Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Frugal Substitution

I am coo coo for Cocoa Puffs when it comes to Mrs Meyers cleaning products. I especially love the cranberry scent. It is a delightful mix of sweet and tart and clean. Smells good enough to eat😜

I do not like the $3.99 price for one bottle of hand soap. This bottle was empty and I hate to get rid of it because I love the pink color too. So I used some Suave strawberry shampoo to see if I like it. I mean it washes my hair so it should be able to wash my hands. I got this idea from my fave British frugal blogger Jane at frugal queen. 

What substitutions do you do to save money?  

Christmas in April?

Is it too early to be planning Christmas in April?  Do you browse for gifts all year round?  Do you make your gifts? 

I am not the craftiest person on the block but am thinking about making some of the gifts I give to my wonderful sister in laws.  The last few years we've stopped giving big gifts and just go with little items that we know the other person really likes.  A couple of years ago I made some peppermint sugar scrub and they both liked it so I'm thinking of being more Betty Crockerish this year.

Do you know what you will be giving this year?  Do you exchange gifts? 

Is it just too dag gone early to be talking about it?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Scenes from Today

Sunday always seems to go by so fast. I guess that's because I don't look forward to going to work on Monday. 

We get up and go to church then it seems like it's time to go to bed. Is it that way for you too?

We did make a run to the grocery store. We went to a store we don't normally go to because it's expensive. We should've gone to Kroger😒. 

What do you do today?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Six Hundred Closer to Freedom

I've paid an extra 600 dollars to a loan since the end of March!  I'm not telling y'all to brag (maybe just a wee bit😜) but to keep me accountable. My plan is to keep doing this and fingers crossed it will be paid by the end of the year!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tacos It's What's for Dinner

Yep. For the last. Two. Nights. And if I say  so they were really good. For toppings we had pico, sour cream, salsa and a shredded fiesta style cheese. The cheese was really good even though it was Kroger generic. Tonight I added chips with cheese sauce, pico and sour cream. It's not the same as On the Border but oh so good. 🌮🌮

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Frugal Prescriptions

Have you ever ordered a prescription from a legit pharmacy?  Today I was given a telephone number to call to get my Soolantra.  My insurance plan does not want to pay for it.  They want me to jump through all kinds of hoops.  The stuff works for me but the price is $300.00.  Supposedly I can contact this pharmacy in Virginia and get it for $25.00.  Now how does that work?  I don't understand how they will charge me $25 but my pharmacy will charge me $300.00.

Is this too good to be true?  Do you order your prescriptions?  Any problems?

Funeral Expenses

I know this is a topic that most of us want to avoid discussing.  I mean it is pretty depressing but it's more depressing to be the surviving family members who have no clue how you want your funeral to be or how to pay for it.

Now, I don't know if any of my readers work in this industry so please don't get mad at me but the costs associated with it are astronomical.  From embalming to buying the casket to the actual service.  Many times the death happens so quickly that you don't have time to plan and from my personal experience funeral homes do not give you much time to decide.  How do I know this?  Both of my parents are deceased and my mother in law is as well.

Decisions must be made within a short time frame once death has occurred.  Your head can swim from information overload.

We got  information regarding pre planning a funeral from on the funeral homes here in the Raleigh area.

We have not done this yet but I am going to think about it.

What do you think?  Have you preplanned a funeral?  If so, what did you have to do?  Was it as easy as they make it sound?

My brother had to pay for my mother's funeral because Dad could not afford it.  The three of us paid for her tombstone because once again Dad could not afford it.  It was quite a bit different when my MIL passed away.  They had or still don't have money concerns.

It's just hubby and I so no one else can help us out if needed.

A Vlog Today

forgive how it is not the best quality.  I'm learning how to do these things!

Have a good day!

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Delicious Dinner

Today was hubby's first day back to work. For the next four weeks I will be a chauffeur. I was so hungry when we got home. I needed something quick and it had to be tasty. So I whipped up an old standby pasta dish and it was yummy. 

Pasta with peppers and onions and feta cheese.  I lurve feta cheese. I can't describe how good it tastes. It's all kinds of deliciousness  

No really just boil up some sketti. Saute onions and peppers in a skillet with olive oil, red pepper flakes and minced garlic. I use the minced garlic in a jar of oil. 

When it's ready top it all off with said feta cheese!!  Voila!  Easy peasy 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Stockpiling To Help Others

A terrible fire swept and destroyed an apartment complex today.  Listening to the news and a firefighter explained how today was the perfect storm for a fire.  It's been dry and it was so windy today.  Evidently the fire spread so quickly that many had little time to get out.

So now this leaves many people without a home.  I don't have a huge pantry to fall back on but I can give a few items to help people.  It never really dawned on me but this story rang a bell for me.  I think most of us have no problem helping friends or someone from church who needs a meal or so.  But how much do we help those we don't know?  I know I don't nearly as much as I could or should.  I am hoping that the local news stations will give more information on how to help.  I'm sure organizations such as The Red Cross will step in but that help will only go so far and I think these folks will need help for quite some time.

I will look around to see what I can donate.  Even items that aren't food related.  I have plenty of dish cloths and dish towels.  They aren't in perfect shape and some may have some stains but they are clean and I know that someone could use something like that.  I have some Vera Bradley purses that maybe some ladies could use.

I can't imagine what these people are going through.  I'm sure they are in shock and have no idea where to begin.  I truly hope they all had renter's insurance.

The only time we even came remotely close was back in 1996 and Hurricane Fran came inland.  We live about 2 1/2 hours from the coast.  When Fran hit the Raleigh area it was still a category 1 hurricane.  That was the longest night of our lives.  Our home literally shook and vibrated.  The winds howled and the rain pounded.  You could see this almost eerie teal lights in the sky as transformers exploded.  Trees snapped.  It was horrible.  When daylight arrived we saw 5 trees on our house and a lot of damage.  We had to get a new roof, our porch along with the dining room and a bedroom repaired.  Our home was probably the worst hit in our neighborhood but we actually came out much better than many others.  There were blue tarps on our home for over 6 months waiting for the repairs.  I know how upset I was...........our problem was nothing compared to what these people experienced today.

As a Christian I am called to give to the least of these.  Today more numbers were added to that list.

Is Your Job Safe?

I ask this because there "seems to be some ramblings" in the air around these here parts of what I call Cardinal Cottage aka our home.  I can't really say because nothing has been said but things have happened and have been mentioned at the job front that makes me wonder if all is well.  How will this affect us?  Are we prepared?  A big NOPE to that question. But most of all, since nothing is official what do we do to get better prepared in case one of us does in fact lose our job.

We are perhaps better off than some in the fact that dh can retire with a full 30 years.  If he were to do that his "pay" would be quite a bit less than it is now.  When he gets back to work I will ask him to look into this for me.

I only have 13 years with my employer so if I were let go I would only have whatever vacation and sick time I have built up.  I would get paid only a small percentage of my sick pay.

Obviously cutting expenses is the answer.  It's not how much you earn, it's how much you spend.  Eh?  At least that is what we're told.

We have cut our cable bill down.  I know, I know cable..........Why do we have it anyways?  We have had some talks of going down further on it.  Not getting rid of it entirely.  Perhaps going to a basic package.

We are considering getting rid of our land line.  We both have cell phones and really the only family member that calls us regularly on the land line is my father in law.  He would be fine calling on the cell.

We are on equal payments for our heating and a/c.  I like having the same amount each month.

I will be cutting way back on trips on the weekends.  You know those get in the car and just drive around trips.  I plan on staying home more and when going out trying to be very good about pooling several stops on the same trip cutting down on future outings.

Putting a definite amount to our groceries.  We will not stop going out to eat entirely.  DH and I both enjoy that but we will cut down on the number of times we go out.  Since that will happen I do not feel bad or guilty at upping our grocery budget.  It won't be a huge increase but enough to be able to buy some gourmet ingredients if needed to make meals that compare to what we get out.  But recently I've found that what I've eaten out is leaving me feeling like ugh.  The food just didn't taste as good as I remembered it.  Perhaps it is because we go out too much that I don't appreciate it as much?  Or perhaps the quality of our favorite restaurants is going down.

I don't buy a lot of clothes to begin with but.......I do need work clothes.  It's hard to find my size in thrift stores so my usual store is Dress Barn.

Most of my spending is on the "craptastic" stuff that you know I just have to have.  Oh it look so cute and then it gathers dust or breaks.  That will stop.  I am bad about buying magazines and books.  So I am going back to the good old library.  I love the library.  It is one of my best friends.  I can lose myself there for a few hours.  I find it relaxing and calming.  Reading a book can take us to places we'd only dream of going without leaving our home!  If I find a book that is utterly life changing or simply so inspiring then I will consider buying it!

Just hearing of these "unemployed" ramblings is getting me fired up.  One of the ladies I follow on facebook announced yesterday that her husband lost his job.  So something is going on.  I don't think the economy is as good as they want us to believe.

Right now we have enough.  We don't have enough of an emergency fund but we have enough in the cabinets to feed us.  Maybe not like the food network but still tasty meals. We do need come coffee for the hubster. We have enough cleaning products to last a long time.  I kind of went cray cray ordering Mrs. Meyer's Cranberry counter spray and dish detergent last fall.  But really that stuff smells amazing!  It. rocks. I need to fill the other car with gas, then we will have enough there to last at least a week and a half to perhaps last to two weeks.  The bills are all paid for the month with the exception of my car payment and I will make that when I get paid next week.

Right now we are good.  I just have this nagging little thought in the back of my head that something is going to change.

Have you ever experienced unemployment?  What did you do?

Building Up the Pantry with Little Moolah

Patsy from has a great series on building up the pantry on $5.00.  Her readers share what they bought with $5.00 to build up their pantry.

I think this is pretty cool.  Are you able to build up your pantry with such small amounts?  Some of her readers get some amazing good deals.

Head on over to her blog if you've never read it.  She does a lot with very litttle.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Credit Scores-What is Your Opinion?

I was listening to Dave Ramsey the other night and he asked a caller why they wanted a high FICO score.  The caller responded so they could get better interest on loans etc...............Dave then said that the best FICO score was a ZERO.  He mentioned that you can get a mortgage without one but that it is hard to find a mortgage lender who will deal with people who don't have one.

Earlier today I read in and her opinion of her FICO score.  How it helps her achieve her dreams.  Now my FICO is quite good, I guess depending on who you ask.  Let's say it's high.  I guess Dave would not like that!

I'm pretty sure most of ya'll have high FICO scores that read this blog.  Do you agree with Dave? 

Goal Setting aka I'm Trying Something New

I've decided to list goals that I want to achieve here on my blog.  Some are just your everyday items so this will be kind of an online post it note to myself while others I hope will give me the kick in my pants to do something.  You see I am rather a lazy old girl.  I get up, go to work, go home and to church on the weekends. Like I said earlier I want freedom and I'm hoping that setting goals and actually listing them will help me achieve the freedom I so desire.  So here goes my goals for the month of April 2016:

pay taxes--yuck!  I transferred money today to do this for a total of $588

pay for the hubster's surgery-haven't received any bills yet but I know they are coming

cook 1 new recipe

pay extra towards the car-the balance right now is $8227.89.  I figured out if I pay roughtly $300 every pay check this will be paid off by the end of this year.  I get 2 checks a month and the hubby gets one.

start purging junk

put $147 in savings-Done today!

pay off Visa-done today!

start looking for a couch

get measurements for the bay window downstairs

and of course to start setting goals and listing them here on the blog.  I'm not sure how frequent the goals will be but at least monthly.

Do you set goals?  Do you think they help?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I have a Confession

I love Mac and cheese from a box. Like really. Love. It.  I've tried to make it homemade but it never has that sharp flavor I'm looking for. 

I don't like the orange powder stuff but love that orange saucy stuff. 

Is there hope for me?

Monday, April 4, 2016

What Defines Essential

I know the basics of food, water and shelter but then there is all of the other stuff.  Now I know that some will say all of the other stuff is non-essential and while yes that is true, I daresay that most of us will not cut out everything.  I am finding it quite hard to come up with an essential list.

Like personal toiletries.  The usual suspects are soap, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, floss, shampoo.  However I also wear makeup.  Not a lot but I am so pale that I feel I look much better not the least, to say I look alive with some coverage.  I wear foundation, eye shadow, mascara and a tinted lip balm.  I have tons of make up sitting around.  I am toying with the idea of chunking it.  Yep, you read that right!  Chunk it all out except for what I use.  It will take up less space and I won't have to decided what colors to use.  My concern is I will buy again to replace what I've thrown out.

Do you wear makeup?  If so, what do you wear?  Are you willing to go without to simplify?

Then we can go to clothes and shoes and the list goes on and on.  I really need work clothes and I need good shoes since I had a major surgery a few years back.  Most of my shoes are black Clarks.  Expensive yes but I can't wear the cheapos you get at some of the well known stores.

Sheets and towels.  I know you CAN have too many but where is that line?  I live to have at least 3 sets of sheets.  One on the bed and the other two waiting for rotation.  I guess I could narrow it down to 2.   Towels?  I use washcloths pretty much every day so I have to quite a few of those on hand.  I do not put my towel in the dirty bin after only one use.  I will dry off a few times before I put in the bin.  Do you use a new towel each time?

So.................right now I am really taking a good long look at what we use, what can I throw away or take to a thrift store. I want it out! 

What are your essentials?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A New Frugal Incentive

This is related to my last post and asking do I love my job?  Truth be told-No but I am ever so grateful that I have a job and the one I have has and is good to me, for the most part.  Now taking that my answer is no I am thinking what am I going to do about it?  Do I look for something else?  I don't think another job will provide what I am looking for and that is freedom.  Freedom to do what I want to do when I want to.  So do I stay or do I go?  Stay, at least that is what I am planning on now but.........and here is what I'm deciding.  I'm using that dislike as a way to jump start my retirement.  I do not want to work full time for another 13 years.  I simply don't.  Will I?  I don't know but I know I don't want to so................feeding off of other blogs I will imposing some restrictions on myself in the hopes of paying off the mortgage and the 2 car payments at an increased rate.  Then we will need to ramp up the savings in a major way.   But no debt will make our life so much easier.  We could live off the pension of dh then with no problem.  Health insurance would be the kicker though.  My insurance is provided through my job.  How would I get it?  I will have to do some homework about that.

Reading Mavis' blog about one hundred dollars a month is giving me some major jealousy (ha) and encouragement.  She is only buying essentials this year to pay their mortgage off early so they can move to the east coast.  This is what is driving her.  So I am going to let an "early retirement" drive me.  I'm not quite sure what my restrictions will be.  I've got to put pen to paper to write it down and how much I think I will be saving but I heard something yesterday about how a idea without a plan is basically just an idea with no hope.  I can't remember the whole thing but that is the jest of it.   I'm going to come up with a plan.  Just saying I'm only going to buy essentials is kind of vague to me because essentials can mean different things to different people.  What are my essentials?  That is what I have to explore.  What can I give up without feeling like a hermit?  What can I take on to help me achieve my dream?  Where can I cut expenses and perhaps what area or areas will those expenses increase to help me achieve my dream?  Do I know of anyone around me locally who can be an encouragement?  Who can give me a kick in the pants to get me back on track?  Who can offer a shoulder to lean on?  Who can be a wealth of knowledge?

I've got a lot to think about it, don't I?  Thank you to Mavis and to all my readers who help me even though they have no idea