Thursday, June 18, 2009

eBay Headache

I sold the BodyBugg on eBay! This wouldn’t normally make me so relieved, but eBay got a little upset with me for using terminology that I apparently shouldn’t have used to try to sell it. They pulled my first listing which had four bids and about five watchers.

I was furious. In hindsight, I see the point of what they were saying, but there are two things I didn’t particularly get.

1. The words couldn’t be used (“As seen on The Biggest Loser”) because according to eBay, the show doesn’t endorse this item. The only way I was looking at it was that they show did endorse the item because they feature it. So they don’t endorse this exact item…what’s the difference? Not to mention that contrary to what eBay customer service seemed to think, I wouldn’t have gleaned this from the seller rules because it’s open for interpretation.

2. This was the second Body Bugg I’d sold (total impulse buy, obviously. The fiancĂ© and I had big plans, then just never followed through. We’re losing weight without the Bugg anyway). Nothing had been said the first time around and trust me, I was not the only one using this description in my listing.

The rep from eBay of course talked me down from my ledge in that sweet email tone that makes me feel like I’m two years old. I’m not sure that they actually got how rude it was to pull a listing without notifying me and asking me to change it. I suppose that’s policy. I suppose if I had time to memorize the guidelines I may have known that. So call me an irresponsible seller, but at least it sold, I took their survey, and now I can go on with my life.

Sad part is, while I was mad I was sure I was never going to sell anything on eBay ever again. But I’ve already got the itch to list something else…darn addicting online auction!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Coupon Organizing

A few weeks back I did a blog about how I repurposed an old DVD case to hold my coupons. While I really liked this idea and was proud of my resourcefulness, there was a slight problem. Even though I tried to plan which coupons I was going to use, often I’d find something on sale and realize that I had a coupon for that item, but I’d left it at home.

A co-worker had the same problem but had fixed it by buying a small organizer that fit nicely in her purse. I’d looked at a few of these organizers at WalMart and Target, and the ones I found were four or five dollars. I know that’s not a horrible amount to pay, but it still seemed pretty expensive to me.

Last night, Jon and I took a trip to the Dollar Tree and as luck would have it, sitting there on a random shelf was a cute little coupon organizer for a dollar!
I’m not yet sure if I like their organizing system, but I’ll try it and if I don’t like it after awhile, I can always re-label. Already I feel better about having something to keep in my purse should I find a good deal to throw a good coupon on.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a printer that works so I’m unable to print coupons. For now I’ll use what I get in the mail from various sources and what comes in the paper, plus the odd coupon that prints without the coupon program download.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Moving, Thrifting, Making Money

The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. Between vacation and moving and still not having home internet, I haven’t been able to do much online. Our frugal living factor has gone up immensely, however, since now we’re budgeting for a new puppy. I don’t mind cutting costs though since he’s absolutely awesome to have around.

While my fiancĂ© looks for a job (already had one interview), we’re finding creative ways not only to cut costs but also to bring in some extra income. I gave plasma for the first time last Saturday and am going to try again today. Unfortunately, the second times I tried to give, my iron was too low. This has always been a problem for me. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying. I did start taking a multi-vitamin which will hopefully work.

We sold some books, CDs, and DVDs to Hastings for store credit. While cash is good, so is having a chance to do something fun, and we both enjoy going for iced hot chocolates, internet use, and reading. What we couldn’t sell there went to a local CD and bookstore, and what didn’t sell there is either going on BookMooch or being used for some crafty project I’ll come up with.

We’ve sold some things that didn’t fit into our apartment, have given plasma, and I’ve been writing some articles on Associated Content. Things we don’t need go on Craigslist. What doesn’t sell there goes on eBay. We’re having a rummage sale in a couple weeks with proceeds going to Relay for Life, and from there, anything we don’t need gets donated to the Salvation Army or Freecycle.

Once I have my internet at home, I do have some pictures to share of some ultra thrifty finds from the last few weeks and pics of the new apartment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trip Grocery Challenge

As previously noted, money for this trip is extremely tight, even moreso than I’d originally thought. I think we’re still in the clear though between gas and a hotel room, though I might have to bow out of some social interaction with friends due to lack of funds.

Tonight we’re making our trip to the grocery store and I’m going to try to spend less than ten dollars tonight, which means I won’t actually have to pay anything because that will finish up the credit on our Dillons card. Last night we made a trip so that we’d have breakfast and lunch for today, but some of that can carry over easily, including the impulse Twizzlers we bought because they were only a buck for a package and I am a Twizzler fiend.

We also scored two things of hummus for a dollar each. We both like hummus and couldn’t say no to the deal. So far, we have a few things to take with us already:


I’d like to also pick up:
Bread – 78 cents
Lunchmeat - $1.35
Cheese - $1.66
Pop – 2.19 (12 pack)
Bananas – 1.00 (about a pound a half)
Oranges - 1.00 (for two)
Quaker Quakes - $1.00
Breakfast Cereal Bars - $2.00

So it actually comes to about $10.98. I don’t actually need the Quakes, but their so good! Oh well…if I take them from the list I’ll be under my total, though that doesn’t include tax. For now, I’m going with this list because I think I might be able to find cheaper versions of the cereal bars, cheese and lunchmeat.

For anyone who might be shaking your head and wondering why I’m even taking this trip if I don’t have the money, the truth is that at this point, I need to see my family and I’m willing to do it on a tight budget. Luckily I won’t have to spend a lot of money there, so the travel will be worth it, and I’ll have gotten paid by the time we come back, so the trip back is not a worry at this point. Besides, it’s kind of fun seeing how frugal we can be when it comes to travelling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frugal Shortcuts for Our Trip

Our trip to Michigan is coming up in just a few short days and of course, like always, money isn’t overabundant. Fortunately, I have enough to get us to Michigan with a little bit leftover. With the in-state traveling we’ll be doing and the fact that we’ll most likely want to have a little bit of spending cash, I’m racking my brain to find ways to save money.

Food: I’m borrowing a cooler from a co-worker and I still have about $10 in credit on my Dillons card to buy things. Sandwich stuff will be key, followed by some fruit, some easy snacks, and some diet soda for the much needed on the road caffeine rush. We’re also packing water, but I’m going to try something different. Instead of buying ice and bottled water, I’m taking a couple plastic bottles, filling them part way then freezing them. That way we have “ice packs” to keep food cool and when it melts, we’ll have water to drink.

Hotel: I’m a little unsure of this right now. Cheap will be the key word since I don’t have any hotel points or anything like that. My mom had offered us a discount through her work, but we decided not to reserve. For me, it’s easier to stop wherever than to have a certain destination to stop that may hold us back from getting a little further. I’ve actually batted around the idea of sleeping at a rest stop (not something I’d ever do by myself) but I think we’ll opt for the cheap hotel option instead. There’s bound to be somewhere for less than $50 on a Thursday night.

Gas: Even though I don’t have a hybrid car, I do get fairly good gas mileage at about 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Mapquest’s gas cost estimator puts me at under $70 for gas just one way. Before we head out, I’ll make sure to check the air in our tires for better gas mileage. Unfortunately, we have some stuff in the trunk that we’re not removing until the actual move, so that will lower it a bit. However, I’m hoping to find a few cheaper fill up stations along the way.

We’re lucky to be able to stay with family and as far as spending cash goes, while it will be nice to have, it won’t be necessary. In fact, the only thing we’re really planning on spending money on is garage sales. My mom is an avid garage sale fan and it will make her day to be able to spend one morning hitting sales in the area. Since we’re looking to furnish our new place, we’ll be on the lookout for good deals too. That’s half the reason I’m driving…car space to take stuff back in.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much we spend all together over the week. Nothing like an added challenge to make a vacation exciting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wedding Planning

It's official. My boyfriend is now my fiance and we're getting married in less than a year, May 1, 2010 to be exact.

I know most women want the elegant, perfect wedding day of their dreams. I've also seen a few of these women break out in hives due to the stress of planning...and that's before the final bill comes in sometime after the honeymoon.

We've decided to do the opposite. I want the most stress free wedding possible. Some of my friends at work have offered to help with planning and they're both fans of being frugal. When I told them cheap and fun was going to be my theme, they actually got excited about the process. We've also set an insane cost goal for the whole thing: $300. Having said that, on that stress free note, I'm not going to freak out if we go over. But having a goal will help us keep things as cheap as possible.

Call me cheap, call it a redneck wedding, whatever. It's one day and I want to enjoy it without crying over my bank account.

So far, the cost has been $15 (engagement ring...yes, it's a Wal-Mart original). Marriage license will be about $75, though according to Kansas law, we can marry ourselves so that should save on some officiating. With $210 left, the possibilities are endless.

#74 - Ask for a Raise ACCOMPLISHED

I haven't even been 30 for a month and already I've accomplished something on my list.

#74 - Ask for a raise

Notice that it this was just to ask for a raise, not to actually get it, because asking was the part I could accomplish. The rest is out of my hands.

I've actually never asked for a raise, so it was pretty nerve wracking. I've always accepted what I was given and stayed satisfied with any raise I was given as part of the group raise. I might have even been content to never have asked for one if it weren't for the economy and the fact that I finally feel valuable enough in what I do to have grounds to stand on for asking for one.

Now that the hard part is over, I figure the worst they can say is "no." I also feel that after that, all other future questions, comments, and requests will be alot easier.

The 30s List

I finished my list a few weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to posting it. I haven't been posting much in general due to the fact that life is freakin' crazy right now. Not in a bad way, per se, though there have been a few rough moments. Today, my future brother-in-law reminded me that he wanted to read my list. Since I've actually already accomplished one of the things, I thought I'd better go ahead and post so I have more blogging material in the follow-ups.

In no particular order, here are the 100 things I want to do in my 30s:

1. See Tori Amos in concert again
2. Reach weight goal #1
3. Walk a 10K
4. Walk a half marathon
5. Walk a marathon
6. Walk the Relay for Life
7. Send a book in for publication
8. Apply to The Amazing Race
9. Weight goal #2
10. Run a 2-Mile event
11. Run a 5K
12. Run a 10K
13. Run a half marathon
14. Run a marathon
15. Do a triathalon
16. Go snorkeling
17. Take bellydancing lessons
18. Go to Las Vegas
19. Get married
20. Go to an amusement park...and ride the roller coasters
21. Knit or crochet a hat
22. Knit or crochet a top
23. Knit or crochet a purse
24. Crochet a set of washrags
25. Open up an etsy store
26. Spend a weekend at a Bed-n-Breakfast
27. Master Dance Dance Revolution
28. Make three layer cookies
29. Adopt a puppy
30. Go dancing at a club
31. Read the Anita Blake series (no matter how bad people say it is)
32. Visit New York
33. Ride in a limousine
34. Highlight my hair
35. Plant and grow something without killing it.
36. Spend the day at a waterpark
37. Go parasailing
38. Visit Europe
39. Take a cruise
40. Learn to bike
41. Visit the Grand Canyon
42. Meet someone famous
43. See a musical
44. Spend a week at a nudist resort
45. Take a spinning class
46. Buy something at an auction
47. Throw a dinner party
48. Throw a “Repo!” party (with costumes and everything)
49. Start or join a crafting group.
50. Bake homemade bread from scratch
51. Learn sign language
52. Grow an herb garden
53. Hike the Konza Prairie
54. Get a deep tissue massage
55. Color every page in a coloring book
56. Visit the Chicago Museum of Art
57. Eat at an expensive restaurant
58. Splurge on a purse
59. Have a day at the spa
60. Walk in the Breast cancer walk
61. Make my own laundry detergent
62. Walk 1000 miles (not all at once)
63. Get past level 20 on SpongeBob Collapse
64. Kiss the Blarny Stone
65. Attend a music festival
66. Enter a karaoke contest
67. Do my own online radio show
68. Get 1000 Twitter followers
69. Go horseback riding
70. Visit Seattle
71. Take a "fitness" getaway
72. Run a D&D Campaign
73. Ride a jetski
74. Ask for a raise
75. Spend the night somewhere haunted
76. Take a yoga class7
7. Take an art class
78. Make a set of friendship bracelets
79. Learn to make jewelry
80. Try decoupage
81. Take a trip by train
82. Make a homemade headband
83. Go antiquing
84. Try geocaching
85. Spend a week on a houseboat
86. Play on an organized sports team
87. Send a postcard to Postsecret
88. Take an unplanned flight somewhere for a weekend
89. Make "hoodie" chairs
90. Get a pedicure
91. Get another tattoo
92. Get my ears permanently pierced
93. Climb a rock wall
94. Take a wine tour in California
95. Visit Washington Dc
96. Go to a sci-fi or webcomic convention
97. Buy something off a late night infomercial
98. Go to a Detroit Red Wings game
99. Visit Yellowstone National Park
100. Make it to 40.

Alot of these are pretty easy, some are a littel crazier. I figure if I can do 10 things per year, I'll accomplish everything on the list.

Follow ups may be on different blogs depending on which category they fall into, so if you want to keep up, make sure to follow or subscribe to my other blogs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Today's Gift from Dillons

A cool and interesting thing happened at Dillons today. A week or so ago, I clipped a coupon from the paper insert for $20 in free groceries if you transferred your prescriptions to their pharmacy. I'd been wanting to transfer anyway, but this was the perfect time to do it since things are tight and we're trying to make sure we have money to go to Michigan. The credit was put on my Dillons card and so I figured I was good. I did up a grocery list and a meal plan and was pretty excited because a week's worth of groceries wasn't going to cost me more than ten dollars, and that was high ending everything.

I went shopping today, figuring everything would be good, but when I got to the checkout, the credit didn't come off. I kind of freaked, and I realized I was testy about it, but I was really frustrated and kind of embarrassed because there were people behind me. I explained to them I was supposed to have the credit and that I'd been relying on that and would have to void the order if it didn't work.

Apparently, Dillons will do everything possible to avoid voiding a transaction. The floor manager called the store manager and told her what was going on and was told just to store coupon $20, that they'd been having some issues with that particular promotion. After my coupons, my actual total was only $ about a sigh of relief.

However, after the cashier scanned my coupon, the credit from my card kicked in and the system took off the $5.11. The floor manager looked at my receipt and laughed and said that I still had a credit of fourteen dollars. I told her that wasn't right, I didn't feel right taking the extra credit and asked if we could go to the service desk so I could make it right (yes, I am that honest). So she went with me up there and we showed the store manager what happened. I told her I wanted to work it out and pay what I owed since it wasn't fair for me to get extra for the promotion.

The manager looked at the receipt and asked the floor manager if the cashier's till would be off, which it wasn't. The manager said "Okay, Merry Christmas. Keep the credit." I just kind of looked at her and said "Are you sure?" She said, "Yeah, we'll do the paperwork and take are of it."

So Dillons paid me to shop with them today. I made sure to apologize to the girls for being testy and told them I just panicked because I didn't want to be that bitchy lady the store does what they need to to get rid of. Tonight I had to go get orange juice and sure enough, the credit came off and I got my orange juice free too. As long as we're okay on groceries through the next week, we'll use that credit to buy snacks for our trip. Our goal is to avoid fast food restaurants on the drive to Michigan to save money and attempt to be healthier on vacation.

Not a bad shopping day at all...I would definitely chalk this up to an ultra success.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Repurposing: DVD Holder to a Coupon Binder

One of the main things I read about in blogs is “repurposing” and Ilove this concept. It’s creative and it helps me to focus more on theusefulness of things to be repurposed rather than how they look. Don’tget me wrong…I’d like to have visually appealing things. Butcreativity can wait in the name of functionality.

I recently found a repurpose for a DVD case we picked up at a thrift store for seventy five cents. Originally, I was going to use it to savespace with our DVD collection. But then I realized I like having my DVDs in their cases better than I would like them in a holder.

After reading some blogs about coupon binders, I decided to be lazy andsimply repurpose my DVD holder into a coupon holder. Strangely enough,it works really well if you don’t mind folding some bigger coupons.

Eventually I’d like to decorate it…give it some flair or some color.It’s a toss-up between a mod podge of magazine pics or a cloth covermade with fabric from an old pair of jeans the boyfriend can’t wearanymore. Once I get a chance to do it, I’ll probably have to flip acoin.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I came across this article from the Go Frugal Blog and this past week and thought it was interesting. The article is about Freeganism groups popping up around the country, including New York where the group is up to about 500 people.

Freegans are groups of people who make it their lifestyle to live as frugally as possbile, to the point of finding their food from the outdated things bakeries and stores throw away. According to the blog, some of them refuse to work, taking the Freegan way of living not only to live cheap but to basically prove a point against corporate America.

"Some of the Freegans' tactics are quite sketchy for the average greenie--they advocate peeing on or super gluing trash compactors, calling them the enemy. The Freegans support shoplifting, squatting, and employ theft as ways to stick it to the man. They also encourage avoiding flushing the toilet to the extreme of drinking your own urine."

There are a few things about this group that are understandable. There's nothing wrong with wanting to 1) live frugally and 2) reduce waste. But there are limits. It is a shame that bakeries and other food shops throw out so much edible food at the end of the day, but some of them do sell at a discount. For those truly down on hard times, I can almost see the justification in taking things like thrown away bread. It's a little scary to think of other foods being pulled out of the trash that might have germs and bacteria that could make them sick or even kill them.
There's also a difference between living frugally and saving your money and just not working because you think you're really bucking the establishment. Seriously, with the unemployment rates like they are, I doubt the establishment really cares who's bucking them. Fine if it's your lifestyle choice, but like most choices, there's always a happy medium. I'm cool with the not flushing every time you pee, but you will not catch me drinking my own urine. And I can't condone shoplifting or theft.
What makes this group so fascinating is that it seems to be a product of the economy we're living in these days. If anyone has any more info on these groups or wants to set me straight on anything, please feel free. I welcome any discussion and thoughts. And please make sure to read the original article linked above.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Savings

My first saving of the day was the gas I saved when my BF and I walked to the 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk we participated in today. It's only a short distance, but it's still a few cents in gas, not to mention the stress it saved me in having to find a parking spot.

This afternoon, we went to Dillons to get some lunch. They have a big salad bar that we've been wanting to try and I figured today would be a good day. While there, we picked up some good deals. My faves?

A box of Special K Blueberry cereal for 1.99 with coupon (normally about $4.00, on sale for 2.99, used a coupon for $1.00 off)
Two boxes of Kelloggs Fiber Plus Bars for 1.39 each (normally $3.09, on sale for 2.39, used a coupon for each box for 75 cents off, and then the Dillon's system multiplied it to take off an additional 25 cents).
Half gallon of one percent milk on Manager's special for $1.19 with a week left before the expiration date (we'll finish it by then).
Fuze drinks (part of their 10 for $10 sale, and since I'm trying to cut back on soda, I got five of them to take to work with me this week).

It's a good thing we saved where we did because our salads ended up costing ALOT. Jon's was over $10 (4.99 per lb...he was hungry). I got a regular salad and a fruit salad which weren't that high. They both cost about $7.50 together. Mine could be made for alot cheaper I think, but I can justify Jon's since he piled his with all sorts of things that would have cost more to buy individually. But I'm cool with's a nice treat for us having finished our walk this morning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Using a Handbag as a Craft Bag

Because I've been in such a decluttering mood lately, I'm getting rid of a bunch of purses that I've picked up along the way for free or cheap at garage sales. But I still have a thing for bags. I don't like carrying around a bunch, but like notebooks, I can always think of some purpose I COULD use them for.

I am keeping a few of my favorites and one of those favorites is a larger bag I picked up at the local secondhand store for about $4. It's original intent was for my laptop, but I ended up just keeping my old laptop bag and using this one as a purse. It was finally time for a change, though, so I switched to a different purse (one I already had) and decided to use this one for my knitting bag.

For the most part, it works for me. I'm not crazy about my longer needles sticking out like they are, as during travel I'm likely to poke someone's eye out, but I think the shorter needles and the scissors are good. The identical pocket is for an extra ball of yarn. I actually don't use those long needles very often anyway, so they can probably be put away.

This little pouch on the side is perfect for the smaller crochet needles of which I only currently have two but will someday add to my collection (maybe). The second one is the one I'm using right now and so is stuck in the ball of yarn I'm working on.

Right now, the afghan fits into the inside of the purse and the yarn right next to it in the inner side pouch. Underneath this is another three pairs of knitting needles in a plastic pouch. They're Xmas themed and fit better down there than in the side ones.

It's not as swanky as some, but it's exactly what I need right now, and I still get to use something I really like. Also, if you can't read the button, it says "Better Living Through Sarcasm." Which has nothing to do with knitting or repurposing...but I find it funny.

Monday, April 6, 2009

More Craigslist HiJinks

In follow-up to last week’s Craigslist finds, the girl who I bought the griddle and kitchen stuff from emailed me to let me know she still had a bunch of stuff left. Thrilled that it fell in line with payday, I headed over to see what she had. Though the coffee pot and the dish set were no longer there, there were some things that hadn’t been there the first time.

First, my favorite find because I’ve been wanting one of these forever…a spice rack. Only three or four of the spices were open and were still fragrant. All the rest were sealed and the rack was in good condition. Going price for this on was about $19.00

Besides the spice rack, I got a whole hodge podge of kitchen things, including two sets of wine glasses, silverware, a colander, a spoon holder, a cheese grater, a Fry Daddy, and a George Foreman grill. Estimated cost of all these based on was $101.00.

As far as non-kitchen stuff went, one of the bigger things was this nifty footlocker. Not only do we now have an extra packing “box,” but this will make for perfect storage in the new place. In fact, being that it’s pretty sturdy, I’m thinking of throwing the tablecloth I got over it and using it for our coffee table, which will mean one less thing we have to buy. Estimated cost of the footlocker and the table cloth on was $47.00.

Here’s the other things that came in the haul with their prices listed next to them (some prices are estimated so I low-ended as much as I could):

Hi-Def DVD Player - 58.00
Universal Remote - 15.00
Egyptian cotton Pillow Cases – 15.00
Sheets – 15.00
Shower curtain and hooks – 20.00
Small trash can – 10.00
Towels (about six of them) – 25.00
Laundry Basket – 5.00
Curtains – 15.00
Wool stadium blanket – 5.00
CD/MP3 player – 10.00
Ironing board/iron hanger – 10.00
Oil and Vinegar holder set – 10.00
Grateful Dead Wall Sheet - ????
Random Christmas items – 10.00
Paper Towel Holder $15.00
Decorative hatbox – 5.00
Decorative vase – 15.00

I think there were some other things in there as well, but my mind is just not remembering what they are right now. The estimated grand value of everything I bought comes in at around $425. The total amount I paid for all this stuff? $75.00. I so love a good bargain and I’m really happy that so much of our apartment “to-get” list is now taken care of.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kicking Off Sale Season

Yesterday after work I found an ad for a sale being held at Cico Park. We weren't going to go, but let's face it...I can't say "no" to an opportunity and I've been waiting patiently for garage sale season to start.

The bad part? Seeing all kinds of great furniture that I can't get at this time due to lack of storage space. There was an awesome coffee table and end table set for twenty dollars. I'm holding on to the hope that not being able to get it right now means that something better will come along after we're in our new apartment though.

We did find two pictures to hang in our new apartment though, so we grabbed them because they're much more storage friendly. The first one is small and I picked it out for $2.

I thought it was kind of contemporary and will go great in our bedroom, which the plan so far is to decorate kind of hodgepodge, kitchy, random. The second one Jon picked out for $5 and was pretty excited about finding it. Not suprising...he has a thing for Germany, but the pic is neat and will look good in the living room.
We also got (but didn't take a picture of) big blue bathroom rug that's in really good condition for a dollar. It's a dark blue, so now we get to find a matching toilet cover and rug. I have to say our first sale was successful and now I can't wait to hit a few more.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Economic Stimulus

Warning: This is not a political commentary.

I have to admit that I’m not big on news programming. In fact, I rarely actually watch television. So last week when the Economic Stimulus Plan was mentioned to me, I had no idea what was going on. Call me an ostrich because I bury my head…it’s just what I do. I’ve accepted it.

I was told that my next paycheck would be slightly bigger because of the plan. The first thing I think of when I think Economic Stimulus is a big check made out to me from the government. And while that’s nice, I’m actually liking this new plan better. For the part that directly affects me at the moment, my paychecks will increase by about 13.00 a week, or 26.00 per paycheck. That’s 52 dollars a month more income.

I understand that there are people who may be disappointed about not getting a big one time check, but for myself, I’d much rather have the extra money per month. If you give me a lump of cash, I’m going to spend it, and I’m probably not going to spend it on things I should spend it on. Sure, I’m going to stimulate the economy…for a week. Then I’m back at square one wondering where the heck my money went.

That little bit of extra money each month can be budgeted into what I’m already doing and what I have leftover makes for a nice treat somewhere along the line. Looking at my spending right now, an extra $52.00 will definitely help with my long term economic stimulation. This month it gets to go to a new pair of shoes. Next month’s will serve as some extra money for my Michigan trip. And if there’s nothing to buy, it can go into savings where I’ll be able to use it later in the year for things.

I’m sure there are some who can argue that this isn’t going to be a good idea in the long run, but seeing as other things haven’t worked, this could work out. Only time will tell. Until it does, I’ll happily take my extra money and hope it doesn’t come back to bite me for some reason later.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Craigslist Finds

Things are tight around here, but one of my guilty pleasures is Craigslist. With the excitement of moving into a new apartment, I've had home decor, furnishings, and household goods on the brain. To be honest, someone should probably stop me. We're limited on space right now, and bringing things in before the move is just making more work for the packing phase. However, I'm justifying it by the good deals I found.
A week or so ago, I saw a canister set for just $3 on Craigslist. I've wanted one of these for awhile and had planned on picking up one at Wal-mart anyway, but I couldn't resist the deal on this. It's a four canister set and only one canister has a small chip in the bottom. This is the smallest of the group as I didn't want to unwrap all pieces to take a group picture:
Then yesterday I came across a post for a bunch of random items selling for five dollars each. What caught my eye was the griddle they were selling. One of the first times we made pancakes, Jon mentioned he wanted a griddle, and I figured an electric one would be pretty pricey. This one is small, but perfect for us and still in good condition.
I scored a knife set, a random kitchen utensil set, and some towels and pot holders.

I also got a cute wicker hamper that folds up when not being used. Since I don't want to use it until we're in the new place, I can feel okay about the storage and moving issue. Even Jon thought it was cute.

The girl selling these things may contact me next week if she hasn't gotten rid of some of her other things. I was limited on cash, but I really wouldn't have minded having the coffee pot and the George Foreman Grill...or the Fry Daddy though we rarely deep fry anything...or the wine glasses...

Okay...I'm getting carried away. But seriously, I hope she contacts me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Cheaper Bowl of Cereal

I love cereal, but there's generally two things wrong with it. Most of it is really sugary and high in calories. For most people that's okay, but not so much for me since I'm on a mission to lose alot of weight. Sure, there's high fiber cereals that are good for you, but that brings me to the second issue with it...cereal is expensive! I've seen some okay deals recently, and I know coupons can bring the cost of cereal down alot more, but it's rare that I find something cheap enough to satisfy me.

A week ago, on a strange whim, I bought a bag of puffed wheat for 99 cents. It was the most generic cereal they had at Dillons, but for some reason I just wanted puffed wheat. After eating a bowl of it plain, I had to wonder where I got a craving for cardboard. Not one to let it go to waste, I decided to try it again with a few additions.

Tonight I had the same puffed wheat, this time with a sliced banana and a sprinkling of Splenda and voila! It was really good! It wasn't overly sweet but had a nice taste to it. Plus it was relatively healthy. Now I'll admit, Splenda is pricy, and so that was my splurge to keep it healthy(we bought a box a couple weeks ago so I didn't have to buy it new), but for those of you without sugar/diet issues, a small sprinkling of sugar would be just as good.

My next experiment with puffed wheat? A cinnamon/Spenda mix and raisins. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Swiss Chicken Casserole

In keeping with the old nature of this blog, I'll be posting recipes that are pretty cheap and can stretch a meal or two (having remembered that, I will also need to revisit some of my old faves from this blog.

Tonight's meal was Swiss Chicken Casserole with leftover corn from last night (X-posted to
The cost breakdown:
A bag of chicken tenderloins: 7.99 on sale. We used eight for this recipe and still have several left, so we're looking at about 50 cents a piece, or four dollars in meat.
The can of soup: We went reduced fat but we went off brand and it ended up being $1.09.
Swiss cheese: $2.00
Herb stuffing mix: $2.19 because we were sticklers for the Herb flavored stuff. Next time we'll go with the dollar box of regular chicken flavored stuffing.
Milk and butter: Already had, but based on what we normally pay and use, only about $1.00 for both of them.
The BF finished his off, but I split mine into two meals (one for lunch tomorrow) which makes this meal approximately: $2.50 to $3.50 per meal. Still alot cheaper than fast food and next time it'll be even cheaper when we find ways to cut even more corners.

Do It For Your Country

The country is getting pretty frugal lately, which is reminding me that I really need to step up my own frugal habits. Since last spring things have been pretty comfortable with a few slight "oops" issues here and there. But with only one of us working right now (the BF is focusing on school), an impending trip to Michigan and a move in June, it's time to crack down again.

I've started a budget worksheet on one of my new favorite sites, SpringPad ( It's only the making right now though but it'll get there. I'm happy to say that this week we've made dinner every night and I've taken my lunch to work everyday. I'll need to start tracking groceries again, but I think the time will be worth it if we can save some money.

My big issue...I've got to stop with the instant gratification! No more eBay buys, no more random trips to the thrift least not until we're ready to furnish the new apartment. That'll be fun. We did get a good deal on an apartment...a very low price that includes utilities in a good part of town and for a really nice living space. Once we have our own refrigerator and facilities, I'll be freezing and storing things which will help save even more money.

I also have two other Blogger blogs (I was inspired by a friend of mine), one for my weight loss stuff and one for cooking which I've been doing more of lately...well, okay, Jon has been doing more of lately, but I have my moments as well.

Anyway, if I have any readers out there, feedback is good!