Home > Archive: March, 2008

Archive for March, 2008

Sick - blech & frugal Easter gifts

March 22nd, 2008 at 05:25 pm

I spent 2 hours at work yesterday before leaving sick. I never should have gone in, but I didn't want to leave my coworkers in the lurch. Unfortunately, I was MUCH sicker than I realized. By the time I got home, I has a 102 degree fever. I had no idea.

So anyway, I'm home sick again today, all my plans down the drain and unless I feel 100% better, I'll be missing Easter with my family. Which sucks, but I don't wish this virus on anyone!

As for Easter, we primarily do gifts for the 7 year old Nephew only. I got him an Easter card for 50 cents from the dollar store and I had planned on giving him some cash towards snacks and fun stuff at his baseball games, but I don't have cash on me right now and I am having a family member stop by to pick up my card for him. So I made up 5 little homemade coupons on index cards. One for a sleepover at a later date and 4 for a walk/bike ride around the new park I went to last week. I think he'd really like it.

Well, its about time for a nap. I am SO tired and feeling just plain yucky. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Big spending for Eye Exam

March 19th, 2008 at 02:09 am

Today I flexed a few hours at work and went to a much needed eye exam. Its both for routine vision and a medical exam for an eye condition. It was a big bill for both plus a year supply of contacts.

I actually order 3/4 of a year supply because I do wear my glasses maybe once or twice a week. That supply will last me over a year.

AND since my prescription changed again and I haven't had new glasses in over 2 years, I still need to get the glasses. But they will be 100% covered under my vision insurance. Whew.

And I know its a little late, but here's my meal plan for the week:

B: cheerios and milk; canned pears
L: turkey and cheese on rye; salad
D: Pasta with Morningstar chicken strips; cucumber & tomato salad

B: cheerios and milk; canned pears
L: turkey and cheese on rye; salad
D: Taco salad; baked fries

B: cheerios and milk; fruit cocktail
L: turkey and cheese on rye; salad
D: Tuna wrap; cucumber & tomato salad

B: cheerios and milk; fruit cocktail
L: turkey and cheese on rye; salad
D: Sloppy Joe over pasta

I know the breakfasts & lunches are bland & repetitive, but its a busy week at work and I won't have to think about what to pack... its just grab & go since its already in preset servings. I did that Monday night.

Snapshot of my spending this month

March 17th, 2008 at 12:48 am

I track every penny spent and have been doing so since January 2007. I was looking at my March spending and thought I'd share. Its been a really conservative month, except for groceries. I've gone a little overboard, but mostly I was stocking up on some REALLY great deals. Like whole-wheat pasta for 67 cents. You really can't beat that!

I've been lucky at having lots of free entertainment with friends and family. And yesterday I even got to enjoy some AWESOME time outside thanks to some nice weather. Most months aren't like this.

March 1
Cell phone $38.61
Student Loan $767.05
Groceries $20.16
Gifts $33.48

March 2

March 3
Groceries $21.29

March 4
Car Repairs $338.84

March 5
Groceries $11.99
Library Fine $1.25
Drinks out $10.00

March 6
Gas $46.24

March 7
Groceries $13.82

March 8

March 9

March 10
Groceries $3.84

March 11

March 12

March 13

March 14
groceries $32.48

March 15

March 16

Frugal Things I've Been Doing

March 16th, 2008 at 01:24 am

Every once in a while I like to think about the little frugal things that I do. Mostly because I like to challenge myself to come up with more 

So heres a few ideas of what Ive been doing this week.

Programmable thermostat:
65 degrees for work nights, 61 during the day and its been warm enough that the heat hasnt been going on in the day time. As long as I open the blinds/curtains to let the light in.

And the last two days, Ive had the heat off all together! Yay!

Hand washing most dishes:
I have a single sink, although I wish I had a double one. To reduce water usage, Ive been hand washing dishes. I use the dishwasher maybe once every week and a half or so., but hand wash the rest of the time. I have been using a large mixing bowl filled with soapy water. Instead of running each dish under running water, I wash it in the bowl. Then rinse off in clean water. Much less water usage!

Line Drying:
Although the original reason was to not shrink my work clothes, I usually line dry all clothes. I use the dryer for only towels & sheets.

Using Daylight:
I have been utilizing the daylight more. I keep the blinds open until it gets dark and keep the lights off.

Minimizing food costs
Ive been meal planning and eating at home often. This is also healthier 

I get the bulk of my fruits & veggies from the local Produce Stand. Eggs are much cheaper there too!

Lowering Electric usage:
I unplug any unnecessary items. I use my toaster maybe once or twice a week. No sense in keeping it plugged in.

I have been utilizing the library for books, movies, magazines & cookbooks.

This week I taped (yes, I still have a VCR) a movie that I love. Its called Haunted Honeymoon, starring Gene Wilder & Gilda Radner. It was the last movie she did before becoming ill. Ive been considering buying it on DVD, but now I dont have to. It was on cable, for free, so I taped it.

I plan on enjoying the nice weather and going to a local park. Free, fun exercise! (I actually walked 2.3 miles at a new park. Its really nice, I will definitely be going back!)

Taking advantage of work perks:
I have been compiling Weight Watchers recipes. My work lets us print out personal papers, so what I do is print out a few recipes each week. I have an old binder from college that I reused to hold all the recipes.

Treating myself:
I splurge a little here & there so I dont feel deprived. I buy the good Weight Watchers ice cream cups. I go see movies in the theatre every once in a while (the matinee). I feed my movie addiction by the library & Redbox. I have soda at work, but I dont buy it there. I go out to dinner with my family at least once every couple of weeks. Its the little things that make me happy, so its easy to splurge on myself.

Grocery shopping!

March 15th, 2008 at 12:28 am

I went to 3 different places for groceries today. I'm well stocked in the pantry & freezer, so this paycheck I was planning on stocking up on soda and my only other purchases will be veggies, dairy & bread.

Today I spent a total of $32.48 and got the following:

4 - 12 packs of soda (to take to work)
1 - 8 pack of 12oz bottles (for work)
10 - 2 liter bottles of soda (for home 79cents each)
1 - 2 lb bag of hash brown potatoes
1 - package of English Muffins
1 - 100% natural whole wheat bread
6 - Large tomatoes
1 - bunch of Romaine Lettuce
1 - large green pepper
3 - large cucumbers

The reason I bought so much soda is that I was able to get name brand soda (coke) for 79 cents per 2 liter bottle AND I was able to get the 12 packs plus the 8 pack for $9.00 total. The soda will probably last me about 3-4 months.

I will probably get more salad stuff towards the end of the week. And on Monday or Tuesday next week, I'll restock veggies & dairy. That'll take me into my next pay period. My grocery budget for this pay period is $50.00. It'll be tight because of the soda, but its doable.

Another no spender

March 14th, 2008 at 01:34 am

Today was a no spender. I packed breakfast & lunch again -- its actually starting to get a little boring saying that Smile

I had a busy day at work. I did get a freebie bottle of water though.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to leave work a little early & go for a nice long walk at a park. Its been warm in the sun the last few days. So maybe it won't be too cold to do that.

I plan on reigning in my eating out & entertainment spending this pay period. I have some stuff I want to do around the house & I'll be taking funds from those catagories to do that.

We'll see how it goes. As we say at work, Everything's subject to change Smile

March Positivity

March 13th, 2008 at 12:28 am

Even with the car problems and the toilet, March has had some good stuff going on.

I had some cashflow goals for the month and I think I've done pretty well so far.

I've managed to cashflow:

$27.00 for the Defensive driving fee (yay!)

$156.93 of my $338.84 car repair fee (yay!)

$0.00 for my new pantry door (boo!)

ALSO, my new balance on the student loan is $3,795.49! WOO_HOO!

But I'm ok with not having the funds for my pantry door. First, the one I wanted is not currently available. I'm hoping Home Depot will restock soon. Second, I may be able to fund the purchase through a gift card from Mypoints. I'm just waiting for some points to hit my balance.

I've been sticking to the Lunch Challange. Today I brought:
Oatmeal & pears for breakfast; cheese sandwich & salad for lunch; soda from home; free water at work

Tomorrow, I have planned:
Breakfast: Cheerios with milk, Lunch of spaghetti salad - tons of veggies, turkey pepperoni & a bunch of spicy goodness! YUMMY! Snack will be popcorn.

I also have been talking to someone from Craigslist about my room. Hopefully they'll be able to meet this weekend. Anyone with advice about how to handle bringing a roommate into your house, please share!

Its a Murphy Month

March 11th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

In addition to the car repairs, I have a leak somewhere in my downstairs bathroom. I noticed some water on the floor in the corner Saturday night. I attributed it to my nephew playing with the water while washing his hands. But I checked on it again last night. And there was a tiny bit of water again. I checked the basement, no signs of a leak & turned the water off to that bathroom.

Then I turned the water back on tonight. Theres more water. Maybe a couple an ounce or two. I checked the basement again, no water showing. I checked the toilet pipes, no water that I can tell. Then I pulled off the ugly brown plastic baseboard the last owner put on. (I'd be able to refix it to the wall, if I want to.)

I checked behind the baseboard. No wetness in there either visually, or by hand. So I have NO idea where the water is coming from. So what I've done is this. I wrapped tissues around all the connections of the toilet. And in the gap between the linoleum and the baseboards. I'm going back to check later to see if any the tissues are damp.

UGH. Its always something though. At least I got a kick out of using the hot pink tool kit that I got for Christmas a few years ago (at my request). It felt all girlie and independent at the same time Smile

****** UPDATE ******

I found the leak! Its the toilet bowl. Not near the pipes, but the actual tank is creating condensation due to a weak spot at the edge. I've drained the bowl, put a towel down for any possible residual water. And tomorrow, I'm heading to Lowes to buy this Plumbing Putty thats made for this type of situation. Its not a permanent solution, but its a good temporary one! I'm all proud that I identified the problem myself Smile

Food, spending & weight loss update

March 11th, 2008 at 12:43 am

Today, I brought breakfast & lunch to work. I did spend $3.49 tonight to the veggie stand to get romaine lettuce and tomatos. I wasn't going to buy any more groceries, but I really wanted the stuff for salads. So now I'm set for the week grocery-wise.

I didn't spend anything at the car repair shop, but they also didn't fix the problem. Somehow, they say that the fact that the driver side controls don't work for the passenger window has NOTHING to do with the fact that they just fixed the passenger side window. And to fix it, would be over $400.00. So I told them to forget it. I hate that place. I only took the car back there last week because if the squeal was due to the belt, it would have been covered under warrenty at their shop. It was, but then I let them do the window. Big Mistake!

I'm going to shop around prices and my dad said he would take a look at it. We'll see.

In other news, I got 3 free cans of soda at work.

And the best news of all, after a few weeks of a plateau, I lost 2.8 pounds this week. Less than a pound and a half, I'll be at the 30 pound mark! Hopefully, that'll be next week!!!

Weekly Meal Plan & Weekend spending

March 9th, 2008 at 09:09 pm

First, about weekend spending. There was none! I vegged Friday night after a long work week. I did pop back out around 9pm to go to the grocery store. I didn't want to have to deal with the Saturday morning crowds.

Yesterday & this morning was hanging out with the nephew. This afternoon has been all about cleaning and watching Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. And recovering from the Nephew's visit Smile

I have gotten a LOT accomplished. Its amazing how changing your sheets & dusting and vacuuming the house can change things Smile

As for the upcoming week, I drop my car back to the repair place for work tomorrow. The window motor was fixed and the window will go up & down if you use the passanger controls. But they do not work from the driver side controls. I'm hoping its an easy fix that would require no extra charges. But if its the driver side controls that have the issue, I'll have to decide if I want to have it fixed (for a cost) or leave as is for now.

I'm trying not to spend until payday on Friday. I have a full tank of gas and tons of groceries. So unless some entertainment spending comes up, all of the extra funds in those 3 catagories can go to the Student loan as of Friday.

In an effort to keep up with eating at home & my lunch challange, I've made a meal plan for the week.

I have a desk drawer of oatmeal, crackers, granola bars and microwave popcorn.

Breakfast: oatmeal & pears
Lunch: Salad, cheese sandwich
Dinner: Pasta, baked potato

Breakfast:Cheerios with milk, hard boiled egg
Lunch: Pears, large salad
Dinner: Meatloaf muffin, baked fries, green beans

Breakfast: Oatmeal, hard boiled egg
Lunch: Cheese sandwich, salad
Dinner: Sloppy joe over egg noodles, green beans

Breakfast: Cheerios with milk
Lunch: PB&J sandwich, pasta salad
Dinner: Pasta w/ sauce; salad

Breakfast: Oatmeal, fruit cocktail
Lunch: Pasta salad, cheese sandwich
Dinner: Turkey BLT; baked fries; salad

Breakfast: Cheerios, fruit cocktail
Lunch: Large salad with penne in it
Dinner: London briol, leftover baked fries; peas

As you can see, I can never get enough of salad, be it just cucumbers & tomatoes or a big salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, peppers, carrots, eggs, cheese & pepperoni. I've always been this way Smile

Fun with the nephew

March 9th, 2008 at 01:19 am

Todays a no spender. My nephew came over around 1pm. He's 7. We've been taking advantage of the rainy weather. We've played video games, go fish, had play karate fights, and watched a kids movie (free on cable). We even took advantage of a break in the storms to walk to the beginning of the neighborhood to get the mail.

Lots of fun and no spending. We had drinks, snacks, lunch & dinner all at home. Lots of fun.

AND until around 8pm tonight, the heat was off. I even had the windows open for about an hour earlier. Fresh air is SO nice!

Another Week of the Lunch Challange

March 7th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

I had a great week, no spending for food, except for Monday. I had a great networking opportunity at work to have lunch with a few of my peers, my manager & her manager and I took it. I spent $9.00 for lunch and was able to take leftovers home for dinner. It was definately worth it Smile

The rest of the week, I did really well. But I have to start planning a little better. I have been stopping at the grocery store a little more often than I usually do.

So tomorrow, I'll be heading to the store for veggies & milk and I will not be going grocery shopping again til next weekend (payday).

I am really enjoying this challange and its working well because I've been changing things up with my Weight Watchers plan. I'm trying to find new ways to get dairy & whole wheat in. I've sorta hit a plateau in my weight loss journey and now I'm focusing more on varying up my meals.

No Spender

March 6th, 2008 at 06:09 pm

Todays a no spender. I sucessfully packed breakfast & lunch today. I'll be having dinner at home as well. I plan on organizing some recipes while watching last night's Big Brother & tonight's LOST. My goal is to go to bed early, since I was out late last night.

Last night's spending was $10.00 exactly. I LOVE the Pub, its so Cheap! There was a band, loud & not that great, but we had a great time.

Car Repairs $338.34

March 5th, 2008 at 01:49 am

My car is back safe and sound. I paid a total of $338.34, which will come from my car repairs fund. I will be working to build it back up as needed, but currently its not a priority.

The shop gave me a lot of problems that I don't want to even get into. They finally fixed the squealing. It was a belt that had been replaced two years ago. It was still under warrenty, so they fixed it. Total cost: $0.00

In addition, I had asked them to look at my passenger side door. The motor would not move the window. So the window motor needed to be replaced.

Plus, my car had been riding rough. The techs noticed and determined I needed new spark plugs. Which I really do.. they haven't been changed since I bought the car. So they charged me for the spark plugs, but not for the labor.

Thats nice!

Until on my way home, when I checked my window. It worked once from my drivers side controls. Then it didn't. It works from the passenger side controls though. So I will be making a call to the Service desk tomorrow. I'm ticked!

In other news, I packed my breakfast & lunch for work today and ate dinner at home. I've already premade my food for work tomorrow. Tomorrow night's dinner will be at home as well, but then I'm heading out to meet some friends at the Pub. I plan on taking & spending only $10.00. Definately doable, the prices at the Pub are CHEAP!

Waiting to hear about the car

March 4th, 2008 at 01:17 pm

I dropped my car off to the repair shop last night. I'll hear back this morning about an estimate, hopefully it won't be too bad.

Yesterday, I spent $9.00 at Olive Garden for lunch plus tip. Last night, I bought groceries.

Today I packed breakfast & lunch:

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg plus hardboiled egg white, 8oz yogurt

Lunch: Turkey on Rye, salad with ff sundried tomato dressing

This week's meal plan

March 3rd, 2008 at 01:49 am

Today was a no spender and a beautiful day! I spent about a 1/2 hour on my deck, in the sun. But it was still too cool to stay out there all day Frown

Breakfast: Oatmeal & pears
Lunch: Olive Garden linguini marinara, one breadstick and salad.
Dinner: Taco Salad made with MorningStar crumbles and baked tortillas

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg, oatmeal
Lunch: Meatloaf muffin, salad
Dinner: Turkey BLT, baked fries

Breakfast: Hardboiled egg, oatmeal, pears
Lunch: Pasta salad, baked chips
Dinner: Sloppy joe over egg noodles, green beans

Breakfast: Cheerios, Granola bar
Lunch: PB&J sandwich, small salad
Dinner: Meatloaf muffin, leftover baked fries, green beans.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, bran crackers
Lunch: Leftover Pasta salad, baked chips
Dinner: London Broil, baked potato

Saturday & Sunday are up in the air. But if I'm home, Saturday's dinner will be shake n bake chicken with corn muffins and Sunday's will be tilapia with rice.

Frugal, Relaxed Weekend

March 2nd, 2008 at 04:42 pm

Yesterday I went to the bank, did some grocery shopping, paid some bills. Then last night, I went over a friends house. They provided dinner & a movie. I only had to show up. VERY nice.

Today, I'm doing house stuff, laundry, cleaning,ect. My mom & nephew are stopping by for a visit, maybe we'll watch a library movie. I have Meet the Robinsons. All in all, today will be a no spender.

Cheap Decorating

March 1st, 2008 at 06:01 pm

I've been wanting to change some things up at my house. Mostly I want to go out & buy stuff. Instead, I rearranged the furniture. I'm not sure if I like the arrangment, or if I'm going to keep it, but its neat to see something different.

Here's a before picture of my living room.

Behind the couch is a small table & two chairs. The arrangement wasn't that comfy, because you had to walk around the couch to eat at the table. Since its just me in the house, I barely use it.

In this one, you can see how close the couches were to the tv (on the right).

So here's the big couch now, pushed back against the wall.

Here's how much farther the tv is from the couches now.

Here's the table, now in the kitchen, with one of its sides pulled up and one still left down. I had a table in the kitchen, a freebie that I didn't like so much. That will be going into the basement to be given to GoodWill or sold at a later date.

And because she's so cute, here's a picture of my cat, Colbi.