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Being Thrifty

March 16th, 2008 at 09:43 pm

I suppose it would be a good idea to back up my frugal housewife name. When I say frugal/thrify, most people seem to think "cheap". Those are two totally different things. I do several things that might not save much and others that save more.

A few of the minimal savings things are sending dh's lunch in reusable containers and not ziploc bags. We also use cloth napkins instead of paper. I have started making many of my cleaning supplies. Vinegar and baking soda do a better job that more expensive cleaners, and there are no unpleasant fumes to deal with.

I think some of the bigger money savers are serious meal planning and eating at home. I also hang out the laundry. Our used dryer is rarely used. I plan my washing schedule around the rainy days. I also use coupons as much as possible.

Other thrifty doings I will save for future posts. I suppose many of the things that I do to save a bit of money would be unthinkable to some people. That is fine since I am sure I would feel the same about things they do.

Each of these things allow me to add the housewife part to my title. I know I am blessed to be able to do this. I enjoy it and do not want to trade my current lifestyle for debt and a bunch of stuff.

The Budget

February 18th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

I love that I can view dh's paycheck online several days before he receives. I use Excel to do a monthly budget. In Dave Ramsey fashion I designate where the money will go before we get it.

We are getting a bit more breathing room since we have been doing this almost a year. I was able to up our eating out fund a bit. I am trying to up the amounts going into our Life Happens accounts (car repair, medical, dental, etc). This is another area to focus on when the debt is paid off.

My question is: do you consider your emergency fund to cover serious emergencies or "life happens" type of things? I am thinking that the emergency fund should be for dh losing his job or being out of work for an extended period. I guess that is my reason for wanting to totally leave it alone and using our "Life Happens" account for more minor stuff. I was curious what other people think though.

A Job is Not Fun

January 15th, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Okay, I knew this but after six years as a housewife I had forgotten how not fun a job truly is. I keep focused on the paycheck I will get at the end of the month and the larger one at the end of February.

Unfortunately I do not have much extra money this month to add to the debt. Looking at the bright side though the February payments will be much better.

Another downside of a job is I do not have the free time that I did before. I am keeping up with the other blogs but not posting much. I only have 17 days left though, and I can happily get back to my frugal housewife status.

Spending

December 11th, 2007 at 08:48 pm

Well I will learn to go to the doctor sooner. My bill (meds & all) was only about $50. He said that I was very close to developing pneumonia, which would not have been a good way to celebrate the holiday season. I am feeling a little better although I am still being lazy.

The spending comes in with my need for new printer cartidges. I did get refurbished ones and clicked through MyPoints. I am also going to go ahead and other tax software so we can get those done at the beginning of January. My car needs a tune up, but dh can do that himself so it will only cost parts - paid for out of our car repair fund.

Hopefully the rest of the month will be less spendy, but I will not hold my breath. On a positive note, dh will get his bonus on this week's check. Even with the extra spending, we will have $300+ extra to put toward the loans.

Still Here & Trying to Stay Positive

November 15th, 2007 at 04:38 pm

I have not posted much lately mainly because I have little news to share. We are still working on paying down the debt. I am just frustrated that it is taking so long. Ever extra penny is going toward the loans, but I do not feel like we are getting anywhere. I know we are making progress. I think we are both simply ready to watch a total go up instead of waiting for one to come down.

I started working on the December budget. We have decided to increase the gas budget. With the increase in price, we cannot make it on the current budgeted amount. I decided to decrease the grocery amount for the time being. My goal will be to use up the pantry items and watch the sales to help restock. I am just glad we have a plan to handle all of this stuff now. It makes it easier even if it is not pleasant.

I Adore My Slow Cooker

October 30th, 2007 at 09:23 pm

I use mine two to three times a week in the fall and winter. I love being able to throw some things in and have a delicious meal at the end of the day. It is wonderful for those days that I might be tempted to plan to eat out. The area I live in really does not have great restaurants or eating out might be a nice treat. It does not hurt that cheaper cuts of meat come out of the slow cooker tasting just as good as more expensive cuts. I end up with a good meal with very little work, which is always great!

Estimating Electric Bill

October 20th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

Thanks to Ima Saver I am in the habit of reading my meter. If the electric usage stays the same for another week, the bill should be around $75. I think this is pretty good considering how old the house is.

Many of you have suggested flipping the breakers on items when not in use. My house is extremely old though, and the panel box has these huge fuse thingys (my technical term lol). I can usually pull them out but getting them back in is another story. Changing all of that is on the list of home improvements when we remodel. For the time being I am stuck with things having to stay on at the panel box. I try to compensate in other ways though and find our power usage now is about 1/3 that of our neighbors. I will be in under budget though and hope to have $25 extra to add to the debt payoff.

Electric Bill

October 7th, 2007 at 09:02 pm

The electric bill dropped this past month. It was $5 more than I had estimated, but it was for 33 days rather than the normal 30. I figured up that it costs about $2.87 per day for electricity in our home. I have to say that next to indoor plumbing, electricity is my favorite thing. I guess if I had lived before there was such a thing I would have been happy. Since I do know about it, I am miserable when the power goes out for an hour....okay a few minutes is all it takes to drive me crazy. It would be nice to get that down to $2.50 a day this month. I will have to check the meter later and see how it is going so far.

Insurance Changes

October 3rd, 2007 at 04:11 pm

Dh's workplace put out the insurance options last week. Most of his coworkers were complaining that the premiums doubled. Thanks to our emergency fund and other savings we decided to increase our deductible. We will have a savings of $60 on the premiums from the current plan. Dh said most people were going with the lowest premium simply because they had no savings at all.

We have each only met the deductible once in about 10 years. Dh went to the allergist and met his deductible on the first visit. I met mine when I was going to the hospital once a week (literally). Otherwise we are fairly healthy. IF something should happen we have money saved up to handle the deductible.

We are going to build up the medical savings first and then add the extra money to paying off the debts. Every little bit helps!

Balancing the Budget & Other Stuff

September 11th, 2007 at 05:22 pm

Whew! I have spent most of the morning figuring out the rest of the bills that have to be paid and how much can go toward debt. It actually made my head hurt a bit and I ended up walking away for a few minutes. I came back with a clearer head and got everything squared away.

Here is a quick rundown of financial happenings here since I have posted last. Dh's bonus came to $147 more than expected so with $3 I was able to return all the money to the EF. The electric bill was $120 or about $30 less budgeted. I have about $300 between dh's bonus and saved money to add to the debt. I will update the totals after everything posts to the loans.

Basically I expected to have little or no money to add toward the debt this month. Obviously I am thrilled with have $300 extra. It helps to keep me going especially when I am tempted to buy something I do not really need.

Today will be No Spend Day #6 for this month. I am well on my way toward my goal of 15 NS days. For me that is the key to saving money and paying off this debt. I have been tempted to check out some clothing sales, but I want to inventory my closet and see if I need anything. That will be better than just mindlessly buying clothing because it is on sale.

My next financial focus is going to be on the upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas). I hope to estimate how much we will need for the holidays so I know how much more I have to save up. I want to do all cash this year and absolutely no charging or dipping into savings.

I think that covers everything recently. I do want to get back to posting more regularly as that helps keep me motivated and gives me a sense of accountability. Unless some unexpected expense comes up this month things should end on a positive note.

Catching Up

August 29th, 2007 at 08:38 pm

I seem to be playing catch up quite a bit lately. I was under the weather for a few days but am finally feeling better. I did some unnecessary spending today and stopped by Lowe's to pick up some fall flowers. The selection was not as good as I would have liked but I managed to find some mums. Fortunately these will come back each year so it was a long term gardening investment.

The past week has been more spendy than I like. The batteries in both vehicles quit so we had to purchase two new ones. Dh also had a tire to blow, but it was still under a partial warranty so that was only $40. He is going back to the doctor tomorrow to get more meds for poison (oak, ivy, who knows) and jelly fish stings that are getting worse not better. He is highly allergic to something in the woods, but he refuses to stay out of there.

On a bright note, none of the money has come out of the emergency fund. Although some of it has come from the extra that would have gone toward debt. Hopefully we will still have enough of the extra left to pay on the loans in two weeks. I really want to get the total under $7K.

Heat Index 115

August 10th, 2007 at 09:33 pm

I picked a very bad time to start checking my electric meter. I should start off by saying that I live in a part of the country where I am accustomed to high humidity. This might be pushing it though. It has been so hot outside this week that breathing is difficult. Currently we have an older house with only window units which are pretty much running 24/7. At this rate next month's electric bill will be double what I expect it to be this time of year. I guess the bright side is that since I am keeping up with how much electricity we are using I am also budgeting for it. I have estimated what the bill will be and can figure that into the budget.

Today is another no spend day for me. Other than a trip to the bank to make a deposit, I have been home. Dh and I had our budget meeting. We have set a goal to pay off the auto loan by the end of this year. That will most likely involve selling some stock which we have been discussing getting rid of anyway.

I do need to start a fund for vet care though, which may take a bit of money away from debt. Our newest addition will be needing shots soon and will need to be fixed sometime after the first of the year.

I am so looking forward to being out of this hole we have gotten into. Compared to others it is not bad at all, but it is frustrating nevertheless. I guess it is that frustration and desire that keeps me on track. Normal things that I would have just bought without thinking about I now leave in the store. Reading the other blogs really helps. I have gotten so many ideas and also great encouragement to stay on track. I can hardly wait to be debt free!

Summer Electric Bill

August 6th, 2007 at 10:03 pm

The electric bill arrived in the mail and it was $116, which is $16 more than I hoped. I do have extra money in the budget so I can do this with no problems. That does mean $16 less is going toward the debt though.

I believe it was Ima who had started checking her meter reading. I headed out to the meter myself and wrote down the reading. This month appears to be right on track with last month's use. I am going to adjust the budget for next month to $120. After that it should start to cool down a bit. When I am home alone, I can put off turning on the air until later in the afternoon. Dh has more days off now so that means the air gets run more. He does work out in the heat though so I can understand the desire to be cooler when he is home.

I am definitely going to keep an eye on the meter though and also try to find some ways to decrease the bill. We already use the energy saving light bulbs. I will start shutting the computer down at night to see if that helps any. I already dry clothes outside. I will have to research a bit for more ideas.