day that really bothered me. Credit card debt is again on the rise. People are feeling comfortable with the good economy so they are pulling out their credit cards more often especially this past Christmas shopping season. They are spending their future. It really scares me because that will be the next bubble in the U.S. to pop.

Just take a look at the following articles:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/23/credit-card-debt-hits-record-high.html

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-credit-card-default-rate-20180121-story.html

http://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/news/u-s-credit-card-debt-by-the-numbers628618371/

When will people wake up and realize that they can't continue to spend above their incomes. Will it take going bankrupt and losing their homes to make that happen? Will it take a death in the family and the spouse realizing that those bills will have to be paid out of the estate under probate? I can't even imagine owning a home and having to sell it to pay the credit card bills. Even worse, having to sell your home because your debt has snowballed into you not being able to manage it each month. It's really scary to me.

Yet, Americans live under these threats day after day.
They juggle their money and rob Peter to pay Paul. They rob their future money to pay past bills. To be honest, I don't know how they sleep at night.

Is it worth buying things that you don't even remember purchasing a year ago and you are still paying for them because of interest rates. I know it is exciting when you buy something new. You take great joy in it but a  few months or so later you need something else to give you that same high. Credit card debt is a vicious circle that is harming your bodies because of the stress involved. You are constantly wondering how you will make ends meet. Is it worth it folks? I think not.

Just think of the savings that you could have to reach your goals if you weren't giving all of your money to Visa or MasterCard each month. You could actually pay for your vacation instead of going into debt for it.
You could pay off your mortgage so that you own it instead of the bank owning it. You could actually buy a home instead of giving rent to someone each month. 

If you have aspirations to send your kids to private schools or to college, you could save the money to do that.

Perhaps you want a vacation home. You could save to buy one.

I have even heard of people who charge their school and property taxes every year. Then they pay interest on that. That kind of spending would give me nightmares.

Over the years, I have had people who have gotten themselves into massive credit card debt tell me that they deserved that vacation they charged or all of the other things they purchased because they worked hard every day all week long. Nothing disturbs me more than that statement.

No one deserves to spend money when they don't have it. If you can't pay for that vacation, you don't deserve it. If you can't pay cash for your school and property taxes, you shouldn't be a homeowner. 

If you can't pay for your groceries as you buy them and have to charge them, then you are getting into serious trouble.

I know there are many people who charge everything in order to get cash rebates. We do with the exception of groceries and Other incidental things that we need money for when we are out and about. However, if you can't pay your bill every month in full as we do, you are defeating your purpose. It will cost you more in interest in the long run than the cash rebates.

We went to paying cash for groceries and other incidentals every month because I wanted to actually feel the money leave my wallet. It was getting way to easy to overspend the grocery budget by whipping out the credit card. I did not like overspending the budget even though we had the money to pay the CC bills every month.

I am loving paying in cash and tracking the grocery money every week. I am much more careful about what I buy when I only have so much to spend. When that cash is gone, I stop spending until the next week.  It is working beautifully. Yesterday as I went out the door to do some shopping, Hubby asked me to pick him up 3- D ring binders. No problem, I just took the money from our Other category in our wallet. Tomorrow I have a hair appointment which I will pay cash out of the Other category also.

So think twice about whipping out that credit card. Pay off that debt and have a stress free future. Don't just dream about your future, make it happen. You will be so glad you did.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Frugal Things We Have Done The Past Ten Days

First, a disclaimer. I would have liked to have done more frugal things. However this cold or flu or whatever I have has knocked me for a loop. Both Hubby and I saw the Doctor yesterday and he ordered prescription drugs for both of us. He said I am the worst. So he ordered 2 drugs for me. The cough syrup knocked me out for 12 hours last night. I have not been sleeping so that was a good thing. But I am hoping that I get back to normal over the next few days. I abhor being sick. It gets in the way of all the things I want to do. So that said, these are the things we have done:

- Deposited 4 checks in our savings account at the bank.  

- We have been gathering all of the info and statements we need to do our 2017 taxes. When I feel better I will do those.

- All meals but one have been cooked at home. Last night, I just couldn't do it. So Hubby ordered and picked up Chinese food at our local cheap place.

- We have been using up fresh veggies that Hubby didn't eat while I was away so they don't get wasted.

- I have been doing all loads of laundry in the HE washer. But I am too sick to hang it so it has been going in the dryer. I don't over dry. If it is a little damp when it comes out, I put it on hangers or a rack till it is fully dry. I always get to it right away when the buzzer goes off.

- Hubby decided he wanted to try to rebuild our mailbox. Working with my son, they determined that the materials to fix it would cost more than a new mailbox. So in the spring, we will get new one. Hubby likes the one with a mailbox and a place for the newspaper. That is what we had. He hates the post and box that the newspaper puts in.   Meanwhile, what the town put in for mail is working.

- I purchased 40 lbs. of skinless boneless chicken from Zaycon Fresh with a coupon code. I got it for $.79 a lb. OOP. It will come the end of March. 

-Meanwhile I purchased 2 packages of chicken at Save- A- Lot for $ 1.59 a lb. to get us through until my order is delivered. 

- I am reorganizing my stockpile to make it more efficient and so that Hubby can find things in it. I always want to know what I have on hand. Rather than write it all down, I am considering a spread sheet. Does anyone have one that works for them?

- I made a loaf of bread this week. I have been craving a sandwich while I am sick. So Keto is on hold while I feed this cold.

- I am making the grandchildren's Valentine gift this year by filling the nice mailboxes that I got at Dollar Tree. I am buying candy that goes on sale and using coupons when I can. The mailboxes are almost full. They will get sent UPS using my AAA discount and reused boxes from Amazon to ship them.

- I earned a $25. GC for Walmart from Ibotta. I am hoping to use it next week on things I need to stockpile. 

- The do list book that I told you I got at Office Max  is working beautifully for me. I just add things as I think of them and then cross them off when I am done. I just keep a running list in it. Nothing fancy.

- For entertainment, we have watching the new season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. It is so funny.

- My son and grandson will come on Sunday for breakfast as they usually do. This week, I will make scrambled eggs, sausage and some hash browns made from the cheap potatoes I purchased this week.  

- I have been looking at seed catalogs. I am considering growing lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, oregano and basil again this year. I didn't last year but did the year before. They are things that we use a lot of.

- My organizing has been put on hold because I just don't have the energy. But I did one whole room before I left for Disney. I will continue with a vengeance when I feel better. I am still only using containers that I have on hand or can get at Dollar Tree.

That is it for now. More in a week or so.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I am off to take a nap.   

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Best Thing I Have Ever Purchased at Aldi's


Someone told me how good the Never Any Apple Chicken Sausage at Aldi's is. So I bought three packages this week. It sells at my Aldi's for $ 2.99 a package. One package makes enough in this dish that we had for dinner tonight to give us some leftover. Sorry that I didn't take a picture before we ate but the leftovers will have to suffice. 

The chicken is already cooked and just needs to be warmed up. I sliced it up and cooked it right in the pan with fresh apple slices and cranberries. I added a little butter and just a touch of chicken broth to cook the fruit. These sausages have such a wonderful apple flavor. We both loved them. So I thank my friend for telling me about them. They will be on our menu regularly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Rest Of This Week's Shopping

I won't bore you with most of the details but here are the rest of the shopping trips that I made on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday's Tops trip I saved $26.01 and paid OOP $23.41. I also bought a Buffalo News to get another set of inserts. But the News has gone up to $3.00 so I don't know how often I will do that. They have to be good coupons for things I need. I already saved many more dollars than the cost of the paper on another Top's trip, Walgreen's trip and my CVS trip.

This shop was another Top's trip(2 Palmolive and 4 Almay Eye Makeup removers) where I used $10.00 in coupons and paid OOP $ 13.79. The CVS trip was the rest of the items which I paid $ 1.59 OOP. I used $10.00 in ECB's and  and Q's for the Wet n Wild eyeliners, toothpaste and the Gold Emblem snacks. I got $ 8.00 in ECB's back. The Walgreen's trip was 2 Elvive Shampoo and Conditioner and the Russell Stover. That total came to $3.95 after Q's.

Rite Aid was $50.00 from my Other budget for the 2- $25. Domino's cards which was a bonus cash deal. All candy I posted today is for the grandchildren to put in their cute little  Valentine mailboxes. The candy came to $ 3.46.

Aldi's was $22.44 OOP. I am getting ready for the Super Bowl. We are also trying 2 different ham products to see which we like better. BTW, the apple sausages are terrific cooked up in a skillet with fresh apples slices and a little cinnamon.

Last shop was Save- A-Lot where I stocked up on 5.87 lbs. of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts at $ 1.59 a lb. Great price for here. I paid $14.27 for the chicken, 2 lbs. of carrots, a huge cabbage, and 8 lbs. of Russet potatoes. Hubby has asked for corned beef and cabbage this week. Since I have one I bought at rock bottom price last March, he is getting his wish.

I had $ 14.40 left in my grocery budget last week when I added $ 75. on Sunday. I now have $ 6.49 left for the rest of the week. However, I do have a $25. Walmart E-Gift Card that I earned from Ibotta. Since I earned it with groceries rebates, I will use it for groceries. So when I feel better, I will be using that to stock on toilet paper, ground turkey and possibly beef, half and half, etc.

I do have some Ibotta rebates to submit. I think it is like $2.50 that I will get back. 

Our Other budget has $ 63.07 left after being funded for only two weeks. I did not fund it for the week I was in Florida.

I am so glad that I do not have to run out the door today. My cold seems to be getting worse instead of better. It's in my chest now. Fortunately, I have a check up with my doctor later this week so hopefully he can give me something or tell me what will get rid of it.

I will be back later this week with the Frugal Things We Have Done the past 10 days.

 

Monday, January 22, 2018

An Exhausting Day

I have not recovered from my trip or cold yet. I have been trying to get the shopping and errands done and things caught up around here. So I feel like I have been running and running and I am exhausted.

Since today was warmer than it has been in a long time - mid forties and raining, I decided that it was a good day to just get all of the errands and shopping done. So I was out most of the day. I am too tired to tell you everything I did but I wanted to show you the deals that I found when I went into Office Max for other items.  

I needed a 7 pocket envelope to keep my drugstore deals and rewards in, a place for my shopping list, restaurant coupons, and a place to put coupons that I don't end up using in. So I was able to pick that up for $2.00.

However as I was walking back towards the front of the store, I saw a large clearance section. I was curious so I stopped. I found Christmas zipper sandwich bags marked down to $.23 a box. I ended up  purchasing all they had left which was 17 boxes. Each bag cost me $.0115. I use these for many things: craft supplies, to organize small things and for non freezer food. I was thrilled. Hubby and I decided this purchase should come out of our Other budget. So check your clearance sections at Office Max if it is close by.

I also found the pictured bound notebook which has 168 pages marked down to $ 2.42. I was needing one for my to do lists and this was so large and attractive.

I did many more shopping trips today but more about that tomorrow. I just don't have any get up and go left today. I am going to drink a cup of tea and I am off to bed. I hope you all have a great evening.
  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Last Spending This Week

I grocery shopped again today and made a stop at Dollar Tree. I won't spend again until next week.

First, I will tell you about my Dollar Tree haul which is pictured above. I needed a birthday card but I saw these Valentine Mailboxes for my grandchildren. Aren't they adorable? I just loved them especially since they will get shipped to them. They had these that were bigger and some that were smaller. I will fill them with candy and other small things and then put them in a box and ship them. When I saw them all I could think of was the movie, You've Got Mail.

I also picked up three containers that I could use in my organizing. When I spot them I grab them. We have a very small Dollar Tree here so things don't last long. The Dollar Tree haul comes out of my Other Budget. 

I shopped at Top's and Aldi for a few things we needed. Top's total was $ 16.09 and the Aldi total was $ 6.83. So I end this week with $ 14.40 left in my grocery budget which will be rolled into next week. When I shopped the other day for the noodles, they were out of the Pennsylvania Dutch ones. They were $1.59 but I had a Tops Click to Card $ 1.00 Q so they cost $.59. So these will be added to my stockpile for the next time I need to make a family dish. Chips and crackers were requested by Hubby. 

My grandson's birthday is today. He is 8. We won't see him because his other grandparents are visiting with him. But if he and his Dad get to come out on Sunday for breakfast, I want to make a brownie cake and have ice cream after as a belated birthday party. The brownie mix and frosting I already had in my stockpile. 

We were out of peanut butter so I picked up a Jif at Top's and an Aldi's brand too. The Aldi's brand was 45% less than the Jif. So we will try it to see if we like it. If so, no more Jif. I picked up another Dannon Light and Fit Zero for smoothies. Also we were totally out of tomato sauce. Since it costs $.29 a can at Aldi's, it was a no brainer to buy 4 there. 

Is there anything worse than snow almost every day or freezing cold and bundling up when you go out? Yes, when the snowplow takes your mailbox out. That happened to us yesterday just before the mailman came. UGH!  Hubby and I almost froze outside trying to rig the broken mailbox to the  broken post. We managed to salvage part of the box and bungie cord it to the broken post. It is a little lower than normal but I stopped at the P.O. this morning and talked to my mailman who gave me yesterday's mail. He said it will be fine temporarily until we can put a new one in. He knows we would have to wait for our son to be able to help us.  However, when I asked my son, he told me to call the town offices and they will come out and replace it with a cheap mailbox and post that will get us through to spring when it will be easier to dig and replace it. So I did call the town and they are coming out this afternoon to put the new one in for us.

I have been unpacking and doing laundry and catching up errands and doing what needs to be cleaned around here. I have also been doing some organizing.

Tonight, we feel like having a comfort meal. So I am going to roast a 7 lb. chicken and we will have it with a salad and some broccoli. 

I hope you all have a great weekend. It is supposed to warm up to normal temps here which is very welcome. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Other Cash Budget

As you all know, I am using $75.00 cash per week for our grocery, HBA, and cleaning budget. Every week I put another $75.00 into that envelope.

But I am also using another cash budget and that is the budget that covers lunches out, our haircuts or my color, our home decor(little things like pillows, etc.), stamps, clothing, car washes, gasoline, etc. You know the things that you are always reaching into your wallet to pay for weekly. We have determined that we need $100. per week to fund that. So I have an envelope for that in my Dave Ramsay wallet also. The same day that I put the money in my grocery envelope I also fund this other envelope.

I have a hair appointment next week and I always overspend on my hair, so I am trying to cut back on this expense. I definitely need a haircut and perhaps roots done. But I am considering no more highlights since they are so expensive. I might even color my hair at home again. We'll see how it all works out.

Hubby and I rarely eat lunch out especially now that we are on the Keto Diet. Home decor is not something that I buy on a regular basis but sometimes a pillow will wear out. We won't be buying much clothing except as we go down sizes and those sizes will be cheap clothing just to hold us to our next downsize. I have no problem buying at second hand stores. 

Car washes only happen in the winter. Gasoline is about once a month unless we go on a trip.We use very few stamps a month unless it is Christmas card time.

So Hubby and I are thinking this money will be enough. If not we will up this budget. 

We will lose a few points by not putting all of these expenses on our credit card. However it is worth it to me to not have to check all of these little expenses on our bill. Only our fixed expenses will be put through the charge account.

These expenses will be tracked each month on the envelope. The extra envelopes in my wallet house my ECB's and coupons for CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen coupons so that I am always ready to stop at these stores when I happen to be in the area.

This wallet is always with me so I go out the door knowing that I am prepared. 

I am hoping to bring our spending down on some of these expenses. It is too easy to just pull out the card instead of paying cash. It makes it way too easy to spend more than you want. Even though we have always and still do pay our credit cards in full every month, I want to try it with cash and when the cash is gone each week it is gone until the envelopes get funded the next week.

I know that I have many people reading here who have credit card debt. If you do you should be paying cash for everything and not running your credit card bills any higher. That is how people get into major trouble. Pay down that debt by working out a monthly budget and sticking to it. Use cash for your groceries and everyday expenses and see how it works for you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Grocery Shopping and The Budget

Now let's get back to being frugal with our money. As you all know we have been eating from our stockpile for months. The shelves and freezer are starting to show some room.

I menu plan but only from my stockpile. I shop to refill that stockpile with my $ 75.00 per week grocery budget.  Since I have a stockpile which allows me to buy at rock bottom prices, I save a whole lot of money. Not having to buy things when they are not on sale is what I aim for. But sometimes you just run out of things while you are on vacation. Hubby had a small list when I got back. 

I purchased the above at Aldi's and Rite Aid. Here is my purchase:

Wraps  $1.69
Half and Half  $ 3.49
Tortilla Chips $ 1.49
Tomatoes $ 1.49
Mayo   $ 1.89
Garlic Powder  $ 1.19 

Total at Aldi's was $ 11.24

I had to go to Rite Aid to pick up 3 prescriptions for Hubby. So I purchased the 2 Hershey's bars that were $ .69 each and used a $1.00 L2C Q which made them just $ .19 each. I had a $1.00 from the old rewards program that carried over to the new one. So I used that to pay the $.38 for the candy and the other $ .62 came off the prescriptions which was a nice surprise. I hope that continues. So Rite Aid was nothing OOP for the grocery budget. I have a drawer in a spare room where I keep the candy stash. It is kept stocked for the occasional treat for the grandchildren or to build up for Halloween. Fortunately, Hubby and I are pretty good about staying out of it.

The wraps are for the occasional sandwich made with leftover roast, chicken or turkey breast. We use 1/2 and 1/2 in our coffee every day. Hubby said we were down to our last 1/4 carton. Hubby asked for tortilla chips since he loves salsa and those for lunch. I use tomatoes in my salad every day so even though they are expensive right now, they are a necessity for me.  Hubby loves Hellman's mayo but it was not on sale anywhere this week. So I bought Burman's which an Aldi employee told me a long time ago is Hellman's mayo. Hubby can't tell the difference between this and Hellman's. Aldi's is now stocking it right next to the Hellman's in my store. Lastly, Hubby had used the last bit of garlic powder when he made Lemon Piccata for my welcome home dinner. It is always cheapest for me at Aldi's. 

My last stop yesterday was at Top's where I purchased:  

2 Smithfield Pork Loins on B1G1F - $ 10.99 for both

1 gallon of Milk -$ 1.59 with Top's Q  - $.25 Ibotta rebate

1 Cucumber - $ .99

12 cans of Diced Tomatoes - $ 6.00 for all 12

3 Top's Salsa - $ 1.34 each

1 Light and Fit Greek Yogurt w/Zero Art. Sweetener- $ 1.25 -Free after $ 1.25 Ibotta Rebate

1 Krusteaz Lemon Bars and 1 Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake - $2.50 each but Free after 2 Free Q's from the company

1 bag of Spinach - $2.48

1 can of Campbells Yes Well soup - $ 1.99 - $ .75/1 Q = $.49 

1 Gia Russa Noodles -$2.00

Total OOP was $ 29.56. The $ 1.50 in Ibotta money will be rolled right back into my grocery money when I receive it. 

We love those pork loins so the price was too good to pass up. I am cooking one tonight that we will eat for a few days and I put one in the freezer.  We were totally out of milk and this was a good price. However in order to get that price you needed to spend $20. I used my 2 Free coupons to get me there. The lemon bars and coffee cake are handy for when company visits. The cucumbers were rotten at Aldi's so I got one here for my salads. My stock of canned tomatoes needed some more. We use these alot. Hubby loves salsa and this was a great price. The Greek yogurt goes in my kale shakes to give them some sweetness. The spinach is for salads. I will add the soup to the basement stockpile. I love these soups.

I had planned on buying the Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles that were free after Top's Click to Card Q. However, they were out and I needed this to make a dish for a neighbor who is sick. So I spent the $2.00.  

So after yesterday's spending, I have $34.20 left in this week's grocery budget. 

Hubby did not spend any of the grocery money last week so I decided to make a bulk purchase of Jordan's SF Coffee Syrups that will last us about 6 months. So I spent $ 71.88 on that order yesterday. That leaves me $3.12 from that week's budget(1/7/18) or a total of balance in my envelope wallet of $ 37.32 left to spend on groceries.

I am doing well on this $ 75. per week budget since we have a good stockpile and this helps me continue to add to it. I know that when all the money is gone, I have to wait to shop until the next week when I get $75. more in grocery money. A weekly budget is so much easier to handle.

I keep my money for groceries each week in this Dave Ramsay Envelope Wallet. I just started using this as you can tell because I already made mistakes  putting things in the wrong columns so I had to cross out and fix. My grocery money goes in the envelope and when it is gone, it is gone. 

There is an envelope at the back to keep your receipts.  

How are you doing with your grocery budget spending? Are you tracking it?
 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Does She Ever Spend Any Money?

After all these years that I have blogged, you all pretty much know that we don't normally spend a lot of money on anything but necessities. Sure we spend a fortune every month on cable, Netflix, and a home telephone which I could probably cancel if Hubby didn't like sports so much. But he does so we keep it. But that is okay because it makes him happy. We eat out once in a while but not to the excess that a lot of people we know do. We don't go to the movies and other expensive venues like casinos, etc. Have you ever wondered why we save so much money every month and don't treat ourselves with those aforementioned things? 

Well, the answer is so very simple. We save our money for things that are important to us. We save to be able to treat our grandchildren and kids once in a while. But most importantly we save so that we can treat ourselves once in a while like this trip to Disney World for me. Hubby was invited but turned it down. He doesn't like to travel. He missed out on a great time.

While he was home, I was in the parks every day except Saturday. That was because I started getting sick on Friday and spent the day in bed on Saturday so I missed the dessert party and fireworks at the castle. But my family went and loved it. Fortunately, I didn't get sick at the beginning of the week. We arrived in Orlando about 8:30am on Sunday the 7th. After checking into the DVC resort at Boardwalk, we went for a walk on the Boardwalk where we stopped for a Quick breakfast at the Broadway Bakery. The snack on the plane didn't kill our hunger. We were at the airport at 4am so hadn't eaten. The bakery has such wonderful pastries, sticky buns and breakfast platters. We walked around for a while after and then went to the ESPN Club on the Boardwalk to get appetizers and beer and watch the Buffalo Bills vs. Jaguars football game. Even though our Bills didn't win, it was fun to be there. The Club was filled with Buffalo Bills fans who had traveled down. Our plane was actually filled with fans. Most of whom flew down and rented a car to drive to Jacksonville. But there were plenty of us who ended up at the Club. It was a fun afternoon of beer and appetizers. Alas we had to leave early though because we had a reservation for dinner at Paddlefish at Disney Springs.

We did all of the parks using our hopper passes, some more than once. My favorite is Epcot where my son and I spent a morning and afternoon eating and drinking our way through the countries. Yes, I put on three pounds while we vacationed but I am right back on my Keto diet today.

We ate every lunch and dinner in the parks. We went to Ample Hills Creamery, Be Our Guest (for lunch), Earl of Sandwich(lunch), Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop(dessert), Victoria and Alberts Dinner Queen Victoria Room, Hoop De Doo Musical Review at Wildnerness Park, Landscape of Flavors, Paddlefish at Disney Springs, Sci- Fi Dine in Theater Restaurant and Yak and Yeti's for lunch one day. I know there were many more than I can't think of right now. But it is expensive eating in the parks for lunch and dinner and sometimes breakfast(which I think we did twice).

I took my son and DIL out on separate evenings late night for drinks and appetizers at the ESPN Club and the Big River Grill & Brewing Company. The rest of the nights they went out late night to extra hours- 9PM to midnight for DVC members only at Magic Kingdom and I babysat.

However they treated me to a wonderful Christmas present. My gift was dinner in the Queen Victoria Room at Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian. What a treat I was in for. There was a strict dress up code which we abided by. We had a 10 course dinner(menu pictured)  with wine pairings with each course. MY DIL and I both received a long stem red rose all prepared for travel just before we left. We all went home with a box of specially picked chocolates from the best in the world. They sent us home with our menu that also had our welcome by name engraved on the back. The dinner took 4 hours and we enjoyed and savored every minute of it. We had waiters and wine sommeliers for every course who explained everything we were eating and drinking. The Chef came out during the meal to see how we liked everything. The head of the restaurant did the same. The service was the best we have ever had. The food was like nothing I will ever see again. It was just superb. There are only 4 tables in the Queen Victoria Room and we got so much attention. There was a wonderful fire burning in the fireplace. The elegance in the room was wonderful. We felt like royalty for the evening.

If you decide to go there it is a very romantic place if you don't have your Mom in tow. But the kids wanted to really treat me. But bring your bank roll with you because dinner and the wine pairings will run you $ 340. to $365. per person plus tax and gratuity.(They didn't tell me;the information is out on the web.)  It was not a cheap evening for them between this and a 5 hour babysitter for their son who couldn't go. No children allowed. Plus we took a car service door to door and back. It was a magical evening for me and I was very thankful to my children for this. It was a beautiful night that I will always remember. 

Since my son owns timeshares at Disney, I did not have to pay for a room. We had a 2 bedroom at Boardwalk. But I did have to pay for my airline tickets and 7 day hopper pass both of which were not cheap. If I remember correctly that came to about $900. I paid for my son's car long term rental at the airport which was $65.25. Hubby was going to drive us but was unable to so it was the least I could do. I spent $ 175. for the scooter for the week. I spent another $1300. in cash for meals( I treated my family a few times), Florida newspapers for coupon inserts that were too good to pass up, a treat for my grandson for the plane, and a Mickey Mouse key chain because mine broke. The key chain was the only souvenir I bought. I did buy a birthday gift for my grandson since his birthday is this week. But that was it. I only had a carry on with me and it was so full that I could barely zip it so I couldn't buy anything else.

But anyway as you can see I spent about $2500. for this trip and it was probably higher because I didn't write down every dollar I spent. And that was without paying for a room. Disney is very expensive.

Anyhow we had a blast! It was cold and rainy a few days we were there but we didn't let that bother us. We went to all the parks and even spent an afternoon in the pool and jacuzzi.

So now you see how and why I make beautiful memories with my family and that I am not frugal all of the time. I just prioritize how we spend our money and what we save it for.

I am happy to be back even though I have a bad cold or the flu. I will not let that stop me though since I have errands to run the next few days along with two appointments this week and lots of mail and laundry to catch up on. I will be posting now that the trip is over. 

I also have to order Hubby's favorite zero calorie coffee syrup that he ran out of while I was away. Plus his boots fell apart while he was out snow blowing. I love my LL Bean boots so I will order him a men's pair from there. I have a 25% off coupon code and a $10. GC. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Frugal Things We Have Done the Past Couple of Weeks

The holidays are never frugal as we all know. However we did our best to get a few frugal things done. 

- I did very little grocery shopping which has continued into this week. We are mainly eating from our stockpile of food.

- One night we were craving Chinese food. I was tempted to go get take out. But my Chinese food is healthier. So even though I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open, I made stir fry. I chunked up some boneless chicken that I had in the freezer. I added different colored pepper strips, pineapple chunks, sliced onions and water chestnuts. I finished it off with a Chinese stir fry sauce that I made from a packet. I ate it just like that. Hubby wanted his on rice. It was delicious and not only cheaper than take out but I didn't have to brave the cold or use any gasoline.

- I made double the amount we wanted and froze a meal for a night when we are craving it again.

- I used one of these for the above meal so that it was easier to get in the bag and didn't make a mess. I purchased these for less than $ 5.00 each. I bought four of them for freezer cooking. I will be doing a lot of that after my trip. I will cook one meal for dinner and freeze four meals for nights I am too tired to cook.

- I sewed a button back on a sweater and a button back on a nightgown. I seem to have them coming off lately.

- We had Christmas dinner a day late at my son's home. I baked a homemade pumpkin bread and put a lot of homemade party mix in a Christmas container that I purchased last Christmas at 90% off so that they had breakfast the next day since they would be traveling. They also took the party mix to eat on the trip. 

- I needed no wrapping paper, cards or other Christmas things so I did not go after Christmas discount shopping. I kept my money in my wallet. 

- I have been using up all of our leftovers. If I make soup, I freeze it. I have made all of Hubby's meals for while I am gone so that he only has to thaw and heat. 

- I went to the library and took out a book to read on my trip.

- I wanted to give a little gift to each of the babies that live next door to me but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. So I wrapped a brand new book that I had in my gift closet for one of them. The other one I gave a garage sale book that I purchased for $1.00. The book looked like it had never been used. Both boys love being read to and looking at the pictures.

- I managed to get the snow out of the driveway, off the porch, and walk with just a little bit of help from Hubby. So for now, it is done and I didn't have to hire a plow service. 

- I have been using the HE washer and hanging clothes inside to dry. But I have only been doing two loads a week. 

- I bought no new clothes for my trip. I am using what I have even for dressing up for our dinner at Victoria and Alberts at the Grand Floridian.

- Hubby and I have not gone out to dinner or gotten take out since Thanksgiving weekend. No entertainment money spent. 

- Our entertainment has been watching Netflix movies and playing board games. 

- Hubby had one of the soles come loose on his favorite pair of bang around shoes. He fixed it with Boot Fix Shoe Glue. It worked perfectly. 

- I got my first rebate in the mail for 2018. It was $3.00. It is being saved for one of our goals.

That is it for now. I need to start dinner so that I can call my sister at 6PM. We take turns calling each other every week using free long distance. I look forward to chatting with her tonight.

So what have you done frugally the past week or so?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Busy Day

It is so cold here that almost everyone in my neighborhood is hibernating. The temperature when I went out early this morning was  12 degrees. It is now 20. But it feels much colder than that with winds blowing 30-40 miles an hour. The blowing snow was a hazard when I was out driving. 

I had to go out to pick up Hubby's medicine which cost  $ 3.68.  It had been sitting in the drugstore since last Friday when it was ordered. I was lucky to get out of my driveway because Hubby has been sick so the snow has been piling up since Thursday. So I drove a little over 7 miles to go to the drugstore and back. We had not used any gasoline yesterday.

I had planned on going to the market but after looking at the ads, I decided there was nothing that I really needed today.

So I came home and did some organizing after lunch. Lunch everyday is usually a salad with whatever veggies we have in the fridge at the moment. Today it was spring greens, onions and peppers with a little lite Italian dressing. 

I was tired of my coupons inserts, binder, and ads being either in the closet in the master bedroom suite (where they were stored) or on the kitchen counter where I would cut what I needed from the inserts. My computer is on my kitchen desk and I needed a place for them that I could quickly grab it all and make my grocery list and cut my coupons. So I emptied the two cupboards to the right of my desk. They have built in pull outs. That is where they are stored now. I can pull out what I need without even getting up from my chair.  In the basket, I have this week's ads, my coupon inserts in a pile filed by date so that I can quickly find the one I need at the moment, and my coupon binder and envelopes that I put this week's grocery coupons in. My planner with my menu and grocery list is always on the counter to the right of my computer. This will work beautifully for me. BTW, my inserts and coupons are all up to date. All the expired were tossed last Saturday.

I also keep my Entertainment Book and planner stickers in this pull out so they are handy for me. 

In the cupboard next to it in the pullout, I keep the scissors I need to cut coupons and other office related supplies that I use.  

While I was working in this area, I decided to clean out my desk drawer. So now everything is clean, neat and ready to be used efficiently. 

We have all of the energy efficient shades closed up tightly and the snakes on the bottom of the doors where they are needed. It has been very cold the last 10 days and is going to continue into next week. The weather service is saying that we will not get above 0 Thursday through Saturday. The next electric and gas bill will be horrendous but we have done all we can do. We have to stay warm.

Since I have everything I need for my trip, I doubt that I will go out again until I go to the airport this weekend for my Disney trip. I can't wait to feel the warmth of the Florida sun on my face. So we will not be using much gas and most days will be spend free.

I pulled a package of ground chuck out of the freezer to thaw last night. Hubby and I will be having a tossed salad and a hamburger with cheese and carmelized onions for dinner. We rarely eat beef anymore but I was craving a hamburger and we have to use up what we have in the freezer.

Tonight Hubby and I will watch a movie on Netflix together. We just haven't decided which one yet.

I hope you all are having a good and frugal day. Tomorrow I will be back with a frugal things post covering the last week or so. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year and My Resolutions


Happy New Year to all of you. May your year be Blessed and Very Prosperous.

I am so excited for this New Year. It always makes me hopeful when the calendar changes years. I have a number of resolutions for the year and to hold myself accountable, I am listing them here:

- Spend as much time as possible doing things with Hubby that we both enjoy.

- Spend as much time as possible with our sons, DIL's and grandchildren.

- Lose 30 pounds by continuing our Keto diet and exercise more. 

- Become so healthy that I can get off of most of my prescription pills. I was able to get off of five of them in 2017. I don't know if it will be possible to get off of the rest but I am sure going to try my best. 

- Finally organize every inch of my home in the next three months without spending a fortune doing it. Most organizers will be purchased at the Dollar Tree. I have always been a pretty organized person but I have never organized every inch the way I really want it. That is my goal while making Hubby happy about it at the same time. 

- Make freezer cooking the normal around here instead of just a once in a while thing. I have grown very tired of cooking so this will help me in a big way. I will always know that I have a meal in the freezer that I can pull out and put in the crock pot or oven. It will also let us eat more meals at home instead of eating out.     

- Save more money than we ever have by being frugal in everything we do. Every day I will be doing whatever needs to be done to live the frugal life the way we want to. Everything I do will be carefully thought about and analyzed. 

- Use my 2018 planner to keep track of everything I do and Quicken for tracking all or our income and expenses.

- Spend less time on the computer, watching You Tube or Netflix and more time doing things that help our bottom line. I have already pretty much given up TV.

- We will be trying to cut all of our spending to less than we spent in each category last year. 

- Lastly, I plan on really enjoying my Disney World vacation that starts this coming weekend. I will have no electronics with me to blog with.  I want to savor every minute with my son, DIL, and grandson. It may be the last vacation that I take so I really want to enjoy it.

- Blogging about it all here.

Have you made any resolutions today that you plan on keeping?  Please comment and share with all of us. We would love to hear about them.