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Back from Germany!

September 25th, 2011 at 07:35 pm

The trip to Oktoberfest in Munich & to Amsterdam was phenominal. Came in under 'budget', but unfortunately some of the trip still went on a card. This was a splurge that I financially shouldn't have done, but mentally/emotionally, I needed.

I am home now & back to living frugally. I did buy fast food dinner on the way home from the airport Friday night.

Saturday, I had lunch with my parents at Olive Garden ($10) and completed some grocery shopping (approx $27).

Today, I went to the Farmer's Market and spent about $17 on TONS of fresh produce. I went to an Arbonne party at my sister's house (free food) and may buy 1 item at 50% off ($9.00). I will make the purchase tomorrow. And for going to the party, I received a set of make up brushes (which is actually needed).

As for the trip, I did come home with some toiletries. I found the complimentary body wash & shampoos in the (CLEAN/EMPTY) trash can in the hotel room - so I took them. All brand new, no reason to toss!

I am eating at home today, catching up on DVR'd shows & enjoying getting the house in order.

My roommate is moving out today & the new roommate is moving in Thursday-ish. She already gave me the deposit money & will provide the rent on her move in date.

I have goals for this week: $20 in entertainment money & I plan on packing breakfast/lunch/snacks for each work day this week. NO uncessary spending!

I plan on getting pictures uploaded tonight - expect some fun ones!

Lots of Bargains today!

July 31st, 2010 at 06:37 pm

Today, I met up with a friend and we headed to some local Goodwill for Super Saturday. 50% off all clothes. I came home with some GOOD deals.

- 2 pairs of jeans. I currently own one pair & they are getting a hole in them.
- 2 pairs of work pants

- 6 long sleeve shirts
- 1 short sleeve shirt

- 1 pair work shoes (brand new condition)

- 1 pair snow boots (brand new condition)

- Christmas decoration (to be a gift for mom)

- 3 Clue puzzles, 2 board games

Total Spent: $35.00. $7 of that was the games -a splurge since that wasn't 50% off

We went next door to a farmers market (diff than the one closest to me) and she bought a gift for a party & we both tried tons of yummy free samples

Next we hit a liquor store, where I scored a GOOD sale on a wine that I like. Ended up with 3 bottles at $6.99 each (normally $11.99).

And at the liquor store, they were providing wine & cheese samples. Between this & the farmer's market, we didn't even have to stop for lunch.

It was a great day and I am very happy with ALL my purchases.

Making Do

July 4th, 2010 at 12:56 am

Well, while I am settling finances in preperation for buying a car, I am in a self-imposed spending freeze. I bought some veggies today, but other than that, am hoping to have no spending until at least Tuesday.

This weekend, I am carless. I will mostly be at home until my mom gives me a ride to a bbq tomorrow (in her neighborhood) and I will borrow her car tomorrow night to get to work Monday.

However, life happens & I had to find ways to make due.

1. I have a problem with the kitchen sink. My dad has promised to come over Tuesday night & help me fix it. In the meantime, it will drain small streams of water, but clogs the second a larger stream happens.

I have been handwashing dishes, then rinsing in a big mixing bowl. Then pouring the water in the bowl into my downstairs bathroom sink. Its not pretty, but it works.

2. My tomato plant is growing & I needed to stake it. Howver, I have no plant ties or twisty ties or anything like that. So I used gift ribbon. Its kinda pretty to be honest Smile

3. I am bringing a veggie tray to the bbq tomorrow and in addition, I wanted to bring a gift. So I am portioning off some of my mint & giving that as a gift. The host loves plants & recently gave me some aloe, so I know she will appreciate this.

4. I wanted a plant stand to put my Meyer Lemon tree nearer to the window. I re-used an old ikea table that was down the basement. Works perfectly!

Gargage Sailing and Farmer's Market

May 23rd, 2010 at 01:20 am

I went yard sailing with my mom today, from 8am to 12pm. There were a ton of community sales, so we found a lot of bargains. I personally spent $20 and hit pay dirt in the board game catagory. I've been trying to add to my board game collection. Here's what I bought (with pics!)

Yard sale 1: 7 round planters for $3.00. I'm going to grow leaf lettuce in most of them. And some cat nip in one. Also hoping to transplant some mint so I can grow more this year.

Yard Sale 2: Slap Scrabble game & 2 picture frames $3.00

Yard sale 3: Bon Appetite Sign $1.00 (to go in the kitchen)

Yard Sale 4: 3 board games - Sequence, a strategy game I've forgotten the name of (not pictured, as I left it at my friends' house) and Mindtrap $1.00 total.

Yard Sale 5: Bottled water (from kid's stand) $1.00, 7 games & puzzles (Mind trap 2, 4 player air hockey game, Buried Blueprints puzzle, Scatagories, 7 piece combo game set, Jenga, Impossibles puzzle) all for $3.50!!

I found it funny that I found Mindtrap at the the one yard sale & Mindtrap 2 at the next! Also, the air hockey is for my nephew. A present for finishing school & starting summer.

Yard Sale 6: 10 piece gardening kit and Tabletop grill $4.50

Yard Sale 7: 8 paperbacks and 1 hardback for $3.00 (also not pictured)

After yard sailing and a flat tire on my mom's car. I went to the Farmer's Market with some friends. I also brought some of my new games over to play & ended up leaving one at their house. Boooo!

At the farmer's market, I got: Bok choi, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, vine tomatoes (for a mozzerella, basil & tomato salad), celery, carrots, basil, garlic, green peppers and apples. Spent about $19

In the evening, I went to my nephew's ball game, then home to unpack my car! Busy, busy and spendy day. Tomorrow hopefully will be much less Smile

Snow pics - totally OT :)

February 6th, 2010 at 03:00 pm

LOTs of snow. There's a state of emergency & all the roads are pretty much unpassable. BUT the retail chain I work for (part time) is going to open the store despite the mall being closed. Guess who is not going in? I'm going to miss my 8 hours of pay. But I'm not gonna risk my safety OR a ticket for driving during a state of emergency.

I havent even begun to dig myself out. Its still snowing & very windy. No matter what, I'm getting out there this afternoon. Here are some pics at what I'm looking at!

Back From Vacation!

November 1st, 2009 at 09:05 pm

The cruise was once in a lifetime opportunity! I had a really really great time! I don't have final numbers, but I spent roughly $550 for a ticket on a 7 day cruise to Florida and then the Bahamas from Baltimore. Plus approximately $80 in souveneirs, drinks & dinner in ports, $169.36 on drinks on the ship(ouch! but I spent the least in our group) and $111.90 on shore excursions which included an Airboat & Alligator tour in Florida and a Catamaran and snorkelling adventure in Nassau, Bahamas. I already had paid for the cruise ticket. The drinks & excursions went on a credit card, which I am paying off today. So no new debt was incurred by the trip!

I came home to an empty pantry & fridge, so I ran back out to see my family for a few mins and then to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner tonight. I'll be doing my full grocery shop tomorrow after I complete updating my 11/1-11/15 budget.

I definately felt like I was completely cut off from the life I have here. I slept, read, played and swam when I wanted to. I waaaay overate with the complimentary food. And most importantly, I was able to let go of the always running list of things-to-do in my head and just enjoy time away from home.

I did miss my family and am glad to be home with the cats. It looks like the heat wasn't on much while I was gone. I had set it to turn on if the living room hits 63. Currently its 67 Smile

Hope everyone had a great Halloween. Here are a few quick pics from the trip. I literally took HUNDREDS on the digital camera and 27 on the underwater camera (for) snorkelling. I'll be able to share the pics via Snapfish for free to friends and family who are interested in seeing them. Gotta love technology.

Here's a pic of the Atrium on the ship:

Sunset from the balcony of our room:

A house in Nassau, Bahamas. Look at that blue water!

View from the catamaran that we took for snorkelling.

Local artist in Freeport. We talked to him for a while, definately had a different outlook on life.

View from a bar that we stopped at in Freeport. We literally turned our barstools around and saw homes, boats & ocea!

Fun and Fairly Frugal Weekend

October 11th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I had a GREAT weekend. Friday night I went to the movies with friends. We saw Zombieland, which was very funny. One friend had free movie passes & refused to let me reinburse her, so I splurged and bought us sodas as a treat ($5.00).

Saturday, I hit the gym, then packed & drove up to a friend's house in the center of West Chester, PA. About an hour drive through some pretty areas, which I enjoyed.

A group of us had tickets to a Brewfest. 40+ breweries to sample. We had great weather and we able to walk around tasting beer for a few hours.

Here's a pick of just a bit of the crowd.

That night, we ordered pizza (my share, $4.00) and stayed in and played games & watched movies. I spent the night and today, we met up with another friend to walk to the local Chili Cookoff 1 block from their house.

68 different groups participated. $10.00 for a wristband and unlimited chili tasing options. Weather was great again and I enjoyed being outside on one of the possible last good weather days of the season. The only other spending was for a fresh lemonade ($3.00) and for a Phillies tee-shirt ($10.00). This has been on my to-buy list for a while & they had cute shirts for a great price.

Here's a view of the tents & crowd.

The tents were run by local businesses and groups and a few had themes.

On my way home today, I stopped at Sears to return a dress (29.99 return). I went to the farmer's market for fresh veggies (4.15) and Walmart for other groceries (6.26).

I am now doing laundry (which I find kinda relaxing). I'm making dinner at home & lunch for tomorrow. Then I'm putting my feet up for the rest of the night.

I hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did!!

Happy October :)

October 9th, 2009 at 12:31 am

So its that time of year. I'm actually a little late putting out the Halloween decorations. I finally got around to it tonight! Woohoo!

Today I packed lunch and came home right after work. So today was a No Spender! I skipped the gym today and came home to have some more Me time. I made dinner at home, cleaned the kitchen, took 10 minutes to pick up the living room & then lugged stuff from the basement to decorate the house for Halloween. I'm not going to actually be in town for the holiday, so I"m not putting anything on the outside of the house.

Here's a few pics:

One of my favorite pieces from PartyLite. If you look close, you'll see the fish bone in the kitty's tummy!

And these are the kitty's counterparts:

And here's an obligatory picture of my naughty little kitty Jack. He knows he's not supposed to get on that table!

Today's 5 Things:

1. Put out Halloween decorations (DONE)
2. Pick up living room (DONE)
3. Pack lunch for tomorrow (DONE)
4. Review benefits options (DONE)
5. Pack library & gym bags for tomorrow (DONE)

Cleaning and Hanging Out

August 8th, 2009 at 04:44 pm

Well, today is going to be a hang around the house kind of day. I plan on cleaning and organizing. I'm heading to a party tonight, so I already got up and made jello shots. In my group of friends, its the thing I'm always asked to bring. Easy to make & fun to eat! LOL.

This week, I bought a curtain rod & hung curtains that I had from back in my college days. Its been on my To Do list since I got the house, but I've been very, very lazy. The curtains were from Pottery Barn and they REALLY make a difference in my bedroom.

Also, its only going to be 83 today, so last night I turned the air back off & opened the windows. I'll be turning it back on tomorrow as its supposed to be in the mid 90s for Sunday.

So my goals for today are the following:

- Organize Financial Paperwork
- Redo Budget
- Deep clean kitchen
- Deep clean living room
- organize clothes/household items for Good Will. List them & pack in car for delivery
- Do nails myself

And because I've been camera happy again - here are some cute kitty pictures. Believe it or not, playing with the cats can be a HUGE stress reliever Smile

Frugal Exercise!

June 9th, 2009 at 09:37 pm

My favorite choice of exercise is walking. However, its been raining 5 out of 7 days for the past few weeks.

So I've turned to my trusy $20.00 elliptical - best bargain I've EVER gotten!

I'm able to burn about 400 calories (using my heart rate monitor bought on sale) for 30 minutes of exercise and I can watch tv while doing it Smile

I also utilize library workout dvds, swap workout dvds from friends and use Comcast's On Demand Exercise tv.

I also use weighted bands for my wrists and ankles to up the workout. My sister gave me them for my birthday last year & boy were they a great gift!

But like I said, the best thing I do is walking. I utilize different local parks, neighborhoods around mine and even the local university campus.

I recently went walking at a park that is next to water on one side and a protected marsh on the other side.

The different scenery is what I enjoy most about the walking.

Since my home-based workouts can get a little repetitive and boring, I'm always looking for new ideas.

I have a few items on my wish list and am keeping an eye out for good deals:

Weighted jump rope
Weighted hula hoop - how fun is that one?

Limiting spending on groceries and entertainment

May 29th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

For the month of May, I was 100% successful in packing food/drink for work! Yay for me Smile I'm going to try to keep it up next month with maybe one exception when my work group goes out for lunch. You know, I find that I eat better food of more variety when I pack my lunch? Who woulda thought?

For the month of May, I have also kept the heat and A/C off for 29 days straight! It may be more, but at the end of April, there were a few days where I had the A/C on and I can't remember which ones. I'm hoping to keep the air off as long as possible. If I'm reasonably comfortable with the windows open and air off, then I'll do it. When summer hits & the humidity goes on, the air will go on Smile

I went grocery shopping today, purchased almost everything I'll need for the week. Just have to head to the Farmer's market tomorrow for fresh produce. I have a grocery plan for this pay period and I hope to purchase the rest of my staples tomorrow and will only need to hit the grocery for milk, eggs & yogurt and the Farmer's market once more between now & the 15th.

Total Grocery Spending today: $36.29. This included some more expensive items such as olive oil and five 12 packs of soda (at least 5 weeks worth of soda). I also purchased a treat for dinner!

Now for social obligations: As I've said before, I'm working with a limited budget right now & am wrestling with the conflict of wanting to have a social life vs not spending too much money for entertainment. So, with planning, I seem to find my balance Smile

- I planned to stay in tonight - so I got that treat at the grocery store - shrimp. LOVE it. Its yummy AND very low in points (for the Weight Watchers I'm following). I have books & movies from the library. In fact, I'm about to watch Murder on the Orient Express Smile Since the shrimp came out of my normal grocery budget - tonight is Free!

- Tomorrow, I am going to my nephew's baseball game at 9:30. I'll pack a water & snack for the games. (Free) After, I'm going to the park for a 2.5 mile walk. (Free)

In the evening, I am spending time with some good friends. I'm hoping to convince them to stay in so that we can catch up. Maybe make some dinner together. Shouldn't be a problem because we've done it many times before. (Free - or just the cost of food)

- Sunday, I am supposed to meet an old coworker and a friend of hers for lunch and drinks. I think we'll be hitting a local restaurant I know where I can just get a small app and a single drink. No need to overdo, especially since I'm watching what I'm eating Smile (Estimated spending: $10)

- Tuesday, I am meeting friends at a pub for karaoke. Well, they'll be doing the karaoke and I'll just be watching Smile Plan on buying a few beers. (Est spending: $10)

- Thursday, a friend is having a book club meeting at a local bar. They serve their own beer. If I go, and I haven't decided yet, I'll just get a soda & bring my book to talk about Smile (Est spending: $5 tops)

- Friday, I'm going to a minor league baseball game. Very local. My nephew's class is singing between innings and most of my family is going. I plan on eating ahead of time (est cost: ticket, drink $15.00)

Saturday, I'm going to another one of my nephew's baseball games (free). Saturday night, I'll be heading to a friend's house for a small party. I'm bringing veggies on my new to me veggie plate! (est cost $3.00)

So lots of obligations and none too costly. The trick is to not spend a ton of money on eating out and drinking!

Previously, I talked about setting a walking goal for the summer. I still plan to do it, but haven't figured out how to incorporate the elliptical into that Smile

And lastly, here's a picture of my little boy kitty. He's watching the storms roll in over the field behind my house. Such a little cutie!

Grocery Budget & Meal Plan

May 17th, 2009 at 06:51 pm

Strict Grocery Budget:

I have a budget & a meal plan set for this pay period, which runs 5/15 to 5/31. Basically, this covers 3 weekends and 2 work weeks.

For the most part, my budget will be spent on salad stuff, veggies & fruits as well as some dairy & grains. I have plenty of meats stocked up and will supplement meals from what’s already in the freezer and pantry!

This weekend, I plan to spend roughly $38.00 of the $74.04 grocery budget.

This will include:

2 types of wheat Pasta
Good Seasons dressing mix
2 liter soda

I plan on hitting the Acme, the produce stand and Walmart. Then not hitting another grocery until the following weekend.

Meals will be the following: Not in any order

Cheerios & milk
English Muffins
Breakfast potatoes

Pasta salad
Tuna Fish sandwiches
Meatloaf muffins
Taco Salad

Sloppy joe
Soft Tacos
Shake N bake chicken
Pasta with meat sauce
Turkey Bacon BLT

Pretzel thins

And here's pic of my little boy kitty for no real reason, except he's such a sweetie! He plays fetch with the toy you see in the pic.

Garden Update & Pic of the Yardsale Find

May 16th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

Two posts in 1 afternoon! I have to admit an addiction to taking pics of EVERYTHING I talk about in my posts - hope you guys don't mind Smile

Here are some updated pics of my container garden and yard sale finds.

Here's the whole garden all out of order. I fixed them after taking the pics.

My oregano is growing abundantly.

Parsley's working out too.

However, the basil is struggling. But there's hope because, if you look closely, there's new sprouts.

Pepper's going strong.

Tomatoes are doing VERY well!

And so is the lettuce.

I have other plants - more peppers, parsley & chives, but I figured that was enough with the garden pics.

And here is the great yard sale buy of the day! The eliptical!

Lastly, here's one of the rugs I picked up at a dollar apiece. One is for the entryway and one is for in front of the sliding doors.

Hope you enjoyed the pics & they weren't too much Smile

Lots Going On

May 13th, 2009 at 01:21 am

Sunday I did the Philadelphia Breast Cancer Walk. It was very moving. Thousands of people walking for such an important cause. Here are a few pics to give you an idea of the crowds.

The people in the all pink tee shirts are all breast cancer survivors participating in the opening ceremonies.

This is a view of all the people in front of us waiting for the walk to start.

This is a view of all the people behind us at the same time.

Yesterday, I ran errands, but resisted eating out & came home to make dinner.

Today I had a doctor's appointment. $30.00 coapy. Afterwards, I met up with a cousin to head over a family member's house to start a plan for cleaning out it out for sale since she's moved into a nursing home. Its a long complicated story, but lets just say that I've met them both on only one occasion, so this was awkward.

We took the family member to her house to discuss what we would be doing. There is a TON of stuff to go through. Thousands of books, cookbooks, instruction manuals, tons of cookware & old construction equiptment. Its going to be overwhelming, but I think its doable.

While we were there, we cleaned out her fridge. Unless it was very old, they didn't want to throw out anything. So we split the stuff up between my cousin, a neighbor and myself. I came home with a bunch of stuff that I would never eat because its sketchy if its safe. And a bunch of baking supplies that I have no idea what to do with.

I did, however, come home with some english muffins, 2 containers of butter (frozen), 2 containers of cool whip and a large package of chicken wings. Also came home with some pine nuts, so I'm going to make some pesto - or at least try to Smile

She also gave me a marble cutting board and a very nice italian piece of cermanic flowers. Really pretty. I didn't ask for any of the things, but I think it made her feel in control to give things away, so we let her.

And actually, we had an interesting conversation about how she packed so much stuff in there, never wanting to let stuff go. Its something that I've seen discussed before. Its leftover from living during the Great Depression. Somebody might have a use for it someday!

Finances seem to be getting tighter & I
have a lot of upcoming house expenses. I FINALLY paid to have professionals come out to spray for the carpenter bees. $190.00 for a one time treatment to kill them. In 2 weeks, hopefully, I'll have my sister's boyfriend's company to come out and replace the gutters & soffits. That should be around $800-$900.

In good news, I spent nothing but the doctors copay. I'm still packing breakfast, lunch & snacks 100% for work! So has my friend. I think he'll finish the 2 week challange with me. But I plan on continuing through the rest of the month.

I called Comcast about dropping my cable or lowering it to the extreme basic. But I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to do. I have til Monday to make up my mind.

I also responded to a couple of ads looking for rooms to rent from facebook. Getting a roommate would REALLY help right now.

In more good news, I've had the heat/air off since before May 1st. Not sure exactly when it went off & stayed off, but I'm hoping to keep it off for a long, long time.

Also, my garden is doing very well, but I don't have any updated pics. I'll try to post some tomorrow.

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:


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

Kitty in the Bathroom Sink

January 27th, 2009 at 02:24 am

The kitty has found a new comfy place... my bathroom sink. Its cute as anything! But I can't seem to get a good pic of when he's sleeping. Still, I thought I'd share.

I'm starting my own personal challange of no longer buying food at work. I've prepacked food for tomorrow. One day at a time Smile

pictures and sick day

April 20th, 2007 at 07:07 pm

I went to work yesterday & ended up leaving on a 1/2 day due to being sick. I called off work today too. I'm starting to feel better, so I've been playing around with my crappy free digital camera. After some fiddling, I got it working again. (PS, I should warn you, I'm a little silly due to the cold/flu meds I've taken)

So I took pictures of the abandoned piece of lumber on my property and posted it free on Craigslist. If someone comes & takes it away, it'd be a huge help to me Smile

Then I took a picture of my cat Colbi, cause she's just so darn cute.

Then I took some pictures of my spare room. I put an add up on Craigslist earlier this week, and I wanted to email some photos to the replies.

Since todays a really nice day... the first one in a week or 2, I have all the windows open. And today I found out that I have a nest of HUGE bees. They're not the bumble variety, but the really HUGE ones! I think I see a nest on eave of the 2nd floor. Its something I'm not goign to be able to take care of by myself, safely. So it looks like I'm going to have to hire someone. Plus I think there might be a 2nd nest on the roof. I saw a dozen of those bee things today. Definately needs to be handled soon.

Oh well, I'm going back to work tomorrow, it'll be a slow day since its Saturday & I am feeling better. Then I'll have Sunday off again & if I feel like it, I'll do a little overtime on Monday.

2nd hand dishes

December 29th, 2006 at 04:06 am

In college I bought a set of heavy stoneware dishes & bowls from Goodwill for about $10.00 for the set. They have served me well.

Last year, I inherited my great-aunts daily dishes. I used them in tandem with the college dishes.

I also inherited her china, which is beautiful. The pictures don't do the china justice. I'm going to work on getting some better pictures of the china this weekend.

planning & camera

December 29th, 2006 at 03:43 am

I'm having some serious thoughts about my plans for next year. I want to work on planning, self-control and re-evaluting my decisions. I'm still working on my goals for 2007.

I also have been taking some pictures with my new FREE cheapo digital camera. I wanted to share some of my inherited and second hand furniture. There will be more pics to come.

This is the 1920s wardrobe that I inherited from my great aunt. I've loved this piece since I was a kid. its sturdy, roomy, and pretty. I REALLY love it.