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

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

Procrastination and Finances

Procrastinators Unite Tomorrow

I spent a lot of money and time in February getting some areas of my home organized.  My bathroom closet, craft and laundry supplies cabinets and new spice drawer are now functioning in a way that makes my time spent in those situations much better.  I will admit when I checked my Mint account and tallied how much I spent, I was a little affronted. That did not last long. I used money, in this case wisely and frugally, to achieve more peace in my home.  I am pretty sure that should be in the Top 10 of what money is to be used for.

That being said, by diving into home organization, I completely stalled on some other goals that I had planned for myself by the end of February.  March 1 is bringing a reckoning…

Below is a list of goals that I have put off and my musings as to why:

Finalize my will and trust and have notarized

  • Not done because I will obviously live forever
  • Not done because the notary I plan to use is a co-worker and she is out on short-term disability not to return until March 7. There are no other notary public in the world (even though I am a licensed one myself and have access to a listing of notaries).

Move my funds from current accounts to a Betterment account that I created A YEAR AGO

  • Not done because I have not had time (although I did start a blog, organize several areas of my home and caught up on the entire first season of Legends and The Expanse in that same year)

Reach out to a handyman service to arrange for attic project (clean and insulate)

  • Not done because of being genuinely perplexed as to what to do with all the items that are in the attic while the project is getting done.  The attic is huge and anything that comes done will overflow any space downstairs that is is temporarily relocated to.  Plus, I don’t want all that stuff to go back upstairs anyway.
  • Not done because because it is an $1100 commitment to pay the handyman for the project. I am hesitant.

Move Mirror Image’s College Fund from the current account to the Maryland 529 College Plans 

Not done because I haven’t gotten an answer on monthly contributions which takes into account the fund to fund transfer.  The website tool, while helpful, doesn’t completely answer this.

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” ~ William James

None of these are good excuses.  Just excuses. So, while February has finished a little light on certain goal accomplishment, many other goals were accomplished and March is giving me a new opportunity.  I anticipate the following mixture of financial and non-financial goals to be accomplished in March:

  1. Make dentist appointment
  2. Contact and pay handyman service for attic clean-out
  3. Have trust and will notarized
  4. Finalize Maryland 529 application and start the funds transfer process*
  5. Travel to Orlando for a work conference
  6. Spring clean in advance of having family over for Easter dinner

And, by the way, I am doing a 30 day vegetarian challenge this month, too.  I anticipate this will be the best March ever!

Thrifty Image Mirror

 

*I want to transfer funds from the current account to get the State tax deduction as well as to be able to see this account on Mint. Currently, the Private College 529 is not supported by Mint.

Weekend Money #3

Girl Sitting on Money

This morning, as I was leaving the house to take my daughter to school when she pipes up “it’s Friday!  What fun thing are we going to do this weekend?”

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) = $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

Groceries – I don’t need too much in terms of groceries this weekend – fruit, fresh veggies and milk from Aldi. My freezer is already stuffed with ground turkey and lobster tails – the ingredients for some of Mirror Image’s favorite recipes.  I will be using those lobster tails for Valentine’s dinner on Sunday.

Gas – I read that gas got down to $27 per barrel on Thursday.  The lowest it has been since 2003. I am looking forward to feeling that relief at the gas station.

Dollar Tree – Mirror Image has been watching me tackle organization projects throughout the house all week.  Last night, with the help of these awesome spice jars from IKEA, we almost completely organized our kitchen spice situation.  That is until I accidentally knocked by brand new label maker into the sink.  I tried drying it out in rice overnight but I think it is dead and I will have to replace it. She was very helpful and so impressed, she asked if we could do the same in her room – “but make it look cool” .  I think we will start with some of these organization tools from the Dollar Tree.

Restaurant – Not this weekend.  We will be enjoying these restaurant worthy recipes at home however – The 10 Minute Perfect Broiled Lobster Tail and  Stuffed Peppers with Cheese.

Prescriptions – This week I need to pick up Mirror Image’s back up inhaler for school.  Schools in our County do not allow the students to carry medicine of any kind so she must register her medications with the Nurse and there it stays in case of emergency.  Expensive but necessary.

Fun – As for fun stuff.  It is going to be COLD here this weekend.  I would would like to stay in with cozy slippers and house cleaning projects and watching movies rented from the library this weekend but Mirror Image might rebel.  Maybe we will take advantage of one of the Groupons I have tucked away.  If we do, there will be no additional costs except the medical attention I will late need for frostbite.

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

Thrifty Image  Mirror

Cleaning Up for Financial Success

Cleaning

This is the time of year for listing and embarking on goals for the new year.  Eat better.  Save more.  Exercise. These are all important goals but this is not that kind of post.

This weekend, the Thrifty Image household is embarking on one of it most exciting yearly projects — cleaning up after the holidays!  What, this doesn’t excite you?

We are taking down the tree, wrapping up the ornaments, getting the last of the presents up from the festive floor in the corner and into the appropriate closets and drawers and then…the work really starts.

I have found the post holiday cleaning ritual helpful as a clean break from the frenzied but fun pace of the holidays, and a helpful level set to the nesting and preparation and contemplation of the new year. I have found that breaking out the cleaning caddy full of gloves, rags, polishes and cleansers gets us closer to what we have.  Scrubbing the bathroom floor on your knees lets you find that diamond earring that fell under the radiator.  Cleaning the underside of the window blinds alerts you to any drafts coming through gaps that you haven’t noticed before. Dusting your home office (where you threw the excess stuff that didn’t have a home as you prepared for Christmas guests) allows you to start eyeing your financial paperwork as you start thinking about tax preparation.

Largely, though, cleaning gets you up close and personal to your possessions.  And once your get personal, your can have some important personal conversations:

  • To the missing blouse you found under the bed I have missed you.  I am glad you are back in my life again.
  • To the junk you put aside so that you could donate it but never got around to said donation It has been fun but, I am moving on.
  • To that diamond earring you found – You are so pretty, I know someone that would be a perfect match for you.

Using what you have (no need to purchase another!), giving away what you don’t but that could be a blessing to someone else (tax break!)  and putting your stuff  in order (declutter!)  all work together for financial success.  And, or course, a clean house is a healthy house which equals not spending unnecessarily on medical visits and possible medications. It’s a clean thing!

Are you ready to bust some suds?

Thrifty Image Mirror