Eating Green This Summer

Funny Vegetables

I won’t try to fool anyone.  I love myself some cookies.  And donuts.  And pie.  And fajitas and fried chicken.  Love, love, love.

But in the summer time, I get giddy for garden vegetables.  The fresh from the garden taste of tomatoes and cantaloupe is a joy to behold and I am all in.  This year, I planted several tomato plants, eggplant and green pepper.

In addition to doing this out of a desire to have another dimension to my life.  I also look forward to the monetary savings of growing my own food.  Truly, I experienced physical pain earlier this Spring when I had to hand over $2.49 per 2-pack at Aldi for green peppers.

Except for a handful of cherry tomatoes, nothing major has come from my garden, yet.  In fact, the beetles are eating my eggplant and a rabbit has laid claim to the green pepper plant.  But, I am not discouraged!  That is because so many others are doing quite well on their gardens and guess who gets to benefit?  Me!!!!

So far, I have saved by not having to buy zucchini or squash or celery because other gardens surplus has provided for me.  In fact, my mom went so far as to not only give me a load of squash and cucumbers, she took some of the squash, turned it into an amazingly delicious casserole, let herself into my house and left us dinner for the evening.  THANK YOU, MOM!

I am looking forward to when my little patch of gardening earth starts throwing up the goods.  I will eat those veggies and share them, too.

Saving money by gardening is delicious!

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FREE Slurpee

Slurpee

When I picked Mirror Image up from Summer Camp yesterday she asked to go to 7-Eleven for a FREE Slurpee.  Okaaaaaay.

I balked.  I haven’t stepped inside a 7-Eleven in years.  And even though the nostalgic memories of sweet Slurpees during the summer of my youth were pleasant enough, I just wanted to go home.  And when I saw the throngs of kids collecting in front of the convenience store, I was sure this was not my adventure.

But, after we passed the second 7-Eleven she asked again and I caved.  Why not?

The scene was lively.  Cars coming and going.  I let her out to go get her treat and I waited.  But not long.  She was out almost immediately with a very yummy looking red concoction in her hand. And at that moment, I wanted an ice-cold Slurpee, too.

I went to get a Pina Colada flavored treat made to order for me by the Slurpee barrista (that’s not right, is it?).  It was yummy.

The funniest part?  Mirror Image didn’t like the flavor she chose and has already decided that next year on free Slurpee day, she would get the Pina Colada like me.

Sounds like a plan.

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That Time I Wasted Money – On a Boat Ride

You're Invited

Until recently, the majority of jobs I have held had an interesting perk built-in.  That was the perk of the INVITATION. Invitations to sporting events, concerts, parties and more.  The majority of these invitations included all of the great stuff to make an evening awesome, food, drinks, parking and swag.  Ahhh, what a life.

Not content in my youth to just be happy with the awesome free stuff, sometimes I would still  spend, waste contribute monetarily and unnecessarily.  I think it was the excitement.  Or the peer pressure.  Or stupidity.  But this is one of those wasteful moments whose memory never leaves me for long.  And this happened almost 20 years ago so clearly, I am still annoyed with myself.  It started out innocently enough…

My boss and I went to a gala fundraiser for who knows what, as representatives for our organization.  I was able to dress up, eat and drink all I want and meet interesting and fun people – for free!  What more did I need?  Nothing.  I needed nothing.  That didn’t stop me from wanting something.

The thing is, I didn’t know that I wanted something until someone told me I did.  And they told me in the form of the dreaded ‘auction’. That part of the evening that raises more money for the event by getting people excited to part with their dollars by showing shiny stuff on stage.

I like shiny things A LOT.

The item for auction was a day cruise.  And for some reason, perhaps the people at my table telling me to go for it, I had to needed that cruise.  So I bid.  $100.

Then $200.

Then $300.

Then final and winning bid of $400.

$400 was a lot of my back then and when I went to the event, I had no intention of walking out with  $400 charged on my card. Yet, I did.  Some interesting finance writer would share that if I had just invested that $400 twenty years ago, it would be worth over $1800 now at 8% compounded interest.  Heck, if I had just gone our for a really great meal with a friend it would have been more valuable to me ultimately due to the buyer’s remorse.

There is a lot to be said for shutting out the voices that make you want to act like an idiot with your money.  There is a lot to be said about making a plan  before you have to act.  That way, you can plan to act right.  There is also a lot to be said for making a mistake, learning from it and letting it go.

And the worst part? I never went on that cruise.  Just shoved the certificate some where and it got lost eventually. So no $400, no great meal with a friend and no $1,800 with accumulated interest.  Just a lesson in money management that I paid $400 dollars for.

 

Mirror

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Purchase, Purchase

I Love Shopping Picture

I have made it a point to be very intentional in my purchasing the last 2-3 years.  I run the usual investigative questions through my mind for most purchases – Do I really need it?  Why do I want it?  Do I already have something like it? How will I feel about it in the near future?  Do I have room for it? Will it really make my life better?

With these questions, I have been successful in a 2+ year handbag shopping ban and a clothes shopping ban for 5 months.  But, nature abhors a vacuum and some other interesting purchases have made it to the forefront.

I purchased a new phone last week.  I moved from a MOTO E from Republic Wireless to the MOTO G. I wanted to wait until they had a new selection that was similar to the MOTO X but my phone was dying by degrees.  I couldn’t even turn off the alarm in the mornings anymore — oh the horror!

I have discovered couponing!  I have LOTS of dish detergent, paper towels, hair products and vitamins.  I justify this shopping by letting couponing experts tell me I am saving money in the long run.  It must be a really looooog run because my MINT account is going crazy. You should see the notifications I am getting about the Shopping category.

With the exception of a few items that I only picked up because they were free, I know that I will use all the products personally or as goody bag stuffers. But I recognize the truth.  I just wanted to try something new and I wanted to SHOP.  I did a good thing by implementing shopping bans.  I did poor follow through by not replacing the shopping activity with a healthier option.

Now that my eyes are open, I am beginning a new plan. I will take full advantage of the soon to be nice weather and focus in on our garden work. Usually on gardening days I am too tired to want to do anything else anyway and that is just the way I like it.

I also plan to pick up some inside tasks.  Junior wants to paint her room and some of her furniture and that is definitely a distraction.  Her favorite colors at this moment are grays, blacks and whites. Should be interesting.

Oh yeah and I plan to eat more.  Not exactly the usual goal that is written but what can I say?  I am at an age where I finally enjoy trying new recipes, have learned a reasonable substitute for Cream of Tarter and no longer care about my weight in relation to popular culture.  A healthy enough weight is fine with me.

So there.  I am putting down my coupon clippers  and picking up my garden shears. It’s time for some growth.

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Fresh Start – It’s Gonna Be May!

Empty Desk Calendar - Green

We may not have gotten all of the April showers that I am use to having here on the east coast but, I am looking forward to those May flowers.  It is time for a fresh start.

The end of March and all of April were filled with tests and trials of the financial and non-financial type.  I am looking forward to getting back on task and taking back control.

In March, during Spring Break, we visited the grandparents in the Seattle/Tacoma area.  It was a great visit but I always get a little out of control in relation to food when I leave my “home” zip codes.  For instance, we ate lovely Dungeness crabs at Pike’s Fish Market.  The experience was about $70 for 3 of them.  Yikes!  Still, I wouldn’t have given back one bite because it was awesome!

In April, thanks to the generosity of her grandparents and as a reward for her great grades, Thrifty Image, Jr. was able to get a new fancy schmancy phone.  We continued to use FreedomPop, just upgraded her device to AWESOME.  We took advantage of all of these department store Friends & Family sales to outfit Junior for Summer camp – t-shirts and shorts and undies, oh my!

I also indulged in buying A LOT of product for my hair this month.  I have naturally curly (and dry) hair and I have decided to grow it out.  Healthy hair requires a commitment and some of that is in dollars and cents as well as time.  So, I have purchased many, many, many conditioners, leave-ins and styling creams to help in my journey.  My plan is to spend a little more on products healthy hair from home rather than spending A LOT more for healthy hair from the salon.

And the snacks.  I have over indulged in everything from Oreo’s and DeMet’s Turtles to the new Frosted Coffees from Chick Fila.  OMG has anyone else fallen in love with those?  I am hooked on those the same way I used to be hooked on McDonald’s Sweet Tea.  Oh no, now I want some Sweet Tea!  Spring came and my self-control seemed to have fled. What is interesting is that I have been busier than ever so I am not even sure how I had the time to devote to so much snacking but apparently, where there is a (lack of) will (power), there is a way.

Well. To not quote NSync “It’s Gonna be May!” And I have a plan.

Beginning May 1 – 30 day water challenge drinking one gallon per day.  I found when I did this in January, not only did I get the benefits of the additional hydration, I had less desire for processed sugar.

Join a gym – There is a new You Fit in my neighborhood and it would just be un-neighborly to ignore it.  I am going to have Junior join with me.  Soon, school will be out and I need her too tired to think up mischief or to use the word “bored”.  Did I mention we are going to Jamaica later in the Summer using my Rapid Rewards points?  I have a couple of months to get beach body ready.  More on how I scored a practically FREE vacation with points in another post.

Yard Sale – A May yard sale would be a make up sale for the one that was rained out last Saturday.  Even with the rain we made $12 because buyers knocked on our door. So I think that next time, we should do well if the sun shines upon us.

Test new recipes – In an unusual move, I got caught up in fast food and restaurant eating way too much over the last 5 weeks.  Well, enough of that.  It is my least favorite expense when I look at my Mint account.  I think it is because even when we eat out, it doesn’t correlate to my spending less time in the kitchen.  There is no benefit because Junior and the dog are ALWAYS hungry.  So yes I will cook more but, I will save more – both my money and my cholesterol levels. This is thanks to Aldi’s consistently low prices and bonus – now that they accepts credit cards, I can use my Chase Freedom card this quarter to get 5% cash back of grocery purchase up to $1,500.

Even with my wayward ways in April, I still maintained my savings levels and charitable commitments so no regrets there. However, Junior and I will be having a chat about potentially lowering our cable/internet plan soon.  Expect to hear the sobs.  Like me, she loves her television shows (her-Disney, me-National Geographic).

I have a chicken that I will roast tonight, a half bottle of white wine and some trash tv shows to get through between now and April 30 – tomorrow!  Then, I am back in frugal mode because

It's Gonna by May

Have a great weekend!

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