Sunday, January 31, 2016

No Spend February ?

Do you participate in no spend challenges?  I know they seem to be very popular in February. I assume that's due to it being the shortest month. I know that some of you are great at only buying necessities while someone like myself needs more self control. I know dh would not go for it because he likes to eat out once a week. 
If you've done this challenge did it change your spending habits?

Class, Decorum is Free-A Different Type of Frugality

My husband works part time at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.  We joke he gets paid to watch hockey.  The arena is home to the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes and NC State Wolfpack along with various concerts and events like the circus and religious speakers.

Tonight was an appreciation party for part time employees.  There was all kinds of food and drink, all free to us.  In addition, employees received vouchers to attend 2 hockey games.  Sweet!!

I want to talk about what I saw tonight.  First off, this is a work party.  People, we have to keep that in mind.  I was surprised at some of the outfits that some ladies wore.  Before anyone accuses me of being old fashioned, I need to reiterate................this was a work party.  It wasn't in a club.  People very high up that corporate ladder were there.  I saw skin tight, barely covering their rears, and deeply plunging v neck dresses. I saw see through dresses strategically placed.   These left nothing to the imagination.  There has to be dressy dresses that are festive while classy.

It wasn't only the young ladies, some of us older ones were out there as well.

What this did for me personally is tell me I need to have at least one item in my closet that is really dressy. Either a dress or top, kind of sparkly that is appropriate to wear anywhere.  Sadly, my closet is very low on clothes in general, much less festive clothes.

These ladies may be the nicest people in the world.  I have no idea.  I do know that I saw more of them than I need or want to.  I wish we had more sense when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Oh was still a very nice event!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A Shoutout for Local Eggs

I bit the bullet and bought a dozen eggs at the North Carolina's Farmers Market. So many bloggers love them, especially I hope I love them as much and really hope I can tell a difference. 

While at the NCFM I also purchased 2 bars of soap and lip balm. These are made locally. 

I plan on making pizza for dinner but the crust won't be homemade as I don't make a good tasting crust. 

We got paid yesterday. I put extra towards the mortgage in addition to $700 in my emergency fund. I put a set amount aside in an account to pay for property taxes and homeowners insurance. 

Hubby is deciding if he wants surgery. He's a runner and his Achilles' tendon had caused him a lot of pain for a few years now. He's done all of the stretches and exercises. He's done whatever the doctors asked. He found out he has some kind of foot deformity. It appears that surgery is the next step. He has loads of sick leave so that is not a concern. We will be responsible for the deductible which I think is $1500.00. We have that, it's in the emergency fund but we can pay it. Then we are responsible for 20%. 

I'm trying to get him to dial back from wNting to make purchases for the home until this health stuff is taken care of and paid!! To me his health is a need and new curtains and sofa are wants. 

Do you put money in a fund specifically for medical or is it lumped in your emergency fund?

Oh and I also bought paprika at Penzeys and got free dried shallots and garlic!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Could I be a Mennonite?

I don't know quite frankly!  LOL.  Those folks work hard, especially the ones who take their faith seriously and live simple lives.  Now their type of simplicity is not all rainbows and unicorns.  It seems to me a lot of them have farms and grow or raise most of their own food.  Simple?  yes.  Easy?  Not one bit.  I would be so worn out at the end of the first day they'd probably kick me out of the group.

I guess frugality is second nature with them.  Probably not much need to coupon if you cook from scratch, make your own cleaning products and raise most of your foods.  The pictures seem so idyllic.  Rolling fields, beautiful farms, clothes outside on the line flitting about in the breeze, the smell of food wafting in the air.

When we were in Lititz, PA last June, we were centrally located to Amish country.  We did the usual touristy things like taking a carriage ride and touring a working farm.  But we also had dinner with a really nice older Amish lady and her son.  She put out a spread for us.  Food always seems to taste better when someone else makes it, doesn't it?

I think there are a lot of Mennonites there as well because we saw a lot of Mennonite churches.  I have no way of distinguishing them apart just from their clothing though.

I found a Mennonite blog that really makes me want to live like that..........then reality hits and I'm not so sure if I could hack it.

What about you?  Is there something, anything you'd like to do differently?  Live differently?  Live in another state or location?

I think I could get used to Pennsylvania.  It's my second favorite state!  Of course North Carolina is number 1!!

Dollar Store Hauls

I don't know about you but I am noticing a TON of videos on youtube about Dollar Store hauls.  It seems to be THE thing to do these days.  Don't get me wrong, we go to the Dollar Store at times and have found some great deals.  Some of those great deals were on food and yes the food was good.  We usually buy gift wrap, etc.............

I truly wonder if the people who make these videos use ALL of the items they purchase.  I mean you can only use so many calendars, storage bins, and the like.

I will say that some of the parties these ladies have put on using items purchased at a Dollar Store look really nice and cute, especially if you have children.  In fact, I may just go by and see what they have that is football themed.  I mean, come on, my Carolina Panthers are in the Super Bowl and we are tossing around the idea of a PARTAY!

I know the ctonabudget buys items at the Dollar Store but those are consumables.  So tell you shop at the Dollar Store?  If so, what do you buy?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Need Frugal Dry Skin Help

I use Curel and it does a great job however even in winter it's not quite enough.  I need something extra for my forearms and on my back especially between the shoulder blades.  I do use Aquafor some but it has such a greasy feel to it that it's not my fave.

What do ya'll use?

It's Not Maxwell House But It'sGood to the Last Drop

This tube looks empty doesn't it?  I've squeezed and squeezed until I can't squeeze any more. What's a frugal girl to do? Cut it open and clean it out that's what!  I know I'm preaching to the choir but maybe someone in blogville is new to frugality and need to learn some tricks. 

That tube costs $300. It treats my rosacea. I take that back. It has given my skin a new look. Yes it is worth the cost but I want to make this tube last as long as possible. I do the same for toothpaste and hand lotion. 

What tricks of the trade do you do to get that very last drop?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Scenery

Cold and icy here in central North Carolina. Here are a couple of pics of my morning. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Frugal Lesson Learned

The big snowstorm came to the Raleigh area and left.  Ice.  I don't get to stay home from work when inclement weather happens.  Nope.  I have to work.  We're told we can stay home but then there is a lot of pressure to show up.  Emails go out like crazy from management telling us how we don't close and  that we can stay in a hotel room, at their expense.  Nope, I am not a nurse nor do I work in the healthcare industry so it does get a bit disconcerting when this happens.  Employee safety does not seem to be a concern. frugal lesson.

I did not have lunch for today.  I opted to spend the night in a hotel but totally forgot to prepare a lunch for today when leaving home Thursday morning.  So........I need to come up with food items that don't spoil and that can spend time in my cubicle in case of need.  Thankfully, management did order pizza for everyone and it was yummy!

For those who work outside of the home, do you keep food in your cubicle?  If so, what kind?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Making Do with What I Have in the Pantry

I'm going to pat myself on the back here. It's still very cold here and that makes me want chili or soup or hearty sandwiches. 

Tonight's special is chili. I had some hamburger thawed so I cooked it. Drats! No chili seasoning so I improvised with chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, cayenne powder. Added those wonderful aromatic seasonings to the hamburger along with some chili kidney beans and tomato sauce. Let that simmer for a bit. Then drats again!  No shredded cheddar cheese so I shredded part of my block of Cracker Barrel. Bam! Problem solved. Then add a dollop of sour cream and it was good. 

What did you have for dinner?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Tasty Sandwich for a Very Cold Monday Night

It's quite cold here in North Carolina and I've been wanting to make steak sandwiches for some time now.  Originally I got this recipe from my mother in law-she was an amazing cook.  Well tonight I mostly used her recipe but tweaked it just a bit.

It served hubby and I each with 1 1/2 sandwiches tonight and each a sandwich to take to work tomorrow.

Cut sirloin tip steak in strips.  Cut up an onion and red bell pepper.

Put in a skillet some red wine vinegar, soy sauce and worcheshire sauce.  Add the meat, cook until almost done.  Add the onion and pepper along with some sliced mushrooms.

Now here some pretty tasty sauce-1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup horseradish (prepared), and 1/2 cup mayo.

Put some sauce on a roll, add the meat mixture and then add some cheese.  Tonight I used provolone whereas I usually use pepper jack.  Pepper jack adds a bit more zip to it!

All in all I'd say this is for sure a do over!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Your Thoughts on the Stock Market

I admit up front that I do not watch the news that much.  Nor do I read the daily newspaper.  But I think most of us have heard that the DOW is down something like 1400 points since the beginning of the year.  YIKES!

Many economic experts predicted an economic downturn to take place in the latter part of 2015.  I wonder if this stock market activity, or lack thereof, is an indicator of this so called economic downturn.

I'm not one to go all doom and gloom but it did kind of hit me today that maybe these guys were just off a few months in their predictions.  So let's just throw this out there:  suppose an economic downturn actually happens.  Am I ready?  Are you ready?  Is my pantry stocked?  Not really.  I mean it does have items but I couldn't live out of if for months on end.  What about water?  Do you have enough water for everyone in your family to last a week? And what about savings?  I'm still planning on paying down our car loan and mortgage but maybe put more into savings instead than previously planned.  I remember when the country was in the recession that Suze Orman kind of stepped back from advising folks to pay every extra cent to debt.  I believe, if I remember correctly, her reasoning was pretty obvious-to build up the savings account because people were losing jobs and homes left and right.

Does this news about the stock market make you sit and think about your financial plans?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Can I get an Amen?

Today is my Friday and I am so thankful.  I am off tomorrow.  I have a doctor's appointment but other than that I am free as a bird!  I think I really do feel the wind beneath my wings, err..........arms.

So anyhoo.................................I also get paid tonight at midnight and my raise will be included in this check.  The way I figured it out I will clear an additional $80, give or take a dollar.  So I have decided to start putting extra towards the car we had to buy in November thanks to our local wildlife.  If I am careful-and folks that can be a mighty big if-I can have this bad boy paid off by the end of 2016.  PLUS-we could possibly pay off our mortgage by year's end as well.  All of this will call for discipline, something I tend to lack but nevertheless it's giving me quite the excitement just thinking of having these two debts paid. 

I don't lie awake at night and worry about our money but let me tell ya, having those two debts at zero would be AMAZING!  Stupendous!  Excellent!  Whatever word you can find that means great-that will be how we feel.  That would leave only one debt. 

Can we do it?  Yes...............but with some major attitude adjustments!  Mostly mine but also my hubby's.  He will not stop going out to eat nor stop taking vacays.  So.....................we  have to work around those things.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Gtown Girl Using it Up

Yes I am using it up again.  Please forgive how amateur my videos are.  As you can see Martin Scorcese has nothing to worry about and it looks like I need to keep my day job.  At least for the for seeable future.

And like the last statement says Go Clemson Tigers "roll over" Alabama!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Trip to Sola Coffee

Saturday was a very grey dreary day in Central North Carolina. One of those days where you want to lie on the couch under a blanket and watch ridiculous amounts of television. 

Well we did that but we also went to Sola Coffee in Raleigh. I read so much about it I just had to go see it for myself. 

It's a quirky place that was packed with people. We ordered 2 coffees and 2 blueberry scones. In all honesty the coffee was okay. It was kind of bitter with a burnt taste. I had the maple cinnamon and the hubster had a regular coffees he said his coffee was pretty good. The scones were good. I think they would've tasted better if they were heated up. 

My grade would be a C plus. Atmosphere is pretty great. Maybe we will return someday and try something different. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Frugal Aha Moment

I really don't like cleaning my bathtub. Firstly I am lazy-there I said it but it also hurts my back like crazy. Even though I had back surgery a couple of years ago it still acts up every now and then. Well I got to thinking about cleaning it and bam it hit me upside the head. Why not use the same cleaner that I use in the toilet bowl!  Think about the TB sees some pretty nasty stuff and yet it looks pretty spotless. Both are ceramic and can take vigorous scrubbing. So that's what I'm going to do for awhile to see if I like it. Now if I could find something that's long enough to use as a scrubber but I wouldn't have to bend over😜

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Merry Go Round

Have you ever just got so fed up you want to jump off?  Not the frugal, paying off debt merry go round but the job merry go round?  It can be so annoying.  I simply don't understand it.  I have to vent just to get if off of my chest.