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Home > Archive: January, 2008

Archive for January, 2008

8 hours and counting...

January 31st, 2008 at 01:44 pm

Since DH and I had a cigarette. He's having a pretty rough go of it but I'm doing okay for the most part. I keep thinking, "Hmm, I think I'll go outside for a smoke.." then realize that I can't/won't. One end of the straw I have is chewed up, though. Ha! And I'm trying not to eat everything in sight...


January 31st, 2008 at 06:44 am

I don't know what happened but my blog is all messed up and my entries are gone!

Thoughts on baldness, saving money, and quitting smoking

January 31st, 2008 at 05:59 am

This is Day 1 of what DH and I call "The Quit". Before I got up, he'd made and eaten his breakfast so when I got up I made a cup of coffee, sipped a little of it, checked email, then cut his hair for him. Rather than have that "man losing his hair but not admitting it" thing going on he keeps it cut very short all over. I like it but then, I think bald is sexy. I do! Yul Brynner was one of the sexiest men in my opinion. And while DH has much more hair than shaved Yul, I can only hope he is someday totally bald! So yes, I cut his hair for him and that's always a nice savings.

I also shaved a spot on his back for his nicotine patch and placed it on for him. It isn't sticking too well but it's there. I might have to use some medical tape to keep it on. Mine is on my left arm. And we're each in possession of a small piece of straw. It gives us something to hold in our hands and in our mouths. It really does help with the physical habits acquired during years of smoking.

So far, so good. We aren't yelling, snapping or biting one another but it's only been a short time. We'll see how the day wears on. The nice thing is, even if we have a rough day, at the end of today we'll have saved close to $10. How 'bout that, sports fans? I need to get my quitmeter up and running. It really helps keep with motivation.

So, here's to those of us who are bald or love bald, saving money, and quitting smoking. May we be successful! Smile

Staying calm in very disturbed waters

January 30th, 2008 at 05:43 pm

Since posting the entry earlier today about our Cash Flow Plan shock, DH and I have done a lot of talking. Blessedly, we're on the same page in all this. And even more wonderfully, he's a rock right now. He's concerned but is staying calm and keeping me from freaking out. He'll freak out later when I'm calm. That's how we do things around here;only one person freaking at a time. Otherwise it's pure chaos.

Together, we decided to have dinner out tonight (our last hurrah for quite awhile!) and enjoy it. So we went to a place that serves great hamburgers. He had a hamburger and I had a steak sandwich and we split an order of incredibly fantastic onion rings. The cost was $16.72. And since we'd already decided that we must quit smoking NOW we went to Target and got a week's worth of nicotine patches. We know the patches help since we used them during our quit in 2004. While at Target we got milk and a couple other things we needed and I used my 10% discount and a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more so we spent $37.96.

The patches cost $24.34 with the tax and discount figured in and although I'd guessed we spend about $45 a week on cigarettes he told me today we spend closer to $70. So, since we won't smoke while using the patch that's an immediate savings each week of $46 and some change. Back in 2004 I used the patches for just a few days and he used them for a couple of weeks. I don't think we'll need them for more than 3 weeks so we will see the $70 a week savings very soon if it goes as it has before.

We talked about me finding a different job and the issue with my medical expenses. He made me see some positives in all this mess like the fact that his business has very low expenses and is growing and we both know how to live on almost nothing and creditors aren't hounding us right now.

I get paid Friday and will use $87 of whatever I get to put in the food envelope. This is a three pay period month so I figure it's okay to divide the monthly food budget amount by three rather than two. It makes me feel a little better, anyway.

I remind myself to take deep breaths and I tell myself, "Four walls first, we'll be fine.." It helps.

FPU's Cash Flow Plan! Hold me, I'm scared!

January 30th, 2008 at 02:50 pm

Earlier today we filled out our quickie budget sheet for FPU. So far, so good. It was fairly painless and things looked pretty good or at least not as bad as I thought they would.

I'd read in the FPU forum several messages where members said they were scared and I wondered why they were scared. Now I know why!

We're working on our Cash Flow Plan and the numbers just aren't working! What a shock, huh? With the expenses broken down as they are in the CFP, it's very clear to me that we have way too little money. Duh, I knew that! But I've just flown by the seat of my pants and buried my head in the sand so long and so well that although I knew we didn't have enough money I didn't know just how much we didn't have. Now I know. And yes, I'm scared! I was shaken enough that as DH and I talked about it, my eyes misted over. Okay, they didn't just mist over. I actually cried a little. Yes, I'm very scared. DH is so calm, though. He's a rock, telling me it will be okay and not to worry about it all right now, that we need to know what the truth is and that this is the best thing. I know he's right but its still scary.

According to the numbers right now, we have $85 less than we need per month. And that's before we figure in things like retirement fund, furniture replacement, water and gas (which we don't pay now but will at some point), any kind of health, disability or life insurance (which we don't have and do need), dental and optometry care, or payments to any of the creditors we owe (which we don't pay now and haven't in years but want to).

And then there's this. For the last year I've gotten my medications free through the pharmaceutical companies but now that I'm working and DH's business is half way good, I more than likely won't qualify for their programs. So I won't get free medications and supplies and we don't have insurance to help with that. It wouldn't be so bad if the cost of my medications and supplies wasn't astronomical but it is astronomical - $1300 to $1500 a month, give or take a couple hundred dollars or so. And there's simply no way I can afford health insurance right now even through the state's high risk pool which quoted me a monthly premium of about $875.

Okay, so what to do? Well, it looks as though one thing I need to do is find a job that either pays me enough to pay for health insurance or medication or provides HMO coverage for a reasonable charge. My employer is keeping me below full time hours and I don't see that changing any time soon so I don't qualify there. Great, just great. And I don't have the job skills to land the kind of job that's going to pay me what I need so I'll have to find a job with decent medical coverage.

So yeah, I'm scared. I'm really scared right now. And I don't like it one bit but it is what it is.

I'm drinking the kool aid and it's pretty damned bitter.

Brutal honesty at work, Part II

January 29th, 2008 at 10:14 pm

On January 2 of 2007, I posted an entry called Brutal honesty at work. That entry was about what was on one of my credit reports. Sadly, that same credit report, pulled about two weeks ago, hasn't changed except that item #2 is now slightly over $1300 and we no longer have the house payments. Unfortunately, we don't have the house payments because we lost the house in foreclosure. It is what it is, though.

Well at least there's nothing new on it but I'm shamed that a full year later I'm still trying to figure out what the hell to do with all that debt! The total on my three credit reports is close to $7000. DH has about the same amount in old debt. :::deep breath:::

I do have a tentative plan in mind. I can't deal with it all right now but I'm going to get a firm plan in place and get that stuff dealt with quickly. Some of it is due to roll off before long but I owe the debts and I'm going to pay them. It might take me awhile but I'm going to do it. I'm tired of those things hanging over my head and I want them gone!

I feel better just 'fessing up...again.

Session One of Financial Peace University

January 28th, 2008 at 07:16 pm

Tonight was the first session of Financial Peace University. It was great! We met some seemingly very nice people, some of whom seem to be very deep in debt, and at least one couple that is debt free except for their house, thanks to what they've learned from Dave Ramsey.

I've never really watched Dave but have listened to his radio show quite a bit. He's absolutely hilarious to watch and really does a great 'show'. Learning is an added bonus. Smile

The kit is nice. In it is the book, Financial Peace Revisited, the Financial Peace Course Workbook, Dave's envelope system, and each course session on CD along with several bonus CDs.

The first session is basically information on Baby Steps 1 and 3, both of which deal with the Emergency Fund. Dave explains why its so important to have an emergency fund and gives some very convincing scenarios of how the EF can save your buns! I have to say that although DH was already on board with the EF concept, he wasn't really focused on it. Well, he is now!

I didn't get the savings account opened today but he said we'll have the money to get that opened this week and building that EF is a real priority for him now. Yaaaaay! It will be so much easier to stay on track if we're working toward the same goal.

On the way back from the session we talked about what constitutes an emergency and came to an agreement about that and how we'll prepare for it. We also talked about our eating out habits. We eat out a lot less than we used to and although we agreed to eat out once a week, he still likes to go to Chik-Fil-A for a particular breakfast sandwich and he likes to go get chicken wings. I don't begrudge him those things at all but if we're going to get 'gazelle intense' to use Dave's phrase we're going to have to put an end to that. So our compromise is that we'll eat out once a week only (my goal is once a month, if that) and if we get breakfast sandwiches one morning or wings for lunch that's our one meal out for the week.

So all in all, I think the first session was great and I think FPU is going to help us get on track..both of us!

Today's goings on

January 28th, 2008 at 09:00 am

This morning I paid the electric bill of $64.19 for the little house I still rent. The bill would have and should have been much lower but the neighbor who checked on the house and Bob the Cat for me recently was worried that Bob would get too cold so she kept the heater running most of the time. Now that the cat isn't there, there's no need to run the heater so the next bill should be somewhere around $20, give or take.

Since I'm off today I plan to go the laundrymat and to the bank to open the savings account. It figures that I'd open one when the interest rates are so low but I need to get the money out of my immediate reach and that's certainly one way to do it. Opening a savings account is one of my main goals for this month and the month is almost over so I need to get on the ball and just do it.

Tonight is the first night of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University class we're attending and I look forward to that. We didn't attend the orientation but since we listen to his show and have read TMMO I figure X amount of what's presented, including most of the orientation, will be review for us. I really am excited about going, though. Thanks for all the input about FPU. I believe it will be a worthy investment for us. By the way, someone asked if the cost is $100 per person or couple. The $100 is for a couple and it includes the kit and access to the paid areas of Dave's website, apparently.

I'll post updates on FPU now and then for others who might be interested in it.

Financial talk for the rest of us....

January 27th, 2008 at 09:47 am

I love reading blogs, even the ones with content on things I know little to nothing about. I read blogs and sites on homeschooling (though I no longer have kids at home to homeschool) cooking, gardening, personal finance, and a myriad of other topics. The PF blogs can overwhelm me at times, though.

Of all the finance blogs I read, the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that are 'for the rest of us'. You know, those of us who don't have $200,000 in savings (or debt) and who live on lower incomes, stretching every dollar to help us get by.

Those blogs are generally loaded with information that's relevant to my life. There's some real humor in a lot of them and that's a show of human spirit. If you can find something humorous to write about in regard to feeding a family of seven on one chicken while fighting off the dogs begging for tidbits and the children clamoring for cookies, you'll be okay no matter what life throws at you. Said blogs also provide me with hints and tips that are helpful and often teach me something new. While I enjoy reading about someone's 401k and it gives me something new to consider and very often inspires me, those entries don't help me a lot in my day to day meanderings and that's what I need most.

So, here are some blogs I read regularly, mainly of the 'for the rest of us' genre though there are a few that are a good mix of advice for us all and a few that are a bit lofty for my life right now. They do give me something to work for, though, and that's always a good thing.

A Frugal Living Blog by a Frugal Guy - He offers some great practical suggestions on saving and frugality

Cash Tactics

Consumerism Commentary

Free Money Finance - Make sure to check out the 10 Commandments of Personal Finance series

Frugal Homemaker Plus

Frugal Village

Ideas for Saving Money

Money Blog

Money Hacks

Neville's Blog - The entrepreneurial adventures of a young man in Austin, Texas

Simply Thrifty

The Simple Dollar

Wise Bread

So there's a small sampling of blogs that I find to be most helpful and sometimes entertaining. There are many more I read and I keep my eyes open for others. So if you know of some, please share! My pocketbook and bank account will appreciate it.

Thanks and this week's dinners

January 27th, 2008 at 07:00 am

Thanks for the comments and email replies to my work woes entry. This work situation has me all messed up. I ranted to my husband about it and he listened and is happy to but there's a limit to how much he will tolerate and I don't want to push that limit. When I went to bed, I laid there for awhile stressing over all this, going over drinks in my head, thinking about how I could have handled things better.

I'm not one to handle pressure well which is one reason I work retail and not some other field. Yes, there's pressure in retail but if you're a peon (and not management), it's generally seasonal and short lived and not too intense. I won't go into management. Been there, done that, and it's not worth the stress for me.

I've decided that if I don't learn this stuff quickly and get some relief from the pressure I feel I won't continue with the java joint.

So, on to more positive things!

Today we're having chicken cooked with onions, broccoli, and little green peas and will have nice leafy salads with it. The leftover chicken will be used throughout the week. So the rest of our meals this week, in no particular order, are:

Creamed chicken over toast or whole wheat noodles with green beans and carrots

Slow cooker meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and spinach (leftover meat loaf will be frozen for later use)

Barley and vegetable soup made in the slow cooker (Yaaaay, a meatless meal)

Barbecued shredded beef on whole wheat muffins with tossed salad and green beans

Chicken noodle medley with tossed salad and spinach (Yaaaay, an almost meatless meal! lol)

Hamburger steaks with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans

There might be a night in there where things change but that's the plan...

Work woes - I got the java blues!

January 26th, 2008 at 07:00 pm

Pardon me while I vent!

Tonight I was so frustrated. I worked at the register for 3.5 hours then worked at the java joint for 4.5 hours. But they're only scheduling me there a few hours a week and I'm simply not 'getting it'. I dread working there and each time I have a shift there coming up I am almost in agony from it.

Tonight one of my co-workers got frustrated with me and got an attitude. I was almost in tears myself so I took a break, went outside, and walked in the cold air.

It's just not working for me and the java. I don't have enough time there to learn all I need to learn. I'm scheduled to work there about 26 hours in a couple of weeks and hopefully that will ease my pain but in the meantime I feel just stupid when I'm working there. I'm too slow, I still get confused over 'simple' things and it's just not pleasant for me and certainly not 'fun' which is what it should be.

Oh well, hopefully things will improve quickly the week I work there more. I just needed to vent a little...

Today's spending...not too bad & more clearance knickers!

January 25th, 2008 at 08:58 pm

I found two more pair of those clearanced knickers! Someone had returned them, I suppose, so I bought those suckers for $3.74 each. I also bought a dark milky way bar. My spending today came to $8 and some change. Not too bad for two pairs of sleep pants that my DH *really* likes on me and a quickie snack during my break. And I never even thought of looking at the other clearance items. I was just thrilled to find the knickers!

I took my lunch to work - homemade beef tips and rice with gravy and green beans. I ate it hastily but it sure hit the spot.

Tomorrow I work most of the day so I'll take a sandwich and a tin of kippers and an apple. That should keep me going until I can get home and eat dinner with DH. Dinner is going to be barbecued shredded beef sandwiches and chips. Light and easy since I have a full schedule.

Is Financial Peace University worth the price?

January 25th, 2008 at 10:36 am

I'd like to know the answer to that from any of you who have taken it. I've run across several people lately who have attended and each has said it's worth the fee, which runs about $100 in this area.

There's a class starting at a local church on Monday night and DH agrees with me that it might be a good thing to do. I contacted the coordinator and they have room for another couple.

So, for those who have attended this 13 week Dave Ramsey course, is it worth the price?

That poor little chicken!

January 25th, 2008 at 09:31 am

I just used the last of the chicken I cooked on the 19th. It gave us three meals for two people and three more meals for one person and I finally finished it off making today's lunch for two;chicken dressing and gravy with green beans. Yum! So that one little chicken provided eleven meals, total. Hmm, that comes to about .11 per meal, right?

Wow, that was one thrifty and rubbery chicken!

I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

January 24th, 2008 at 07:37 pm

That's a quote from the lusty and busty Mae West, who was known to overindulge in many areas of her life. I have to admit I can relate to her in some ways. I've overindulged in many things, too. And it becomes habit if we let it. Breaking the habit of overindulgence, regardless of the 'drug' of choice, isn't easy. But I think that with work and dedication, progress comes. Baby steps are a start if they're in the right direction...

I went to the store today to talk to my boss about something. DH had commented last night about how he likes the cheap Mossimo knickers I got there and how they make my rear look 'very nice' and I should get more of them. So when I went to the store I intended to get more of those knickers if they were still at the nice clearance price. I figured I might treat myself to a Java Chip Frappuccino while I was out, too. I had $24 in cash in my coin purse and a check "just in case".

I got to the store and my boss wasn't there so I left her a note then headed to the clearance racks only to find there were no more knickers. There were very similar ones on other racks but they were full price between $14 and $17 and I didn't want to pay that.

I wandered over to the accessories and looked at the purses that were clearanced. There were some great ones for $4 but none of them appealed to me enough to choose one so I mosied over to the stationery.

I'm in the market for some kind of purse sized notepad or journal but they were all priced between $7 and $20. I found one I really liked but the thought of paying $20 for something in which to record expenses just struck me as incredibly stupid. I didn't want or need one that badly.

I headed back to the java joint to see if my boss was there yet. She wasn't but I talked to one of my co-workers for a few minutes. Soon the fragrance of coffee met my nostrils and the sound of the blender whirring assaulted my ears and I was tempted to order my favorite drink. I won't deny it;I was sorely tempted! But even with the discount, it costs over $3 so I left empty handed, consoling myself with the thought that I could make a cup of joe at home.

So yes, I left that store without buying anything at all. Nothing! No $4.84 knickers, no $4 purse, no $20 journal, not even an overpriced Java Chip Frappuccino!

Oh my, what's happening to me?

Too many bills, not enough money...

January 24th, 2008 at 01:26 pm

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 have the solution to the sluggish US economy!

January 24th, 2008 at 05:11 am

I'm not an economist. Damn, I can barely balance my own checkbook and saving, well, that's something with which I struggle.

But just a few minutes ago, as I was entering some bills at Where's George, I had a light bulb moment.

Since the point of registering bills at Where's George is to get said bills into circulation (read that as spend them rather than save them) and see where they go and a major help to the economic crisis right now is to get money circulating, ummm...why not combine the two? Heh...

Yep, that's right, folks! One way to help the economy is to register your bills at Where's George then go out and spend them rather than deposit them in the bank!

Okay, stop laughing! And don't throw rotten apples at me, either, Ima Saver! I told you I'm not an economist. Wink But it could work. And it wouldn't cost us or the government more money. Mwaaahahahaha!

Oh yeah, you Canadian brethren can join in, too! Just go to Where's Willy.

Update on DH's eye infection

January 23rd, 2008 at 07:19 pm

We spent all that money for the drops for his eye and it just kept getting worse. He saw the eye Dr. again and he gave him some other drops and some salve, free. Within a few hours of stopping the expensive stuff his eye started improving and the Dr. thinks he had a bad reaction to those pricey drops! Grrrr

Oh well, at least the infection is improving..in spite of the costly drops he can't use!

New challenge total

January 22nd, 2008 at 06:30 pm

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.

Go Denise!

Addition to today's spending

January 22nd, 2008 at 05:14 pm

One of the cashiers at work called me today and asked if I can take her shift tomorrow. I'm scheduled to be off tomorrow but I told her I would. I need the money and it's a way to help her out. But then I called her later to let her know that if she wanted to work, I'd take her and she said she might be able to work tomorrow after all and she'll call me in the morning to let me know. Either way is fine with me. I'd like to have the day off but I'd also like to earn money!

We just got back from Dollar General where we spent $23.63 on trash bags, bleach, bread, salad dressing, and a few other food items. We stopped on the way back and put $20 in gas in the truck.

So, the total spending for today is $174.73. Yuck! I still prefer $0.00 but am grateful we had it to spend.

The sky is falling!

January 22nd, 2008 at 04:00 pm

Okay, not really but one never knows. It could happen! In light of that, I read and collect books on alternative methods of doing things and plain and simple living. Even if the sky doesn't fall, it can't hurt to have some skills that might be handy in case errr....mmm, well, in case the sky falls! I have some of the Foxfire books but have coveted #3 for awhile.

Some months ago I added it to my wish list at Paperback Swap and recently got email saying someone had it to offer so I snagged it. Today it arrived in the mail and I've been reading it. Interesting stuff.

I mean, come on, who doesn't need to know how to tan a hide, make a banjo, churn butter, build a smokehouse, and make a broom? Those skills might come in handy should the sky ever fall. Besides, the book was free and that's a good thing and I've lately wanted to read something other than email...

A spendy day and it's not even 11 AM!

January 22nd, 2008 at 08:55 am

Yuck, today has already been 'spendy'! So far, I've spent:

$75.10 at the post office and $56 for my car insurance. There will be more spent later in the day. I knew it wasn't going to be a no spend day today but it still hurts! Wink

How do YOU make Bubble and Squeak?

January 21st, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Someone in a Yahoo Group I'm in mentioned that she made Bubble and Squeak recently. I haven't made it in quite awhile but that got me thinking about the dish. I love that stuff and will more than likely make it for dinner one night this week.

So, in light of that, how do YOU make it? The recipe I use is good but I'm always interested in how others prepare dishes.

Share your B & S recipe, please!

I heart our dinner tonight..or a review of Contessa Orange Chicken

January 21st, 2008 at 06:59 pm

A couple of days ago I bought a bag of Contessa brand frozen Orange Chicken. We'd tried the Cashew Chicken and liked it and the Orange Chicken is just as tasty.

It comes with the rice, chicken, vegetables, and sauce, is very easy and quick to prepare (I cooked the rice in the microwave and the rest in the electric skillet) and while it isn't quite like what we get in restaurants it's very good and fed us both for five dollars and a little change. The bag says there are 2.5 servings but I consider it more like 2. Even though we love the variety and quantity of buffets, eating out would cost us at least twenty bucks plus gas so we saved quite a bit and still got our chinese food fix!

An added benefit is that we didn't overeat so it was better for the pocketbook and the waistline...and that's a very good thing indeed.

If I have any criticism it's that there wasn't enough broccoli in this dish. The picture on the bag shows this lovely product with several nice looking florets of the green stuff but what we got had two very tiny florets in it. There was enough sauce that I could have added a little broccoli without much change in flavor and quality. There wasn't a lot of chicken either and the package said, "Now with 20% more chicken!" but since we're cutting back on meats that didn't bother me. More broccoli would be great, though.

We don't eat a lot of convenience foods and some might wonder why I didn't just make Orange Chicken myself. Well, in the living situation we have right now we don't have a real kitchen. I have a small sink, a microwave, three slow cookers, a digital pressure cooker, and an electric skillet. I probably could have made the same dish with the electric skillet but I've made Orange Chicken from scratch before and honestly, it was a lot of work and cost about the same as this did. This is one of the few situations where paying for the convenience is worth it for me.

For those to whom it might matter, Contessa's Orange Chicken is touted on their website as "Green Cuisine". The site says this about Green Cuisine:

"In 2007, Contessa opened the first environmentally responsible, LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant in the world. Located in Los Angeles, our new plant uses advanced design and technology to significantly reduce Contessa's environmental impact. The facility, its processes and the products manufactured there are known as "Green Cuisine."

That wasn't a factor in my picking this particular item at the store but its nice to know.

So there you have it, a review of sorts of Contessa Orange Chicken. It's a winner in taste and price and will more than likely be a regular in our freezer.

More money for the challenge

January 21st, 2008 at 05:47 pm

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?

Not a no spend day, darn it!

January 21st, 2008 at 04:01 pm

DH had to see his eye doctor again today. The medication prescribed for his eye infection seems to be making the problems worse, not better. The doctor now thinks it might be a fungal infection so he wants him to see another doctor if it doesn't start improving by tomorrow night. The visit wasn't too expensive, just $15 for a follow up visit.

I spent $1.15 for toilet paper today so our total for the day is $16.15. Not too bad but not as good as $0.00, either.

I'm off for two days and since I have to send some bill payments tomorrow I'm hoping the next day will be a no spender.

Here's to hope eternal!

Cheap eats!

January 20th, 2008 at 08:07 pm

Yesterday before heading to work, I put a whole chicken (purchased for .49 a lb for 2.5 lbs) in the slow cooker. I seasoned it heavily with Cook's Choice Brisket Seasoning, wrapped it tightly in foil, and set it to Low. My other half didn't take it out until about 8 PM so it cooked about 6 hours. It was very moist and flavorful and dipped in Country Bob's Sauce it was especially good!

Today before heading to work I used some of the chicken to make quesadillas. I took 3 with me but ate only 1/2 of one so there's plenty in the breakroom fridge for tomorrow if I need it. Presuming no one else gets to it!

And tonight when I got in I used some of the chicken in chicken salad. So, that chicken has provided 2 meals for two people and 2 meals for 1 person and there's still enough left to feed us both at least one more meal.

That's some cheap eatin'! And its a good thing we love chicken like we do.

Ouch! Today's spending

January 20th, 2008 at 01:02 pm

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...

Thrifty Ideas, Part 3

January 20th, 2008 at 10:35 am

On January 6th I posted Part 2, then got busy doing other stuff and forgot to post Part 3! So here it is, Part 3 of my thrifty ideas!

If you have stores around you that double or triple coupons, combine the coupons with the sales for a really good bargain. I don't know how it's done everywhere else but in our area the sales on the items in this Sunday's paper won't happen for a couple of weeks. So just clip the coupons, organize them so that you can get to them easily, and watch the sale papers. Our stores double coupons occasionally and never triple them so I don't get a large savings using them like many people do. Also, most of the coupons I find aren't for things we eat. But it can't hurt to keep an eye on the coupons and sales and try to bring them together for more savings.

It doesn't matter how cheap something is;if you won't eat it, don't buy it! It isn't a bargain at any price if it sits in the cupboard or freezer and doesn't get used. So forego that on sale container of rice milk if you won't drink it. Get the regular stuff and enjoy it. Wink

Spend an extra $5 a week (or every two weeks if that's what you can handle or $10 a week if you can handle that!) to build up your pantry with loss leaders and sale items. If you use a lot of mustard and it goes on sale for .33 a jar, wouldn't it be smart to buy 10 jars of it? Sure it would if you will go through that much before it expires! If you go through 8 a year, that's over a year's worth! Just check those expiration dates. If there aren't any good loss leaders or sales that week and you don't spend your $5 put it somewhere safe. You might find a great deal later and need it!

Pay attention to the unit price of items (the ones on shelf labels are often incorrect) and make sure you have somewhere to store a large quantity of an item if you're thinking of buying it. A 25 lb bag of flour is usually, though not always, cheaper than five 5 lbs bags. But if you have nowhere to put the flour and it sits out and goes rancid, that wasn't a deal at all. This works for sugar, oats, and other staples. Remember, though, that a lot of things can easily be stored under beds, in closets, in corners, etc. By the way, it's a good practice to put flour, sugar, corn meal, and oats in the freezer for a few days to kill any bugs or larvae that might be present.

Milk can be frozen so if it goes on sale at a good price buy all you can afford and for which you have room. Most people open the container, remove about a cup then put the lid back on and freeze the container. I've never done that and have never had a milk tragedy in the freezer but if you're concerned about expansion, try that.

Cheese can be frozen (I have about 20 bags of shredded cheese, bought at $.50 a bag in my freezer right now) but it gets somewhat crumbly so I use it for salads, casseroles, etc.

Large packages of meat are often a few pennies less per pound than their smaller counterparts and can be broken down into 1 lb packages and repackaged for your freezer.

Check your stored foods periodically and rotate the items. We rotate every 6 months, eating the oldest items and leaving the next oldest (now oldest since the real oldest got eaten) in the front with the newest in the back. All the years working in retail have taught me something. Wink

More to come!

Midnight musings...

January 18th, 2008 at 10:46 pm

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.

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