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Archive for March, 2008

Grocery Shopping

March 28th, 2008 at 04:18 pm

Today is the last day both dh and I are off until I start work so I dragged him grocery shopping. I did tempt him with a free meal thanks to a mystery shopping job before we went to the grocery store. I will admit that taking him with me has its pros and cons. He is a big help when I am buying a month's worth of groceries. He also tends to help me buy a bit more than we need. Some extras this trip are a new fish (Hector) who also needed a bowl to live in, temporary tattoos, funky yarn for my scrapbooking, and Grey Poupon (it was on clearance). Still even with the extras we came in $24 under my budgeted amount, and between coupons and sale prices we saved $37.01. That was enough for us to have a bit of fun while out shopping.

The best part is that aside from trips to a smaller grocery store to pick up fresh items throughout the next month, we are set on food. It might even last us 5-6 weeks. Planning out that many meals was a chore, but it beats running to the grocery store for a big shop every week. I can probably recycle this menu with a few changes (new meals) for the next two months while I am working too. I guess my challenge now is to see how long I can go without a big trip to the grocery store.

Computer Monitor Fading Away

March 27th, 2008 at 11:52 am

It is not exactly fading, but it does have an annoying short in it. The monitor is old since we got it two hard drives ago. Dh and I decided to splurge on a flat screen since we were going to have to buy a new one anyway. I spent a good part of the morning researching and comparing prices. I ended up with a 19" for $175 shipped.

I will not be sad to see the large one go since it takes up so much space on my desk. The cat, on the other hand, will not be happy as she uses the large area for a bed.

The best part is that we have cash to cover the cost. There will be no charging it and struggling to find the money before the bill arrives. Instead I charged it and will deposit the cash on my next trip to the bank and pay off the card when the charge appears.

Another Savings Goal

March 22nd, 2008 at 11:07 am

Dh announced today that he would like to start a fund for a new or newer ATV. I can tell we have come a long way. A year ago his thought would have been to take out a loan for one. Now we are going to save for that purchase. I need to find out the price range before I set a goal for this year.

I do not want to drop the other goal amounts down. We have agreed to save conservatively for the ATV until the EF is at $5000. I think we need a better financial safety net.

I used the calculator on CNN's article about the stimulus payments to find out what we would be getting. The majority of that money will go into the "life happens" fund to cover medical bills, car repairs, and the like. With those amounts maxed out, we will have more money freed up for other things. I hate to disappoint the government, but we will not be spending it on frivilous stuff.

New Goals

March 19th, 2008 at 07:57 am

First dh talked me out of my panic from yesterday regarding the house situation. It will be two years before we even think about building and a lot of changes can take place in that time.

In the meantime I set new goals for the full emergency fund and the house fund. I have already exceeded my initial goal for the house and am close on the EF. I decided to double both of those. The vehicle fund will stay the same since I am just making a set payment to that each month.

It is much more fun to watch totals go up instead of down. I start back to work part-time in two weeks. The bulk of that money will go into those two accounts. We are still looking for little bits of money to add to our savings. While the big amounts really boost the totals, those little amounts help too!

Surprise #2

March 18th, 2008 at 08:52 am

Ok so if things happen in threes, I am due one more surprise for today. I am not sure I can take another one though. The second one is that we will (most likely) not be able to build a house. It is not due to funding but instead to zoning laws. We do not live in or anywhere near a subdivision and instead are out in the country. Long, ugly story short we have to have more land than usual to put a house on. I had a nice little cry and am trying to search for the silver lining. We can do a cosmetic remodel to this house cutting the money needed by two-thirds. That means the extra two-thirds can go toward retirement and general savings. Perhaps not as good as a new house but what can we do. Hope is not totally lost until someone actually comes to view the land, but at this point I am not holding my breath. I am a pessimist at heart.

Bit of a Surprise

March 18th, 2008 at 07:27 am

I found out today that the teaching job will last twice as long this quarter as last. At first thought I was not exactly happy. Then I did the math and that helped ease the pain a bit. I will definitely be raising the savings goal amounts. I just need to sit down and figure out what a new reachable goal will be. I think that is a good problem to have.

Grocery Shopping & Food Bill

March 17th, 2008 at 06:54 pm

I went grocery shopping this morning and picked up several sale items. I go to two stores as one doubles coupons and ends up being cheaper on some items. I went a bit over budget but the snack cabinets were bare. Also some of the items were for an Easter cookout and others will last into next month.

Honestly with the rising costs I need to bump up the amount in the grocery budget. We eat three meals a day either at home or in the form of a packed lunch. I am looking forward to the garden getting into full swing which will help out with the bill.

I do some things to help keep the food bill lower. I am not brand loyal for most things. In general I will follow the coupons and the sale prices. We have chickens so eggs are free. We also get free meat since dh is a hunter. I mix my own 2% milk by combining whole milk and powdered milk. It is cheaper and tastes just as good. I also do freezer cooking. Even though I am home most days I do not want to cook a meal from scratch every day. Freezer cooking is more than casseroles. It is an easy way to have a homecooked meal on busy days.

Beginning in April dh will be in charge of cooking since he will be home while I am at work. That means easier meals which are a bit harder on the budget. I am hoping to get him more interested in light cooking so we will not turn to processed foods.

Being Thrifty

March 16th, 2008 at 02:43 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.

Debtfree Female Seeking $$ for Savings

March 13th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

First of all, thank you again to everyone who replied with good wishes regarding my debt free post. I am grateful for the encouragement. Being surrounded by people who complain that they have to be in debt and cannot afford to save gets old quick. I prefer the financial company here instead.

Now my thoughts have turned to how to quickly beef up the savings amounts. We will be putting a set amount each month into the three goal areas. Since we paid off the debt by seeking out other money, I want to do the same to up our savings amounts.

The first extra amount going in will be the state tax refund which arrived today. Initially we thought it would be needed to pay off the debt, but we can now happily put it toward savings.

Second going in will be money from some stock dh sold earlier this week. He had watched it drop over time from the purchase price. This week it reached the highest price in over a year so he decided to sell. I guess his decision came at good time since the price dropped today. This was our only attempt at the stock market. I really need to be more informed before jumping back into individual stock purchases. I also read a financial analysis that recommended selling stocks now. I do not know how much "stock" to put in that. I think we got out at a good time for us. That money will also go into the savings accounts.

My other financial goal is to blog more. I know that helped keep me focused while we were getting out of debt. I certainly want to keep that same intensity.

Debt Free!!!

March 11th, 2008 at 07:59 am

The payoff on the truck loan went through yesterday so dh and I are officially debt free! I was expecting some sort of confetti explosion, fireworks, sounds of heavenly angels. I have resisted the urge to run up and down the street yelling "we're debt free, we're debt free".

This will be the last post in the debt category and time to start a saving category. The plan is to put a set amount each month in the vehicle fund. The bulk of the extra money will go into the EF and house fund. Hopefully we can blow by the goals I set at the first of the year.

I do want to thank everyone here for your encouragement, ideas, and your stories. It is great to know that others are trying to be financially responsible and are faced with ups and downs of life.

Woo Hoo! Debt Free! Debt Free!

One Loan Down

March 5th, 2008 at 10:28 am

Dh paid off the loan on our piece of land today. That means that we paid off our 3 year loan in only 8 months!

I mailed off the last payment on the truck loan yesterday as we received a paper bill will the final amount. It should post by the first of next week.

I am amazed by the drop in our debt balance in a little over two months. I hope we can keep up that same momentum when we start saving.

See A Penny...

March 3rd, 2008 at 02:59 pm

Does anyone remember the following childhood poem?

"See a penny, pick it up,
All the day you'll have good luck"

At what point did it become "see a penny heads up and only then should you pick it up; otherwise you will be cursed from henceforth and forever"? I have found three pennies in the past few days that were in the wide open of parking lots. All of them were tails up. I saw several people pass right by them, look, and keep walking. Obviously I do not fall into the superstitious category. I also realize that it is only three cents. Over time I might only find 100 pennies, but that is a dollar. I wonder if those same people would pass by a dollar bill if George's face was kissing the asphalt. After all it is tails up. Hmmm....I might start spreading that bad luck rumor around to increase my chances of finding more paper money.

New $20 Challenge Total (pennies & paycheck): $1281.56

Cheaper to Not Payoff Debt.......Yet

March 2nd, 2008 at 12:09 pm

I finally received my paycheck for teaching and was going to pay off one of the loans. The problem was that if I mailed it, the payment would not be received in time to avoid further finance charges. No problem, I thought as I headed to the website. An online payment costs $15 though. If I wait one week, I will have two weeks for the payment to post and will only get another $2.50 worth of interest. By waiting a week I can keep $12.50. I guess they are trying to make up for the interest they are going to lose since we are paying off the loan a year early. I am getting better at this patience stuff though so I will wait!