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 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!


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.