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Archive for March, 2009

Zoo Trip!

March 31st, 2009 at 02:07 am

My nephew is on Spring Break & I'm taking him to the Zoo. Last summer, I bought an annual pass for about $5.00 more than what an individual adult & child ticket would cost. So we're going again & I've made my money back. Should be fun!

I'm bringing my camera, so there will be lots of pics!

Whew

March 29th, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Busy, busy day. I've been sick all week, spent Friday night on the couch, vegged all day Saturday & when my Sat night plans were cancelled, stayed on the couch then too.

But I'm having a party next weekend and really needed to clean, clean clean. So today, while STILL not feeling well, I got to it - just took a lot of breaks.

I did 3 loads of laundy, cleaned the living room, both bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, the hallway & part of the basement. I vacuumed furniture for cat hair, wiped down baseboards and door frames. I even polished all the wood furniture.

So everything is pretty set. I'll need a quick dusting/vacuuming the day of the party & I'll need to wash the kitchen floor and sweep the basement (where I'm setting up beer pong).

The only other thing that needs to be done is food & beverages, which I will handle purchasing on Thursday.

The evenings this week are pretty busy, so the residual cleaning & food prep will occur the morning of the party.

Today was rainy to start out, but warmed up & the sun came out. I was able to turn off the heat & open the windows all day. The house smells great! I feel like I've accomplished a lot Smile

Spring Cleaning or Something Like It

March 23rd, 2009 at 12:09 am

Today was going to be a veg, do-nothing day. But I couldn't seem to sit still. I took all the clothes in the spare bedroom, organized and listed them to take to Good Will.



Then I ran some errands, went to Acme to return the movies to redbox & pick up some milk, then dropped the clothes off at Good Will.

When I got home, I went into the basement for some organizing. I came out with a bunch of stuff to list on Craigslist & to give to goodwill. I also collapsed some boxes to be recycled. All of which is loaded up in the car & out of the house Smile

Here's part of the basement before:





And here's part of the basement after:



I planted parsley & chives and organized my plants. I'm utilizing a small table & tray table to place the plants in front of the window & move outside in nicer weather. I've also utilized (temporarily) some old mugs for some of the seeds.



I unpacked some glassware from my Aunt that had been hiding in the basement. I cleaned the kitchen, made dinner & made some meatloaf muffins to freeze.

I then decided to organize the cabinet under the sink:

Before:



After:



Whew...now im gonna pick up the living room, put away the laundry & settle in to watch the Nora Roberts movie on Lifetime at 9 Smile

Lots of Errands & Planned Spending

March 21st, 2009 at 08:59 pm

Got a lot done today. Was supposed to hang with a friend, but when she cancelled due to sickness, I decided to get a bunch of things done.

Went to the Dollar store - got some kitchen & gardening supplies - including an 8 lb bag of pottery soil. I saw it there the other day & after researching the brand online, found it to be pretty good. $10.00

Pathmark (next to dollar store) for 51 oz Olive Oil - $10.00

Local Greenhouse - $10.95 in herbs, starter plants & fertilizer (for houseplants)

Lowes - to view the seeds. Bought Lettuce Mix to try out $1.67

Safeway - Bought 5 2 liter sodas, 2 boxes Cheerios, 2 bags mixed lettuce, and 1 can Hunts Sauce - Total $9.00

Produce Stand - mushrooms, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers & strawberries - $7.83

Super G - 4 12 packs Pepsi, Good Seasons dressing $14.49

Redbox in Super G - $3.06 for 3 movies

Been a long week!

March 21st, 2009 at 01:39 pm

Been a very, very busy week for me. I was out every night except Wednesday and now I'm beat!

Monday I went to the movies with a friend. We saw Watchmen. My friend bought my ticket before I even got there & refused to be reimbursed. So next time I'll try to get there first! Spending $0

Tuesday was St Paddy's and I went to the dive I hang out at, which we call the Pub. Bought a few drinks. The poor bartenders, who I know fairly well, were running ragged. I left a good tip because I knew they were working their butts off. Spent roughly $30.00

Wednesday I had the day off. Waited around for the electric guy to change the meter. Thought they were taking the whole thing out, but apparently it was just the gas portion. My dad came over & repaired the downstairs toilet & my dryer. I paid for the dryer part & lunch for him and my mom. For a total of $50.00. But completely worth it!

Thursday I had planned on staying home. Ran some errands after work, then was called by 2 friends for impromptu dinner. Went to a local mexican place. We had a margarita and some good food. Then our 1 friend paid for everything. Apparently he had been at the Casinos & won a lot. He wouldn't even let us leave tip.

On my way home from there, another friend called and asked me to meet him at a local bar. A friend of his was working there as a rep for a vodka company. We were given some comped drinks & caught up for an hour or two. So this was a completely free night, which was a surprise. Spending $0

Yesterday I went to the library. Picked up a few movies, couple of books. Some of the books were impulses, some not:

The Art Theif by Noah Charney
The Simple Life by Amy Dacyczyn, Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin
Houseplant Basics
Cents & Cents-abilities by Kathy Bradford
Good Housekeeping's The complete Household Handbook
The Frugal Gardner
Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More by Earl Proulx

Friday was happy hour. A few friends had taken 1/2 days for March Madness. We met up after work & had dinner. They were ready to continue for the rest of the night. I was ready to go to bed. Made it home by 8, watched tv til 10. Then bed. Total spent $8.00.

Got a great nights sleep & now I'm refreshed! Gonna hang out with a friend today. Our big plans are a shoe store where I have a $20 gift certificate, the Farmers Market for veggies, she's gonna help me pick out some glasses & we'll possibly go shopping for some stuff for container gardening. We may end up doing none of that if she still has a cold. In that case, we'll be watching April Fools Day, a movie I own already that she & I loved as teens. Low key & low cost day!

I know container gardening won't be that frugal a hobby this year since I'm just starting out & a complete novice to anything gardening related. If anyone has any info, please feel free to share!

Whew

March 16th, 2009 at 01:04 am

After I had lunch with my friends, I lounged for a bit and then got cleaning. I had cleaned the kitchen & living room (the downstairs) for the guests, but the upstairs was a disaster. So I cleaned the bathroom, the bedroom and the hall. The only place I did not completely get to is the spare room, which will be completed this week.

I made dinner & cleaned up the kitchen again. And now I'm beat Smile

I did pack food for tomorrow, a mish-mash of things I had in the fridge/pantry. So tomorrow, I'll have 2 apples, oatmeal, carrots, pasta salad and sloppy joe over pasta. LOL. I WILL be going to the grocery store tomorrow.

St Patty's Weekend

March 15th, 2009 at 08:36 pm

Yesterday I was up and in the city at 10am for the St Patty's Day Parade, of which I saw none of Smile My friend was pouring beer at a local church and there was tailgating in the parking lots around the church.

We were there til 3. I paid $10.00 for a mug and had unlimited 'free' beer. Then we went to a local pizza place and between the group, split 3 pizzas and fries. Total out of pocket for the day: $23.00.

Today I had some college friends and their baby over for lunch. Used chicken from the freezer, potatoes & made some pasta salad. So no spending today.

I'll have to do some grocery shopping tomorrow now. I'm out of veggies!


Here's an updated list of my Freezer Foods. I'm working on my meal plan now

1 wheat wrap
5 wheat pitas
3/4 Loaf wheat bread
1/4 loaf rye bread
4 Blueberry/banana muffins

4 bananas
4 pints blueberries

5 servings Sloppy Joe
1 package turkey pepperoni
5 servings Bacon
3 servings Meatloaf Muffin
6 servings Ground Turkey and onion
4 servings London Broil
5 servings Chicken Fajita
5 servings Taco meat
11 servings Morningstar Chick'n
6 servings Chicken Breasts

1 bag Breakfast Potatoes

Electric/Gas

March 10th, 2009 at 02:06 am

I purchase Electric/Gas from the same company as is the standard for the state that I live in.

They recently updated their site to include online bills, usage estimates, bill comparison and money saving tips, which I'm having a lot of fun playing with it.

I feel that I do pretty well with my usage, but am always looking for ways to lower my bills. I've been in the house about 2 years now and I know (based on my statements) that I use MUCH less than the previous owner.

And thats the reason that I think that I received a call from the Electric Company saying that they need to replace my meter for an updated version. As far as I know, none of my neighbors, whose houses were all built in the same year, have been told this is necessary. And I've asked a few of them to be sure.

So I have an appointment next Wednesay between 8am and 12pm to have it replaced. My understanding is that it will be digital, which should be cool.

As part of the new web site, there are estimates on how much of my bill goes where. It asked me a bunch of questions, then estimates what usage occurs as a result of which type of use:

For February:

Heating $81
Hot Water $36
Lighting $14
Food Storage $13
Other: $13
Cooking: $9

According to the site, I compare well to others in my area. I personally used less electric AND gas than this Feb of last year. My YTD 2009 average is $135.00 compared to the avg home in my area $286.00. Winter is always the highest bill, so it can only get better
from here. Yay!

Sick... again.

March 10th, 2009 at 01:33 am

Well, I keep getting the same thing over & over. I plan on getting to the drs if possible. I know I'll need an antibiotic. Fun.

Tonight I was all set to do a bunch of stuff on my to do list. Instead I watched 2 free Redbox movies - Death Race & Quarantine, took a nap, played on the computer and ate noodles with butter (my fave sick food).

I just got an urge to do something. So instead of doing the many things off my to-do list, I made pizza. First time making the dough from scratch. And technically, its not really pizza.

I made the dough thicker than the recipe called for and am waiting for it to cook a little longer. I put on tomato sauce, doctored it up with spices, loaded on the garlic - real, not powder. And skipped the cheese. Its more of a quick tomato pie than pizza, but its going to be an awesome snack & leftovers will go with dinner tomorrow.

Walking the Walk

March 8th, 2009 at 06:26 pm

So lately I've been doing a lot of talking about being super frugal because of some increased expenses, but then I go and buy paintings for the living room. And I've way overspent in my entertainment again this pay period.

Well, I'm finally going to walk the walk, since I've been doing plenty of talk the talk.



Last week week I:

-Worked to decrease my electric/gas bills. The weather is helping as my heat has been off for 2 days. Hope this warm weather streak lasts.

-Negotiated a new deal with Comcast to keep the services I have within $5.00 of where they were before the promo rate expired. Its only good for 6 months, so I set a reminder to myself to call in September.

-Organized all my paperwork. Perminantly filing all 2008 information. Keeping the temporary files open for 2009

-Packed lunches all but 2 days. One was a work outing lunch and the other was becuase I was really ill and barely made it into work at all that day.

-I set up a meal plan and am using freezer meals

-Did my taxes and found out that I'm getting a decent state refund. It cancels out most of my amount owed to Federal. (YAY). All adjustments have been made so that I will NOT owe next year.




This week I am:

-Instituting no spending except for the following expected expenses:
- $15.00 milk, yogurt, produce
- $10.00 Night out with friends on Monday
- $10.00 much needed toiletries

-Packing breakfast & lunch. Having dinner at home

-Putting items up on Craigslist as part of my March To-Do list

-Updating my account/password list to be included in my In Case of Emergency file.

Farmer & Flea Market

March 8th, 2009 at 03:57 pm

Yesterday, I went to the Farmers market for produce. I went with two friends and we explored the outdoor Flea Market as well. I didn't plan on buying anything, but ended up coming home with 3 paintings in ornate gold frames. I have a place in mind in my living room.

Here they are:




Here is each close up:









And here is where I'm thinking of puttin them.


Taxes Done and I Owe

March 3rd, 2009 at 03:25 am

So I did my taxes & it turns out I owe a bit. I was expecting that and I have the savings to pay them, but I feel the need to go into SuperFrugal mode and try to cashflow it back into savings within the next month or so.

In SuperFrugal mode, I look for both big and small savings. I am going to limit entertainment spending, limit grocery spending, work to find additional sources of income and basically do anything I can to conserve spending and earn more.

The hardest thing for me, will be entertainment. Lately I've been a lot more social at work, with friends and dating. All of which entails spending. So this will be the trickiest.

Today was a no spender, which is good.

Tomorrow will not be one, as I have a date and will be offering to pay for dinner this time around. (Expected Entertainment spending $25.00?)

Wednesday, I'm having friends over to watch LOST and plan on offering them dinner. I will stop at the produce stand for veggies for the week, but will make dinner out of my freezer/pantry. (Groceries $10.00)

Thursday, my work group is going out to lunch. I'm hoping we can keep it really, really cheap, but as there's 10 of us, I'm only 1 vote. Worst case scenario, lunch will be about $10.00. I'll be staying in Thursday night. (Entertainment $10.00)

The weekend is up in the air, we'll have to wait and see what social things I have going on.

For frugal entertainment, I plan on doing the following:

Playing Wii with the nephew
Watching Library movies
Reading Library books

All of these I've said before, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of them and free is always good!

I just updated my request list at the library. Plenty of movies for me to watch as they become available.

Oh and to keep track of freezer food: I used 1 ground turkey with onion for pasta sauce for dinner. I used another to take to work for lunch. (2 ground turkey w/ onion used)

Paperwork & Taxes

March 2nd, 2009 at 07:49 pm

Today's a snow day. So it will be a No Spend Day! I could have chosen to go into work late, but decided to just take the full day after all.

I got a workout shovelling my driveway, but then I managed to drop my glasses and step on them. They will not be able to be repaired. At least I have my old glasses, plus contacts to get me through til my appointment next month.

The rest of the day, I've been watcing tv & playing on the internet.

So now I'm going to tackle the monstrous task of organizing paperwork and taxes.
Have to accomplish something today Smile

Oh, and I'm going to call Comcast & get a new promotion since my last one just ran out.

More on Meal Planning

March 2nd, 2009 at 03:39 am

I've been thinking about meal planning a lot lately. So I've decided to add a running tab of meats/meal starters in my freezer to remind me to utilize what I already have instead of wasting food. I'm putting it up in my side bar and will update it at least once a week. This will not include 100% of whats in my freezer and will not include whats in the fridge and pantry.

Tonight I had 1 serving of Meatloaf muffins and have 1 in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch.

The freezer currently has:

10 Servings Meatloaf Muffins
5 Servings Taco Meat
12 Servings Chicken
6 Servings Sloppy Joe
6 Servings cooked Ground Turkey w/ Onion
5 Servings Turkey Bacon
6 Servings Morningstar Chick'n
2 Servings Morningstar Crumbles
4 Servings London Broil
8 Servings Frozen chicken breasts

February & March Goals

March 1st, 2009 at 02:59 pm

Well, I failed most of my February goals, so I'm making them my March goals!

- Complete Taxes
- Keep house clean daily
- Pack Breakfast/Lunch for work 100% of the month - NO Excuses!
- Stay on Weight Watchers plan 100% of the month
- Work out at least 3 - 4 days per week
- Lower electric usage
- Sell at least 5 things in Craigslist
- Prepare furniture in basement for sale
- Take a few bags of clothes to Good Will
- Stay 100% within budget for this month (been going over in a few catagories)


The last item be tough, especially with the amount of social activities that I've been having, but I'm going to make do any way that I can.