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Three No Spend Days, trouble at the nursing home, and tax refund arrived

March 30th, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Saturday, yesterday, and today I spent nothing. I like no spend days and had planned for these so I feel as though I actually accomplished something.

I had an almost 6 hour shift at work and met Mom for lunch afterwards. It wasn't planned but she'd called me earlier in the day and told me about a problem with Pop at the nursing home and said she wanted to meet me to talk about it. We went to Luby's and she paid for lunch. How sweet! I tried to pay but she reminded me that I paid last time and ended the discussion with, "Besides, I'm your mother." as she handed a twenty to the cashier. 'Nuff said. ;-)

The situation with my stepdad isn't good. He's a fall risk and Saturday he fell trying to get out of a wheelchair and when Mom visited that day she was told he hadn't hurt himself. When she arrived today she found him with a bruised and swollen cheek, a bit of a black eye, and rib pain. X-rays show he has no broken ribs but he's hurting and of course, we're worried about him. We can't afford to hire a sitter to stay with him so the doctor suggested enrolling him in the hospice program at the home. Mom's going to make an appointment to talk to someone about that. I don't know a great amount about hospice but if it will give him more care and keep him safer it's worth looking into.

My tax refund arrived today. Darn it, it's a little over $200! That's too much. I really try to keep the refund amount under $100 but oh well.

I can't decide if I should put the refund amount toward the EF or use it for a trip to Austin my mother and I hope to take in May. My oldest son and his wife just bought their first home and it's been at least three years since I've gone to visit them and almost seven since Mom has. A short visit with them would be wonderful and my mother can definitely use a little time away. We'll split expenses so I might be able to put a little of the refund money in the EF. As much as I need to add to add to the EF I also need to spend some time with my son and his wife. So does Mom.

Sometimes emotional wellbeing needs to be a priority, if only for a few days. Okay, that settles it. Thanks for the advice, y'all. Ha!

Quiet weekend off but educating myself about IRAs and other investments

January 22nd, 2012 at 06:05 pm

I'm off again this weekend. Oh my, this is the third one in a row! I work the next few but sure have enjoyed these breaks.

I was off Friday, too, and a friend and I went out for lunch then to the tiny asian market in our town where I spent $16 on some things I want to try then to a newish coffee shop that opened a piece down the road. I spent $3 there. The owner of the shop said she recognized me, asked if I work at a particular Starbucks, and told me how impressed she is with the service I give and experience I seem to have. Aww, that just made my day! She basically offered me a part time job, too, but it won't start until May if it happens. I think I'd like that, though. I gave her my number and told her to call me if she needs some part time help.

I stayed home yesterday so it was a no spender and later today I'm going to a friend's house to watch football. I'll probably buy a Diet Pepsi to take with me but other than that, there should be no spending. Yaaay! Speaking of Diet Pepsi, if I get one it will be my 4th in 3 weeks! I've cut way back on them.

By the way, I still haven't had a smoke. Today is day 37 and I haven't spent about $314 on cigarettes!

Okay, so someone I know online is educating me a bit about Roth IRAs and other investments. You know, over the years I've tried to learn a little here and a little there about investing but I've never been able to put it to use. Or rather, I simply didn't put it to use. I won't be able to act on this until later this year but I plan to open a Roth IRA, most likely with Vanguard. I did check my 401(k) this morning and found out it relied too heavily on common stock so I changed that. Meh, it's something.

I've spent a good deal of today reading about IRAs but now it's time to do laundry and clean the place!

Monday musings

January 17th, 2012 at 12:58 am

Well, let's see....

Saturday I had to spend $100 on a car battery. I was out and about and the bleepin' van wouldn't start. It was the second time in 3 weeks so once I got it running again I headed straight to an auto parts place and bought a decent, mid-grade battery. Ahh, the joys of the emergency fund. Wink

Sunday was a no spend day. Sammy (the cat) and I cuddled on the couch most of the day watching Law & Order re-runs. It was heavenlyl

When I woke up this morning I realized today is Day 31 without smoking. I haven't spent about $263 on cigarettes. Nice, huh? Go, Denise, go, go! In addition, in the last two weeks I've had only two diet drinks. I'm on a roll, y'all!

I forgot to take my lunch to work so I spent about $4 on a sandwich and drink. Meh. I'll remember it tomorrow, I'm sure.

After work I went by the mall and took a quickie resume to the manager at the kitchen store. Apparently they terminated a part time employee today so I'm hoping they call me for an interview. I think I'd like 8 to 16 hours a week at a kitchen store. Hey, it's more time out and about and a little extra money and both of those are good things, yes?

And I got home this evening and found a brand new oven in my kitchen! My burners weren't working properly lately and maintenance came to check it and left me a note saying they'd order a new oven. I figured I'd be lucky to get a "new to me" unit and would have been quite happy with that, thanks, but to get a brand new GE oven is awesome! It's level, the burners don't wobble, and it seems to work beautifully! I imagine I'll be in the mood to play with it soon, probably this weekend. I can't wait.

Hmm, I guess that's about it... no smoking, kind of spendy weekend because of the battery and a new oven. Yaaay!

25 days without smoking, another NSD & my fridge is leftover free!

January 10th, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Today is Day 25 smoke free. I've not spent $212 for cigarettes and I feel great! I'm sleeping better and surely smell better. I've finished my main wall washing project but every two or three days I wash another wall. I do this to keep the place smelling fresh and to remind myself why I had to wash the walls to begin with. I suppose it's a form of doing penance.




And I'm very excited that today has been another No Spend Day and a No Leftover Day! Why? Because to have two NSDs in a week, much less in a row like yesterday and today, and to have a refrigerator with no leftovers, not because I threw them out but because I've cooked less and eaten any leftovers, show that my focus and hard work are starting to pay off.

For some people, having a NSD might not be a big deal but to me it's almost monumental. Not necessarily because I overspend on big things or a lot of things but because it's been my habit to spend small amounts almost every day. You know, I get a drink or two while at work, maybe a quick breakfast, and perhaps an inexpensive lunch because I forgot to take mine. And while I don't spend much when I do that, perhaps $8 or $9 for the day, it adds up. If I do that three days a week, I've blown $24 to $27! Over a month, that's enough to pay my electric and water bills and buy some groceries.

So, I see this week as evidence that what I'm doing is working. I have a long way to go until NSDs come easily and seem natural to me but I'm closer today than I was yesterday. And that's what it's all about.

I owe, I owe...

January 10th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

but not much. Wink

I work today but it's another relatively short shift. I do get a meal period and a break so I have the last of the King Ranch Chicken, some cheese, and my last chocolate mousse packed to go with me. I already ate breakfast so with the snack at about 10:30 or so I should be good until 1:00 when I get lunch. I also have a couple of crystal light drinks so I shouldn't need to buy anything.

I'm trying for another no spend day. I don't know that I'll achieve it but I think I can. I've had three so far this month and would like several more.

Have a beautiful day, all!

Another NSD & a change in my menu with ideas needed

January 9th, 2012 at 08:40 pm

I got off work at 1 and came straight home. I haven't spent a penny today! I didn't buy any coffee or tea at work, no food, nada! Unless I have to go out for some reason I should be at home the rest of the day, not spending money. Smile

I took a breakfast sandwich and ate it when I got a couple minutes. I sure am glad I took it, too, because I got very hungry and would have bought something if I hadn't had that sandwich.

So now I'm at home. The other package of boneless ribs the boss and I bought is thawing. She's requested some cooked in a way other than how we had them for New Years so I'll do something with them this evening. I'd like to use the slow cooker and am considering marinating them in Dale's then sprinkling them with garlic powder and pan frying them a bit before putting them in the slow cooker for the night.

I'm open to other ideas on how to prepare them but whatever I do it needs to be done tonight as I have to be at work at 7:30 in the morning.

2 NSDs, cooking for one, odds & ends

January 8th, 2012 at 05:42 pm

Wednesday was a no spend day and yesterday was another. Awesome! I can't recall the last time I managed that but hope I have many more in the future. Smile

Today was destined to not be one because of the laundry. I went to the washateria this morning but it was closed. I needed to burn about 20 minutes until it opened so I drove to Albertson's and am glad I did. They had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.79 lb so I got 2 packages of those. They also had boneless sirloin steak for $2.99 a lb so I got a few of those. When I got home I divided it all into one serving portions, used the vacuum sealer, and now have plenty of meat in the freezer again. I hadn't planned on spending that $20 but my supply of meat was getting very low and I don't pass up a good deal on meat, especially when I'm so low on it.

When I got home I put the clothes away (by the way, I spent $2.50 on the laundry) and ended up getting sidetracked by canvas bags. Yes, canvas bags. I had several in the closet and they all had stuff in them and for some reason it was bothering me to not know what all was in them so I cleaned them all out, threw away the old trash, gum wrappers and whatnot, put away other items, etc. and now I have them all hanging together on one hanger. In the process of going through them I found my iPod headphones I thought I'd lost, several small bottles of bath/shower gel, and 15 cents. It was almost like Christmas! Wink

I spent some time yesterday looking at "cooking for one" sites and am dismayed how few helpful ones there are. I found a lot of sites saying that's their purpose but they don't give a lot of practical information or actual recipes. Contrary to what one would think, it isn't always as easy as cutting a recipe in half or thirds or whatever. Yes, it often works that way but not every time. I did find a few sites with helpful information and recipes, though, and will spend time today pillaging and plundering.

Tonight's dinner will be the turkey ham and cabbage from my menu but I'm going to change it a little. I have about 3 ounces of chicken broth languishing in the fridge so I'm going to use that with a bit of butter and olive oil to fry the cabbage, onion, sweet potato, and turkey ham all together. I might pass on the green beans but am not sure about that yet.

I work tomorrow but it's a fairly short shift and I don't get a meal break so I shouldn't need to take lunch or buy anything there. I might even be able to make it a NSD!

Finally had a NSD, $1 bill challenge, 3 weeks of not smoking & more

January 6th, 2012 at 11:59 am

So yesterday I finally had a NSD! I didn't even leave the apartment except to go out on the patio to enjoy the absolutely stunningly beautiful weather we had! I just checked my calendar and I have no bills due today. I don't need gas in the vehicle, don't need to get groceries, and if I can refrain from buying anything at work, I can get another NSD. That would be fun.

Here it is the 6th of January and I have one little dollar bill for the $1 bill challenge. *sigh* I've been staying out of stores, don't stop for cigarettes anymore, etc so I haven't had need for any bills, I guess. Wink

But hey, today makes three weeks since I've bought/smoked a cigarette! That's equal to $178 not spent on those things and that's a neat way to end my week!

Interesting that although I canceled the cable TV service a couple of days ago it's still working. I'm not watching it, though. I figure I need to get used to not having it so I just leave it off, flipping it on in the morning to see if it's still working. It is as of an hour or so ago. The change was supposed to be effective immediately but I don't know much about this stuff so I'll let it go a few days to see what happens.

The mexican stew and king ranch chicken in my fridge are going to work with me today and I hope both containers are empty when I clock out! I have the feeling they will be. I just have to come up with ideas to keep me from cooking when I have a fridge full of leftovers to eat.

That's about it for yesterday and this morning. Nothing too exciting other than the Quit. Smile

January budget, using leftovers, & more boring stuff ;)

January 3rd, 2012 at 03:52 pm

I need to pay rent and water today but other than that, there shouldn't be any spending. I hope! I need a lot of NSDs as January's budget is slim, indeed. My car and life insurances are up for renewal this month so I have a lot money going out and not much coming in!

I'm going to cut my grocery budget to $100 for this month. Considering that I can't eat enough of the high carb, low cost foods like rice, beans, and pasta to do much good it's definitely going to be a challenge. My diet is mainly meats and low carb vegetables with a tiny amount of the higher carb things thrown in once in awhile for variety. I'm going to have to make better use of the foods I already have on hand and really limit my trips to the grocery/food spending. I know I can do this but I might need a cheering section. Smile

In light of the above, I have a mexican stew simmering on the stove and will take that to work with me. My boss will most likely eat some as will some of the other folks hanging around. I've had a few people online and at work express the opinion that it's odd to take food for all to work but it isn't odd to me. I still struggle with cooking small quantities, leftovers seem to languish into oblivion in my fridge, and I'm not real big on food that's been cooked, frozen, and reheated so in addition to making very small quantities of food, I make larger quantities and share it. I call it Random Acts of Food Kindness, or RAOFK for short. Wink Some of the young people where I work don't have money, don't have much food, and absolutely love to dig in to whatever I bring. And I love cooking for others so it's a win win situation. It might look like I'm spending money on food for other people (which doesn't help my budget) but this stew is made entirely of leftovers and if I hadn't created it I'd have thrown it all out!



Not bad, huh?

Day 17 of not smoking, homemade noodles & more

January 2nd, 2012 at 11:06 pm

So today is my 17th day of not smoking. 144 pennies in the jar, each penny representing $1 not spent on cigarettes since December 16th, the day I quit. Pretty impressive, I think! I've had very few cravings for a cigarette and although I've had some rough moments it's been much easier than I anticipated. I'm not sure why that is but it is. I'm happy about it, though!



I think I might be sick with a bug so I've been resting on the couch all afternoon. I know I have to eat something, though, so I have 4 chicken thighs boiling and will use the meat for chicken and noodles, complete with homemade noodles. I have just a few store bought noodles so I made a tiny batch of homemade herb noodles to add to them. I really don't eat noodles often at all but gosh, I love them, and the homemade kind is the best!

Noodles aren't hard to make and they're absolutely delicious! I generally put some kind of fresh herb in them but cheese is fantastic, too. Try this, play with it, and make it your own.

Homemade Noodles

1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour (I generally use a combination of soy and whole wheat flours)

Mix egg, salt and milk. Add enough flour to make stiff dough. Roll thin, let stand 20 minutes. Roll up and slice 1/8 inch thick. Spread to dry for about 2 hours. Drop in boiling broth and cook 10 minutes.

And that's it! Nothing to it, really, and they're so much tastier than the kind you buy. If you try this recipe, let me know how it works for you.

Tomorrow I pay rent and the water bill but that should be it for the day's spending. I have a special work project Wednesday and it involves spending money so that won't be a no spend day. Darn it! Perhaps Thursday! It seems as though finding those no spend days just gets harder and harder.

A no spend day, very cold weather, & the picture taking challenge

January 8th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Yesterday was my long a** shift at work (that's what I call it) so I took lunch of leftover crustless spinach and cheese quiche with a small piece of the lower carb faux cornbread I had leftover. I had that for lunch with some ice water and it was very good, indeed.

The man person and I went out for chinese but used our gift certificate which helped us finish the day as a no spend day. Yaaaay!

This morning it's 19 degrees out. Brrrrr! I don't go to work until this evening and then I work only a 3.5 hour shift so I hope to do very little today that involves going outside. I'd like to just stay inside if possible. I don't think any bills are due but I'll look over them and pay any that are, move some money into savings, and do a little more gathering of stuff to sell/give away.

Oh yes, my youngest step son is here so I'll probably put up a picture later of the two of us as part of my picture taking challenge from January 1st! I might even be able to get him to take a picture of me and the man person. If so, I'll share it.

Have a great day, all!

Here and there, this and that...

December 20th, 2009 at 05:07 pm

Besides paying bills and putting gas in the van I haven't spent much at all. I forgot to take my lunch to work yesterday and the shift was too long to go without eating or drinking so I spent about $5 but other than that the spending has been kept down to a dull roar and I've managed to have at least two no spend days the last week. Yaaay for NSD! My shift today is a short one and I'll eat dinner before I go so I shouldn't have to spend any money. But I'll take along a small container of soup and a drink just in case.

Speaking of soup, last night I put the ingredients for split pea soup in one of the slow cookers and I've already had a small bowl of it this morning. I'm on a split pea soup kick right now and who knows how long it will last. I love the stuff and it sure is good when it's cold outside.

Today we have to do a little grocery shopping so we'll go to the bank to get money for groceries and gas. Things are a little tight right now so well get only what we need - creamer, milk, bread, etc. No luxuries, no fun stuff!

There's a young woman at my place of employment who seems to spend too much of her time struggling with finances. Actually there are several young women there like this but right now I focus on the one with whom I work most often. Her checking account is often in the negative and she wonders why she never has money. She lives with family members, half of her income goes to bills and the other half, somewhere around $800, apparently gets frittered. We've talked briefly before about this issue but she approached the subject with me again last night. I quickly explained the zero based budget concept to her and by the time we were finished talking her eyes were tearing slightly.

I think she's truly agonizing over this and doesn't want to wake up some morning to the realization that she's 47 and scrambling to deal with debts, retirement, and the fact that the "plenty of time" she had to plan and save has passed her by. I invited her to stop by the office some time so we could talk more about this. I'm not sure just how to get through to a young person like this but I want to help her if I can. I imagine my mother thought the same thing about me when I was young. But I wonder if telling her about some of my personal experiences and how challenging it is now to play catch up would help. It might. If you have suggestions on this, please share them with me!

Another almost no spend day & a surprise treat!

December 11th, 2009 at 11:55 pm

So close! When I left for work this afternoon, my van didn't warm up well and when I got to work I was very cold so I spent $1.84 on an Americano. The heat problem at work is still going on but I resisted the urge to buy iced tea and drank water the rest of my shift so that's all I spent today. Between yesterday and today I had two really, really low spend days. Maybe I need a category for those and should pat myself on the back a little when I have them. Wink

I got in this evening and got the chicken breasts cooking. When I opened the package of chicken, I saw that the breasts were huge and there are five of them! So, I'm cooking three with the Memphis style barbecue spice and the other two will be used plain. I don't think we'll be able to eat all of the three I'm cooking tonight so I'll take some with me tomorrow for my lunch. If I do it right, I might be able to have a no spend day yet.

A girl can dream!

As an aside, a patient brought in a special dessert for us today. Last year it was Christmas Stollen and this year it's this incredible pumpkin cream cheese roll thing. I don't know what its called but wow, is it a special treat! I took one bite and realized it's dangerous to have around so the man person gave a good portion of it to people in the offices around ours and the rest is going to work with me tomorrow to be given to my workmates. Really, it must go! And quickly!

A little admiration & almost a no spend day!

December 11th, 2009 at 11:45 am

I have serious admiration for the young man in this story:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/1115004.html

He must have some serious moxie and I hope he does beautifully in school, work, and life!

Would/have you gone to such lengths to prevent or eliminate debt? I haven't and although I'd like to say I'd be willing to go so far, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and I can admit that. I'm just sayin'....

On a more personal level, yesterday was one of my set NSDs. I almost made it but not quite. When I got to work I discovered that something was desperately wrong with the heat in the store. The section I work in was hot and I mean hot! It had to be at least 82 or 88 or 112 and even with a couple of the front doors open it stayed hot all day long. Yes, ALL DAY LONG, from 7:30 to 4:00 PM! It was so hot the customers didn't stay long at all and they complained and complained.

I'd taken chili to work because chili is good in cold weather and even though in the midst of that heat and sweat I didn't want chili I ate it when lunch time came. I couldn't bear the thought of more water (since I'd been drinking it a good portion of the day to keep from dehydrating) so I bought a glass of tea. Yes, on a NSD I bought a $2.15 glass of iced tea. And damn, was it good!

Oh well, I tried and will try again today, even though it isn't Tuesday or Thursday. Wink I only work a 4.5 hour shift and I don't have anywhere else to go so I should make it today.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Smile

Sweet! Managed to have a no spend day!

December 9th, 2009 at 03:58 am

I did manage to have a no spend day on a personal level. The man person spent a little but I didn't spend a penny. I drank water on my break this morning and took my lunch but got off at 12 so I just ate after I got off. It was just as good sitting at my desk at the shop as it would have been sitting in the break room at work! Wink

I'm aiming for Tuesdays and Thursdays as no spend days and am going to try to do this each week. I probably won't make it each time but at least I'm working toward it. I'd like to have three NSDs a week but really, that's probably asking way too much of myself! But wait, that might be a good goal for the coming weeks...

December 7th spending & no spend days

December 8th, 2009 at 12:55 am

Spending for Monday, December 7th

Business - $8.69
Groceries - $5.44
Medication - $24.88
Paid storage bill - $100
December 7th total - $139.01

I'd really, really like to have at least two no spend days a week. In the past we've had weeks with four or five no spend days but honestly I can't remember the last no spend day around here!

Maybe while we're working on the Irregular Income Planning sheets tonight I can bring up the no spend days idea. Even if the man person isn't supportive of the idea I can aim for personal no spend days. I can take my lunch and drinks to work and hit the door as soon as I clock out rather than walk around a little to see what's on sale. In fact, I just packed a bento for tomorrow - leftover baked chicken from tonight and celery sticks, some with peanut butter and some with a marvelous cream cheese dip I made. I'll take along some instant coffee so I don't buy a cup of java on break and will drink water with my lunch. I have half a tank of gas right now and unless we drive a lot more than usual that should last until Friday or so. Yeah, I think I'll aim for Tuesday and Thursday as no spend days, at least on a personal level, and I'll try to fit another one in.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Not a no spend day, darn it!

January 22nd, 2008 at 12:01 am

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!

A good day at work & a no spend day, to boot!

January 16th, 2008 at 01:23 am

It was a good day at work. It wasn't quite as busy as I like but it wasn't horribly slow, either. During my lunch break I ate my turkey pastrami sandwich and a few of my chips and drank iced water. Spending today? Nothing, zip, nada, zero!

I got home a bit ago and decided to sit for a few minutes before making dinner. It won't be anything fancy, trust me. DH is having chili dogs and I'm having chicken tamales topped with chili. Later I might have a chili dog but right now that doesn't appeal to me.

In the past, he'd suggest that we go grab something and I'd heartily agree. But tonight he didn't suggest and I didn't bring it up or even consider it. Rather, I asked him to give me a few minutes to rest before making us something to eat. He agreed and we'll soon eat our frugal but tasty dinner.

While at work I priced the store brand nicotine patches. 14 of them cost $24.99 plus tax and that box will last us one week. So, even while we're using them we'll be spending less than we spend on cigarettes. Gotta love that!

I bit the bullet...or, the laundry is done!

January 13th, 2008 at 02:01 am


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.

A great day & input/suggestions needed

January 6th, 2008 at 01:41 am

DH and I paid bills last night . Almost $1300 - gulp! But at least we had it to pay! It was great paying those bills and knowing we still have some money left.

I had a no spend day today and I really love those. The fact that it was warm today was a special bonus!

I got to work at noon and it was crazy busy. During my 15 minute break I drank one of the diet sodas I'd taken. Later in the afternoon I needed to eat but wasn't scheduled for a lunch period. I told my boss I was weak and shaky and needed to eat (I'm diabetic) and she let me sneak to the breakroom long enough to wolf down some chicken wings I'd brought from home and a couple of crackers. So no money spent there.

I got home and we had fish, green beans, and salad. No money spent there, either.

I have to be at work at 7:30 in the morning so I'll head to bed before too long.

But it was a nice no spend day. I hope I have many more soon! Smile

By the way, I'd like some suggestions and feedback on this. DH's business is doing well considering that it's only 5 months old. It isn't paying all the bills yet but it's paying for itself and giving us a little extra. It's a mostly cash business so we have an almost daily cash flow now. And I'm working and get paid every two weeks. The last two checks have been good but the next check or two might not be so good as hours are being cut. However, we can handle that for a short while. The problem is that neither of us is good with money. We're like little kids with it - if we have it we want to spend it. We've used the envelope system before and we think we need to get back to it.

So, we set up envelopes for the business expenses (rent, advertising, electric bill, supplies, etc) and one for saving and each envelope has the budgeted amount for that expense written on the front. The plan is to sit down every evening and put cash that came into the business that day into the envelopes, $10 here, $30 there, and allow a small amount for his pocket. My checks are deposited into our account. I think if we do this regularly when it's time to pay the bills, voila, the money will be there. We can then deposit the cash into the account and write and mail the checks.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to handle it? We have to find a way to ensure the money for expenses is there and that we don't spend it. We know from experience that if it's in envelopes we won't spend it. If it's in his pocket we will!

Suggestions, input, and advice welcomed!

This week in general

October 14th, 2007 at 02:32 pm

I had more no spend days this past week than I've ever had in my adult life, I think. There were four! Why? I planned better than I normally do.

I ran errands one day and took care of whatever I thought might come up during the week and that seemed to do the trick. I know it won't always work but if it works most of the time or even 50% of the time, it will be of benefit. I use less gas, spend less money, and have more free time. That's good all the way around. Smile

I should get paid about $104 for miscellaneous online work I did this week. Most of it goes into the bank for November bills but I'll put $20 in savings. November is quickly approaching and it's time to start the cycle again!

My latest freebies, including a $50 gift card

October 13th, 2007 at 02:37 am

Let's see. Today was yet another no spend day for me. I've had quite a few of those lately and I love it!

A friend came over tonight and brought dinner. It wasn't anything exciting, just a hamburger, fries, and a drink but it was my second free dinner this week and it was actually very tasty.

In the mail this week I've received numerous shampoo and conditioner samples, mostly Garnier Fructis and Pantene products. I really shouldn't need to buy hair care items for awhile.

I also received some Lipton noodle dinners, several of them. I rarely eat them but they'll be good for one of those times when company shows up unexpectedly or I just don't feel like cooking much.

The best freebie, though, was a $50 Target gift card. The electric company I use offered it as an incentive when I chose them. I'd have picked them, anyway, but it's nice to get the gift card. I don't know what I'll get with it but I'm sure I'll think of something. Smile

Two no spend days and online earnings to boot!

October 10th, 2007 at 01:43 am

Today is another no spend day for me. That makes two in a row! That's a rare thing for me but I'm thrilled about it.

I earned some more money online today. Not a lot but I should get a check for about $100 in a few days and it goes into the bank.

Tonight I used the last of the leftover beef roast to make a nice pot of beef and vegetable soup. I didn't make a huge pot but enough for me to have several meals this week from it.

Tomorrow I'm going to pay the electric bill and run an errand or two so it won't be a no spend day. But hey, it was nice to have two of them in a row.

Another no spend day!

October 9th, 2007 at 01:20 am

Well, today is another no spend day for me. Woohooo! I do love 'em!

I made the Chocolate Snickerdoodle Coffee Mix earlier and had a cup or two of it. It's too warm to drink it often but when it cools off that will make a great cup of coffee to help stay warm.

I had my breakfast sandwich for dinner with half an apple. It was very good and filling. The other apple half I'll probably have in the morning or with my lunch tomorrow.

I did a little online work today and earned about $5. Not a lot but it will go into savings when I get it. Every little bit helps. If I can do more later tonight, I will, but right now I'm watching the Cowboys/Bills game.

I guess that's all my excitement for the day. Tomorrow should be another no spend day but I really need to get to the storage unit and if I do, I might stop by the CVS on the way to get a couple of small things I need.

I just love no spend days!

October 3rd, 2007 at 04:32 am

Here's my spending for October so far. I included what was spent on September 30 since most of it was for things to be consumed in October.

9/30

Valero - $13.00 (gasoline)
Albertson's - $43.56 (food for at least two weeks)
Wal-Mart $ - 16.37 (clothes line, clothes pins, cat food, light bulbs, instant coffee)

10/1

Food Fast - $3.00 (snacks while out with Mom)

10/2

$0 Yipeeee, a no spend day for me.

I want to see more of those $0 days!



A no spend day..well, almost

October 1st, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Today was planned to be a no spend day for me. I wasn't going to leave the house and that means I don't spend money. But my mother had a 'quick' errand to run and wanted me to go along so I did. It just so happens that the place she had to go was very, very near the new Kohl's that just opened. Since neither of us had been in a Kohl's, we had to check it out. We found things we both wanted but I'm happy to say I didn't buy anything at Kohl's. Oh happy day!

However, Mom remembered another errand she needed to run and since it was going to take awhile and we were both famished we stopped at a convenience store for a snack. I spent about $3 but that's it.

We ran the other errand and went home and I will not go out again tonight. Period!

So it was almost a no spend day for me, close anyway.

Dinner tonight is Poor Man's Steak, brussels sprouts and a slice of pumpernickel with butter. I decided to try a different recipe than I usually use for Poor Man's Steak. I used this one today but cut all ingredients by half:

1 pound ground beef
1 cup milk
1 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 can mushroom soup
1 cup water or milk

Mix all together, except soup and water/milk and shape into a narrow loaf. (I flattened it on a cookie sheet instead) Let sit in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Cut loaf into slices and fry in a skillet on both sides until brown. (I skipped the frying) Put slices in baking dish. Mix 1 can mushroom soup with 1 cup of water or milk and pour over each piece. Bake at 325 1 hour.

Some little financial goals for October

September 28th, 2007 at 04:12 pm

There are a few money-related things I need to work on so I've set some goals for myself for the month of October. They are:

1. Learn more about maximizing coupon use via thegrocerygame.com, CVS ECBs, and other methods. I've paid for membership with GG for October, November, and part of December and that should give me plenty of time to decide if I like it and if it's worth the money to me.

2. Keep my grocery spending at or below $125 for the month. Normally I go for $100 but with Thanksgiving approaching I'll need to buy a few things for the family get together.

3. Cook less and make better use of leftovers so little to no food is wasted. It's difficult to cook for one after years of cooking for a horde - or even a few people who eat like a horde!

4. Look for a local part time job.

5. Have at least two no spend days every week.

6. Put aside for savings 10% of all money I bring in.

There are other things I need to work on but if I try to do too many, I won't succeed at any!

Monday musings & the purpose of a garden

April 23rd, 2007 at 02:20 pm

It was so hot, still, and humid last night that we turned on the central air conditioner. We'd hoped to wait til May but it was ridiculously miserable so we caved in. However, I did turn it off when I went to bed so it didn't run all night. Self-kudos for not being lazy and letting it run the electric bill up too much.

I watered the container planted vegetables and herbs by the house this morning but I need to water the planting tables and get some leaves that I raked into piles into the wheelbarrow and take them to the leaf pyramid (called that because it's so large) out near the garden. Rain is forecasted, though, so I'm holding off in the hopes that nature will do the watering for me. I also plan to transplant more irises.

DH and DS14 are gone on jobs and they'll be gone most of the day, I think, so I'll vacuum, dust, and work on painting more of the bathroom door and frame around it.

Dinner tonight is plannedovers from last night's beef roast and gravy. There wasn't much left but I'm going to cut the beef into small pieces, make more gravy, season it all well and let it simmer awhile and serve it over wild rice with a salad and some Normandy Style vegetables.

Today should be a no spend day for me though DH will spend something while he's out, I'm sure.

While watering this morning, I thought of what DH says about gardens - their entire purpose is to make his tomato plants look good. Wink

Anyway, here are some pics of our container vegetables, taken just a few minutes ago.



The cauliflower is doing very well in the containers we got for .50 each



And the green pepper and carrots are doing very well, too. I think they will need to be moved to a sunnier spot but so far, so good



More green pepper and some zucchini



An upside down tomato, happily hanging off the front porch



More tomatoes, one planted in an old Macintosh computer case



Yet another tomato plant, this one about to produce fruit



And last but not least, squash plants in buckets

Some of the tomato plants have fruit on them and we should have ripe tomatoes very soon!

Another no spend day for me and free fajitas!

March 19th, 2007 at 01:08 am

Today's been another no spend day for me. DH had to do an install and needed something from the hardware store so he's spent something. I don't know how much since he isn't home yet but it shouldn't be more than a few dollars.

We have more greenies peeking out from the soil today than we did yesterday and it's great to see the growth! Especially the tomatoes since gardening is all about the tomatoes for me. We have all varieties up out of the ground now.

My son and his girlfriend went out for Mexican food and brought me back beef fajitas. They were great and they were free! So the leftovers that don't get eaten tonight by DH will be eaten tomorrow for lunch.

I'm going to bed early tonight since tomorrow is going to be a busy day at my mother's house. Relatives from Iowa are coming in so Mom and I have some things to do before they arrive. Smile

Catching up - haven't posted in a week. Why?

March 16th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Because Spring is here!



This is my Lady Banks Rose that is entwined with a Pin Oak tree. This time of year it begins to bloom and it's just lovely.



And this is Carolina Jessamine growing on one of our fences. I just love this stuff. It's so bright and colorful and smells so good!

My oldest son was on spring break from UT in Austin and came to spend a few days with us. It was great to have him here. I always enjoy his company and miss him when he isn't here. Here's a picture of him taken two days ago:



As you can probably tell, he wasn't really impressed with me taking his picture but he at least looked at the camera!

Two of my five step-children have been visiting, too. They're going home today but we've had a great visit and I'll miss them when they're gone.

Oh yes, we've been working steadily on our garden beds, trying to revamp the ones we'd made back in 2004. We're doing square foot gardening again and have two beds made and planted at this point. We also have 24 tomato plants in pots and quite a few other seeds being kept toasty in the yard which is just loaded with sun shine these days. I noticed this morning that we have Straight 8 Cucumbers and squash and melons sprouting and there's one tiny roma tomato plant sprouting.

I also have some black elephant ears seedlings I've been pampering. They're finally starting to come along, too, with all the sun and warmth.

Today I worked in the yard quite a bit, mainly cutting dead stuff from around the Lady Banks bushes. They've been on this property for quite awhile and think they're the bosses. Sometimes I think they are, too. Man, those things just go where they want and do what they want! The things are about 20 feet tall now and reach above the oak tree! I'll post pictures of them when they're fully bloomed.

Today's been a no spend day for me. I've just piddled around the house and yard and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tonight's dinner is Great Northern Beans and cornbread. We'll probably eat dinner while watching a movie borrowed from an acquaintance. Tomorrow we won't do much but we'll more than likely check the garden and sit on the porch enjoying the beautiful weather.

Happy spring to everyone!


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