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

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.

The 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

Weekend Money #6

Penny

 

 

The radio station Mirror Image makes me listen to on the way to school showcased its Friday Remix this morning.  I know what that means…

That means the weekend is here and it is time to plan the money!

I am going to pre-spend here on this post, then reconcile on Monday.  I plan for this to be another avenue of accountability and budgeting.  So here we go:

  • Church (tithes/offering) = $328
  • Gas = $25
  • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
  • Groceries = $5
  • Dollar Tree = $0
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Gifts = $0
  • Restaurant = $0
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $35
  • Fun Outing = $10
  • Total = $403

 Church (tithes & offering) – 2 Corinthians 9:7 – Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Groceries – There is snow in my area so we went grocery and snack shopping last night, just in case.  Unfortunately, due to the new converts shoppers, Aldi hasn’t had avocados the last 2 times I shopped there.  I am going tonight to pick some up as the cashier shared that a truck was coming today. I spent $48.39 there last night. Note to the world, even at Aldi, green bell peppers and quinoa are pricey items.

Gas – We may be saying good-bye to the low gas prices of the last 2 weeks.  In fact this past Monday through Wednesday, I watched the gas prices increase 10 cents each day at one particular station. If I go tonight, I might still make my maximum spend goal.

Dollar Tree – I have coupons for Clorox items and I have been hearing of some at the Dollar Tree.  Specifically, I want the wet refills for the Swiffer.  If I can find them, I plan to stock up.

Restaurant – I will not.  I shall not.

Prescriptions – Still need to get those…

Fun – Tonight we are going, as a surprise to Mirror Image, to enjoy Brahms’ German Requiem.  The tickets were free with an $8.50 service for each  I already purchased these through Groupon. We will take the train downtown and will probably have a soda at intermission.  The $10 should cover this.

The rest of the weekend should involve home organizing, walking Thrifty Pooch, baking more white chocolate chips cookies, finishing up a book report,  enjoying free movies from the Library and prepping vegetarian meals for the week ahead.  These activities are all FREE, FREE, FREE!

I will be back on Monday to tally up my successes (or fails).

Thrifty Image Mirror

Monday Money Review

Monday-calendar-dreamstime_14224102-2

It was a lovely weekend but it was COLD!!  As low as I tried to keep my thermostat without making us walk around in blankets, I am sure this weekend will have affected my energy bill big time!

But that is the future; here’s is where we work out if this past weekend matched the expected weekend money. So here we go:

Before

  • Church (tithes/offering) = $28
  • Gas = $20
  • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
  • Groceries = $45
  • Dollar Tree = $10
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Gifts = $0
  • Restaurant = $0
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $35
  • Fun Outing = $0
  • Total = $138

After

  • Church (tithes/offering) = $28
    • Church (tithes/offering) = $28
  • Gas = $20
    • Gas = $0
  • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
    • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
  • Groceries = $45
    • Groceries = $35
  • Dollar Tree = $10
    • Dollar Tree = $48.02
  • IKEA – $0
    • IKEA = $24.30
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
    • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
    • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Gifts = $0
    • Gifts = $0
  • Restaurant = $0
    • Restaurant = $8.91
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
    •  Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $35
    • Prescriptions = $0
  • Fun Outing = $0
    • Fun Outing = $0
  • Total = $116.93

I forgot to get gas.  It was soooo cold that I think I just willed the thought of it out of my mind so I wouldn’t have to stand outside at the pump.

I spent less on groceries at Aldi this weekend due to not buying much meat and forgetting to take my list with me to the store.  I actually forgot to buy a couple of small items.  All in all though, I am pleased to have come in under budget for a change.

My Dollar Tree budget was much higher than planned because I didn’t account for Mirror Image’s room organization project this weekend or,  Maryland Tax Free shopping Weekend. I decided to buy the items needed to organize the sunroom earlier than planned when I realized I could purchase them tax free.  Plus, the new colors are in and they are cute, cute, cute.  I didn’t want to take a chance on having them sold out.

IKEA was left off the original list but I needed some additional spice jars to complete the spice drawer organization project.

I was weak and broke down and got Mirror Image an orange chicken bowl from Panda Express on Friday.  I don’t know how I lost my resolve but there it is.  I can say, she was particularly quiet on the drive home.  All I heard from the back seat was chewing and sighs of contentment.

For fun, Mirror Image organized her room (trust me – she loved it) and made a cake for us for Valentine’s Day.

So my budget came in a little lower than planned but not because of great money management. But I will take it!

Thrifty Image Mirror