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Happy Valentine’s Day

It is fun to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

In the money-saving world, celebrating V Day is one of those “do I or don’t I?” situations.

When I was younger, cuter and thinner, I had SO MANY VALENTINES.  Nice and generous boys who had arms filled with flowers, candy, dinner reservations and more.  Those were nice times but I have to say, I have moved on and don’t much miss the day, the crowds, the prep work or the expense associated with them.

But I don’t begrudge anyone that loves to celebrate the day.  After all, why not celebrate love?  It is certainly better than celebrating hate (according to me).

I wonder if my daughter will feel the same way one day.

On Saturday while we were walking around the local mall, she mentioned she wished she had a boyfriend (at 13!!!) to celebrate V Day with.  At that point I remembered that earlier, she shared with me that she had friends from school whose boyfriends were taking them shopping for V Day (at 13!!!!).  Ugh.

Of course I used that opportunity for a life lesson (as usual).  We (I) talked about how believing that one needed a man to provide for her is a life limiting belief.  We (I) talked about age appropriateness.  We (I) talked about how kissing spreads cooties and that it is still flu season so no boyfriend thank you very much!  My kid is pretty great but she is very much a girl of her times and social network.  A boyfriend who takes her shopping?  Wasn’t even a thought when I was a child.

But!  I still want her to have a happy Valentine’s Day so I am replaying last year’s celebration.  Dinner prepared, by me, for my best girl.  On a budget, of course.  Here is how it goes:

  • Broiled lobster @ $11.99 from Aldi
  • Homemade Goat stew @ $12 from Lotte Asian Market
  • Candy @ $2 from the Dollar Tree

Yummy, inexpensive, no crowds and my favorite girl.  This is a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Get nothing in return?

Random post here.

I just decided to ask more publicly something that I always ask myself when I hear it said in conversation.  The question is, why do renters feel they get nothing in return for paying for rent?

I have heard this for years – “rent is throwing money away” and of course ” when you rent you get nothing in return”.

I do not agree.  I have purchased 2 homes now and my apartment rentals made me a lot happier than my homes have in terms of living experience.

  • When I rented an apartment, not for nothing but I are got a place to live.
  • When I rented an apartment, I met new people.
  • When I rented a home I lived in lofts in downtown hip areas.
  • When I rented an apartment, I had someone I could call to fix what was wrong (which was rare) for free!
  • And while I didn’t appreciate the value back then, when I didn’t want the apartment anymore, I left it.

It has been my experience that there are many different ways to build wealth, not just home ownership.

It also been my experience that taking care of a house can be a pain in the rear (it can also be wonderful).

An unfortunately it has been my experience that home ownership can be an anchor tethering one in place even though the sea calls. For instance right now, I couldn’t sell my house at a price I needed to make it worth it.  My area hasn’t recovered the same as NY, DC and San Francisco yet.

I think it is time for new verbiage in describing home renting.  It is definitely not nothing anymore. It just might be a good thing, too.

What do you prefer, renting or owning a house? 

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2017 is Done

Every year, I attend our Church New Year’s Eve service where we ring in the new year.  I volunteered to sing on the choir this time and since NYE was actually on a Sunday this year, that meant 2 services and a VERY long day.

After the morning service, I dropped the kiddo off at a friend’s house that was hosting an NYE luncheon and headed home.  I wanted to give the house a final cleaning and make some  goodies to eat after midnight.  I decided to try out a couple of new recipes,  black-eyed peas with sausage and goat stew.

I also wanted to carve out a couple of hours to nap before heading back to church.

Pretty much everything went as planned except the napping.  I got caught up in binge watching MI:5 on Hulu.  So that was that.

(By the way, I love Hulu.  Getting it was probably the best and worst thing that happened to me in 2017. It has given me so many more shows to watch cheap – I LOVE IT)

Around 9:30  left for church.  The building was much warmer that it was that morning so that was nice.  Everyone was happy and grateful.  I think just knowing that we were saying good-bye to a pretty chaotic year and welcoming in new opportunities added joy to the night.  I know it did for me.

At midnight, Pastor asked us to bring in the new year in prayer.  Here is mine:

A prayer of gratitude

A prayer for blessings

A prayer to be better

A prayer for my daughter’s good health

A prayer for peace

As it turned out, my daughter’s visit turned into a sleepover so I brought in the new year with my German Shepherd.

2017 is done.

How did you bring in your new year?

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Ending the Year

 

I had a few use or lose days left in 2017 and decided that ending the year doing lazy things at home with the kid would be a good use of that PTO.  I was hoping  they would be cheap days, too.

Just a little background, Thrifty Image, Jr. made out like a bandit with Christmas cash and cards. In addition to the actual gifts of clothes and specialty snacks, she received over $100 cash and $75 in department store and Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards.

Well, off we went on Tuesday to THE MALL. She had to (HAD TO!) use her cash for slides from Victoria Secrets Pink.  They were $40. Why spend $40 on slides?  They are pretty.  I could not talk her out of it.  And believe me, I talked and talked and talked. I used my BBB 20% off coupon and bought a big bag of pistachios while at THE MALL.

Wednesday, after her eye appointment at America’s Best (fun fact, after 2 years of forgetting, I finally remembered to use my employer sponsored vision benefit and we saved money on the exam and new glasses – what a concept), we went to use her $50 gift card at a different MALL. It took her almost an hour to decide on the 2 items she wanted.  A teal  hoodie and a athletic bottle with a fitness tracker and ear buds inside.  Both were to be marked down to $17.99 each.  Making her final bill, with tax around $38 according to my math.

Well, I decided I had had enough standing around and went to wait for her in the car while she waited in the SLOW line.

Out she come 3 hours later (maybe 15 minutes) and off we go.

“How much did it come to?”  $49.81″ she replied. Ugh…

We looked at the receipt (while I was driving – NEVER do this).  The athletic bottle was charged at $29.99.  Who pays $30 for a bottle I want to know? She was sure she was charged $17.99.  I asked her to show me exactly where on the receipt was this mysterious $17.99.  She said it was “difficult”.  I turned around, went back to the Mall of slow lines and made her get her corrected price and resulting refund of over $12.

She left over $12 on the table simply because she was not paying attention!

Again for context, my kid is a math whiz!  I am so proud of her skill in that area. But she is also a little careless.  I think it is the age – 13.  It was more important to her to leave with something shiny and new than to make sure she was getting the right prices.

Well, I am never one to walk away from a money lesson opportunity so I shared with her one of my favorite isms.  Darling daughter, let this be yet another lesson to you that no one cares as much about your money as you do.  So watch it!

I think she tuned me out.  She is a teenager after all.

The whole week was not all about her, though!  Yesterday, I went to the second run theater up the beltway and caught THOR:RAGNORAK finally.  $3.50 matinee price.  I enjoyed the movie and I loved the price.  I go the movies very seldom but I knew I wanted to see this on the big screen and $3.50 is an awesome price for a movie these days. Keeping it thrifty while ending the year.

Oh yeah, I also took many naps while noshing on leftovers!

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A Black Friday Shopping Story

Please take this money, it is for Black Friday Shopping

I cannot believe it but I got caught up in BLACK FRIDAY shopping.  I mean I really can’t believe it.

I have to admit it…it was fun!

Let me share my shame.

I was enjoying a delightful and delicious Thanksgiving meal with family in Southern Maryland.  We do this every year and it is one of our favorite things.  So much so, although we were not due there until 2:30, Mirror Image wanted to leave early enough to arrive at 1:30.  That girl, she is an awesome eater.

Between eating and chatting, I perused the newspaper advertisements that both my mom and Auntie brought.  Sure there were a couple of interesting things but nothing I couldn’t live without.  Although I am not gonna lie, I wanted some of those copper pots everyone and their mother are hawking these days.

So after more eating and family gossip, we packed up the car with leftovers (very important) and turned in the direction of home.  Conveniently, there is a shopping mall on the way home and we stop every year “just to look” at the Black Friday deals.  I fully expected this to be like last year where we came, we saw and we left empty handed.  That was the plan.

The first thing I noticed was that it was almost 7pm and while there were shoppers, there were no crazy crowds.  The next thing I saw was my favorite game from childhood, SIMON, but souped up for the current generation.  I had to have it.  Once I decided on that first item, others seemed to just throw themselves into my arms:

  • 2 karaoke microphones (one for me, one for the office holiday party)
  • 1 Google Chromecast (my room)
  • 1 Roku Express (Mirror Image’s room)
  • 1 Google Home Assistant Mini
  • 1 Decorative pillow (Christmas present for my aunt)
  • Clothes (Mirror Image Christmas presents)

The monetary hit? $162.  I spent $162 on items I didn’t plan on purchasing!  Well it didn’t stop there.  I got up the next day (the actual Friday in Black Friday shopping) and while running errands, decided to go back to the store and get the special make up brushes Mirror Image had asked for as a surprise present.  Well the surprise was on me when I bought 2 sets (because I really needed one, too), and more clothes for her.

The price to play the Black Friday game?  Another $60.

So just over a couple hundred in 2 days for shopping, really impulse shopping.  For some, this wouldn’t seem too bad. For me, I felt almost out of control.  Shiny items hypnotized me (seriously, the karaoke microphone was rose gold in color), my childhood called to me in pretty flashes of color with the Simon game and my daughter, as lovely as she is, right by my side encouraging every purchase – wanting EVERY THING.  I was toast.

Ahh but for grace (and a much needed grace period), I am coming out of the shopping after-glow and have put many of the items in the bag to return.

Gone karaoke microphone! I will keep one for the party gift swap.

Gone make up brush set!  Mirror Image gets to keep hers and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gone Google Home Assistant and Chromecast – I watch too much television anyway.  (Hahaha, just kidding, there is no such thing as too much tv).

I expect to get back around $75.  Good thing too because today is Cyber Monday and I saw something I just have to have…

How were your Turkey shopping days?

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