Well, that was close!

Last evening, after work and school, Mirror Image and I were on our way to work out (we joined a gym!). We jumped off I-695 and made our way on a popular county road until we stopped at a red light.

At that point, I looked over to my right and saw someone clearly trying to get my attention.  It was a lady with angry face.  I was feeling brave and let down my window to listen.  She let me know that I had NO breaks lights and that she HAD to get from behind me.


I thanked her because, angry face or not, I was grateful to know and to have the opportunity to get it fixed.

“Change of plans” I told Mirror Image.  “What? Why?” Going to the gym is not Mirror Image’s favorite thing to do so I gave her the good news that I was going to let her off at home I was going to zoom to Jiffy Lube to get my lights back in working order before they closed at 7pm.  It was 5:45 at that point.

I was happy and bummed.  Bummed because I was just at Jiffy Lube last month and specifically asked if my braked lights were good to go.  They assured me they were.  Arrrrgggghhh!

Happy, in part, because I was not pulled over by a cop and ticketed with a moving violation which would cost not only the amount of the ticket but likely insurance premium hikes.  I was especially happy though, that I was able to get this taken care of without getting into an accident.  We are in bumper to bumper interstate travel every weekday.  Mirror Image likes to sit in the front seat.  It would break my mother’s heart if she were hurt. We see accidents every day because no one other than me knows how to drive.  Heck, I was struck on that same road and my last car was totaled 2 years ago).  I don’t want that experience ever again.

I am so glad my life has moved to a point where if I discover a problem, I can take care of the problem without wondering when I will have the time or money to take care of it.  Time + Emergency fund = Problem solved.

Oh and the cherries on top? The whole process took less than 30 minutes (We could have still gone to the gym, doy!) and only cost $20.  That is $20 I wasn’t expecting to spend but I would have spent it last month if the problem had been caught and I surely would have paid more than that if ticketed.

The other cherry is that I watched the whole repair.  I can do that!  If there is a next time, I am totally changing my own brake lights.

Tell me, do you do your own car repairs?

Feeling kind of smug…

This weekend was busy.  Crazy, over scheduled busy. Like, there were so many times I thought I was going to give up scheduled plans, busy.

But I didn’t and am feeling kind of smug about it.

Yes, we did work out Friday night at the gym (before diving face first into a can of Lime-a-rita.  I got it with a $3 rebate from Ibotta!)

Yes, we did participate in the local community clean up early Saturday morning.

Yes, we did clean, Clean, CLEAN the sun room after the community clean up with the help of my awesome family. I was able to get my hands on Mirror Image’s passport and it expires in March.  Need to work on that now!

Yes, we did go to church, then to the grocery store  and then to Six Flags Sunday.  Loooooong lines for food and long lines for rides included.

Yes, I did drive 1 hour home from Six Flags Sunday night to prepare fried chicken for lunches this week because Mirror Image LOVES my fried chicken.

And finally, yes I did ignore the dishes in the sink last night after looking at the clock and seeing 10:23pm look back at me.  I was too exhausted to do another thing. (Yes, I did do them first thing this morning.  I can’t stand dirty dishes.)

I did everything we planned to do while not spending any budgeted dollars and I am feeling really smug about it.

How was your weekend?

Thrifty Image

The weekend is here!

I have big plans for the weekend.  I am talking HUGE!

Mirror Image and I are participating in a Community Clean Up event early Saturday morning.  She doesn’t know it, yet.  Hahahah. I like volunteering in activities like these.  It gets us out and about, we meet new people, we get cleaner streets and we get a slice of humble pie.

But the really BIG part is my WONDERFUL family is coming up to help me clean out my sun room…again.

So this is what a sun room should look like

Random internet picture of a sun room

This is what my sun room looks like


So why is a sun room clean up needed again and what does this have to do with personal finance?

I needed their help initially because I had started couponing and I had shampoo, laundry detergent and healthcare items spilling all over the place and could barely get through the room.  I went all in on the original clean up. I purchased sturdy plastic shelving from Ollie’s, moved everything out, mopped the floors, put down carpet tiles over the gross original vinyl tiles, organized all my “deals” and put up new shades from the Home Depot.  We rocked it.  We really did.  The sun room looked great!  For a few months.

Fast forward a year and everything that was moved from the bathroom closet during the bathroom remodel was dumped in the sun room, plus more purchases have wrecked the room again.  It is chaos.

As for personal finance.  I need a kick in the pants for how I let myself get so caught up in spending money  to “save” money via the coupon.  Having to move all that crap out and then move it all back in should just about do it.

I keep my safe hidden in the sun room and now it is covered up by…everything.  I cannot get to it.  I rotate my credits cards regularly but cannot get to them because they are in the safe.  I am thinking of cashing in some old U.S. Savings Bonds but can’t get to them because they are in the safe. And, Mirror Image says her passport is getting ready to expire and guess where that is?

But I have no fear.  The weekend is here! and we are going to kick that sun room’s butt.  And I am never couponing like that again.

Sunday, I am taking the kiddo and her friends to Six Flags.

Yeah what a HUGE weekend!

Thrifty Image


Another day at the dentist


My temporary crown collapsed under a chewing assault during lunch last week. Gross.

I quickly called the dental office because my dentist was very clear. If it came out, call RIGHT AWAY. And I did.  It just happened to be 3 weeks after I was supposed to call to get the appointment to get my permanent crown inserted…

So I called and after a bit of back and forth and was told I could come in the next day for another temporary crown or come in 6 days (the next time my dentist was available to see me) for the permanent.  I went with the 6 day wait.

I am not afraid of the dentist like I hear some others are but, I ALWAYS wait to go into the dentist and it has cost me big time.  Pain, lost crowns, more pain, etc.  You see, my dentist is close to my home but far from my job.  And they have “regular hours” like 8:30 – 5:00.  They don’t seem to like the working girl’s hours, there… I am already at work at 8:00am.

But this time I did call right way, took the first, most appropriate appointment and got ‘er done after much poking, drilling filling and grinding.


The good news?

I didn’t procrastinate this time around and, the procedure was a redo therefore I didn’t have to pay the $600 bill originally designed for me.  Woohoo!

The bad news?


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Robbing Peter to Pay Paul – No Grocery Shopping Edition

When I was a child, I hated grocery shopping.  HATED IT.  I think it was the old ladies running over my toes with their carts.  Or maybe it was the mean auntie I was required to shop with.  I don’t know but I tell you it was not fun for me,  Not one bit.

That was pretty much my attitude for years, even as an adult.  Because of my first job out of college (BEST JOB EVER!) I had most of my meals paid for through travelling expenses. Sometimes fast food.   Sometimes room service, but never home cooked food.

I rarely grocery shopped and when I did, I didn’t shop well.  You know with a list, or a plan or a vague idea of what to eat.

Then one day, I had a daughter. And then the next day (so it seems to me) she was ready to eat meals that weren’t pumped or pureed.  And I had to make them.  And fortunately,  not too long after that I discovered Aldi.  And now, I no longer hate grocery shopping. If you don’t know the joy that is Aldi, you are missing out.  But that is something to share in another post.

So while I do not hate grocery shopping, I am still aware that groceries are a line item on my budget.  About $50 a week on average when I included special activities, family get-togethers and holidays.

I decided not to spend that $50 and instead, feed my family from the pantry and freezer for the week.  Why?  Well at first it was to have the guilt free pleasure of spending about $60 at Madonna’s Seafood at a Saturday date for Mirror Image and me.  My co-worker recommended this place because it has an All-You-Can-Eat steamed crabs menu.  We LOVE crabs.

But that changed.

The same day I made the plans to scrap grocery shopping for the week and made plans to dine at Madonna’s, I picked up a prescription for Mirror Image from Sam’s Club. It was $113 that I was not really expecting. Bye crabs.  It was nice almost eating you.

I decided instead to re-route the grocery money to the prescription expense.  Not because I couldn’t pay both.  I could.  In fact, I could have paid both the restaurant and the groceries to begin with.  What I wanted to do was experiment and sacrifice and claw back some kitchen real estate.

We go grocery shopping every week. I love trying to new recipes and stuffing Mirror Image’s little mouth with all sorts of yummy treats to show her she is the love of my life.  I also take my lunch to work and I don’t ever want to have an excuse to get a burger.  Finally, we are real foodies at my house.  We kind of live to eat, from a gourmet perspective.

So, to help balance out the unanticipated medical costs, we will sacrifice this week.  To show I can step up, I am experimenting with simple meals made from the pantry and freezer this week.  Here is my budget meal plan:


  • Breakfast – Bacon & eggs & bagels & canned pineapple
  • Lunch/dinner – Ground turkey tacos & beans; homemade French fries


  • Breakfast – Bacon & eggs & pork sausage & canned beans and apples
  • Lunch/dinner – Ground turkey tacos & beans; homemade French fries


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & bacon (me)
  • Lunch – Canned Grilled Chicken & Sausage Gumbo soup (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple (her)
  • Dinner – Pasta and meat sauce (us)


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & sausage patties (me)
  • Lunch – Pasta and meat sauce (leftovers) (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple (her)
  • Dinner – Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms (us)


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & sausage patties (me)
  • Lunch – Canned potato soup (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple & cookies (her)
  • Dinner – Beef Stroganoff & green beans (us)


  • Breakfast – Bagel with cream cheese and salmon
  • Lunch – Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms (leftovers)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple & cookies (her)
  • Dinner – Garlic Chicken and broccoli


  • Breakfast – Pain au chocolate and banana (me)
  • Lunch – Baked potato (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich (her)
  • Dinner – Tuna casserole & green beans (us)


  • Banana bread
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Gelato

I have all of this food (or the ingredients) in my house.  Right now. It really is not a big sacrifice to give up shopping for the week and, it will help me clear out room in the freezer and the cupboards.  Plus, it is a good lesson for Mirror Image and I to keep in mind…gratitude for all that we have.  Especially when there are so many that have so much less.

How often do you prepare meals plans around your pantry surplus?

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