Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning, Coupons and Shopping Apps

Do they go hand in hand?  Do you make a meal plan then shop accordingly or do you shop the sales and make a meal plan from what you purchased?

I think both have their pluses.  I know that some people make really detailed plans and shop ONLY for those items to make sure they have 3 meals plus snacks and drinks  a day.  I also know some people really shop to restock their pantries because they know what their family likes and eats.  

This brings me to coupons and shopping apps.  Do you coupon?  Do the stores in your area double your coupons?  Do you use any type of shopping apps?  Budget Girl, a youtuber that I highly recommend you watch, price matches at Walmart using a program called Deals to Meals.  Now the Walmart in my area does not price match.  They do offer a price catcher that promises to check their rivals to see if they offer a cheaper price and if they find a product cheaper then you get that credit and you can put that credit on a Walmart e gift card.


Image result for deals to mealsImage result for walmart savings catcher 


So is there method to your madness?








Speaking of Prepping

So this post will most likely turn some folks off while perhaps intriguing others.   I mean no disrespect to anyone as I am a total newbie to this whole way of thinking.

Like I said previously, I attended my first Carolina Preppers meeting recently.  It was very interesting and quite eye opening to actually meet someone who is a prepper.  Of course, one meeting really isn't enough to form an opinion one way or the other.  I wonder if any of them are like the folks on Doomsday Prepper.  I would watch that show and just be amazed at what lengths people will go to to be "prepared".  But prepared for what?  They all seemed to be preparing for some kind of cataclysmic event that would take over the country and cause mass chaos.  So this got me thinking.  What kind of prepper do I want to be and how do I accomplish that?

Perhaps I am living in rose colored glasses but I think most events will be either financial-like someone in your family lost their job or a natural disaster.  Here in central NC that can be a tornado or hurricane-yep hurricanes can still be hurricanes here in the central part of the state as it's only 2 hours from the coast.  Maybe a snow storm that cuts our power for a couple of days.  Those types of events.  I have no idea about EMP's or what exactly they are except they can cause wide range power outages if the grids are attacked?  Do I have that correct?

Anyhoo.............here goes.  A financial disaster can only affect your family or maybe the entire country if another recession or depression happens.  Are you prepared?  Am I prepared?  Have we paid our debt off?  If not off, how far down can you go?  Do we any funds put aside if the spouse loses their job or heck if we lose our jobs?  Have we built up our pantries with foods that our family will actually eat?  It's great to go buy boxes of freeze dried food but if your family won't eat them then you are stuck and out of money.  Do you routinely keep multiples in stock?  I like to be using 1 item while having at least 1 in the pantry waiting to be used.  Do you stock on medication like OTC drugs?  Can you stock up on prescription medication without hurting your health?  By that I mean stocking up without shortchanging what you are taking now.  My insurance only allows a 30 day supply so it is hard to stock up on prescription drugs.  Do you, like Meg mentioned, stock up on water?  Do you stock up on a few fun things like cake mixes?  Cake Mixes?  What the what?  Well...........if you are in the middle of a financial crises a cake mix can help by affording you the opportunity to celebrate an occasion whether it be a birthday or anniversary.  It always helps to be a little festive and thankful whilst in the midst of a crisis.  Do you shop all year round to be able to provide gifts for various occasions?  This can be a huge money saving idea.  Stocking up on sodas when they are a great price can also be a help during these types of celebrations-note this is only for those who drink sodas.  Sodas can be quite expensive and always seem to be very expensive just when you need them the most.  Do you have enough in your pantry to not only feed your family but maybe, just maybe be of help to a neighbor?  I'm not talking about being the culdesac grocery store but maybe you could spare a few cans of veggies or canned meat to help your neighbor who is in worse shape than you.
Do you have alternative ways of cooking?  This will be a major help during times of storms and power outages.  We have a regular grill out back, a camp cookstove and a very small gas grill that we take when tailgating for Appalachian State football games.  I have a huge supple of those small those small green cylinders of gas-Lord I can't think of the name right now!  Propane!  That's it!
Do you have a way to provide light?  We have loads of candles but also oil lamps.  Oil lamps are great for lighting up a room.

Not to mention fire arms.  Now if you don't want firearms don't buy any but if you do want to be able to protect yourself-do you have a firearm and do you actually know how to shoot it?  I mean it's great to have a gun but if you don't know how to shoot it PROPERLY then you've done yourself no favor at all.  In fact I think you've put yourself in more danger.  Just imagine if an intruder comes into your home and you are trying to get load your gun and you are struggling.  Well that intruder can take it away from you and use it against you.  So if you want a gun, please be able to use it PROPERLY.  Take a class or take several classes.  Go to a shooting range to get comfortable with it.  And have the proper ammunition for it.  Like I said, this is only for those who want a gun.  I am not trying to start a debate and there will not be one here.

What if you are at work and can't make it home?  Do you have food in your cubicle that can feed you for a few days?  Do you have food and water in your car?  Do have you blankets in your car?  Do you have a way to jump start your car?  Do you keep a bug out bag in your car ready to be used in a minutes notice?

Do you keep a granola bar and bottle of water with you?  I don't know about you but my purse is big enough to handle these items.  I always get thirsty.
Do you have a small pocket knife on you?

All of the above suggestions are NOT what I consider to be out of the ordinary.  I think that they all can be useful.
So what kind of prepper are you?  Are you preparing for the EOTWAWKI or something else?

Image result for preppers
image:  freedom preppers

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Are You Still There?

It's been a minute since I last posted.  Nothing really excited to report from the ole' frugal homestead...........LOL!  I wish I had a homestead but I digress.


We've just been plugging along, paying more towards the car to get it paid off early, putting more money into an emergency fund because HELLO-we all know that Murphy will come along at the least affordable time, putting money into an account to pay for vacation.  Yes, you read that correctly.  This is where we diverge from good old Dave Ramsey.  We take vacations while paying off debt.  A big however-HOWEVER we pay cash for it.  Well we do charge the hotel room but I quickly pay that off the first day that I can which is usually the next day after arriving home. 


I've recently decided to put some cash in an envelope to keep at home.  I don't know how much cash we will accumulate but....this could come in handy if the power is out for any period of time and stores can't take debit cards and ATM machines are down.  Do you do this? If not, I urge you to think about it.  Yes I know that having cash around can be dangerous in more ways than one.  Firstly I may spend it but...........it is something I think we should do.


Speaking of preparing, I attended a Carolina Preppers meeting this past Saturday.  Now those folks are preppers.  I don't know if will ever be at their level or if I want to be at their level but it did give me something to think about.  They not only talk about it, they live it.  They practice by having camping weekends with no access to electricity etc..........I would fail that experiment for sure.  It's like I told this one guy- I do not want to be off grid.  That is not the kind of homestead I want but hey it is what he wants so more power to him.


I know it's a bit early but are you getting prepped for Fall?  I saw in Walmart this Heater Buddy contraption that I keep saying I am going to buy well I will buy one this year.  It uses those small containers of propane gas to heat a small room and they are safe to use indoors.  I've read many rave reviews.  I am not a fan of kerosene due to the scent of it so I am going to try this.


So how are all ya'll?  Anything exciting going on in your world?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why I Want Out of the Rat Race

My husband just called me at work.  The wife of one of his good friends is in the hospital needing a liver transplant and it does not look good.  They've been told nothing else can be done.  The family has petitioned the transplant team to reconsider their decision.  From what my husband told me, she's only been retired about 5 years.  Wow!!  You work so hard to be able to enjoy your later years and this happens.  Now I know it happens to many people.  Some people don't even have the 5 years she has enjoyed but it has me really thinking.


This is why I want out.  I want to be able to enjoy my life.  I am not expecting to be able to travel all around the world or spend extravagantly on jewels and cars and houses.  I really want a simple life and being able to do what I want when I want and not have to plan everything around my employer's schedule.  I want to be able to get in the car and drive to the mountains or beach.  Yep we are lucky like that.  North Carolina has both and we are centrally located so it isn't a bad drive either way.  I want to be able to help others out without feeling like I am putting my department in a bind.  I want to wake up when I want to and not to the sound of the alarm clock.  I want to be able to run errands during the day, not when I am dog tired from work and in crowds of other folks who just got off as well.  I want to be more involved with my church and other ministries.  Especially those who help the working poor or pregnancy life homes 


Five years really isn't enough to be able to enjoy all of that.  What she and her family are going through right now is so sad.


Please pray for Helen and for her family.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I Don't Know How Much Longer I Can Take IT

I looked at my retirement calculator at work and according to it I still have to work 7 years, 11 months and 3 days for me to be eligible for insurance at retirement.  Honest to goodness I don't really know if I can last that long.  Everything and I do mean everything gets on my last nerve.  We have only 1 debt and that is my car payment.  It is just over $14000.00.  There is a part of me that wants to throw every red cent to it to get rid of it but............there is this other part of me that also wants to save as much as possible since we've we so bad about that for so many years.


We could make it on the hubster's salary.  It would be a real stretch but we could do it.  He is not so fond of that idea if you can relate. 


I'm just so ready to throw in the towel. 


What would you do?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Being Organized Can Be Your Best Frugal Strategy

What the what? Better than coupons?  Better than turning off the lights when not using them?  Better than not going out to eat?  Well a resounding YES and here's why.  This past weekend I finally got so tired of opening our cabinet/pantry doors and not knowing what is in there or have it falling out.  So I went to the Dollar Tree and bought some lovely lime green boxes( yep I spent some money to do this!) and started to clean them up.   The finished product is much better looking and organized.  I tried my best to have like products together so I won't have to spend a ton of time looking for things.  This is a major plus.  The downside you ask?  Well let me tell ya'll I threw away a lot of things like canned goods and such that were so far out of date that they could possibly kill us if we ate them.  I was really disappointed in myself for letting it get to this point.  Money literally being thrown away.  Bye bye! Hasta lavista baby.

Had I been organized these items would have been used or at least donated to a food pantry if we couldn't use them.  Even if used coupons and got great deals, I still ultimately lost because they were thrown away.  So that was my light bulb moment.

Below are pics of what the cabinets look like now.

This cabinet holds the many bottles of Penzeys spices  



This cabinet holds some canned goods plus a few odds and ends

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Fun Frugal Day (Well MostlyFrugal)

So tomorrow I go back to work.  I would really like to stay home a few more days but alas I must go back and face the music!  LOL.  Hope no banjos are playing if you know what I mean.

Today we did a couple of things that were totally free.   Well if you count the gas it took to drive there it wasn't totally free but we didn't have to pay anything else.  The RDU International Airport and Umstead Park are pretty much on the other side of the county from where we live but we ventured out today and went to the Observation Deck at RDU, then we went to Umstead Park.  Umstead is part of the state parks system in North Carolina and right here in Raleigh.  It's beautiful and great to go especially during the week when it's not so busy.

The cake.........well that wasn't free but it is delicious.  We also visited the Hayes Barton Pharmacy Cafe for dessert afterwards.









If you are ever in the 5 Points area of Raleigh, be sure to visit the Hayes Barton Pharmacy Cafe.  It's old school and plays old time music.  It's really neat.  Plus it isn't a chain, it's a local business so it is always good to support the local peeps.