I'm not a dumpster diver, though I've dug through one or two full bins in my adult life. I'm also not a curb crawler, though I've found a few good things on curbs. However, I don't set out to locate items using either of those methods. I just kind of happen upon them now and then. Like this morning.
DH took the trash out at his office and seemed to be gone a long time. When he returned he came into the room where I was resting (I have the flu..ugh!) with a new plastic rolling cart loaded with boxes. Apparently, someone had dumped a lot, and I do mean a lot, of good office supplies in the dumpster. In addition to the cart itself, there were 25 expanding file folders, a case or two of perfectly good, still in the wrapper paper, both letter and legal sizes, 5 desk top organizers, several hole punchers of various sizes, a brand new AT&T phone, 35 new and unused 3 ring notebooks, 3 steno pads, and more pens, highliters, markers, sticky notes and flags, rubber bands and plastic paper clips than you can imagine.
He told me there was more and asked me to go along with him. So I did. On that second run, we got two easel pads (but no easel) a very large roll of butcher paper, a clothes hanging bag, more expanding file folders, desktop organizers, notebooks, pens, highlighters, markers, sticky notes and flags, rubber bands, and plastic paper clips. Oh, and we found change in the organizers, .44 to be exact. That goes to my $20 challenge fund. There's more but my brain isn't operating too well thanks to the virus and that's all I can remember right now.
When I feel up to it, we'll go through it all and decide what to keep and will Freecycle the rest of it. My thought through all this was, "Why would someone throw all this out??" For the life of me, I can't imagine the reason for such waste. This stuff is perfectly good and all of it is almost new. What silliness...
Viewing the '$20 Challenge' Category
I'm not a dumpster diver, though I've dug through one or two full bins in my adult life. I'm also not a curb crawler, though I've found a few good things on curbs. However, I don't set out to locate items using either of those methods. I just kind of happen upon them now and then. Like this morning.
I finally got around to counting the money I have in my $20 challenge box and the total is $107.35, enough to open a savings account! So early next week I'll open that account and when every time the challenge money gets to $100, the money will be deposited into that account.
Bills are due soon and we don't have enough money in the envelopes for them all. We're close on several of them and not so close on a few. Business has slowed down, which is normal for this time of year, so we just haven't brought in all the money that we need. However, things should pick up sometime between the first and middle of February and fortunately, that's close. But we have bills due before then.
We haven't used hardly any of my last paycheck so we'll more than likely use some of that to cover the shortage this week. Rats, that isn't what we want to do! But we're trying to pay bills on time and if we have to use it, so be it. And I'm thankful we have the money to use.
On the brighter side of things, my new $20 challenge total is $77.02. Yippeee! I should be at $100 very soon and once I am, that will be used to open the savings account where all future $20 challenge money goes when it hits the $100 mark. So, I feel a little better knowing that although we'll more than likely have to spend some of my pay on bills, I'll have $100 very soon to put in the bank. It softens the blow just a tad.
I found .63 in my work apron earlier today and then a bit ago found a nickel and penny on the ground outside. So my new challenge total is $75.64.
Thanks to some meatless meals, found change, and not buying snacks while out and about I've added $5.85 to my challenge money, making my new total $74.95. I do believe I'll make it to $100 this month. If I can do that every month, how great is that?
DH has an eye infection and the drops the eye doctor gave him didn't clear it up so I just went and got the prescription drops. After my discount, they cost $68! We didn't have that in the budget for this month but oh well, infections happen! At least I got the discounted price.
While there, I picked up a bag of frozen Orange Chicken. Since the Cashew Chicken was so good I wanted to try this one. I also got a dozen eggs. Again, I used my discount but it still cost me a little over $6.
The total discount I got was $8.27 and I'm adding that to my challenge money giving me a new total of $69.10. Go me!
So, today's spending is about $75. I hope there's no more spending today...
It's actually after midnight but I figure "Midnight musings" sounds better than "12:34 AM thoughts"...
Anyway, I'm listening to archived Dave Ramsey shows, reading news stories about the President's proposed stimulus package, and eating a bean burrito. I need to get to bed soon but can't sleep. Fortunately I don't have to be at work until 4 PM so I should be able to sneak in a nap or two.
After hearing the commercials on Dave's show, I checked out e-Mealz. It seems like a pretty good deal at $1.25 a week so I looked at some of the sample menus. I was particularly interested in the low carb menus but was disappointed that they featured quite a few items we don't eat and they don't seem to have a menu plan for kosher diets. We don't eat rabinically kosher but it's very close to our diet. Not that I am seriously considering signing up for e-Mealz but I know a few people who might really benefit from it. I already do what e-Mealz says they do but I don't spend hours on it like the commercial mentions. It takes me 10 to 20 minutes to create a frugal but healthy menu plan for two weeks and I think we do pretty well feeding two adults for $30 to $45 a week with some weeks coming in well under the $30.
Speaking of frugal food, it's the time of year when we normally begin garden planning but we haven't considered it yet because we don't know where we'll be when it's time to plant. We might be in an apartment and only have a few pots in which to plant but it's possible we'll find an affordable lot somewhere and be able to put in a full sized garden. I'm praying for the latter.
Tomorrow before I go to work I'm cooking a whole chicken. It will feed us dinner tomorrow night and several meals through the week, including my lunches at work. Yaaay for stretching chickens! We'll also eat some meatless meals which means more money will be added to the challenge!
Okay, I'm off to bed now. I'm finally tired and it's about 1 AM.
I didn't spend $2.75 of the money I took to the laundrymat today so that goes in the challenge. So do the eighteen cents I found in a washer and the seven cents I found yesterday on the ground. In addition, I'm adding $3 for the three times we were out and about and I didn't get a snack or drink and $2 for two meatless meals the last day or so.
The new total is $60.83. Go me! I look forward to seeing what it is at the end of January!
Although I'd planned to, for two reasons I didn't get cash from the bank today to equal my challenge amount. One, I can't get money from the account until Tuesday and two, I think I'll spend it if it's lying around here.
I've thought about this quite a bit and have decided to open a savings account next week with the minimum deposit of $100. Whenever my challenge balance equals $100 I'll withdraw that from checking and put it in savings. I know I can do that. If I have cash in my pocket I want to spend it and if I have a debit card I want to use it. But when the money is in an account and I can look at the register and see the amount written there, I don't want to spend it. Why is that? I haven't a clue but that's how I am. And if the money in savings, that's a very strong signal to me that it isn't for playing.
On a related note, when we opened the new account this morning DH asked for a debit card for himself. I turned mine down and the banker lady looked at me like I had two heads. I don't want it, thank you! I think we'll have trouble if we both have debit cards. If he has one and gives me a cash allowance every week we'll be okay. I think. I just have to make sure to not take all my allowance with me when I go out...
I got email from Jeffrey a bit ago congratulating me on winning 3rd place in the the December blog contest and asking for my paypal address so he could send my prize to me. I didn't even know there was a prize! Yeeehaw! I entered the contest for fun and am now $10 richer for it. Gotta love that, folks!
That $10 is going into my challenge money and the new total is.....
Go Denise, go Denise!
Thanks to anyone who voted for me.
I mean physically, where is it? Do you keep it in a jar, in a savings account, somewhere else? Just curious as I haven't figured out just where to put mine yet and am looking for ideas.
I spent $6 on a dozen homemade chicken tamales this morning. The maker of the tamales does a very good job and delivers them hot and fresh. I don't get them weekly but talked to her about giving me a discounted price if I buy 6 dozen or more. She agreed so I might do that soon. It's nice to have them in the freezer for nights when I work late or we're simply in the mood for them. They're great with a little chili on top, reheated for lunch at work. Yum!
Later we went to Wal-mart for a few groceries and spent $34.75. We used $8.80 in coupons for free stuff so that was a nice savings and that $8.80 goes in to my challenge money. The new total for the challenge is $42.83.
I have my lunch and snacks packed for work tomorrow;a turkey pastrami on whole wheat sandwich, a few potato chips, a tin of kippers (I run everyone from the break room with those!) and an apple. I have no drinks to take but I can get free ice water from the grill so I'll do that.
This week we'll have two of the four needed signs installed for the shop. It will cost $200 for the two big ones to go by the road. Next week we'll have the two smaller ones brought in and install them ourselves. Those signs will cost about $100 but we'll save $100 by installing them ourselves rather than have the sign company do it. The signs are vital, though. We're on the major drag in this town but the little office complex we're in is easy to miss. Signs will help increase the business and make us easier to find for the ones sent here by the local optical shops. A well written map doesn't seem to do the trick!
I also need to get my car registered so I can drive it instead of the truck. That will cost about $60 plus gas for the 50 mile trip to get it registered. And I need to pay my car insurance, about $55.
Wow, this is going to be an expensive week so I really need to make sure to take my lunches and snacks to work and not buy a thing that isn't necessary. Fortunately, the shop gives us some daily cash flow but today was slow as was the last part of last week. I get paid Friday, though. Half of that goes to savings and the other half to bills if we need it. If not, it will sit in savings. Hopefully the rest of this week will be good for the shop and we can save more than half of my pay.
Hey, a girl can dream!
Well, I ran off to work without my lunch bag so when my lunch period arrived I spent $2.75 for a Margerita Pizza from our grill at work. It was pretty good and meatless so there's another dollar to add to the challenge money. My new total is $34.03.
I'm off tomorrow and don't need to do laundry but I do need to get cat food and a few other things so tomorrow won't be a no spend day, either.
Tonight's dinner was Contessa Cashew Chicken that I picked up at work recently on sale. For less than $3 we got three servings of pretty good Cashew Chicken over rice.
Tomorrow I'll put a beef roast in the slow cooker and we'll have that with vegetables and maybe a salad. Yum!
I have to admit I'm somewhat discumbobulated over the Cowboys losing tonight. Grrrrr!
I finally got to the laundrymat! Six wash loads and $12 later, the clothes are washed, dried, and put away. I have to come up with a wash schedule I can live with so I don't fall behind and get overwhelmed like I did this week. I think if I wash clothes twice a week that will be sufficient.
It's just the two of us and I generally wear my work pants at least twice before washing them. So, maybe washing clothes on Monday and Thursday will work. It should, anyway, as long as I keep to the schedule.
I work tomorrow from 10 AM to 5 PM. I'll take something to snack on during my 15 minute break, a couple of drinks, and a lunch. Hopefully it will be a no spend day for me.
And I found 18 cents in the truck while I was looking for the ignition key I dropped. That 18 cents goes toward the challenge so now my challenge money is $33.03.
We got some very bad news today about DH's oldest son, age 22, and in an attempt to get his mind off of it for a bit we went to see National Treasure 2. It was pretty good. We spent $14 for the tickets and he bought a box of chocolate covered nuts for $2. It didn't take his mind off the trouble but it did make him laugh a few times. I can't think of a thing that will make him feel better but at least he had a couple of hours of semi-distraction.
Oh, I found a dime on the ground there so that's added to my challenge bringing the total to $32.85.
I'm off today and tomorrow and then work Sunday (and wouldn't you know, I'm scheduled to work during the Cowboys game!) and am off again Monday. In fact, this coming week I have four days off. That's too many days off. I'll enjoy them, I'm sure, but the bank account likes to eat larger checks rather than smaller ones. Ah well, it is what it is.
My challenge money is up to $32 now thanks to change I found, some change DH gave me, and a couple of meatless meals.
Sometime today I absolutely must do laundry. I've been meaning to for several days and still it sits! But now we're down to almost no clean clothes so it really must be done today. It's going to take me quite awhile to do it so I'm procrastinating but the more I procrastinate the longer it's going to take. Bite the bullet, Denise, bite the bullet!
Tonight's dinner will be creamed chicken over toasted english muffins with salad and green beans. We have some of the chicken I cooked in the slow cooker leftover and some of that great gravy DH made so I'll thin that with a little milk, add the chicken and a few vegetables, and it will be good, I'm sure.
I was just emailed the electric bill for the little house I rent. It's almost $65! Too much considering I was there maybe three nights during that period but a neighbor was watching my cat and worried he'd get cold so she kept the heat on for him. Ehhh, $65 for a non-frozen cat is reasonable.
Okay, off to separate the clothes, again....
I wrote this then added to it and am now adding to it again so I edited the name, also. I might as well post just one entry rather than three.
So far the envelope system is working! Yes, it's only been three days but there is money in each of the envelopes, including the savings envelope.
It feels great to know our bills are paid for the month and we're working for the next round of them. We have a ways to go before we have enough for the next round of bills but we'll get there, I know.
Yaaaaay for envelopes, cash, jobs, and a little discipline!
Speaking of jobs, I'm a reasonably intelligent person and am capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. But correctly marking cups at work boggles my mind and I'm close to admitting I've been outsmarted by paper and plastic!
I did pretty well today but still messed up at least 6 cups. I either had the wrong size or marked them incorrectly or something else stupid. It doesn't help that customers often don't ask for an item by the name on the menu board. So I think they're asking for one thing and they're really asking for another. Example: "I'd like a Chi Tea." I mark the cup for what I think is Chi Tea. Then I look around and don't see Chi Tea anywhere. After doing this three times I realized they were asking for a Chi Latte!! Doh! When I ask what size, they say they want the medium and I mark it. Then they change their mind and want a large. Okay, no problem, I can handle that. I get another cup and mark it and bam, now they want the other one again!
It's fun and I love my new job.
My $20 challenge is up to $27 now thanks to a couple of meatless meals and not buying a snack or drink while out running errands. I have some change to add to it tomorrow, about $2. Yippee!
I started my challenge with $20 and yesterday added $4 to it. We both had meatless breakfasts so that was $2, then I didn't get a soft drink or snack while we were out and about so that added $1 and last night at work I did eat something from the grill but it was a meatless pizza so that's another $1. By the way, the pizza was purchased with a gift card I had $3 and some change on so I didn't spend money out of my pocket for that.
So yesterday I added $4 to my $20! Go Denise, go Denise, go go!
Unfortunately, this morning I spilled coffee all over my white work shoes. They're not good for anything but gardening now so I'll have to spend money today or tomorrow for work shoes.
One step forward and two steps back!
DH wanted to open an account at a bank closer than the one we use now so we went out to do that. Although we didn't get that done, I did add another dollar to my savings amount.
We stopped at a convenience store and DH got a drink and 5 granola bars. He asked if I wanted something and I told him no thanks but that I'd like a dollar when he got a minute. He immediately handed me a dollar bill with this quizzical look on his face and said, "What do you want?" I told him I didn't want anything and he said, "Yes, you do." I think I was grinning!
When we got in the truck I told him about the challenge and that I wanted the dollar since I didn't get anything to drink or eat. He just kind of ignored me and started up the truck...
Men, gotta love em! And women, gotta love us, too!
So, I'm up to $3 so far for today!
I'd love to have $100,000 saved but the thought of doing that is just too big for me to even consider. I do much better if I break large goals into small ones I can manage. So, I don't even look at the large amount of money I'd love to have saved and focus on more manageable, reachable goals. Saving that amount of money is going to take me a long time and can't even get started until I tend to some other things on my plate. So, I'm in the process of emptying that plate!
One of my goals for this year is to have $2500 saved by the end of July. Right now we have about $1100. The thought of saving $1400 in six months is overwhelming to me so I have to break the goal into mini goals and minute steps. It might be pie in the sky to think I can come up with $1400 in six months but I don't think so. I'm going to give up just a few things in an attempt to meet my savings goal. Here's how I plan to do it.
I have 15 pay periods between now and the end of July. If I save $25 from each of those pay periods, I'll have $375 at the end of July. That helps but is a far cry from $1400. I don't think I can afford to save $50 from each check but if I push the limit a little and save $35 from each check, that gives me $525 at the end of July. Much better but I still need another $875.
I have to get creative with this and come up with ways to save a little more here and a lot more there. And it wouldn't hurt to throw in some things that will improve my health, too, so for every meatless meal DH or I eat, I'll add $1 to my savings. I generally eat at least 5 meatless meals per week but I can increase that to 10, I think, without it being a burden. There are 29 weeks between tomorrow and the end of July so If I do that, I'm $290 closer to that deficit of $1400 and now I need $585 more. As long as I'm thinking health and wealth, I'll add $1 for each time I don't stop for a soft drink or snack while out and about. If I can keep to that, I'll have a minimum of $5 more a week which puts me $145 closer. I still need $440 to meet the $2500 goal.
It's getting more complicated now as I have a husband who loves meat (hey, so do I!) and will only tolerate so many meat-free meals and thinks little about stopping at a convenience store for a drink and snack. However, this challenge is MINE, although the money is OURS. I'll reward the savings account with these small amounts of money even if he isn't really on board. As long as I don't indulge, I'm doing well.
While composing this, my stomach started growling so I prepared eggs with a slice of cheese, topped them with salsa, and added some avocado slices. And DH had scrambled eggs with toast earlier so cha ching, there's $2 so far today! I work late tonight and am taking vegetable soup so that's $1 more.
So, I still need to cut back somewhere to close that $440 gap. Any ideas on that?
I used to sell on ebay, half.com, and Amazon but those have petered out for me and I don't think I want to try them again. I might but I don't see it happening right now. I'm considering babysitting to earn extra money for the challenge but that's just a thought at present. Our cell phones are down to bare bones now and we don't have cable television or subscriptions or dues to cut. We eat very few items that we find coupons for so adding coupon savings won't help much though it will add a little. I do plan to learn more about CVS savings and if I get that rolling, the savings will be added.
If you have ideas on other ways I can shave a little here and a little there, please share!
Okay, I've given the $20 challenge some serious consideration and here's my plan.
Tomorrow I'm going to put $20 on a gift card at Target. I think it needs to be $20 a week but I'll start with $20 for two weeks and see how that goes since the goal is to save, not spend. That's my 'at work' spending money. I don't shop there a lot but do get drinks and occasionally a snack when I'm on shift. I'll take drinks, dinner, and my snack in the attempt to spend less of that $20. What isn't spent during that two weeks goes into my savings jar. If there is none left at the end of two weeks, I won't be surprised. But this is an experiment so we'll see what happens.
By the way, I don't know if this is true at most retailers but if your Target gift card gets lost or stolen, the company will issue a new one if you have the original receipt for the card. So, if you buy Target gift cards, keep the receipts!
I'm also going to continue to put my change in the change jars, one for pennies, another for 'silver'. Once a week I take the quarters out and use those for laundry and that's a necessity so I won't change that but I'm going to not spend any of the other change and keep adding to it. Every two weeks I'll roll that and deposit it into savings.
Also, for every meatless meal I prepare and we eat, I'll add $1 to my challenge money. This won't be very easy as DH and I both are meat eaters and though we're happy to have meatless meals, he'll likely fuss if I serve too many. Right now he is eating a meatless breakfast so cha ching, there's $1! Ha ha, I just mentioned something about thawing ground turkey and he just said, "For sausage? That would go good with these eggs right about now." See?
I'm still thinking about this and will add changes as I figure them out.
Just what is it? I read the 'what is this?' link but it didn't tell me a lot. Do most of you start with $20 and add to it? Or is the goal to get to $20 then put that in savings or what?
Now that I'm working and DH's business is paying most of the bills (giving us a little bit of breathing room financially), I'd like to join but ummmm.. I need to know what it is.
Well, DH is feeling much better today so off he went to town to try to collect payment from a couple of advertisers. I stayed home because I don't feel too chipper and I'm just tired and cold today.
In the crockpot I have Taco Soup and we'll have that tonight with cornbread, unless one of the guys picks up corn chips or tortilla chips today. If they do, we'll have the soup over those but if not, cornbread is great. I baked a few chocolate chip cookies so if they aren't gone by supper, they can have those for dessert.
Someone in the local Freecycle group offered some cat food and cat litter and I claimed it. Yippeee! She lives not far from me so I need to get to her house today or tomorrow to get it. That's a few dollars I won't have to spend and I'll add those to my challenge money. I just love free stuff, even if it is free stuff for my cat!
Okay, I'm cold and need to warm up. I'm going to climb into bed for awhile and hopefully that will help me warm up.
Okay, I'm up to $21 now! And no, DH won't get it. He'll have to find his own $20.
Okay, I'm starting the challenge again but this time I don't even have $17 and some change to start it! It's actually my $5 challenge. So, I'm $15 short but $5 is $5! And DH isn't getting it this time. Nuh uh, no way, no how!
Ugh, DH needed cash a couple of times during the week and all I had was the $22 and some change I had in my $20 challenge. I gave it to him, though, so now I have $0.00. However, I might have saved us money giving him that rather than the debit card so I can't complain too much.
I'll start over with my challenge next week..after I have my temper tantrum and finish beating myself up!
Someone asked me how I weed out legit surveys from junk. Well, I don't do many surveys but I do a few. I like Pinecone Research and although they pay such a small amount, every bit helps.
Treasure Trooper is one I just started with but like. If you have any interest in online surveys and offers, look it over and join if you feel comfortable with it. In their surveys section is a nice list of legit survey companies.
You won't get rich doing surveys but a little here and a little there adds up and it's going to go to my $20 challenge.
I also do some keying for keyforcash.com. I don't think they're accepting new people and I know of a few people who registered in May but still haven't been put to work but it's definitely worth looking into. You just type snippets of text and they pay you for it. You have to make a minimum of $50 for them to pay but the checks go out once a week. During fairly busy times I make $60 to $100 with keyforcash.com.
I used to do inbound telemarketing for West Work at Home. I made pretty good money but the best pay was at night and it got to the point where the prank calls were so bad and so numerous I just stopped doing it. It's a reliable company, though. I always got paid and got the right amount on time.
Associated Content is a content site and I've written a few articles for them. They pay between $3 and $20 article. I've only submitted a few articles and need to write some more. It's a fun and interesting gig if you like to write.
I'll write more later about other online work opportunities I know of or have experience with.
The chicken is cooked, cooled, and de-boned. I made a quickie version of my chicken pot pie and it's okay. Not great but not bad, either. The horde will eat it. What chicken didn't get used in that is now in the fridge awaiting use later this week.
I got the clothes washed and hung on the line and they're dry, folded, and put away now. A few of them were just slightly damp so I draped them here and there to finish drying. Doing that costs less than running to the laundromat to finish the drying. I saved about .75 plus the little bit of gas to drive 3 miles. Not a big savings but I'll add a dollar to my $20 challenge jar.
I did a little bit of online work today. There wasn't a lot to do but I made a few bucks. I won't get paid for it until late next week but that's okay. It will be a little bit toward the big payment to the bank later this month.
All in all, it was a pretty cheap day!
I've washed a load of clothes and have them hanging up. The towels are in the washer now and when they're finished, I'll hang them on the line.
I've kept my eyes open today for change lying around the house to add to my $20 challenge fund. So far I've found 23 cents and a jar of pennies I forgot about! I don't know how many pennies there are but I'll count them later today or tonight.
DH and I are in our yearly winter thermostat war. Rather than get dressed and even wear thermals if necessary, he usually sits around the house in shorts and short sleeved shirts and of course, he's cold so he turns up the heat. I'm fully dressed wearing some warmer clothes and I'm comfortable. In an effort to help with our ridiculously high electric bills, I want to turn the heat down to 68 or so but he wants it up around 72 or higher. Last night before going to bed I checked the thermostat and it was on 76! I turned it down to 68 since he was already in bed and I was headed there. We have a wonderfully warm down comforter and stay toasty warm with the heat down. But he gets up earlier than I do and he's cold when he gets up so this morning when I got up it was on 72. He just left and I turned it down to 67. In his defense, I'll say that he's been wearing thermals the last few days and is still cold. That's odd and very unlike him but he's at least trying to help by wearing the thermals. And I'm thankful for that.
Okay, I'm off to vacuum and dust and hopefully find more change.
Okay, I've read quite a few entries about the $20 challenge and have decided to try it. But I'm actually starting out with $17.56. That's what I have on me right now so I figure it's best to start with that and come up with $2.44 in a day or so than to not do it at all!
I've thought about what money to add to it and since this month is a really bad month with the mortgage issue and that is the priority, until that mortgage is dealt with I'm going to add to the original amount change from bills I use, change I find, change I dig up from inside the truck, and any survey money I get.
I might change that plan somewhere along the line but that's what I figure to do for January. If I end up with $21.83 on January 31 it's more than I have today.