Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Update on my Back

So I went to the orthopedic office yesterday.  They compared x rays to those taken last year and my L5 S1 disc has degenerated more since the last xray.  I knew I had degenerative disc disease.  I was given some pain medication, steroids to calm the inflammation and muscle relaxers.  I go back in a month to see if I am better.  If not...............I will have another MRI to see exactly what is going on.  That will be probably $500 out of pocket.  At least that is what it was in 2012.    I was given a shot in the spot that hurt the most in my back, I think it was a steroid shot.  This is supposed to help......it has a little bit but will take a few days and up to a few weeks for the full affect.

I will see what the next month brings!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Called in Sick

This is the first time I have called in sick in over a year and a half.  What's wrong?  My back.  I had back surgery in 2013.  Things have been great until about 1 1/2-2 weeks ago.  I turned the water on to take a shower and it felt like my lower back just gave out on me, like it caved in.  And the pain returned.  I've been going to work every day since then and coming home and lying flat on my back on the bed with pillows under my knees and heating pad.  I've been using left over muscle relaxers from my surgery and even some dh's pain medication he has in case of kidney stones. I can not lean over the sink to wash my face, brush my teeth and forget picking up something in the shower if it falls.

I put the items I need in the shower higher up so I won't have to bend over and it still is very painful. right now as I type the pain is going down my left leg.

I called my ortho surgeon's office and got an appointment to see his physican assistant today.  I really hope this will blow over and that I won't need another surgery.

There ain't nothing remotely frugal about this post but I can say that reading blondeonabudget.com has gotten me fired up to rev up my savings while paying down our debt.

For those who believe in the power of prayer please pray for me this afternoon at 3:20.  I also do not want to go through another spinal MRI.  I thought I would lose it the last time.  I felt like I was in a coffin.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Black Friday Vent? Maybe Not!

So I know I blog about frugality.  I read other frugal blogs.  I am part of a closed facebook group, the Non Consumer Advocate.  I am nowhere near some of those wonderful people in my frugality but I still like to read it and glean some knowledge while possibly disagreeing with some of them.  But hey! It is America, isn't it?

Anyhoo.................many of my frugal blog buddies are against shopping Black Friday.  Okay, I have no problem with that IF that is what THEY want to do -or not do in their case.  But please let those who DO WANT to shop that day........do so and not heap a ton of guilt on them.

One of my facebook "friends" who I do not know made the comment that saving $45 was not worth her time to go out in the crowds.  And I say great for you.....however for many people on really tight budgets, the working poor who have to make their funds go as FAR as possible, that $45 may be just what they need to pay a bill or groceries.  We do NOT know the circumstances of our neighbors.  I am using the term neighbor loosely meaning anyone here.

Supporting local/small businesses is a WONDERFUL thing to do.  I myself have done so and plan on doing so in the future.  Having said that IF I were someone with very limited funds I may have to purchase my gifts at big box store or make them myself.  Sometimes small business owners have to charge higher prices due to time and costs to THEM to make these items.  Once again I have no problem with that.  It is expensive for them and they need to make a profit!  Again, I have no problem with small business owners and profits.  I have to pick and choose, according to my available funds, when to purchase with small owners and when to go big box or just plain retailers.

We need to give others the grace to use their funds as they see fit.  Yes we may think it is wasteful to buy that toy at Walmart instead of the vendor at the small business owner expo.  You may not want to support Walmart or Target or whoever.   That is for you to decide.  You may make all of your gifts and that is for you to decide.  You may buy all of your gifts online and that is for you to decide.  You may charge all of your gifts.  As much as I personally disagree with that.........that is for you to decide.  After all you, we, me all have to live with our decisions.  Do you want a credit card bill coming in January that you don't have the funds?  If not, start a Christmas account and put money aside every pay period to help offset the costs.

I hope no one out there thinks I am in any way degrading or being abusive here.  That is not my intention.  I just want us all to think before we make blanket statements on social media.  Remember we don't know the 'tone' of your voice with a post or tweet.  Most of us don't really know you so we have no idea you are being sarcastic or sincere.  We are all different.   We have different responsibilities, bills, concerns.  And some of us don't know whether we are going to able to afford Christmas at all no matter where, when or how we shop.  So no matter how we shop, whether mall, Amazon, or small business, let's try to give each other the grace space to make their own decisions on how to spend THEIR money and hopefully we all will agree to make room for those who are less fortunate than us.  And there are always those less fortunate than us.    BTW- I don't think we should Christmas is the ONLY time of the year that people need help but that is another post for another time.

Have a great Saturday.  We will be watching college football.  Let's go UNC Tar Heels, Appalachian State Mountaineers, the Irish of Notre Dame and Auburn!

image simplyblessed.heartsdesire.com

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Raleigh Christmas Parade

One way to be frugal at a parade is to bring your own drink.  Hence the mug of hot chocolate I brought from home.  Saves at least a couple of bucks.  It was COLD!

Here are a few pics from today and it was all FREE except our time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not So Fun with the Dentist

I had my 6 month cleaning today.  There is a tooth that they've been watching for some time now.  Well...........that time has come and I think they need to replace the filling.  No one explained to me what needed to be done.  I had to ask the appointment person what was going to be scheduled.

I DO NOT LIKE dental work at all especially something that requires me getting shots in my mouth and gums.      

And of course this was not something I was planning on spending right now.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

What Are Your MUST HAVE Items in Your Pantry?

Of course, everyone wants flour, sugar, butter and such but what items do you use regularly that the rest of us may not?

For me, I think Rotel or its generic is essential because I can use it in many recipes.  We love love love Mexican food.

Cheese is also a must and all kinds of flavors.  The sharper the better!

Do you have some peculiar spices that you love?

Do You Cook Everything From Scratch

Me, no I do not but have been leaning more that way since processed foods are NOT good for us, generally speaking.  Now.........for those who do let's use this example.  Do you think that cooking lasagna from scratch is cheaper than let's say Stouffers?  In the past I've been able to get the Stouffer's Italiano lasagna for $6.99 and it lasted the 2 of us 3 meals.  It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that I could not buy all of the ingredients for that price.  What do you think?

This is homemade and quite delicious!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What Would You Buy if You Only Had $90 to Spend for 2 Weeks of Groceries?

Let's pretend that all of your bills are paid.  You have enough toiletries to last for the next two weeks.  After budgeting for gas money you realize that you have exactly $90 left to last the next 2 weeks and the only thing you really need is groceries.

Let's also imagine that you have the basics on hand, you know.........salt, pepper, butter, etc............what would you buy to fix 2 weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners for 4 people?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Grocery Haul

After church we stopped by Kroger and picked up our groceries.  We bought a big package of pork chops, bacon, sandwich meat, grapes, loaf of bread, 18 eggs, gum, potatoes, chip dip, spring mix for salads, peanut butter, tea for iced tea(hello this is the South!!), yogurts, coffee filters, a lemon pound cake mix, 2 packages of sliced cheese (provolone and white cheddar), bananas, chili seasoning, chili beans, 2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce, Crisco shortening sticks and a pound of ground beef.  This all cost $55.50.  We used 2 coupons to save a total of $4.00 plus many of the items we bought were on sale.  We saved a total of $13.76.

Here is a pic of the grocery haul

This is what we had for lunch today.  Homemade chili.  It's quite cool today in North Carolina.  In fact our mountains got 6 inches of snow!!!  Sweet!!!

the price of this chili is not bad.  The tomato sauce was .29 cents a can x 2 cans, the chili beans were .50 cents a can, the seasoning was .69 cents a packet.  The most expensive item was the ground beef that I bought a few months back from the farmer's market.  This pound of beef was quite expensive at $8.00 a pound.  I know,  way too expensive but I gave into the idea of supporting our local farms.

the finished product with a dollop of sour cream and some shredded cheese.

This stuff was very good if I say so myself!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Retirement...........the Next Great Adventure?

Personally I do not want to work full time to age 65 or 67.  I would dearly love to be able to retire and possibly work part time.  Our home will be paid for in 2017.  We have a small loan to pay, (remember our a/c and furnace replacement from this summer) as well.  My plan for the upcoming year, 2015, is to put as much into savings AND pay off the small equity line loan.

I was thinking today that my priorities are going to give to God, save and pay bills.  I would like to save an additional $2000 before the end of this year.  This will require me to be disciplined.  A trait that does not come naturally nor easy to me.  Trust me................I can make $ disappear faster than a speeding bullet.

I want a simple life going into retirement and plan on continuing that lifestyle once I do retire.  I want my time to be MY time not someone else's.  I want to be able to volunteer at soup kitchens and places like that but they only have available times during the week, during the day.  And of course I am working then.

Any of ya'll retired?  I bet you like it if you retired on your own terms!!

We are by no means ready for retirement, at least money wise.  For sure we don't have the millions of dollars that so called experts recommend.  DH knows of a couple that is retired but they live simply, drive older cars and seem to really enjoy their retirement life.  I don't know if they have the $$$ but I think they live the way they want right now.  Not extravagant and not miserly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It It's Wednesday it Must be Colonoscopy Day

This is how we started the day.  DH had his 10 year colonoscopy.  Everything went well, thank the Lord

Then we went to The Pit for lunch:  yes I know he just had a colonoscopy but hey he said he could handle it!

The pit serves North Carolina barbeque!  

Then we went here:

Bath and Body Works where I spent $10.46 for 3 trial size and 1 full size item.   Not too shabby

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Judy If You See This

I hope you and your family are doing better. I sure miss reading your blog as I learned a lot from you.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Frugal Fun Sunday Afternoon

We have a friend who has his own business, Charlie's BBQ and Grille,   Excellent food, if I say so myself.  Today he threw a customer appreciation celebration at Lake Benson Park!

We had pork barbeque, potato salad, green beans, hot dogs, hush puppies and drinks.  There was a clown making balloon animals for the kids along with face painting and a blue grass band.

And it was totally FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  How's that?

DH in black and Charlie in orange

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Loreal Mascara and Too Faced Lipstick Review

Ok so one of these products is a frugal product and the other is not.  These are 2 products that I recently found and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them both.

I have very dark brown hair and very fair complexion and according to the experts I am supposed to wear clear cool colors.  Like red.............................well sometimes I feel very self conscious in bright colors so I am always on the lookout for an everyday lipstick color and I found it with Too Faced in Pink Chocolate.The price is $22.  Definitely not Cover Girl but let me tell ya I've tried numerous colors in the past from drug stores and big box stores.  They look good in the package but I try them on and BAM I look horrible in them.  You can't try them on.  Darn.  So I found this and bought it and if they still have this color when I am out of it or if I can get a good deal then you betcha I will buy some more.
La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream
 This mascara is AWESOME baby!  I bought it at Target.  I think the price was  $8.99.  Now that may be too much for the super duper frugalistas out there but I don't think it is bad compared to other name brands.  I love the wand.  And ladies let me tell you my lashes look better than they ever have.  And they don't look ridiculous or gloppy or outrageous just awesome.

I say, run, don't walk to buy a tube and give it a try.  I think you will like it.
Notice how the wand looks.  I've never seen one like this before.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Can We Talk About Poo?

Shampoo that is................I've tried expensive and I've tried cheap and I gotta tell ya, I can't tell the difference.  Can you?  I beg to differ with Oprah when she said she could.  She makes gazillions of dollars so she can afford to pay top dollar for something that goes down the drain but I can't.

This is what I bought today.
What brand do you use?  Do you spend a lot of money on poo?
I love Rosemary and Mint

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Aldi Rookie

I keep hearing how great the prices are at Aldi and I have gone there a few times.  I've never really been impressed.  However I found out that our town, Garner will be getting an Aldi soon.  I've really become quite impressed with Kristen @ thefrugalgirl.com.  She does alot of her grocery shopping at Aldi for her family of 6.  She even helped host a baby shower back this past summer and used.....guess what food from Aldi.  It looked wonderful but better yet it looked delicious.  

So in an attempt to get control of the grocery bills and to learn how to cook more from scratch because that is what Kristen does I am going to start shopping there more often and see how I do.  Her food always looks so yummy without being fussy so I hope, no I know I can do the same.  

Do you shop at Aldi?  Are there items you love, love LOVE and on the flipside are there items you hate, hate, HATE?

This little bit cost a tad under $20.  The most expensive item was the large frozen deveined and peeled shrimp with tails on.  It was $7.49.  I lost my receipt so I don't know the exact cost of each item.  
Lets'see I bought the shrimp, organic frozen strawberries, 3 bell peppers, bag of chips, bar of chocolate to make chocolate covered strawberries, cocktail sauce, horseradish and a bag to keep cold foods cold.

Oh well..................wish me luck!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scenes from Football Saturday in Boone, NC

See the rainbow?  In person it was really vivid and pretty

The team takes the field

We are surrounded by trees and mountains


More Tailgating

Cheese Fries at Macado's Boone, NC

Our Lunch Companion?

We were on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2007 when we beat Michigan at the Big House

Here comes the band through downtown Boone

Our Mascot

The Jones House, downtown Boone

The candy store inside The Mast General Store

and..........Mast General Store-no trip to Boone is complete without going there

The video is very short as it was for Instagram.  Saturday was homecoming and this is just a snippet of their music.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Our Day at Hill Ridge Farms, Youngsville, NC

We got to pick our own pumpkins during the hay ride!   Yep that's me in my living glory!!  Not