View Full Version : February Frugals

2-1-11, 9:24am
Zach and I have a church thing tonight and Dad isn't able to babysit, so we are swapping babysitting with a friend of mine. We watched her kid a week ago and she's watching ours tonight.

Yesterday another friend of mine called and after hearing how tired I was on the phone came over to my house and cleaned my kitchen while I read her English paper. She did an amazing job. This is the friend who cleans houses professionally. I feel very blessed.

2-1-11, 10:06am
As part of my Food Stamp Challenge, I didn't go grocery shopping this weekend, planned to do it tonight. Now we have a big blizzard coming in and I may not get to go shopping till Thursday. Eventually, I will have to buy food, but will make do with the kids at home by using up bits and pieces.

Then all the usual stuff: packing lunch, still using the fluorescent light bulbs, DD pays for her text message plan, one in one out on the kids clothes, Hybrid car, turning lights off, grocery shopping at Aldi.

2-1-11, 10:19am
@ Stella--what a great friend!
@ Fawn--I'm sure you can make do with what you have at home. Most of us could eat for days or even weeks with what we have sitting around if we had to!

Yesterday I made two loaves of bread for the week, a big pot of loaded baked potato soup, and a tossed salad. Will eat leftovers for lunch today and use the rest of the bacon to make BLTs for dinner. I have some fries sitting in the freezer, too, so I'll probably make those as a side.

I am planning to put my $150 birthday money in the bank. My sister very generously gave me a gift care to amazon.com, so I am thinking I will use it to buy a ruana. The one I wanted around Christmas is now on clearance. If I do buy it, it will be the first thing that I have bought myself this year. Might not seem like a big deal to some as it is only February, but I am trying really hard to be mindful of what is spent and to not buy things that I don't need. I think the ruana will be nice for this spring, though--pop over to the family thread to see why!

2-1-11, 10:22am
stella, how are you feeling? you know, you and my sis-in-law are on parallel tracks right now -- both due mid-march and having some of the same sort of concerns, orders to rest, etc. it's rough, but it sounds like you are hanging in there and i'm glad to hear it. how sweet that your friend came over to clean your kitchen!

today i am staying at home to write and think and wander around the house puttering and talking to myself -- it's how i get some of my favorite ideas! we're at a critical point with wear the shift, so there's a lot to strategize and get organized in the transition from beta testing to making some sales.

still really enjoying budgeting with my fella. there's been a few slightly tense moments but we remind each other that we're on the same team and we're able to let it go. very cool and our burn rate is down so low!

2-1-11, 11:13am
Kat, I had to google ruana out of curiosity. Looks cozy for these wintry months. I am home again today...school canceled due to ice and I suspect it will be closed tomorrow. I am planning to cook a butternut squash I've since fall and make soup. I have to write reports on all my students this week, so I am hoping for a cozy but productive day.

2-1-11, 2:35pm
Madge, I'm feeling OK, but it's really day by day. Today is a good day. Yesterday I was really grateful to have such excellent friends and family. I was not well. I hope your SIL feels better! I loved the photos I saw of her nursery. So cute! Your description of your finacee reminds me of Zach and me. We have a pretty slow burn rate too. Well, he does anyway. :) I might be a little more of a redhead, but he's patient about it.

Kat, how are you feeling? Are you past the morning sickness phase yet?

I've come up with a few more frugals for the day.

This time of year is in some ways the hardest for me not to spend. It's just so depressingly black and white out in the world. It makes me crave colour and novelty and beauty. A blog I like linked to a site with some free stationary downloads and I have been cheered up for the morning. I printed off some freebie stationary and we are going to write actual letters to people.


If we can find the bottle caps I saved last summer we're going to make some more bottle cap magnets to mail as Valentine's treats too.

My mom sent me some links to educational resources. She's taking a class in education and technology and came across some fun stuff. There really is a ton of stuff available out there. We have Dad's old iPhone and he's pretty much given me carte blanche to buy apps on his account. I've got a Latin phrases app, a couple of math apps and a couple of word apps at the moment. Cheyenne is really into photography so I'm thinking of downloading some photography apps too.

2-1-11, 3:29pm
@ stella--unfortunately, no, I am not past the morning sickness stage. It's been rough, but I am hoping that it passes soon. Your mention of bottle cap crafts made me think of this little cutie:


Maybe you and the girls could start collecting bottle caps for something like that! :-)

early morning
2-1-11, 6:03pm
Stayed home from work today, couldn't get enough ice off my car to actually see.... finally got it cleared off enough I should be good to go in tomorrow. Luckily I have plenty of vacation days stocked up! So - DD and I made muffins, potato soup, and a coffee cake, and accomplished very little else. Read, did a little genealogy, entered some receipts - I even took a nap! No money spent, not much gas used (some, trying to warm the car up to see if I could melt the windshield off from the inside out - didn't work). AND my lunch is all ready for tomorrow ;)!

2-1-11, 11:17pm
Feb 01
--groceries and only spent $48.56 and am challenging myself to not go over $200.00 for the month includding any eating out if we do.....we need to use up.....
--did a pick up of books and a DVD from the library....all set for the big storm
--line drying a load of clothes over night.
--sent an e-mail card for a thank you for a lunch a friend took me to last week

2-2-11, 9:47am
Last night I made BLTs on homemade bread for dinner. Yum! Doing good not eating out so far!

We got hit by the massive snowstorm moving through the US, so DH and I have a snow day today. We're going to just stay home and relax--reading, playing video games, etc. Simple. Frugal. I may make some homemade mac n cheese and a salad for dinner tonight--lunch will be leftover soup.

2-2-11, 10:51am
Huge snowstorm is a big frugal event. Well,except for paying for the heat for the house. It's almost 9am and I have been working on clearing the driveway for the past 4 hours. I come in every 20 minutes or so and warm up. There will be no spending today unless I actually get dug out (I estimate about noon) and then I will fill up the car and got to work. Many of the nurses can't get in, so those of us who can need to show up. I'll pack a lunch though...no need to buy it out.

2-2-11, 10:54am
At-home day. Making 2 kinds of bread and some yogurt, and tackling some indoor projects. Very cozy and warm on this cold day, and my cats are enjoying the company.

2-2-11, 11:41am
Dh's office had a 2 hour delay this morning due to the storm. He has a 4-wheel drive jeep so I expect he didn't have too much trouble getting in to work. I told him to just clear out enough space to get to the jeep and get out & Tyler & I will do the rest of the shoveling. Also pointed out that if he hadn't bought that motorcycle we could have replaced the broken snow blower. LOL

Tonight for dinner I'm baking a ham & making my first ever batch of mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. Dinner last night was omelets & hash browns.

That bottle cap tray was adorable, Kat!

2-2-11, 11:46am
I hope you feel better Kat! I love that tray. I wonder if the coffee shop I work at would be willing to save bottlecaps for me.

I have been playing around with a free photo editing website. Fun stuff! You can add all kinds of crazy effects to the photos, put words on them and have all kinds of fun. I may let the girls play with some of their photos later. Cheyenne is on a photography kick and we want to send some photos to relatives for Valentine's Day.

I am going to attempt to start blogging again today. I need hobbies that don't require much energy or cost much money right now as most of those resources are committed to other projects. :)

Most of today is going to be a catching up kind of a day. This weekend was crazy busy and I never got a chance to get things pulled back together.

early morning
2-2-11, 12:58pm
Home again today due to the ice. Hopefully I'll make it to work tomorrow! Frugally, I'm feeling very fortunate right now that I have vacation time racked up to use for yesterday and today. Sad that many people don't have that opportunity. Generally we do have to give two weeks notice to take vacation, but we can use it for emergencies that aren't medical. Cooking today, cleaning, and organizing some stuff. Last night we purged the coats and have a bag to drop off at the homeless shelter tomorrow. We also took apart a red wool lady's coat and I'm felting some of the pieces in the washer right now. I think I'll make myself another pair of slippers this afternoon. Also unearthed a large bottle of gov't supplied honey that we've had for ages - it had gone to sugar. I melted it and put it in a glass jar so we can use it up. Going to go make a path to the car soon, and load up what I need tomorrow. It will be hard enough to get out of here in the cold icy dark, let alone lug all the normal Thursday stuff (recycling, trash, and other incidentals to go to Mom's, Goodwill or shelter drop offs, change of clothes, shoes to wear at work, DD's shoes, purse, etc.... neither of us have boots that will work indoors so taking along a pair of shoes is a must!). But taking trash and recycling to Mom's is frugal work, and fine with the town council.

edit to add: Kat, thanks for the tray link! Loved the site, overall!

2-2-11, 2:12pm
Brrr it's cold outside! Happy to have a snow day so I don't need to drive. In preparations for the storm (we did not get as much as was suggested we would, but still no school) I grabbed some eggs and flour to do some baking today. I didn't get my weekly baking done on Sunday. So today, chocolate chip cookies (for us and a party we are going to on Saturday), chocolate chip muffins, home made pizza for lunch, next up these CUTE cookies!


Also, my oldest decided he wanted handmade Valentines for his classmates. So I compromised and we are doing these. I just need to finish up my stitching and he can sign them and be done.


spaghetti for dinner tonight with homemade bread. Boys are going to build a fort inside after lunch. They already played outside but it's too cold to stay out for too long.

It's a big craft day, oldest opted to dress as a character from a book and tell about it vs. doing a poster board. So he and I will be working on Penguin wings today to:confused: .


2-2-11, 5:14pm
dh left for a conference so i get to have the temp. set at 60 degrees for almost 4 days; feels great. no purchasing yesterday or today; using up food in the fridge;
small list but still; oh wait one more dh saved 400 plus dolllars as he was going to get new tires for the van and the guy was honest and said he didn't need them! big savings there

2-2-11, 10:42pm
Cute links Tracy!

It was not the most frugal day today, but it was a good day none the less. I have had such a case of the Februaries the last couple of days that Zach and Bella played hooky from school this afternoon so we could have a family outing. We used our Valentine's Day money from my mom to go out for breakfast and then we hit Michael's for some craft supplies. I actually stuck pretty closely to the list, which is hard for me in a craft store. We spent about $15 there.

After that we went to Como Park Conservatory, which is free. We saw the freshwater stingrays they have there. That was fun. We had just watched an episode of River Monsters with a giant freshwater stingray on Netflix.

I spent about $25 replenishing some school supplies, markers, coloured pencils, manila envelopes, etc. and the girls and I had a blast making marble magnets to mail out to friends and family.

Dinner was chili and after Cheyenne got home from Faith Formation we had the Hillbilly Housewife Magic milkshakes with some added malt powder and checked out the kid's radio station from The Current, a Minnesota public radio station that plays a lot of indie-type stuff.


I am feeling so much better! I so needed today.

2-2-11, 10:47pm
Feb 02
--cleaning and decluttering so that is always frugal makes me want to have less and not buy
--shovelled snow for exercise--not spend --no drive
Thats about all for today

2-3-11, 10:44am
Been cooking at home and eating leftovers. I'm considering buying an apron off Etsy. It is really cute, and I think it will be frugal because it will save me from ruining my clothes with grease spots. I'm going to think it over for a couple of days, though. I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but at the same time, I know I could just wear an old shirt while cooking or something.

Will be working from home for th emost of the day today, and I have to teach tonight. So I won't have time to spend any money! ;-)

2-3-11, 12:05pm
I am feeling so much better today! I posted about my marble magnets on Facebook and some of my friends have expressed interest in having crafting time together. I think that would be fun.

I printed off some free Chinese new year colouring sheets for the kids and let them watch videos of dragon and lion dances on YouTube. Right now they are pretending to be their Chinese zodiac animals. Cheyenne is a monkey, Bella is a rooster and James... Well, he's not intentionally pretending to be an ox but the phrase " bull in a china shop" comes to mind. :)

A friend of mine put the idea in my head to have the kids make and trade artist trading cards. I like that. It would be a fun cheap creative outlet for them. Its also a fun way of connecting with other people. I am going to put a call out on Facebook for kids to trade with. If anyone here has kids that might like being ATC pen pals let me know.

Other than that it's a pretty tame day. Leftover chili for dinner. Maybe a trip to the library. Nothing too crazy. Ha! Watch what happens now that I said that. :)

2-4-11, 1:15am
No school again today for DS but I was able to get out & go to the plasma center.

Last night's mashed cauliflower was a bust. We didn't like it at all. I keep hearing that it's really good so maybe I need a different recipe?

Tonight we had hamburger stroganoff.

I cut the grocery budget by $10 this pay check. I have $16.32 to last until the 11th & it should be plenty. Will need to buy produce & maybe some eggs but I think that should be it.

Got The Cheapskate Next Door on inter-library loan & I'm enjoying it.

We're going to have to spend $50 on an ACT prep class for DS. He frequently has trouble with test taking anyway and he is freaking out big time about the upcoming ACT. He did poorly on the practice test which hasn't helped.

DS 18 will be DS 19 in April & he has asked us to renew his Mensa Membership for his present so I'm putting that into the budget. Easy shopping - I like it!

2-4-11, 9:22am
Glad you are feeling better, Stella. This winter couldn't end soon enough, really. My old gazingus pin - fun socks :) - is rearing its head again and begging me for a shopping trip. I have a cold. I have pink eye. Auntie Flo is visiting. Everything outside is grimy and trashy and disgusting.

BUT!! This weekend I get to ski in my first 10K. I am about to make some divine tea to take in the car to work. There ARE bright spots, I just have to look for them . . .

@Azure, maybe part of DS's apprehension about his ACTs has something to do with the fact that he has a brother who is in mensa? :) In all seriousness, I don't envy him his testing issues. I am personally ok about taking tests, but I see students whose anxieties make it really difficult for them. Hopefully you will find the prep course worth it.

We scored a hotel for our Puerto Rico trip at a good savings. Using Hotwire we ended up with a Sheraton for $112/night and on that hotel's website the same room goes for $250/night. So that was good. The trip is coming together. It's just kind of stressful to plan it out, but we need to wrap up all the reservations this weekend. It's more stressful sitting there on the to-do list than to actually do it.

Oh how I look forward to this trip!!! I hope you, my frugal friends, don't see this as bragging. It's just been a week, and travel is one of the chief reasons we are interested in frugality in our daily lives - so we can take trips like this. It's good for me to remind myself of that, or I just start to fall into the "cheap" mentality. Here's a shot of a Vieques beach. We will spend a few days on Vieques, a small island to the east of Puerto Rico.


2-4-11, 10:05am
Ahhhh, I could stare at that picture all day, FG. Have fun when you go!

Yeah, the brainy older brother is part of his problem. The thing is though, that Tyler is the only one who compares himself. I keep telling him that yeah Ian may be smart but you are a much more well-rounded person. Lots of friends, talented musician & athlete & pretty darn smart himself. He just has this test issue & testing is such a big deal in school now.

2-4-11, 10:14am
Kelli I hope you feel better! Everyone I know around here is in a similar funk. It's just so utterly February. That trip to Puerto Rico looks amazing! I don't see that as bragging. In fact bring on the photos. I need to be reminded that sandy beaches and sunshine exist. :)

I'm looking for those little bright spots too. Counting them does help keep the urge to spend the blues away at bay. My frugals are mostly just money-free things that are making me happy today.

I woke up this morning and thought we had overslept a little because the sun was up more than it has been at 7:00AM lately. Nope. 7:00AM. The light is coming back. I took a picture of the sunrise. It was very pink and pretty.

I found out we're going to have a new niece or nephew this fall. I'm pulling for a niece. We have three nephews. We also have an invitation to Indiana for Thanksgiving where our kids will actually get to spend time with three of their four cousins and an invitation to California for Christmas where we'll get to see our other nephew.

My mom sent me some really interesting articles about web 2.0 technologies and their applications in education and a related YouTube talk with Mark Zuckerberg. I'm nerdy enough to be excited to read and watch them today.

This afternoon we have some free babysitting time. The next door neighbors are going to have the girls over to hang out. They consider themselves unofficial grandparents to the kids. Lest this call up images of gray haired elderly people in your minds, I'm pretty sure they're in their early to mid forties and I wouldn't have even assumed that if they didn't have grown kids. The kids always have a fantastic time over there.

So anyway, not much in the way of hardcore frugality today , but there are lots of little things that keep me content without spending money.

2-4-11, 10:42am
@Stella--glad you are feeling better! What a cute idea with the ATCs
@Azure--I don't like mashed cauliflower, either! I had heard tons of people rave about it, tried it a couple of different times, and just don't really care for it. I love cauliflower raw, steamed, boiled, or smothered in cheese, but just don't like the texture of mashed. If I want something mashed, I'll eat potatoes! ;-)
@fidgiegirl--I am so jealous! ;-) I hope you have a fabulous time on your trip!

I'm glad it's not just me in a winter funk! I haven't done anything extraordinarily frugal, but I have been cooking at home and staying out of stores. So I haven't really spent much outside of necessities, and if I do get the urge, I have my birthday money to fall back on.

2-4-11, 8:08pm
Glad to hear that it wasn't just us, Kat. Maybe I'll just give up on this mashed cauliflower idea altogether.;)

I realized today that I am not as cold this winter. I can keep the thermostat down to 61 and I only get a little cold. I very rarely ever need to turn it up past 65. This is highly unusual for me. And I'm not counting hot flashes either lol. My heat/electric bill is the lowest it's ever been in the winter. I think that my investment in some good iron supplements is having an unexpected side affect. Yeah!

Picked up some groceries while I was out today. I thought I'd only need produce & eggs but that was before I realized we were almost out of lunch meat. Our local store had lunch meat for $2.29/lb. I had 2 coupons so I got 2 lbs. of shaved ham for $3.48. Got the last $.99 eggs from cvs. Probably they were left because the carton was covered in chocolate milk splatters. The eggs were just fine though. And 16 oz of salsa for $.99 at Meijer. So I spent $5.46 but saved $6.64. I'm a happy girl!

Picked up Dh's free metformin (a diabetes drug) from Meijer also.

2-4-11, 9:41pm
Feb 04
--trim side and bangs of my hair that will put off cut for a couple of weeks
--we went out to lunch after an appt for DH but used a gift card(I will miss those a little when they are gone..lol)
--Bulk Barn had a spend $15.00 and get a $5.00 gift card free so we stocked up on rice, quiona and a few little treats.
--lunch was larger then we usually eat so had a sort of pizza on garlic bread for supper, very yummy

2-5-11, 8:08am
Between the bad weather and long work hours and shoveling the drive, I never made it to the store this week. The kid's survived at home on scraps, yogurt and peanutbutter crackers.

The kids are gone this weekend and there is enough left for packed lunches and dinners for little old me.

A friend is taking us out to dinner on Monday, so I guess I will squeak by with an empty fridge till Tuesday, when I can do a big shop.

Except for utilities and putting gas in the car, no money spent this month, and likely not till the 8th. That may be a spendy day though...big grocery shop and a repair bill for the clothes dryer.

iris lily
2-5-11, 11:24am
hey, I used to make the mashed cauliflower dish and liked it a lot. Wonder what went wrong with yours? I don't have a recipe, sorry. Not sure that it is any more low cal than mashed potatoes, by the time you figure all of the ingrediants, but it's an alternative to more starch.

2-5-11, 12:58pm
Zach brought me flowers yesterday. It's amazing how uplifting that can be. Everytime I look at them I am happy. They're cheaper than therapy. :)

I made a batch of chicken broth yesterday from a leftover chicken carcass and some veggie scraps. I'll probably freeze it for later use. Later today I'm going to make granola.

I spent some time this morning playing around with a free photo editing website. I may actually subscribe to the premium version when I get my tax refund. It's $25 a year and I'm having a lot of fun with it. Here's a photo of the roses I got. I hope this works. I've never posted an image on the forums before.


early morning
2-5-11, 6:43pm
Stella, the flowers are lovely! Sounds like you're having a busy day... yesterday was a no-spend day here. Stopped at the library and picked up a bunch of books and music we had requested online. Went to the dollar store for non-grocery items we needed- their prices are as good as Wallyworld and I don't have to look at a gazillion things I don't need or want, or walk half a mile looking for what I do need. Not that I don't need the exercise, :|(. Stopped at Aldi for the biweekly grocery shop, and bought gas at the cheapest station. We have plenty of leftovers for dinner tonight. It's snowing again here - it's lovely - so we may stay home tomorrow. DB is in town and will look in on Mom tomorrow, so I don't have to go over. Frugalwise - just tried to spend the least amount on what we needed, and planned our route to maximize time and mileage.

2-5-11, 10:17pm
Yippee! I am getting an iPad! Dad is buying one for our family and one for my sister and her son in April when the new ones come out in April. He thinks it would be a nice thing for us to have for homeschooling and for facetime between the cousins.

Along the same lines I was telling Dad that I downloaded some free kindle books on the iPhone and I was lamenting that the Winnie the Pooh books were kind of expensive in that format. Apparently he has an iBooks app and already has the Winnie the Pooh books on it.

Tonight Zach and I were going to go out for dinner, but opted for fried eggs and toast at home instead. We are going out totally kid free for coffee soon and will watch a netflix movie when we get back. We've been spending lots of alone time together lately. It's really nice.

Oh, and the walls are finally all built in the Never Ending Basement Remodel! One wall still needs to be plastered and painted and then we're on to cleaning up and carpeting! We're almost done! The wall they finished today was the exterior wall and they added insulation to it. It feels much warmer down there already. Zach and his friends did a really good job.

2-5-11, 10:28pm
Today was a no spend day. I worked about 12 hours, and when I do that, I often end up buying one meal out. But I had a coupon for a free hospital cafeteria meal for being "a good employee" and I got a yummy bowl of soup, drink and granola bar.

Then, as if that wasn't good enough...a co-worker who had gotten a simular coupon gave hers to me because she "never eats over there." So I can eat lunch for free tomorrow too! :cool:

2-5-11, 11:15pm
@Stella, lovely flowers and congrats on your first image post. I really like that new feature. And an iPad?! Woohoo!

@early, I hear ya about not wanting to trek through the mega store. I feel that way about Target, too.

@Fawn, score on lunch!

We went out to lunch for Grandma's birthday today. Not too frugal, though she enjoys it and so do we. Have been doing more booking for our trip. Got another good price on a hotel and are following some leads for cheaper rental car on Vieques. Plus we used a discount through our union to save about $20 on our car rental for the week on the main island.

Need to order groceries. I plan to get some tomato paste to put with diced tomatoes and sauteed onions/garlic to make our own pasta sauce. We go through quite a bit of it and the ones that don't irritate my stomach (IBS) are expensive.

The biggest news (and it's not even frugal!) is that I have my first formal cross-country ski event tomorrow. It will be part of the City of Lakes Loppet. A little nervous since I've never skied that distance - 10K - but excited, too. So I should think about bed!!

2-6-11, 3:53pm
Frugal score! I picked up a coupon at work for JC Penney to use on wood blinds. I didn't think it would actually work out but when we looked, they were already discounted 50%. So we ordered 5 blinds worth over $400 full price for $150 with the discount, the coupon and the free shipping to store. I have been looking at wood blinds for a while to add some color to our house and so this is great.

2-6-11, 5:17pm
Frugal Things that may not be considered that frugal, except from a different angle:

Now I realize that if you are watching the Super Bowl at home, that is great, no problem for you. But for us, we are SAVING money by watching the Super Bowl at a casino.
HOW? You ask.
Let me explain...We do have a TV now, but there are no local channels as we are living in a National Park. We have neighbors that have Direct TV or DISH Network. If they pay $25 a month (for 12 months) for the service, plus let's just say $150 for the dish and receiver, then that is a savings of $450!

Then - because we have no "Super Bowl Food" here at the house, we would have to go out and get some - you know: the chips, dips, beers, sodas, etc. You might be able to get all of that for under $25 (except beer could be a big price all its own) I figure spending the $4 per person (two beers and two dogs) is fine for us. It also means having that junk food and more drinking at the house after the Bowl, which means higher health costs - let's just say $200.

So all in all, we could be saving $671 by watching the game at a casino. :~) ;) :cool:
We'll let you know how good are savings really were when we get back. (we are on pacific time here, so the game starts for us at 3 pm!)

2-6-11, 7:03pm
fidgiegirl that is a great score!

ljevitch that is funny! I think you're probably right about saving money though.

I straightened up the pantry today and made a list of foods for the week that use things up. Tonight is black bean chilaquiles, using up some tortilla chips. Tomorrow is Senate Bean Soup, using up a ham hock and Tuesday is spinach and cheddar frittata with hash browns or home fries, using up potatoes and spinach.

Zach is working out a time with his best friend, who is a mechanic, to overhaul our Explorer and install the after market third row seats. This gives us the seating we need for our expanding family without having to buy a new vehicle. They are going to give the engine and transmission a thorough going over and replace anything else that is getting worn out. It's not going to be super cheap, including the seats it could be up to $2000 total, but the vehicle was a freebie from my mom to start with and we couldn't get much minivan for $2000. It's cheaper than a car payment by quite a bit. Zach's friend thinks we can get a few more years out of it at the very least.

2-6-11, 7:43pm
I got one of those home carbonators for making soda water at a yard sale a couple years ago. It came with 3 CO2 canisters. I paid $15 for it all. Little did I know purchased new it all would have been about $200. Well, all the CO2 that came with it finally has been used, and it was time to get them refillled. Yikes.

I won't go into detail, but I figured out that with a 10% off coupon I found on the net, no tax, plus pick up and delivery, it came to about $90 to refill all 3 of them. Each canister will carbonate about 110 liters of water, so that's about 330 liters. Less than if you bought seltzer or soda water at the store, nothing to lug around, and no empty soda bottles to recycle. I guess that's being frugal. >8)

I never would have purchased one of these set-ups retail, but it's fun having it, and I love making flavored waters with just a touch of fruit juice (cherry or cranberry), lime squeeze, and something sweet.

yum. http://www.simplelivingforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=141&d=1294381296

2-6-11, 7:50pm
I think it would be a lot of fun to watch the game in a casino, lol. Except for the cigarette smoke in the air.

Only problem is I enjoy gambling a little bit and might have to tack that onto the bill. :laff:

early morning
2-6-11, 8:00pm
Gina, how cool! (the carbonated water thingy, not the casino game, lol) I've never heard of such a thing! Today was a no-spend no drive day. DH and I had planned to go out for coffee or lunch and poke around some antique malls, but he wasn't up to it. Maybe next weekend. Tomorrow I have to drop him at the clinic on my way to work for his pain pump refill. His brother will pick him up and they will spend the day together. Since we didn't spend any money today, I've suggested that I meet them somewhere for dinner after I get off work. (Generally DBIL drops DH where I work, and he waits in the foyer, and we just drive home.) I've not got to visit with DBIL much of late, so that should be fun! I'll tell them they have to pick someplace nice but inexpensive! Other frugals: dried a load of laundry in the house last night, and another one today. Dsis gave me a bag of cat food for the outside cats, since she was able to rehome the kitten she rescued. I did some mending on my new :D sewing machine, and darned a sock. Have my lunch assembled for tomorrow, and the coffee pot ready to go.

2-6-11, 9:57pm
Feb 06
--another two no spend days and one no drive day
--trip to library on Sat to exchange books and DVD's
--reading all the magazines I bought at yardsales/library sales this summer (still have a whole stack)
--whole turkey dinner for supper last night from leftovers in the freezer and part of a $1.00 for 10 lb bag of potatoes....leftovers of all that tonight
--covered a pillow for Dgrandson that was worn out with fabric I had in scrap bin---free

Mighty Frugal
2-6-11, 10:32pm
In February I saved about 30 boxes of crystal, good china, silverware along with every day dishes, mugs, cutlery and knick-knacks from heading to the dumpster.

DH and BIL are emptying out FIL's home to sell it and they both wanted to dump everything. So I have spent evenings over there wrapping in newspaper and boxing everything and having dh haul it into the car for me-it's his job as my dh to haul heavy boxes for me:D

So we carted it all to my parents and there it lays on a 25 ft table. Awaiting my 3 nieces in their 20s to rifle through it for anything they want for their new homes, whatever is left I am selling at my annual garage sale.....hoping to make a tidy sum this year-and all from dumpster destined 70s kitchen stuff

Anyone want a big beige daisy encrusted table lamp..going cheap..give you a deal if you buy the pair

2-7-11, 12:55am
I think it would be a lot of fun to watch the game in a casino, lol. Except for the cigarette smoke in the air.

Only problem is I enjoy gambling a little bit and might have to tack that onto the bill. :laff:

We were sitting in the sports book area and they had a non-smoking area! But I understand what you mean about the gambling bit...

We actually spent $16.67 as they had $0.99 margaritas, $2 hamburgers, $1 hot dogs, $1 beers, and we got an order of fries - $2.69 and nachos $1. Then after the game we gambled a bit and DH won $7.05; SO we really were only down $9.62, a little more than what I thought in the beginning, but not bad for a night out.

2-7-11, 1:05am
my friend was working on her house and I was helping and she told me to toss all the stuff out of the freezer when I was defrosting it and cleaning it. She only wanted the pine nuts and ice cube trays. Out into the garbage went 3 loaves of bread, (a bit of ice on them), tortillas and english muffins and 1/2 pack of strawberries and 5 frozen bananas.
I just couldn't let it go, and I understand she was just sick of it; so I put it in my car instead of the garbage. Now we are using it, nothing wrong with it.

Had 5 big glasses of fruit smoothie yesterday and lots of sandwiches for dh lunch.

My gain.

2-7-11, 11:47am
We are sanding the final wall in the basement today! I am so excited I could burst. Tomorrow we can paint! It looks like a room now. By next week I will be putting away and organizing my stuff.

I made bean soup for dinner tonight. It's cheap and everyone likes it.

We did go out for coffee and cocoa with the kids last night. Cabin fever and all. I am starting to accept that small outings are just the cost of mental health maintenance for an extrovert stay at home mom in the depths of winter. As long as I keep it reasonable in cost I have decided to just go with it without guilt. I have $250 a month in fixed expenses for my family of almost six. An outing here and there isn't going to hurt anything financially and it will keep me in a good head space.

This afternoon we are going to a really kid friendly coffee shop this afternoon when Bella gets home. The kids can play or do school work and have $1 chocolate milk and Zach and I can talk and relax.

2-7-11, 1:20pm
Went to a last minute Superbowl get-together last night and stopped off to get a cheesecake and 12-pk pop from Aldi's ($12.12). We weren't planning on going anywhere, but the time with friends was great and our kids and their kids played so nice. It was worth the $$$ spent. Plus the cheesecake sampler was yummy!

Planning a no spend/no drive day today. Am making potato/corn chowder with diced ham for dinner. Am using up a half eaten loaf of french bread with the soup.

I am giving a talk on how I live my frugal life at my Mom's Group this Wednesday and am going to challenge them in a 7-day Spending Fast. We'll see if they're up to the challenge!!!

I really need to find a way of getting on here more often, I feel so inspired when I read everybody's posts!:thankyou:

2-7-11, 4:00pm
I am getting ready to go make some eggplant parmesan out a sad little forgotten eggplant I found hiding in my fridge :-) I am also crumbling up all the old bread/crackers we have sitting around for the birds. I know I could probably make bread crumbs out of them, but I'm not feeling up to it. At least they'll get used this way!

I've been needing to get some maternity clothes. Old Navy was having a 30% off sale with free shipping, so I placed my order today.

2-7-11, 7:30pm
An outing here and there isn't going to hurt anything financially and it will keep me in a good head space.

You got it, sister!

2-7-11, 10:34pm
No-spend day. Cooked up a storm and have all our meals prepped for the next couple of days.

2-7-11, 10:52pm
last night i had a revelation -- it takes almost no more time or effort to make 2 pots of soup than it does one. so yesterday i made 2 big pots of soup -- bean and ham, spicy lentil and sausage -- and now we have lunches for the entire week.

still keeping my nose to the grindstone, working and learning and trying to figure lots of different stuff out. my head is full at the end of every day!

today i made myself a new dress and it turned out super cute -- it's the best one yet, i think!

still doing great not spending much cash. have been averaging about $40-50 a week on groceries, plus $100 once or twice a month at costco. i know we're still spending a lot more than many of the frugalistas around here, but this is such a vast improvement on where we were even a few months ago. i'm totally impressed with us!

2-8-11, 9:49am
Thanks Fidgiegirl! And good job on the groceries Madge!

Yesterday was not frugal but it does seem to have satisfied my restlessness so that's something. Today I'm feeling quite content to stay home and putter. I've been writing on my blog and doing some fun photo editing. I think having some creative outlets is really helping with that restlessness. I've always kind of suspected that a lot of consumerism is related to the desire to create and the desire for novelty, just tapping into someone else's creativity and novelty instead of using your own. I'm making it a point to do something creative each day in part to fend off the desire to spend more.

2-8-11, 9:56am
I forgot the other thing that helps with the restlessness. Skype and iChat. I skyped with one of my best friends from California last night. Somehow seeing the other person makes it feel more like hanging out with a friend than talking on the phone.

2-8-11, 12:44pm
I did the Costco run yesterday, and am considering dropping the membership now that the kids are out of the house. It will be interesting to see how long this stash of TP & kleenex will last us. Our membership is up in July, so I'll be assessing the pros & cons between now & then.

I've pretty much conquered the overshopping thing that happens when folks first join Costco - lists are the way to go - but still wonder if that $50 is really worth it? I'd love to hear some opinions from folks who have thought this through.

2-8-11, 5:12pm

do you have any friends who have a costco membership who could put you on their card? that's what we do with my mom. It is free, just takes a few minutes to sign up.


2-8-11, 5:26pm

do you have any friends who have a costco membership who could put you on their card? that's what we do with my mom. It is free, just takes a few minutes to sign up.


We've considered that with my sister. I need to review their policies to see if it's allowed.

2-8-11, 8:18pm
Stella, I think you've definitely hit it with your comment on the connection between the desire for creativity and consumerism!

2-8-11, 10:07pm
It's a weird day. I haven't left the house, so I haven't spent any money. That's good. I had made a huge pot of bean soup the other day that will probably last through tomorrow, so we had that for dinner. I was planning something else, but I'm having frequent enough contractions to be a little worried so it was good I had the soup on hand.

I skipped my church thing for the night partially because of my contractions and partially (and I'm sure this is motivated by the hormones) because I'm going to sit right down and cry if my house isn't sparkling clean tonight. At least the kitchen and dining room. I did resist going out and buying a label maker.

You know this smiley? :devil: Yeah, Give her a mop and a dust rag and that's me tonight. :)

An excellent frugal for Zach, we had been discussing getting a gate like the one we have for our pantry to block off the kitchen when Zach came up with an ingenious plan to make the pantry gate swing in a way that it can either block the pantry or the main kitchen entrance. The same gate would have cost $30. This solution was totally free.

2-9-11, 12:43am
--two batches of pizza dough made in bread machine for tomorrow's supper and leftover I am sure for lunches--amazing how little it cost
--applesauce/whole wheat bread baking right now for breakfast tomorrow and snacks.
--leftover lasagna from the freezer for supper

2-9-11, 8:52am
DH scored a rainjacket that he has been needing for his summer fishing adventures for $20 on Sierra Trading Post. It was marked waaaaay down and then he Googled a coupon code and found a further reduction. That is one of our techniques lately and working well. If we're ready to buy something simply for its own value, then we go look for the code to save some additional money. On the blinds I wrote about a few days ago we saved an additional $40. We've had the best luck with the site Retail Me Not.

2-9-11, 10:56am
@ stella--hope you are feeling better!
@ fidgie--my favorite code site is retailmenot.com. It's great!

Yesterday I hung out with my MIL. We just chatted and had sandwiches at her house. It was nice. Then last night I had to teach. So no money spent, a little earned.

I have a doctor's appt. this morning, but will be home the rest of the day.

2-9-11, 2:55pm
My DH had a good frugal. His car antenna was ruined in a car wash (had been previously repaired, so no surprise that this would happen). He stuck a piece of coat hanger in it. Problem solved!

2-10-11, 8:58am
Yesterday I made chicken soup from the leftover carcass. And made rice pudding in the crockpot to use up some leftover rice. I still have some chicken meat left to make bbq chicken pizza.

Got a load of clothes hanging to dry. Didn't spend any money.

Tyler is home sick with a cold today so I think I'm going to go to the store & get a head of cabbage to make cabbage soup. With a can of rotel in it the sinuses will definitely be cleared. I will still have about $4 left in grocery money & tomorrow is payday.

The wind chill was so cold yesterday I wimped out of taking the dog for a walk.

early morning
2-10-11, 1:58pm
Cut off the top of a lotion bottle so I can use up the inch of product I was apparently supposed to throw away, since the pump would no longer reach it. Packed up our trash and recycling to put out at my mother's, since she generates almost no trash at all, and has no choice in paying or not- it's part of her town taxes. Of course doing the lunch/water/coffee from home thing; I don't think I've eaten lunch out from work more than twice in the past two years! Filled up the gas tank when I found it 15cents cheaper than the nearest (pricewise) competitor. Got a check for mileage from work that was a lot more than the actual cost of the gas. And mom gave me money for running a bunch of errands... plus, it's almost payday, and I had forgotten, because all the bills are paid for the month!

2-10-11, 2:18pm
I found an errant cart at the Aldi's parking lot the other day - took it back to the cart corral and pocketed the extra .25! LOL, not much, but it made me happy.

2-10-11, 3:23pm
Thanks Kat! The contractions are coming and going, but it makes me nervous. I had to have a shot to prevent James from being born around this time last pregnancy. I think it will all be OK, though. This baby is already bigger than James was when he was born.

I have been playing around at the LEGO site today and signed the kids up for a free LEGO magazine. They'll like that and so will Zach.

If I get a chance later today I'm planning to make some granola bars. A friend sent me a link to a recipe she likes. I'm also going to make playdough at some point today.

Cheyenne and Bella's Godmother is planning to get married next December when we were already planning to be out in L.A. We've been e-mailing back and forth about dresses and we're thinking of getting one that can double as a first communion dress. Cheyenne will be making her first communion a few months after the wedding. Dad was planning on buying her dress, so one of the dresses will be free.

2-10-11, 3:34pm
Well, shoot! My car won't start today. I'm kind of bummed because I was going to the plasma center & could use the money. Also need to get to the eye dr. to pick up Tylers replacement contact lens. Oh well, I balanced the check book & got the bills all set to go tomorrow.

Tyler got up, had some cabbage soup & went back to bed.

Stella, Ian took a whole big box full of legos back to school with him last time he was home. Allegedly they are to use in a class project ;)

2-10-11, 7:34pm
Feb 10
--leftovers from last night homemade pizza for supper tonight
--cleaned fridge and it is really becoming very neat and organized, now on to the fridge freezer, then pantry, then big freezer
--more decluttering

2-10-11, 10:20pm
@Azure - Boo on the car!! Hope it's just the cold.

Here we just had an ok frugal trip to Walgreens. Used a $10 gift card and several coupons on items that were already on sale. I think the staff thought I looked like a crazy lady, though in my all black snowpants, jacket, facemask, hat, hood, you get it . . . and then I was squinting at things because I didn't have my glasses. Two staffers asked if I needed help. Unheard of.

2-10-11, 11:37pm
Haha. Azure I have friends my age who are still addicted to LEGOs. Good stuff.

We made crayons tonight from old broken ones. We're sending the star shaped crayons to school with Bella for a Valentine's treat. My personal favourite are the bacon and eggs crayons. There are also mermaids, birds, cherry blossoms and pinecones.

2-10-11, 11:43pm
Oh one more. Should I muster up the energy this weekend I'm going to make a marshmallow mermaid pie with heart shaped marshmallows on top for a Valentine's Day treat.

2-11-11, 10:08am
I got up at 6:30AM and made playdough. Today is either going to be one of those super productive days or I'll be asleep by 9AM. :) We're borrowing an idea from the Frugal Family Fun blog and having a playdough bakery day. It should be fun! Zach will probably be off school early so I'm going to nap and then make the pie.

Dinner is going to be waffles and scrambled eggs. Fridays are a vegetarian day for us.

A frugal I forgot from the other day is that we stocked up on some winter clothes on clearance the other day. We got tights, which we'll use this year, for $2 a pair. That's about half price. Zach got two hoodies for $7.50, a nice jacket for $10, a bunch of shirts for $3-$5 and a couple of pairs of jeans for $9.

early morning
2-12-11, 3:37pm
Went to a free lecture at a museum last evening with my DSIL. She picked me up at work, so no extra gas and dinner was fast food. As it turns out, they had a lovely layout of heavy hors· d'oeuvre - which were really good! Museum entrance was free for the event, so we went a little early and poked around. It was great free fun! (Of course I had to buy a few books, afterwords) I've been fighting off a sinus infection all week, and I slept in this morning and feel much better! Sleeping in on a weekend day is cheaper than the co-pay at the doctors, even if it is guilt-producing!

2-12-11, 4:43pm
Oh @earlymorning, I am in the same boat as you with the sinus infection. I missed a day of work. Going to try some home remedies for a few more days before hitting the doctor's office. Have some chicken soup on the stove right now and more stock going in the crock pot. Would also like to try neti again but am a little nervous because last time I think I exacerbated my troubles by not being able to drain all the water properly. Boo. Also probably TMI. ;)

Have bread in the oven right now from the 5 minutes a day book. I finally bought an oven thermometer and that has been interesting to use. I think it wasn't my problem, before, however.

DH, God bless him, is doing doggy doo doo duty in the back yard right now. He is awesome.

early morning
2-12-11, 8:55pm
Fidgiegirl- I gave up on the neti thing. Just wasn't working for me- I'll leave it at that. Hot compresses and generic sinus tablets work fairly well. Stupid infection - always makes me feel like my teeth are going to pop out :sick:. But I think I warded it off this time- feeling much better today! -perhaps it was the potato buried in the back yard during the full moon? Oh, wait- that was the wart removal spell... ;)

2-12-11, 9:58pm
Went to a free lecture at a museum last evening with my DSIL. She picked me up at work, so no extra gas and dinner was fast food. As it turns out, they had a lovely layout of heavy hors· d'oeuvre - which were really good! Museum entrance was free for the event, so we went a little early and poked around. It was great free fun! (Of course I had to buy a few books, afterwords) I've been fighting off a sinus infection all week, and I slept in this morning and feel much better! Sleeping in on a weekend day is cheaper than the co-pay at the doctors, even if it is guilt-producing!

Drop the guilt, babe! Sleep is your immune system calling, and you'd better heed the call, as you'll get sicker if you don't - our helper T cells go to work when we're in deep sleep. So instead of feeling guilty, perhaps you could trade it for feeling frugal and smart!

2-12-11, 10:22pm
I always like to use steam for sinus infections. I boil water in a wide pot, then put it on the table and tent a bath towel over my head while breathing normally, taking in the steam. If you try this, be cautious of the water temperature. I usually let it cool for a few minutes first.

Free childcare tonight, in ongoing exchange with friends. This cuts the cost of date nights considerably.
Got some glasses I ordered online today. Believe it or not, 2 pairs of glasses for a grand total of $28. Prescription and fit are perfect, too.

2-13-11, 12:46am
Today's frugal is - I saved water. No shower. No laundry. LOL

It was a beautiful sunshiney day. 32f. The dog & I really enjoyed our 2 mile walk around the lake.

Mailed Valentine treats to Ian at college. He got his dorm assignment for next year. He didn't get the dorm he wanted but his new placement is moving him somewhat closer to central campus.

Made chocolate chip pancakes for brunch. Porkchops in the crockpot for dinner. Got the chops on markdown yesterday at the local grocery.

Fidgie Girl - yes the van didn't start because of the cold. DH got it charged back up when he got home. Thank goodness it wasn't anything more!

2-13-11, 1:02am
Heated up the hot chocolate on the wood stove!

2-13-11, 12:51pm
We have some pretty good travel frugals coming up. Our Puerto Rico trip is turning out to be anything BUT frugal, but at least we are going to stay in some kick-a** hotels at deep discounts because we were willing to take a risk on location by using Hotwire.

We are going to spend President's Day at a resort up by Lake Mille Lacs. My parents have a timeshare and some of their banked weeks were going to expire. We weren't able to use it in PR, but thought maybe we should take a long weekend. So we are going to go to their home site over Presidents Day and enjoy some XC skiing. There are trails on site and at nearby state parks. Should be nice. We will take all food with us and the place was only $188 for the week, of which we are able to use only 4 nights, but still. Nice little escape.

The biggy is that I think we are going to go to Costa Rica this summer through a project I've been working on with a local Rotary Club and my school for several years now. We have brought a teacher up here and the guy who is really the driving force behind this project now wants to send me (and my DH) down there. They will pay the airfare. We have to help probably pay the housing. Still, deal! It might be several weeks, which I have mixed feelings about. I mean, summer is when it's nice here! And my garden will be going! But those are minor, minor thoughts. Who has this chance?! Excited! It's hard not to know dates yet, but that's something I've learned through this project - typically I want everything all hammered out muuuuuuch earlier than anyone on the CR end of things. And know what? It always happens in the end :)

In other frugal news I need to get some reimbursements together for work. I have outlaid quite a bit of cash this year for different reasons and will be reimbursed for all of it, just need to put in for it. Same goes for taxes ;)

2-13-11, 12:56pm
I am going out to lunch after church with a friend who is having a really, really tough time lately. I am actually going to eat an egg sandwich before we go though so I can just have a cup of soup or something small like that. The point is to spend time with her and talk not have a big expensive meal.

One of my best friend's daughter is having her first birthday party this afternoon. I have some fabric I bought for her about six months before she was born that I am going to make into a skirt for her. She's walking now so skirts make more sense than they did when she was crawling. I have everything I need to make the skirt, so it's a cheap project.

Yesterday another of my close friends came over. We watched her kid in the evening so in the afternoon we went to Crafty Planet and she took me out for coffee. She also bought the girls a new hair brush. She just has one 11 year old boy and no neices or nephews, so she likes having little girls to spoil.

2-13-11, 12:57pm
Fidgiegirl your trips sound like so much fun!

2-13-11, 4:36pm
Made a crockpot of chili testerday and a bunch of jasmine rice to serve over it. I also made felafel and homemade tziki sauce and we had rollups with some lettuce that was in the fridge. This morning I made an italian style tart with eggs & parmesan and sun died tomatoes, roasted red peppers, our own frozen grated zucchini and a homemade crust. Now we two are set for the week for meals. Went for a ride to Amherst and got a few ingreds. for DH's next batch of muesli. I bought some Earth balance spread and 2 vegan coffee "creamers" to try out. We're trying to eat less animal products and what we do we will try to go for organic, thical etc. I will though use up all of the meats bought on sale and put in the deep freeze.

Anne Lee
2-13-11, 6:39pm
I made up some 5 minute artisan bread for rolls tonight and dinner bread later this week. It was also nice enough that I line dried the first load of the year today! We are sticking tight to the budget. Since we chopped $20/week out of the food/consumables/eating out budget, this is going to be a down to the wire week since we ate out a couple of times due to some family stuff.

2-14-11, 1:19am
This weekend turned out pretty frugal for us (if you don't count Friday, when DH ordered KFC for the kids and I had to take the cat to the vet for a distemper shot!). We basically didn't leave the house, other than for workouts for DH and I and a very brief grocery run. So no money spent and all meals eaten at home. We finally had some neighbors in our building with kids close in age to ours come down, and I made some cookies for that occassion which everyone liked. They have a van and have offered to drive me and the kids out to a community library in the suburbs soon. Nothing like that near here, and it will be good frugal fun and help to solve our book dilemma -- DS is turning out to be an avid reader, and I can hardly keep up with him in terms of getting new books in the house. I had posted a message on a local discussion board about looking for books for him, and it initiated the following:

1) Finally setting the time to meet with the neighbors mentioned above (been trying to schedule that since October, can you believe it? And they live four floors away from us! People in Beijing are too busy, myself included...

2) Starting an email chat with the founder of the library, who has a son my son's age with a lot of the same interests. We also share a lot of things in our background -- she studied anthropology and worked in the non-profit sector, too! We will meet them when we visit the library, hopefully next week.

3) Starting another email chat and plans to meet with yet another person who has a son close to my son's age. She's got a bag of his old books she was going to donate, and is going to let us look through them first. May turn out to be another friend/companion for my son.

4) Had another neighbor with younger kids offer to loan us a whole set of Hardy Boys books that she bought for her son. She brought two over yesterday. Our kids aren't so close in age, but she seemed really nice and could be someone to develop a friendship with.

So, good success on the frugal fun front and also some nice new connections to explore and develop. I am excited, as it has been really hard to make friends in Beijing. I guess I just need to put myself out there more. People are really nice, but they need to know you are open to meeting up, and then you have to actually follow through. All of this is a bit scary for introverted me, but in a good way.


2-14-11, 9:31am
I got off so cheap for lunch yesterday! The two of us non-birthday girls split the bill in half to treat the birthday girl and we each paid $10.50. We even got an appetizer with that. I love Greek food.

Yesterday my friend who's DD had the birthday party treated me to a movie, popcorn and pop.

Our friend that is in charge of hospitality at church gave us a big bag of leftovers from a meeting the other day. Cookies, a bag of Valentine M&Ms, a big bowl of cheese cubes, some peanut butter ritz crackers and some wheat thins sticks. Yum!

2-14-11, 9:32am
Oh and Lhamo, that is great that you are breaking out of your introversion and getting to know so many new people! Way to go!

Anne Lee
2-14-11, 10:18am
Lhamo, I love reading about your life as I always thought I would live overseas. And I did, for a while, but now I live deep, deep in the heartland, recently described by someone arriving at the airport as "God forsaken". (Ok, it's not THAT bad but you have to like space). Are your friends Chinese, non-nationals, a mix?

2-14-11, 10:30am
Haven't been doing much, so haven't been spending much money. We're having a simple dinner tonight in honor of Valentine's Day (as posted in holidays forum). I might get a haircut, which costs arund $24 but is budgeted. Also will pick up the house. That's about it!

2-15-11, 7:09pm
I am being tested to see if I am beginning preterm labor. I stocked up on sandwich stuff in case the tests are positive. That way Dad and Zach won't feel like they have nothing easy to make for the kids. The good news is that if the tests come back negative, I most likely will be safe for another two weeks. Unless one of the other two tests they did comes back positive. Or the baby is big on the ultrasound this week. Sigh. I am so ready for this to be over.

2-16-11, 10:07am
I'm having a nice day considering my pregnancy issues. Zach and I woke up with Baby James a little earlier than usual (after going to bed earlier than usual) and had a nice quiet breakfast together while we all woke up. I love that. It's so relaxing. It makes just plain old bagels and cream cheese and coffee feel like a big treat. James woke up so early that he is already back to bed. He actually thanked me for putting him back down. Hopefully I'll get a few hours of puttering time this morning. That would be a Godsend!

I'm planning artwork for my studio space in my new room. I am thinking of doing a collection of photos and artwork in cheap white frames. I have a bunch of collages I made of our adventures, cross processed for a kind of vintage look, that are in the colour scheme I am looking for. Most of the artwork I'll be getting from the Feed Your Soul Free Art Project online that allows you to print free artwork.

If I get the time and energy I am going to use up some french bread to make bread pudding. Yum!

2-16-11, 12:52pm
After three very busy weeks I am back to some semblance of normal in my life. My one winter waitress had surgery and I have been working 7 days a week for about 3 1/2 weeks. The frugal in all this is several hundred dollars in tips that I wouldn't usually be making.

We also finished construction and recieved permission for occupancy at our new home. By remodeling our restaurant and creating living quarters we will be saving approx. $1000 a month.

We closed on the sale of the house on the 14th of this month. Its a land contract situation. We still owe $57, 000 on the house. The buyers payment excedes ours by $31 each month. We will continue to make a payment each month that includes atleast as much as what we were paying on the house before plus the buyers contribution. The goal: to pay off the house entirely within 3 years 3 months-the time we have before our balloon is due with the bank. This shouldn't be a problem.

The new place is much smaller and I am managing to downsize alot of my possesions along the way. Its amazing how it seems to grow on its own.

This is gonna sound a bit strange but we needed towel racks in the new bathroom and dh came up with the idea of using an old handicap bathroom rail from when it was a restaurant restroom. We cleaned it up and hung it on the wall last night. I'm impressed with how well it works-holding three bath towels very nicely. I don't think many people would even realize what its original use was.

I filled up the tank on one of the cars when I took ds to school today. $38.04! So glad that we no longer have to commute to work-this is gonna save a ton of money.

Anyways, I'm glad to be back and am excited to start spending less and less due to our new home.

2-16-11, 1:28pm
Stella I'm saying a few prayers for you and the new little guy.

This morning I had a chiropractic adjustment & used the massage certificate I got for Christmas. Aaahhh. I really need to find a way to do that more often. Anyway, I guess I need to not do anything too strenuous this afternoon. Don't want to mess up that good work.

Congrats on getting the new house done, BKE! We bought our house on a land contract. After about 5 years we got a conventional mortgage. It was a good situation for us.

I stopped on the way home from the chiro to make a deposit at the credit union. Good thing I checked the slip. I had given her $120 & she had showed it as $140!

2-16-11, 11:01pm
Feb 16
The last couple of days
--birthday gift for Dsis at Outlet Store extra 20% off already deeply discounted price very nice and she will like it
--homemade pizza crust in bread machine again (everyone one is loving it) and I went with all whole wheat this time
--made another whole wheat/applesauce/raison bread in bread machine
--still eating from stockpiles but couldn't resist canned mushrooms at $.49 a can (bought 24), case of 12 tomato sauce for $5.97 and case of 12 900g packages of pasta for $5.97
with the way things are going these are great stockpile items
--line dried one load in house


2-16-11, 11:06pm
Thanks Azure.

2-17-11, 12:03am
I am being tested to see if I am beginning preterm labor. I stocked up on sandwich stuff in case the tests are positive. That way Dad and Zach won't feel like they have nothing easy to make for the kids. The good news is that if the tests come back negative, I most likely will be safe for another two weeks. Unless one of the other two tests they did comes back positive. Or the baby is big on the ultrasound this week. Sigh. I am so ready for this to be over.

Stella--how many weeks are you?

2-17-11, 12:29am
I'm 33 weeks, almost 34.

2-17-11, 12:32am
Take care and best wishes.....

2-17-11, 10:11am
Thanks Danna! I had an ultrasound today and he's five pounds now, which is bigger than James was when he was born, so that put my mind a little more at ease. Actually come to think of it I believe I was about 5 lbs 5 oz. He's also not breech anymore, which is great. My test results should be back today.

I've been thinking about storage for my sewing space, bedroom and dressing room. I have two old IKEA pantry shelves that I'm going to paint white and use for some of my storage. One will be in the sewing room with baskets of fabric sorted by colour on the bottom two shelves and books, patterns, notions, and embroidery stuff on the top shelf. The other will hold linens in the dressing area. Above my cutting table I think I will get a small white pegboard for holding scissors, rotary cutters, measuring tape and stuff like that. Maybe even thread. I'll also have a vintage metal tray I already own with a few magnetic watchmaker cases for smaller notions.

Pegboard is cheap and the magnetic watchmaker cases are about $1.25 each. I'll probably get 8 or so.

A non-frugal thought I am having is to get a pretty ironing board cover. I thought about getting one of those cabinets, but they are really expensive. I think the next best option for storage in that space is to make it look pretty. There's a local girl who has an etsy shop I like. She shops at the same fabric store I do also and takes custom orders, so I could get exactly what I want. Now to convince Zach that an ironing board cover would make a good anniversary gift.

City Chic Country Mouse (http://www.etsy.com/shop/CityChicCountryMouse?ga_search_query=city+chic&ga_search_type=seller_usernames&page=1)

2-17-11, 11:45am
We returned $300 in building supplies that we didn't need for an instore credit at home depot.

We sold at our original cost another $200 in flooring to a local man who is going to use it to remodel his bedroom.

Dh has managed to find board to create shelves in both bedrooms without any additional cost. Hopefully we will decover something for the laundryroom as well.

The old filing cabinent that dh managed to repair a couple of months ago is now in our bedroom allowing for some much needed storage space.

I made a list for shopping this evening and found several coupons to use on necessary items.

We both walked to work this morning-the entire 20 steps :~)

2-17-11, 2:15pm
Take care of yourself, Stella. :)

Bke, it sounds as if your move, and settling in, is going very well. How exciting that it's working so well.

After reading this thread yesterday, I was trying to think of what I've been being frugal about, and realized I'm just not shopping as much. Never have shopped much for clothing the past few years (other than thrift stores), and due to the season, there aren't many yard sales. And I'm hardly going to the grocery for food either. I'm 'eating down' the freezer contents, and other on-hand goods, but will need to go to the store very soon. There is zero flour in the house, and while the garden lettuce is growing, it's not yet large enough to harvest. So maybe later today I will go, but the list is short. Blue cheese, Brazil nuts, wwflour, and lettuce. and chocolate. :~)

Amazing how little one spends when you don't even enter stores. :cool:

2-17-11, 8:32pm
Staying out of the stores is a HUGE one for me, and when I do go to a store, it's for a targeted need. Getting in & out without any impulse purchases makes me pleased with myself, and it's getting easier all the time.:D

2-17-11, 9:21pm
@Stella, cute covers!

@bke, sounds like you are really saving on your project. Excellent.

I had a splurge on coffee this morning after DH kept me up half the night with his snoring. He has a cold, so it was really bad. Usually he doesn't at all.

Yesterday I had a frugal score at JoAnn. I got flour sack towels to embroider for a gift and also picked up a tote for my classroom. I had brought my circular along for the 40% off but hadn't noticed a straight $5 discount. The towels were $5.79 so got them cheap. Total for both, $4.

Then I promptly went and ate up the savings in the form of Chinese carryout. :D

2-17-11, 10:02pm
Feb 17
Bke--I think your housing/working plan it wonderful....enjoy
frugals today are:

--leftovers from freezer for supper, it seems like we have an endless supply of food in this house but at least the freezer stockpiles are going down.
--walked to get a hair cut a couple of blocks away, low price nice cut and in a new style that will need trimmed less often.
--Three birthdays this month, wraped them today with odd pieces of paper left from other times and yard sale ribbon, also cards bought at yard sales last summer for $.15 each (reg. 2.95 to 5.50)
--Dd gave me one of these cards she bought at the same time for Valentines Day it is so pretty I think I will find an old frame for it...free art
--planning on going away with DH for a little getaway next week (while he is off his treatment) to celebrate our anniversay which is next month (a whole 1 1/2 hour away) so gas will not be a lot and because it is winter the rates are cheaper. There are a lot of cute shops, restaurants and markets in the area so it should be very nice, relaxing time. Looking forward to it. Breakfast is included, will pack stuff for lunch and snacks so it will only be two suppers out. I have made a list of a few things we need for the house and the coming years gift needs so that will give us things to shop for.

2-17-11, 10:08pm
Danna, have a wonderful time away with your DH!!

2-18-11, 10:03am
An early Happy Anniversary to you Danna! And bke, congratulations on your move! Fidgiegirl congrats on your JoAnn's score. I love the JoAnn's coupons.

Zach and I have worked out a system for me to get a hold of him at school without using prepaid cell minutes. I have the facebook app on the old iPhone, which now functions as an iPod touch. When I facebook message him he gets an alert that there is a message and he can message me back when he has time (in non emergencies) or immediately if something is wrong. It's free! And really that's the main thing we use cell minutes for.

Tonight isn't super frugal, but we are going to the new IHOP that opened by our house for dinner. They have a $5 all you can eat pancake special so even with treating my dad it will be cheap for a dinner out and it's one less night Zach has to cook.

One of my main concerns with bedrest is that the girls are going to go nuts being home all the time. Yesterday at the store with their dad Cheyenne ran into a friend from school. She set up a playdate at our house for Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening they have been invited to the surrogate-grandparents-next-door's house to watch a movie with their great-nephew who is Bella's age. Sunday they may go with a friend to an ice fishing event for our friend's church and Monday my dad is going to take them to an indoor climbing place for half the day. All free stuff and all of it should keep them from feeling like they are spinning their wheels.

We are ordering the carpet today! I can't wait! That's the last step in the remodel and we're ready!

2-18-11, 11:12am
Stella, that ironing board cover is adorable! I hate to iron, and I think something pretty like that would make the chore almost enjoyable ;-)

I've been staying out of stores, too. Dh has been spending kind of a lot, though.

I am returning the ruana I ordered because it looks ridiculous. DH is returning the $80 knife he bought for work because it has a defect. He decided to replace it with a $10 boxcutter/knife. Yay!

A friend loaned me some maternity clothes, so that is less I need to buy. I did get my order from Old Navy this week, and I am keeping less than half of it. I don't need a ton of different things--just enough to get me through a week or so. I am just finishing up my last class on campus, so I won't need to buy any clothes for work. My smartest buy was a neutral colored cardigan. I can put it over short sleeved stuff now that will carry me into summer.

DH just got a profit sharing check from work. Most of it will be put in the bank (after we give some to charity).

2-18-11, 12:47pm
Thanks for all the supportive comments from everyone. This has been tough on me-I actually cried myself to sleep the last night in the old house as silly as that may be. My guys are loving the new place and I am working at staying open minded to all the changes. I know in the long run this is the right move.

We ended up back at Home Depot last night and used our in-store credit. We purchased blinds for the picture window. This window looks out over the front parking lot and the main road at work. I finally feel like I can walk through the house without some one commenting about my bath robe the next day.

Other items including some shelving for the laundry room including a small hanger bar. I think our work clothes are going to be kept there so our smaller bedroom closet has room for our better clothes and jackets. I also purchased a cute shelving unit that holds 6 cloth drawers. The shelves are a dark brown and the drawers are navy blue. Three with white stripes and three with polka dots. These will hold the extra sheets and towels since we don't really have anything that qualifies as a linen closet. Throw in some hardware and odds and ends and we respent the three hundred dollars. I've had a really bad experience with this store over the course of this project so I am thrilled to be finished with them.

The next stop was at a large grocery store where the prices are much cheaper than at my local small stores. Ok, I went to WallyWorld as much as I hate to admit it. Anyways I spent about $120 there. Bought a much needed dish drainer that fits perfectly in the new sink saving valuable counterspace. I also bought a new table cloth. THe rest was spent on groceries. Mostly snacks if I'm honest. But then the bulk of our meals happen at work. We hadn't bought anything in weeks and weeks. Anyways, I used coupons and by going to the cheaper store I probably saved close to 40% and am stocked up for a few weeks.

I needed a ledger to keep track of the new land contract as well as keeping tract of all the extra I am paying off on the house. I was so tempted to buy a fancy hardbound book-styled ledger but settled for a cheap tear out one that I will keep in a three ring binder. It cost me less than $4 and I already have the binder.

2-18-11, 1:16pm
Just came back from the grocery store. I meet my dad there about 3 days a weeks to have coffee with him in the deli (he's there EVERY morning). I love to sit and listen to the elderly gentlemen talk about their youth and how different things were back then. Anyway, I had oodles of computer printed coupons that I had sifted through. I did pretty well. I bought $55.76 worth of groceries for $40.71. I tried to stick to things I would buy anyway (some different brand names) and made sure that the coupon item was cheaper than the brand I would normally buy. Our store was selling Oscar Mayer Deli Creations for $1 each. I had 4 coupons for $1.00/2, so I bought 8 boxes at $.50 each. This is an item I wouldn't normally buy but there have been a few times this last month that dh stopped off at McDonalds because he "claimed" there was nothing else in the house. This will take care of those times. So that was my frugal for the day. My freezer, fridge and pantry are full. I shouldn't have to hit the grocery store for the rest of the month.

2-19-11, 11:22am
Hopefully having friends over for supper tonight. Will make pizza and dressed lettuce and a low fat applesauce cake for dessert. We even have leftover beer & wine from our soup party two weeks ago, although I personally tried to lessen the inventory! These friends are very much like us frugality wise...it's great to get together and bounce ideas off each other.

2-19-11, 2:17pm
I went to ballroom dance last night with the student club on campus, for $6 instead of the usual $15-20 at one of the professional schools. Someone from my martial arts class was there, and it turns out he tangoes like Fred Astaire. <swoon> As we whirled across the dance floor we joked about what would happen if we started punching each other.

After the dance he drove me home, and I gave him some delectable blueberry crisp from my freezer. Hope he likes it.

early morning
2-19-11, 11:45pm
At the moment, I'm re-using my tea bag for a second, scant cuppa - it's the end of my peppermint tea, and we have sooo much tea I'm pledged to buy no more until we make a dent in the stash. Sad, that. Put DH and my pre-paid charges for the quarter on my bank charge. Went to pay it tonight and was surprised to find that even with the charges, we had a small credit balance on that account. Upon further investigation, I realized that we had a promo credit I'd forgotten all about. Yay! Finally used up the last of the lotion after having cut the top off the bottle last week. That's more than a week's worth of lotion, designed to be thrown out. Put laundry on the line today - smells lovely! Have free tickets to the local Philharmonic symphony orchestra for Friday night. Going with my cousin, so I'll not drive home until after the concert. If we can't find free parking on the street, we can park in the county garage for no charge and walk a few blocks to the hall. I'm looking forward to it!

2-20-11, 8:28am
Had a great time with our friends. They loved the pizza. I was bummed when I realized that they knew how to lay tiles because we hired someone to do it for the space we're making for DMIL. Drat! We could have worked together, saved $ or even paid our friend who is out of work and learned a new skill.

2-20-11, 3:29pm
I saw Elton John the other night, and got paid minimum wage for it since I usher at the venue. Nothing beats getting paid to be entertained.

2-20-11, 4:47pm
Big frugal for the week was taking the bulk of our federal tax return and sending 1/2 to the bank as extra payment on our HE loan (our only debt) and putting 1/2 in our ING savings account. DH also dried leftover bread in a paper bag and grated into breadcrumbs, then used them for fried chicken. We need to do that more often because we waste a lot of bread;( Last night we had crabmeat on mesclun greens with red grapefruit sections and sliced avocado, with a smoked paprika dressing. The crabmeat wasn't cheap, but we had a pretty glamorous dinner for a small fraction of the cost of dining out. Doing stuff like this keeps us out of the restaurants!

2-20-11, 5:58pm
today we are getting our house re-audited. We had it audited for energy last spring, made improvements and they are back today to see how much better our house is and how much money we should get back. Here's hoping.

2-20-11, 5:59pm
Also going through all the berries in the freezer and making a berry loaf for tonight and a berry mango smoothie for today. Got to work my way right through that freezer.

2-21-11, 10:55am
Dh made salsa verde from ingredients we bought at walmart the other day. By using some of our cheaply bought tortillas and some grilled steak we had a taco dinner that rivaled any that we've had in a restuarant for a fraction on the cost.

The floors in the new house are cold. I guess its just about adjusting to laminate vs. carpeting. Instead of buying slippers I am repurposing a pair of slip on shoes that are too scuffed for public wear. They're comfortable and the price was right.

Friday-sunday were all no drive/no spend days.

2-21-11, 4:38pm
Well since we live in southern Minnesota, we are having a snow day! No school and not going anywhere. It's still coming down as we speak!

2-21-11, 6:06pm
That was one terrible berry loaf. I think I have my baking soda and my baking powder mixed up in their containers. NEENeed to sort that out.

Also going through all the berries in the freezer and making a berry loaf for tonight and a berry mango smoothie for today. Got to work my way right through that freezer.

2-21-11, 6:27pm
I scored $8.90 in bottle returns because I volunteered to take home all the sticky pop cans and bottles that our customers leave in a box in the vestibule of the store I work at! It made my weekly grocery trip to Krogers only $9.56! Now I am going to make a big pot White Bean Soup with Ham using the ham bone I got at my sister's on Christmas. I will freeze a bunch of lunch-size portions to grab on the way to work.

2-21-11, 6:27pm
3 No-spend days, and today was a no-drive day as well. Snowbound for 2 days; baked bread and brownies, played board games, prepped some food for the week ahead, and tended to various tasks that need to be done around the house.

2-22-11, 1:03pm
I had my FFF for the day. After I finished shoveling the sidewalk I flopped down in the snow & made a snow angel! If the neighbors saw me I'm sure they were shaking their heads. lol

In the not-so-frugal news: yesterday I spent $23 on groceries. That was $23 over the budget :( Did a poor job of planning the shopping list & menu last pay period, I guess. Well, Friday is payday & I will do better this time around.

Last night we went to see Tyler's band perform. Apparently it was ska night in honor of The Toasters. I think I kind of like ska. DS's band doesn't play ska but the others did. I enjoyed watching Tyler both playing and then "dancing" to the other bands & having so much fun. Even though it did cost us $20 to get in and ds's band vocalist was MIA.

2-22-11, 6:56pm
I spent the night at the hospital stopping labor, but it was successfully stopped. I am now home in bed taking meds every four hours around the clock. The meds make me sleep most of the day. Zach has done a great job (especially considering he didn't sleep!) of filling in today. He made quesadillas for lunch and is making burgers for dinner.

The carpet estimate came in and it was lower than I was expecting. That's always nice! They'll be here to install on Friday.

If I ever get enough brain power I'm going to work some more on copying all my recipes onto cards and organizing my recipe box today. It's a task I've been meaning to do for a long time and haven't gotten around to. Now seems like the perfect opportunity.

2-22-11, 9:57pm
We had a fun long weekend at a resort about an hour and a half north of where we live. My parents have a timeshare that was going to expire so we went up there to XC ski and relax. We had some beefs with how the resort didn't advertise some of their amenities correctly, but we relaxed and enjoyed a beautiful ski yesterday and today. Ate most of our meals in the suite so that was a good savings. We did go to the buffet at the casino but didn't enjoy it very much - smoke wafting in from the gaming floor and a yelly mother at the table next to us. I'm sure yelling at the baby will make him quit crying >:(

Thrifted a few books today, including a professional book for school for only .30. Got a Fahrenheit 451, which I've been meaning to read, for .50. Then I'll swap it on Paperback Swap.

Glad to be back home! Back to reality tomorrow. :)

2-23-11, 10:05am
Stella, I am glad that they were able to stop the labor so you can keep the little guy inside for a bit longer.

2-23-11, 10:58am
This is the first day I've had all to myself in weeks. WEEKS! I took ds to school and traveled on to our local McD. Where I used a coupon to indulge in a junky breakfast and a cup of tea all while reading a novel which holds no value other than to be entertaining.

I canceled the insurance on the old house today and should be recieving a refund check in the near future. (This was the reason for my being out and about.)

After the insurance meeting I stopped by Cops and Donuts and bought the most amazing pecan roll. Its still warm from the oven! I'm sitting here nibbling on it with a cup of coffee as I hang out online. I made the coffee from my free stash.

Total spent was less than $8 and worth every indulgent penny this morning.

2-23-11, 6:16pm
Thanks Azure!

I am continuing my recipe organizing kick. I have my mom's old recipe box and I am using plain index cards with a cupcake stamp, colour coordinated by type of recipe, to make new recipe cards. It's fun looking through mom's old recipes. There are a lot I had forgotten about from my childhood that I'd like to make for my kids. I'm writing down recipes I have memorized too so that someday when this box goes to my kids they'll have those recipes too.

2-23-11, 7:06pm
Hang in there, Stella. Hugs! It will all be worth it when your little guy arrives healthy and happy. My DGD was extremely premature and I remember how hard that was for all of us, but especially for her....

2-23-11, 7:42pm
Mmmmm, pecan roll . . .

I forgot about a good frugal. I had an unsatisfactory customer service experience on two separate occasions at a local business. I wrote them an e-mail to notify them. They offered me a $10 gift card and I got it today. Will try again!

2-23-11, 10:49pm
Stocked up on dried beans which were on an unadvertised sale at the grocery store today. I only see these prices about twice/year, and we eat a lot of beans.

But it wasn't a very frugal day. Our cat ate the fingers off of 2 of DD's gloves and may have some sort of blockage.

2-23-11, 11:04pm
Oh, kitty! Hope it all works out without too much pain for kitty or expense for you.

early morning
2-24-11, 11:14pm
Yikes, it's hard to think of any different frugal stuff for this week - just the same boring stuff...take lunch and coffee, watch interstate exits for cheapest gas, line up errands to save time and money. Been at Mom's most all week as she had no heat for 3 days, so spent a bunch of extra cash for supplies, food, etc. but she will pay me back. Dsil brought in supper tonight and I have leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. Hanging out with my cousin after work tomorrow - she lives closer to my work than our house. May go to the Philharmonic-I have free tickets. If I'm coughing too much (allergies) we will do something else cheap! Sat DD and I are working for my Dsil, so she will buy us lunch in exchange.

2-25-11, 9:14am
I got a free lunch yesterday at a conference. That was nice. Used a coupon at PetCo so saved a few bucks on our dog food.

Hmmm, we haven't seen anything from Stella in a day or two. Hope all is well on the baby front.

2-25-11, 9:39am
Hi guys. I thought I should probably check in. I'm still pregnant, but on mega doses of meds to stop contractions for one more week. I'm kind of a zombie on them. The good news is that I'm catching up on a lot of sleep.

My good news for the week is that my mother is coming to take care of me next week! She has a week before she starts her new job and she wants to come and mother me while I'm on bedrest. She used about 1/3 of her airline miles and her ticket only cost $10. I am so relieved about that. Zach and my dad are giving it a good effort, but they can't just fill in for me. I do a lot of things that are just outside of their skill set. Mom is a former SAHM and a teacher so she should be able to fill in nicely for both my mom and homeschool duties.

2-25-11, 11:10am
Yesterday was a no spend day and today should be the same. I even went tothe store to pick up something for work this morning and managed to not buy any extras.

I am plagued with dry skin this winter like so many other people. There is a nice body oil I like that runs around $14. I am so tempted to buy some more. Instead I used a free sample bottle of lotion last night that seemed to work pretty well. Dh mentioned that it smelled nice so I guess it was a frugal sucess.

I am hanging around taking surveys and doing my swag searches for points today. I might do some online sweeps too. I recieved a cute t-shirt from a win at bookrenters.com. It's always fun to win and this one will be quite useful.

2-25-11, 7:18pm
My good news for the week is that my mother is coming to take care of me next week! She has a week before she starts her new job and she wants to come and mother me while I'm on bedrest. She used about 1/3 of her airline miles and her ticket only cost $10. I am so relieved about that. Zach and my dad are giving it a good effort, but they can't just fill in for me. I do a lot of things that are just outside of their skill set. Mom is a former SAHM and a teacher so she should be able to fill in nicely for both my mom and homeschool duties.

Excellent! Keep a cookin'! :D

2-25-11, 7:39pm
Yes, good to hear from you, Stella....glad that your mother can be helpful this week!

2-25-11, 9:50pm
I took the bus to work three times this week. I went to an open mic on Tuesday night and didn't buy anything to drink. I think I have had three no spend days in a row except for some silk thread (.95) for a pearl re-stringing repair job I am going to do on my day off. Been watching lots of Weeds and Dexter from the library in the evenings for entertainment.

Oh yeah, and I got my federal income tax refund back ~ $1127.00! I have a few things I need to get (new pair of jeans, a new guitar tuner because the old one broke) and a treat for myself for sticking with a work-out schedule for two months. I am going to finally buy an I-Pod! I am still in the research phase and I am going to ask my dad, the techno-geek that he is, if he has an old model laying around that I can have or perhaps I will get a used one...we'll see. The rest of the money is going straight into savings!

2-25-11, 10:09pm
We just went to a great little neighborhood place with our Groupon. $12 for $25 worth of food. Yummy!!!

Although I was listening to an NPR report about Groupon the other day and a restaurant owner said it's usually a terrible idea for restaurant owners. More consumer guilt!! Why do they do it, then?

2-26-11, 6:12am
I think they probably do it to try to draw in new customers, who hopefully will become repeat customers. So if you liked the food there, you might think about going back next time without the coupon.


2-26-11, 9:44am
went to the grocery store yesterday morning and when I got home I started cooking. I made a big pot of chili, four big pizzas, a big pot of minestrone, and cooked a large piece of inexpensive pork in the crockpot - I will get the meat off the fat and bone and use it in recipes.

DH helped me pack everything up into meal size portions for one or two people. Today I'll finish the pork recipes, make some barbecue pork for sandwiches and some other dishes.

Then last night we went to the Symphony. If you show up at the box office you can get tickets for $15 apiece with no handling charges- usually tickets average about $48 apiece. The most fun part was we were sitting in the balcony with a bunch of students and artist/hippy types and were much more comfortable than last time when we were in the expensive seats. We felt out of place with all the suited men and fancy dressed women. It was all the same music.

2-26-11, 1:39pm
DH made from-scratch cinnamon rolls this AM. DSIL & DBIL coming over tonight for homemade pizza with beer & wine. Looking forward to it since we haven't spent an evening together in awhile and we all get along very well, so should be FFF:)

2-26-11, 2:48pm
--back from our lovely little getaway, beautiful B & B with indoor heated pool wonderful to sit with a glass of wine (after a swim) looking out at all the snow...
--breakfast was provided and was lots with enough for morning snack time, because it was off season the restaurants had big discounts.
--very little shopping except at the market on the day we were coming home...good prices on most fruit and veggies but, a few were great deals overflowing 11 qt if red/yellow/orange peppers for $5.00
8 lbs of strawberries for $8.00, celery $1.00 a bunch. About the time we were ready to leave the bakeries were but down their prices and I got 4 loaves of fresh specialty bread for $10.00 and 6 very large apple fritters for $6.00. Also, for me 4 grocery store type bunches of flowers for $10.00 (I am really enjoying them spread them all over the house)
Not on sale (but still only 6 for $4.50) but can't go to this type of market without getting a 1/2 doz. of the real hot from the grease, dipped in sugar and cinnamon apple fritters (with a whole slice of apple in them) to be eaten as soon as possible.
--fried up all the peppers for supper last night and froze whate we didn't eat for later. Cooked a roast I had in the freezer for a curries to go with them. Kept a piece out for beef/barley soup and refroze a large piece to eat later.
--filled up the car before the last jump in price.
--leftovers from supper for lunch today
--having french toast for supper tonight to use up some bread I already had at home and of course strawberries for dessert. I will clean and slice the rest and freeze for later..

2-26-11, 3:49pm
I broke my year of no purchasing this week. I bought a floor lamp for the reading chair in the living room... from the Goodwill, of course! It was totally worth it, and it even had a CF bulb in it that worked! I also bought a book about Urban Homesteading. So, back on the wagon again! Still, not bad for the first two months of the year.

2-26-11, 4:17pm
Sounds like a lovely getaway, Danna. Glad you enjoyed yourselves!
Redfox, those sound like reasonable, thoughtful choices. I think you can still consider youself virtuous!

2-27-11, 10:35am
Friday my van battery died for the 3rd (and last) time this year. So I had to get a new one put in.

Yesterday was quite productive. Went to watch Tyler at the annual HS band festival in the morning. Then I made cornflake cookies. Horribly bad for you but soooo good. It's been several years since I made them but I got a box of cornflakes that was just the right size & very cheap so I went for it. lol Cut up carrots & celery for snacking. Made a veggies dip. Cut up cheese in slices for sandwiches & sticks for snacking. Made pizza bread for dinner. Both of my boys have told me they really like the homemade pizza sauce!

Also caught up on the laundry & did a whole boatload of dishes.

2-27-11, 12:31pm
@Danna, how fun! Sounds like you had a great time.
@Azure, mmmmmm, cornflake cookies . . . never had them but sound intriguing.

Nothing to report here except that I got sucked into buying some stuff to get something else for free. Doh. But I am happy with my purchase, even though it was full price. I bought a SmartWool neck gaiter. Comfy and breathable, unlike the fleece one I'd been using for about four years. My freebie? A Chicobag, a nice little nylon shopping bag that folds up way teenie.

2-27-11, 1:13pm
Danna I'm so jealous of your trip! Fun!

I was in the hospital from Friday afternoon until last night so it has not been a very frugal weekend. On the plus side, that was the second to last time I will be in there. Next time they'll let me have this kid! The doctor didn't seem to think it would be very long now.

Mom is at the airport waiting for her connecting flight to MSP so life is about to get better! My friends came over yesterday while I was at the hospital and did some cleaning to get the house ready for her and mom is going to take over childcare and nesting for me for the next week! Free childcare and housekeeping! It doesn't get much better than that. This will put a stop to the eating out and other inefficiencies that have taken over since I've been on bedrest and in the hospital.

I am working on my recipe organizing project and daydreaming about spring. The girls are learning to cook and I'm trying to think of them and later on, the boys, as I write out the recipes and add to the collection. In addition to straight recipes I am adding what I call Variation Cards for things like scones, muffins, omelets, crepes, stratas, quick breads, chocolate cakes and other items that can be greatly changed with just a few additions to/changes of a basic recipe. I think that realizing how much you can change in a recipe has helped me a lot with frugality over the years. It makes it easier to use what you have on hand instead of running out to get something.

I'm also putting in recipe cards for substitutions, like evaporated milk from dried milk and for basic cleaning products, kid stuff (playdough, goop, fake blood, etc), body care stuff and other non-food recipes. In addition to being a good thing for the kids as they learn, it's going to be nice for me to have everything in one place.

2-27-11, 1:14pm
I listen to the radio's announcements of local upcoming events, so yesterday DH and I got blood drawn for free at the hospital, followed by a $10 coupon for breakfast (we'd had to fast), where we got extra food for dogs and bird, and then went to an excellent series of 4 cardiac doctors lecturing and answering questions on heart disease, plus goodies they gave out at that.

Got 3 fabulous pair shoes at REI Scratch 'n Dent sale--one pr big Sorel snow boots, really warm, a pair of Merrill slip-on shoes and a pair of Merrill hiking shoes--each was $21.83. None had seen much use at all--the Sorels look completely new. Reasons for return by previous buyers didn't apply to me. Also a pr of gloves that need a little sewing and a pr of insoles. I will put all in plastic bag and ozonate, since not sure about wearing pre-owned boots, insoles and gloves otherwise.

2-27-11, 2:54pm
Last night's pizza gathering was a success. DSIL & DBIL were wowed by DH's pizza-chef skills. DH had done all the prep for toppings in advance & refrigerated them in plastic containers. I think that's critical for something like this, so that one person doesn't end up playing servant in the kitchen. We do save a lot of money by doing this sort of thing instead of going out. DSIL said that sometimes she makes a bunch of mini burger sliders on her griddle with assorted topping choices. I think that might be a good menu for our next get together. Menu items like pizza and burgers don't break the grocery budget either :)

2-27-11, 4:44pm
I've come to realize that having my DH do the weekly grocery shopping is more frugal, because he's much less likely to impulse buy than I am! Fortunately, he loves to do it...

2-28-11, 7:27pm
Mom is here! She and Zach are taking amazing care of things. Mom and Cheyenne made up a grocery list and menu plan and sent Zach to the store so we will be eating at home this week and mom is cleaning the house and teaching the kids. Tonight's dinner is a pasta dish using leftover roasted chicken from yesterday.

Mom bought the new baby a couple of outfits and Zach got all of his hand-me-downs from James washed, folded and ready to go.

There is a high likelihood that the baby will be born this week, so Dad is going to rent Mom a car for the time we are in the hospital. I think it's really nice of him to pay for that.

2-28-11, 7:55pm
Recieved both our federal tax return and the refund check for the canceled homeowners insurance today. Both will go towards debt reduction.

I went to Rite Aid today. Bought several b1g1 items including cashews for dh and store-brand claritin for ds. Last week I spent over $8 for 10 claratin. Today I bought 80 claratin for less than $20! HUGE savings. Total spent today was $31 dollars and I saved about 50%.
We had the contractor come back over today and re-insulate a couple of drafty windows for no cost.

Customers are starting to make comments about me being more relaxed and rested these days. I don't feel any different but I guess its obvious to others that this is a good move for us.

Ds is really into Star Wars these days. Today we got another free vhs movie and two star wars book for him. Free entertainment. Best of all, he will challenge himself by drawing several pictures after studying the movies and books which will increase his skills and keep him happily entertained for hours.

early morning
2-28-11, 8:25pm
Stella, so great your mom is able to help out! Hang in there and keep up posted! This has been a crazy week for us. Gave away my free tickets to the local Philharmonic Orchestra because I was coughing too much to go, and found out today that they were second row center seats! At least my co-worker and his wife had a wonderful time- I'm so glad they weren't wasted (the seats, not the co-worker!). Had a really nice free lunch on Saturday at a local spot, courtesy of my SIL, since DD and I spent the rest of the day working on one of her pet projects. Stayed home all day yesterday, which was really nice. Had to buy gas today but made it to the cheapest spot, saving pennies, at any rate. Water is really high here, but DH got the basement pumped out without issue, thanks to the new pump we bought on super-sale (less than half price!) last year. AND we have a spare one!

2-28-11, 10:54pm
Feb 28 OMG were did this month go???
--Roast turkey in gravy, the last from the freezer from new years's
--again leftovers from last nights supper for lunch today.
--DH and I had an hour to wait between appt. so we went to McD (not my fave ) but, coffee is free till Mar 8 and we had a muffin each total cost $2.50

3-1-11, 11:18am
@ rosa--I think a baked potato or taco bar might be fun (and cheap), too!
@ stella--so glad your mom has arrived to help out. You're in my thoughts and prayers. :-)

Went shopping with my MIL yesterday. We oo'ed and ah'ed over all the cute baby stuff...but didn't buy any. :-) SO much of it seemed more like a "nice to have" than a "need."

3-7-11, 1:28pm
A long time coming and should have been done long ago:
Cut out house phone and cable television package - opting for antenna due to proximity to urban area. - saved $110/mo
Canceled rarely used gym membership - saved $90/mo
Cut out buying coffee during the week, opting for free coffee at work - saved ~$80/mo

All in all, these February cuts resulted in me saving $280 a month