Sunday, December 29, 2013

No Spend January Challenge

So I've gone off of the deep end and joined the no spend for January challenge via livingwellspendingless.com.  I've always considered doing something like this but never actually jumped in.  Lord only knows if I will succeed.  We are allowed to make our own exceptions.  I mean, you know you have to pay your bills, put gas in the car, and grocery shop.    Now I am not going to be challenge police as to what folks buy at the grocery store.  I mean really who am I to tell someone one that they shouldn't have bought that can of Campbell's soup or box of crackers.  Even chips or Coke.  If they have the money to pay for those items then go for it.  I mean if you are cracking down on your spending then you are only hurting yourself because the money spent on those items could be used to purchase real food.
I did ask the facebook crew what they thought about my haircut I have scheduled for mid January.  Scheduled it before deciding to jump in.  It has created a somewhat lively discussion.  Surprisingly most are saying to keep it.  I have not yet decided what to do.  I usually have a very short style but have been considering letting it grow some.  I look much better with short hair as long hair makes me looks old old old. 
Oh well..................dh and I will be going out to eat on New Year's Eve.  We are going to the hockey game.  I told him today that we can't go out to eat for a month.  He was quite surprised!! LOL

Any of you guys ever done this kind of thing?  Did it go well?  Did you save a lot of money?  Did the lessons you learned then still apply today?  Are you still as careful?

image courtesy of livingwellspendingless.com

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Whew!! Glad this week is over

I only worked 2 days but those 2 days were the same as 5.  I don't about ya'll but I am ready for a regular schedule.
This morning on a walk, yes this overweight 52 year old fatty went for a walk,  I was listening to Nancy Leigh Demoss on Revive Our Hearts pod cast via my Iphone.  I was listening to the series on hospitality.  That hospitality is not an event but a lifestyle.  Hmmmmmm..........gives me a lot to think about.  I don't think my lifestyle reflects that.  Before anyone gets all torn up about this.  She let someone share that they were once told it is not what you do or give or make but HOW you do it.  How your attitude is.  The example was a woman who had a bowl of popcorn, not some extravagant meal, but she shared it with the girls she was mentoring and explained how a simple bowl of popcorn can be hospitable. 
I know that I've declared the year of 2014 to be a frugal one for me but I think I will add a hospitable one as well and see what God has in store for me. 

Look out Martha Stewart!!   Just kidding!!

image by livingwellspendingless.com
                                                             

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2014 The Year of Living Frugal, Simple, Smart, Intentional is getting nearer...............

am I ready?  Yep I am.  Are you ready?  Have you done anything to jumpstart?  I've kind of stockpiled a few items that I use every single day.  I will be going through stuff to purge all of that mess we have accumulated. 
Have you made out a budget?  On paper or perhaps in your head? Are you going on a spending freeze?  Will you be putting down as much as possible on debt, or split that between savings and debt?  Are you going to forego celebrating occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings?  Or will you scale down these celebrations? 

Today is my first of 3 days off.  Went out and got dh 3 gift cards.  Now we just get to relax.

Merry Christmas Eve

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bah humbug

I like Christmas but since we won't be working a full week we still have to do the same amount of work if not more.  It was very stressful today.  I don't know if I can handle another day like this for a very long time. 
I always get a bit nervous/anxious spending time with my in laws.  I've always felt I didn't quite measure up to whatever whoever they thought their son would marry.  It doesn't help that I am overweight and my mil puts a lot of emphasis on looks etc...........
Well I have Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday off.  I will enjoy those days and hope to have a good attitude about going back to work on Friday.

I know, I know.......some folks don't have a job and I should be thankful.  That's hard to remember when you are stressed to the max.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Is it worth it to save 5% if your account got hacked? Or maybe I'll just pay in cash from now on!!

Let me tell you I love Target, yep little miss 2014 is the year of frugal living loves Target.  So much so just thinking of living frugally and simply and intentionally gives me the whillies since that means cutting some of the cords that attach me to Tarzay!! 
In deed, I love them so much I got the Target Red Debit card months ago.  It made me "feel" better that I was at least saving 5%.  That's something isn't it?  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not condemning folks who have the Target cards or those folks who use their debits cards in general. 
This debacle with Target has given me a lot to consider.  Target is not the first nor last company to be hacked by computer geniuses.  Fraud happens every single day, every single way.  Technology makes life easier it also makes it easier to scam us and steal from us.
I'm really thinking about going to a cash basis except for getting gas and paying my bills on line.  Yea I know you guys get great mileage points if you use Visa xyz or maybe your bank offers a program where you can "cash" in your points for gift cards.  But your account can't get hacked if you pay with cash.  Most folks I think are more careful with their purchases when they use cash rather than plastic, whether that is debit or credit.  Cash hurts the pocket, the wallet.  It gives you something to think about.  I have a tendency of putting my debit receipts in my wallet and let them accumulate.  Then holy cow Batman!!  Look at how much money I spent!!   A little here, a little there.  Before you know it I have less than $100 to last until pay day and I still have to put gas in the car and get some kind of groceries. 
I work in the financial industry.  Fraudulent activity is just so much.  So much we don't know. 

So I've got to decide if I want to continue using the debit card freely or go cash as much as possible.

What do you guys do?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Is it still cool to be frugal?

Go back in time a few years and it was way cool to be frugal.  The subject was on the news, there were videos on youtube.com, blogging exploded.  The economy was in the tank and so many people lost their jobs that they HAD to be frugal.  There was not other options.

Fast forward, things seem to be better.  I don't hear folks complaining about the economy as much. I don't see on the news stories of frugal shoppers.  I think some may think we are out of this mess.  Me?  I don't think so.  The so called growth is very very slow.  Charities in the Raleigh, NC, Wake County area are still being bombarded with folks requestion help.  If the economy is better, why are more needing help?

I say YES!!!!!!  It's still cool to be frugal.  I never was one of the cool kids but I think I am now.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Is the Year of Frugal Living All About Me?

Frugal/simple living is going to be ONE of my themes for next year.  What is its purpose?  Obviously one purpose is to save money, resources and maybe time.  Another purpose is to spend smart so I have more to give.  More to give to my church, to ministries that I think are doing awesome things.  Perhaps being able to help someone in need.  Watching my pennies will help accomplish those dreams.  Watching the pennies, I hope will help the dollars grow. 
Saving money, in and of itself is a good thing.  We need to be prepared for the future, for emergencies and I am not going to abandon that at all.  I am going to attempt to kill two birds with one stone.  The center of my universe is NOT supposed to be all about me.  Imagine that!!!  
I'm not suggesting that everyone follow this.  It is what I am trying to do.  I'm not sure how it will all work out.  I am going to pray and ask God to take away the desires for those things that just get in MY way.  To give me strength to withstand the urge to spend on frivilous things and use my money wisely.  You know that bible has over 2,000 verses that speak on the topic of money?  That's mind boggling to me.  I don't know about you.  To me that means that God wants to get his point across to us.  So far, I haven't done such a good job of listening to Him.  I hope to improve on that as well in 2014.  Heck!  I don't need to wait until then, I can start that part right now.
Please don't think I am preaching to ya'll.  I am really preaching to myself and letting you guys in on what's going on with me. 

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rumors of Layoffs Swirling Around-Happy New Year to us?

perhaps?  Not with my job but possibly my husband's.  He can retire with a full 30 years in 2015.  Now......this is conjecture at this point..........maybe they will offer him some kind of package.  Maybe he will keep his job or maybe he get's laid off with not much offered.  Anything, evidently, can happen at this point.  And when is this going to happen?  The only reason I know, I know someone who used to work in the department who handles these things.  So we have the possibility of having an interesting New Years and just in time for the Year of Living Frugally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here we go!!  Will it be a bumpy ride?  Tune in folks!!

I need help whittling down the grocery bill

There are only 2 of us.  No kids, no pets.  I've already declared 2014 to be the year of living frugally and this category is near the top of my to do list, as in, to do better.  Judy feeds her family of 4 on $200.00 a month.  Frugal Queen, well I don't actually know how much she spends since it is in British currency but it doesn't look like much.  I'm not a huge couponer.  Alot of that stuff we never buy and I don't want to buy something just because I have a coupon to save a whopping .50 cents.

We're not gourmet cooks by any means but dh does like to experiment with different foods, spices etc......some of those spices can get pretty darn pricey. 

We typically eat a LOT of chicken, basic veggies: green beans, corn, potatoes, those Green Giant frozen concoctions, salads ( we make these ourselves).  We do not have dessert with hardly any meals, once in a blue moon.  DH drinks unsweetened tea, I know we live in the South, but he is diabetic and can't have sweet tea.  I drink whatever, not usually water.  We will buy pork chops, ground beef at times.  I have to buy bacon as I think bacon should be its own food group. 

Ok, so do you guys make meal plans and buy for that or buy and make your meal plans fron what you bought?
Do you buy cleaning products and other assundries at the grocery store or do you go to Walmart/Target/Kmart? 

I keep seeing stuff about the "game" at CVS?  Folks getting tons of stuff for very little money.  Well that sounds good but once again, I'm sure coupons play a part in this and I'm not that good at the whole coupon thingy.  And I don't have tons of room for storage.

Right now, I do have a load of paper towels, bathroom tissue, body lotion, laundry detergent, dish detergent and some basic cleaning supplies to last for quite some time.

Where do I go?   Where do I begin?  It really is quite overwhelming to try to get this category under control.

Help!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hand Lotion Score!!

If you've read my blog for a time you know I am sensitive to so different products.  At any time I can have various reactions like an asthma attack, hives or just itchiness.  Once I find some products I like I tend to stick with them no matter the price.  I know that flies in the face of frugalism but as Uncle Si says, Hey!  that's the way it is Jack!!  I'd rather pay more than suffer. 
I use this hand lotion.  You can find it usually between 5.50 - 5.99.  Ulta sells it for 5.99 which I normally won't pay however I had a coupon for 3.50 off of a 10.00 purchase PLUS I had loyalty points that lowered the price for 6.00 more!!  Two tubes for a bit over 2.00.

Score!!

Watching the Army vs Navy game on the telly

Cooking up a pot of chili.  It's cold here in North Carolina today.   Cold and rainy.  I wish we had some of that snow that Philly is getting.  It needs to snow if it's going to be this cold.

How's the weather in your place and whatcha
 eating tonight?

Cheers


Your opinion on parties like Pampered Chef etc.........

I am part of the Life Team at my church.  Life Team encompasses all aspects of the Life Movement, not just abortion.  It would take a very long post to go into details but today I am going to a jewelry party.  The items sold at this party are made from people living in 3rd world countries who are trying to earn a living.  It isn't like sweat shops and poor working conditions.  Part of the proceeds from this party will help a family in the area who are attempting to adopt children from a European country who have Downs Syndrome. 
I don't have a lot of "extra" cash to use but I do want to buy something so I can be a help to this family.  This family does not go to my church but we are trying to help our community at large.
When explaining it to my dh I said it is like a Tupperware party but it has a purpose. 

Now just in general...............what do YOU do, dear readers, when invited to "regular" parties like these? Do you go?  Do you decline?  If you go, do you FEEL you HAVE to buy something? 

In addition to going I am also bringing some food items: croissants, orange juice and some brown sugar cinnamon butter and homemade blackberry butter. 

It's events like this, for next year, that I will have to weigh the pros and cons as I usually just go and buy something.

Whacha think?




Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2014-Year of Frugal Living

Ok, I got Judy, one of my fave bloggers on board for the 2014 Year of Frugal Living extravaganza.  I know there has to more of ya'll out there.
How do I plan on accomplishing this feat?  I'm really thinking about it.  I am planning on stockpiling on items as much as I can before the end of 2013.  Items like bathroom tissue, paper towels, laundry detergent, fabric softener, toothpaste, soap/body wash, body lotion, dish detergent for hand washing and machine.  I'm sure there are items I've forgotten but the reason I am doing this is:

  1. I have the money now to buy these items in bulk
  2. Buying as much as possible will keep me out of stores next year.  I don't know about ya'll but I can go to the store to get toothpaste and come out with a cart full of stuff.  All of which I think I need!!
  3. The money I won't be spending in 2014 will go to the old money market account. 
  4. I do have about $300.00 in credit card debt.  That will be taken care of when dh gets paid this month.


I can't really stock on food so much because I don't have a lot of storage for that.  I just have the freezer above the fridge, very few cabinets and a small pantry.  It really is the size of a small coat closet.  So I can't take advantage of great meat deals, although those don't really happen that often anymore.

A big issue for me will be staying out of Barnes and Noble.  I love love love books.  Yes I know I can go the library but I still buy books AND magazines.  Oh goodness do I buy magazines.
Another issue will be going out to eat.  I don't think that area will be cut out entirely.  See I'm not the greatest cook in the world and................my dh really enjoys going out once a week.  I don't think I can say no to that because he works 2 jobs and sometimes he just wants to unwind somewhere out of the house.  Now we can improve on how often we go out and which restaurants we go to.  I'd like to try some new ones next year.  You know the whole try local schmocal thing.  I think if we go out less then maybe we can afford some of the local establishments as they tend to be more expensive than chain restaurants.
And of course there is the groceries to buy.  That will need to be worked on.  Hey Judy, how in the world do you spend $200.00 a month for 4 people?  That is awesome!!!  We could use you at my church giving classes like you are now.  I'd sign up even though I am not in dire straits. 
I'm not a big coffee snob.  I will every once in awhile buy a mocha or latte.  I don't think I will have to give those up as they are few and far between.  In fact, I could before the end of 2013, get a gift card and use that for awhile into next year.
I will need to take my lunch to work EVERY day.  I average 3-4 days a week.  It's not always leftovers though, I tend to buy Lean Cuisines or Weight Watchers or Stouffers Mac and Cheese and that of course adds to the grocery expenses. 
Do ya'll make a menu plan and then shop or shop according to deals and make a menu plan from that?
I'm really annoyed with myself because I am 52 years old and really should have a lot more saved up but I'm through beating myself up over it, nothing I can about that now.  I can repent, which means to turn around, pick myself up and walk on.

Cheers!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Anyone with me on making the year 2014 the YEAR OF FRUGAL/SIMPLE LIVING?

Not necessarily cheap living but frugal/simple living.  Yes I do think there can be a difference between the two.  Cheap can mean, not always, but can mean buying based on price alone and not always caring about the quality.  Now on some things cheap is good.  For example, some generic grocery items are just as good if not better than the name brands.  Cheap workmanship is not so good. 
Although my savings account is better than it was this time last year, it is sorely lacking and I'd really love to have it multiply by the end of 2014.  I was reading a new blog I just found, midlifemommusings.com and she noted when she finally got serious about paying down their debt her husband got a bonus to pay it down. 
I will need loads of self discipline, will power and prayer to be able to do this.  I sure won't be able to do this on my own. 

Also as a question to you blogger specialists:  How do you get the bars to show up on your blog?  You know the bars that show progress?

Thanks!!
Lee Ann


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Am I a Scrooge?

Is this what I look like?  Is this what others think of me?  The older I get the less I want to exchange gifts.  I mean, I just don't need a lot of things at this point.  The things I do need.........I am fortunate that I can get them myself or at least I can right now.  It just seems that we are really exchanging money.  You spend $40.00 on me and I spend $40.00 on you.  We may or may not need or heck even like what we gave each other.  I love watching Christmas movies and looking at lights and such but the whole gift thing is just so old.......................

Does anyone out there feel the same way?  I can't be the only one. 

I'm not depressed, I'm not angry.  I'm just tired.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bucket List Update



Here's the good:

  1. Read the book:  Killing Kennedy.  A must read.  An excellent book
  2. Went to see a movie:  Last Vegas-very funny
  3. Savings account has a larger balance at the end of the month than in a long time!!
Here's the bad:

  1. I did not read the Bible or pray more
  2. Exercise?  What's that?
  3. No spend days?  What are those?
  4. Visit a fun place that is not sports related-Nope.  Happily football season for our alma mater is over as we sucked in a major way this year.  No playoffs for us.
Here's the ugly:

  1. nothing is really ugly
Upcoming:
  1.  Need to have the funds to pay property and car taxes and have the car inspected.
  2. I'd like to see at least one holiday movie at the theatre
  3. I'd like to visit one cool place to either see Christmas light displays or perhaps visit the outdoor ice skating rink in downtown Raleigh
  4. Pray more and read the Bible more
  5. Exercise
  6. Have Christmas gifts wrapped by December 15
OH well that is all I can think of for now.