Post Holiday

The holidays were a wonderful mixture of work, relaxation, gratefulness, family time, frugality and indulgence.  It was GREAT and I am both thankful it has wound down and also that the next time is only 363 days away.  Can’t wait!

This year, my cousin had a Christmas Eve cocktails and appetizer reception at her home so that we could all be together to celebrate.  The usual family and friends that would ordinarily get together at my house on Christmas Day were otherwise engaged with travel, personal projects and so on this year.

I used coupons and sale shopping to buy some of the presents and food for the holidays.  Target Cartwheel, coupons.com, JC Penney coupons, an Ollie’s Army coupon and Aldi grand reopening coupon rounded out the discounts.

Mirror Image made out on Christmas big time…as usual. This girl…she likes STUFF. Her haul included VR goggles, clothes, money, Lindor Truffels (when did that become a Christmas wish?  She was begging for those for weeks), jewelry and more.

Christmas lunch was fabulous, too.  The good folks at Aldi one again provided a luxurious feast – broiled lobster tails, roasted duck, salad, roasted brussel sprouts, standing rib roast, dinner rolls.  Thank goodness I can get this stuff from Aldi or this kind of menu would not be affordable.

Here is a giggle – one of my presents was a Fit Board from my cousin.  This is timely considering the menu that I mentioned above.  I need it and am looking forward to using at the start of the new year in relation to my weight management goals!

More importantly than the STUFF though, is the LOVE.  I am so blessed.  Overall good health, a family that loves me and let’s me cook for them and all the other blessings that would take too long to write.

Next step post holidays, my trip to Seattle to see my sister get married (we leave tomorrow); sign up for some life enrichment classes at the local community college; The Great Water Challenge of January 2017.

Life is actually NEVER boring…

Happy New Year!

Thrifty Image

For This I Am Thankful

what-are-you-thankful-for

Thursday, I will be catching some early morning Black Friday sales at Rite Aid (FREE ear buds, people!), enjoying the annual Thanksgiving service at my church and getting down to the business of eating, a little later in the day.

So, I thought I would share my gratitude today, instead.

  • My health and health and insurance…for this I am thankful
  • My family and my place in it…for this I am thankful
  • My own Mirror Image…for Her I am thankful
  • My job and manager…for those I am thankful
  • My passport…for this I am thankful
  • Travel rewards and points…for this I am thankful
  • The opportunities to give and serve others…for these I am thankful
  • Honorable Police…for them I am thankful
  • Dedicated garbage collectors…for them I am thankful
  • Patience…for this I am thankful
  • Forgiveness…for this I am thankful
  • The election is over…for this I am thankful

Have a marvelous Thanksgiving and a Happy Black Friday!

Thrifty Image

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.

Thrifty Image

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!

Thrifty Image

What we Should All Know

Lisa Simpson Basics

Mirror Image is 11 years old.  As young as she is, it still feels like she has been around a lot longer than she has.  So sometimes I am surprised by the questions she asks me.  Questions that have answers that seem obvious to me but apparently, haven’t brushed up against her world yet.

That got me thinking about how many people, myself included, often miss or just don’t know some obvious basic things. No matter how loudly our parents, our church leaders or Suze Orman yells them from the rooftops.  So below are some Wednesday morning thoughts or some basics to live (better) by:

Money

  • Work for it
  • Save more of it
  • Invest It
  • Respect it
  • Talk about it
  • Learn more about it
  • Manage it
  • Don’t let it determine self-worth

Home

  • Research it
  • Clean it
  • Protect it
  • Maintain it regularly

Health & Hygiene

  • Wash hands
  • Cover mouth when coughing/sneezing
  • Stay home when sick with the flu
  • Clean – tone- moisturize
  • Brush 2x/day
  • Self examine
  • Have medical insurance
  • Exercise daily
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Drink more water

Relationships

  • Be respectful
  • Say please
  • Say thank you
  • Flirt
  • Be honest
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Give hugs
  • Accept hugs
  • Genuinely listen
  • Apologize
  • Accept apologies
  • Refuse abuse

Joy & Happiness

  • Pursue it
  • Be responsible for your own
  • Look up
  • Share it
  • Give to others
  • Read EVERYTHING
  • Dance whenever you hear your favorite song
  • Have many favorite songs

Thrifty Image Mirror

What are some other basics I may have missed?