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Nothing New/Mindful Spending Week Four


Quill
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The "rules" of this challenge are self-defined. Anyone can join in at any time. The aim of the challenge (for me) is to combat consumerism, wastefulness, mindless buying, and overspending. It is meant to nurture creative problem solving, ecology, frugality, intentionalism, and resourcefulness. To support these goals, I seek to buy nothing new/unnecessary. I aim to use existing resources, borrow, hand-craft, and buy existing second-hand materials to the greatest extent possible. However, I recognize that life is unpredictable, and family life increases this factor exponentially, so I will buy new in the following cases, when a non-buying option does not present:

 

Food, health, and necessary household goods excluded.

Requirements for school, work, or health and well-being which cannot be obtained used.

Gifts, when a creative non-commercial option will not suffice.

Anything animal or gardening related that cannot be obtained used.

Fuel/energy sources.

 

Posts will appear each Saturday, referring to the week that is ending. Post your successes, creative solutions, relapses and weak moments. It doesn't matter if you have a weak moment! Just keep swimming!

This week (yesterday, actually) I faced down one of my demons. I did NOT buy the books on Amazon which I was more than ready to click into my cart. I was thinking about a post from the member her called Serenity Now (not sure if she is still here), in which she asked herself something like, "do I have kits I won't complete, books I haven't read, projects I meant to do but haven't..." So this is what I was asking myself, and the question is unequivocally answerable as YES I DO!! I have a bazillion books and Kindle books that I have not read, including some whose cover I have not cracked. I DO NOT NEED MORE BOOKS! Everything is so interesting to me, my mind is endlessly curious and it is so easy to buy, buy, buy books that target that topic. And then invariably, I follow the "Frequently bought together" rabbit trails and find still more books that are surely so interesting and wonderful...I want ALL the books, I want to sip from EVERY table of knowledge. But I didn't. I stuck the lovely books in my Wish List and left Amazon. Then, I opened my Kindle and jumped right in to a book I stopped reading at 68%. (Nothing wrong with that book, BTW. I just moved on to greener grass.)

 

So, this is the habit I am going to cultivate. Stick it on my wish list. Let the fever pass. Maybe I will still want the book later; maybe I will put it on request at the library, even if I am behind several others. I have enough partly-read and never-opened books to probably last me several years. No more addictive book buying. My only book purchases will be if it is required and there is a time limit on it (such as for book club).

 

In other news, I went to Aldi this past week; this was only the second time I have ever gone. The first time, I did not like the location of the store and, though very cheap, it was not a great experience. But now there is an Aldi in a location I can visit; it is not too far from me and I have reason to go there at other times. That store is amazingly inexpensive! My only complaint, if I actually have one, is that all the produce is packaged, mostly in plastic. That is in conflict with my other goals of reducing waste. However...bananas for .29/lb! Garlic was 3/.59. The milk was 2.00/gallon (my family drinks a ton of milk). Every aisle is a marvel.

 

I went to dinner with a friend from long ago; spent $25. Highly worth it! It is one of my goals for this year. I want to nurture my good friendships. In some cases, that may mean reconnecting with a lost-touch friend; in others, it may mean bomding better with someone I have met more recently.

 

So, dog food, groceries at Aldi, dinner out with friend were my only purchases for this week. My kids and I all need haircuts, though, so that may happen next week.

 

In other news, I have a brand-new grand neice today! :D So, always possible I will buy some gifts for the baby this coming week.

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I've been quoted! I'm so proud! :wub: :hurray: :wub:

 

(I'm trying to use that same thought to keep myself on track. Good luck to both of us!)

Wow! However did you learn that so fast! I actually do have this quote from you in my book that is still waiting for me to lovingly package it, ISBN it, cover it and put it up on Amazon Kindle Direct. You are entitled to a free copy, BTW.

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Target. The road to hell is paved with red bullseyes.

 

Most of it was science demo and craft supplies for DS6, who is sick and small-scale reactions will probably cheer him up. Also a second donut pan. Sick kid loves powdered sugar donuts, but they take forever to make with one pan.

 

The only thing I wish I hadn't bought was a shower stall mat. The newly resurfaced floor is slick, but I wish I would have just bought adhesive strips. $14 wasted.

 

Other than that and a Taco Bell splurge on piano night, we didn't spend anything. Tomorrow is the big Costco and Aldi trip.

 

Quill, I'm glad you had a good Aldi experience. Ours is only a few years old and huge and I'm spoiled by it. Also, in cutting down on plastic, do you know of any reasonable hacks to replace lots of plastic baggies? I've put together a "breakfast box" of single-serve baked goods for the kids to feed themselves from, but I'm using TONS of baggies. Using a single large bag or container = smashed wasted food or taking more than they can eat. Ugh, I know I should just suck it up and sit down to eat with them, but my morning is so much more pleasant without subjecting myself to table chaos first thing.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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I managed to return 4 pairs of pants to Costco this week and a drain hose to the dishwasher to Home Depot as well.  So that's a win, since they are not sitting in my house, not being used/worn.  (DH may have been a bit overly optimistic when he told me his size when I was shopping at Costco - as it turns out, I have 4 pairs of pants in his real actual current size at home that have been sitting around for a few years not being worn - glad I kept those.)

 

Aside from that, I did buy a lot of frozen 'convenience' foods at Costco, but that's cheap compared to the cost of eating out on the nights I fill are too busy to do real cooking.  And we have been doing well at meal planning for the last month and I hope to continue that so as to stretch the convenience foods out for a few months.

 

Alright, on the other hand, after I dropped DD off at Girl Guide camp outside the city I stopped at a thrift store on the way home.  I bought myself a shirt (first piece of clothing since August - only $2 and given that I just went through my tops and removed about 8 to see if I could take out the grease stains or if they were forever damaged, it's somewhat necessary).  Then I bought some things we don't need though.  A few weeks back DD and I had stopped at a different thrift store where we had found the last 3 books of a series that she was missing.  We were waiting to pay behind one of those shoppers whom, as a former retail employee, I despised, and as a customer, I also despise.  The kind who want to use two coupons when they both clearly state only one can be used.  Who want discounts on everything.  Who insist on having the cashier talk to the manager.  And then when the cashier comes back with a 'no' answer, insists on talking to the manager.  It was a thrift store.  It's one of the cheapest ones around.  In the end, we ended up leaving because it was taking forever and I had to go pick up DS.  To add insult to injury, the obnoxious customer had also managed to find one of the dolls DD collects and was buying that and it was a very nice one.  

 

Well, as it turns out, I found one of those three books at this other thrift store, and an almost identical doll, plus a second doll.  Then, feeling bad for not having gotten DS anything, I found this weird ball that sort of appears to float in the air, which was a strange coincidence given that we had just finished watching some videos featuring something similar.  So I got the book, the two dolls and the ball thing in addition to my shirt.  So, none of that was necessary at all, but at least it was reasonably priced, and I paid for it out of my weekly allowance.

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Target. The road to hell is paved with red bullseyes.

 

Most of it was science demo and craft supplies for DS6, who is sick and small-scale reactions will probably cheer him up. Also a second donut pan. Sick kid loves powdered sugar donuts, but they take forever to make with one pan.

 

The only thing I wish I hadn't bought was a shower stall mat. The newly resurfaced floor is slick, but I wish I would have just bought adhesive strips. $14 wasted.

 

Other than that and a Taco Bell splurge on piano night, we didn't spend anything. Tomorrow is the big Costco and Aldi trip.

 

Quill, I'm glad you had a good Aldi experience. Ours is only a few years old and huge and I'm spoiled by it. Also, in cutting down on plastic, do you know of any reasonable hacks to replace lots of plastic baggies? I've put together a "breakfast box" of single-serve baked goods for the kids to feed themselves from, but I'm using TONS of baggies. Using a single large bag or container = smashed wasted food or taking more than they can eat. Ugh, I know I should just suck it up and sit down to eat with them, but my morning is so much more pleasant without subjecting myself to table chaos first thing.

Sorta, but not really. There are Lunchskin brand washable, velco-closed baggies; those who are handy with a sewing machine could also make their own, but TBH, that doesn't stand in well for bigger-scale baggie use like you're talking about. You would need to buy or make a lot of them to really equal the convenience you are after.

 

Plastic for sealing and storing food is one no-waste hurdle I have not yet cleared. I have a vacuum sealer for freezing meats and other foods, i don't like that it generates disposable single-use plastic - but nothing else works that way.

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BarbecueMom--We use washable bags called Lunchskins as well as wax bags from my co-op.  The latter is made by a company called Natural Value. Disposable, yes, but at least they are not plastic.

 

Some expenditures are investments in sanity. I serve as co-chair on a municipal advisory board.  We have had town staff transition that is awkward and possibly problematic.  After a meeting with the town manager, my co-chair and I hashed it all out over lattes.  Well worth the price.  We see a way forward.

 

Another committee that I serve on is affiliated with an organization that had a banquet Friday evening. Nice meal and I did not have to cook!

 

I travel periodically as part of a state organization.  Because I hate interstates, I am always on the lookout for the backwoods routes.  To assist me in that goal I bought a Gazetteer with county roads--using a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Another investment in sanity.

 

After running errands today, we stopped at the local tap room to buy beer in refillable growlers.  Beer may not be a necessary expensive but much appreciated after a crazy busy week.

 

 

 

 

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Wow! However did you learn that so fast! I actually do have this quote from you in my book that is still waiting for me to lovingly package it, ISBN it, cover it and put it up on Amazon Kindle Direct. You are entitled to a free copy, BTW.

Oh, I'm so excited!  I would love to read your book!

 

I always read your mindful spending thread as soon as I see it.  I was supposed to participate last year, but I did so poorly with my spending goals that I was too embarrassed to write it all down!   :o   I think my problem is that I set goals for myself that are too lofty and strict.  I need to learn to just be content with doing a little better each month.  Progress, not perfection!

 

So far this year I'm doing much better.  I came in $100 under budget for groceries this month, which means I can save that money for my son's driver training class.  I also limited my personal spending to one $25 Amazon card.  (Not to be spent on books, though!  I have plenty, just like you!  Instead I'm spending it on brain candy... digital seasons of Project Runway!  Lol!)

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Oh, I'm so excited! I would love to read your book!

 

I always read your mindful spending thread as soon as I see it. I was supposed to participate last year, but I did so poorly with my spending goals that I was too embarrassed to write it all down! :o I think my problem is that I set goals for myself that are too lofty and strict. I need to learn to just be content with doing a little better each month. Progress, not perfection!

 

So far this year I'm doing much better. I came in $100 under budget for groceries this month, which means I can save that money for my son's driver training class. I also limited my personal spending to one $25 Amazon card. (Not to be spent on books, though! I have plenty, just like you! Instead I'm spending it on brain candy... digital seasons of Project Runway! Lol!)

Well, that is certainly ironic because that small blurb about stewardship you said a few years ago was so inspiring. Because I have it in my manuscript, I see it a lot. It is so lovely. It perfectly distills what I aim to do in combining good stewardship of resources, frugality, and gentleness towards the earth. For everyone else's benefit, I'd like to put the quote in here:

 

Am I a good steward of the money which comes into our home? My [husband] traded some of his life energy for that money...is a ceramic doo-dad for the garden or yet another skein of yarn a good trade for some of that energy? Are some of my choices motivated by laziness or selfishness or boredom? Am I a good steward of the things I already own? Do I have piles of clothes I am too lazy to fold or iron or mend? Do I have piles of unread books, unfinished science kits, art projects {emphasis mine} for the kids that we never got around to? Do I have bins of fabric and yarn and beads (Yes, here too!) that have no planned purpose or whose purpose I'm too lazy to follow through on? If so, then I'm not showing good stewardship. I'm not respecting those items and I'm not respecting the money used to purchase them. - Serenity Now

See, everyone? Is that perfect or what?!
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Well, that is certainly ironic because that small blurb about stewardship you said a few years ago was so inspiring. Because I have it in my manuscript, I see it a lot. It is so lovely. It perfectly distills what I aim to do in combining good stewardship of resources, frugality, and gentleness towards the earth. For everyone else's benefit, I'd like to put the quote in here:

 

See, everyone? Is that perfect or what?!

Oh, that's still very much the idea I try and guide my spending with!  My problem was that I really wanted to do a complete no-spend year last year.  Absolutely no personal purchases at all.  And I failed that in the very first month.  So then I got down on myself and started thinking "Why bother?  If you can't complete the whole year then why bother?"  So that's where my progress not perfection comes in.  I should have been able to say "Okay, January wasn't a success, but I'll try again for February."  So I'm really working on that this year.  What I did do well last year was not buy craft supplies without a very specific goal.  Not buy books/projects/kits that the kids "might like".  Not buy any home decor except for a print from the local art fair.  But because my spending wasn't zero I got down on myself.  What can I say?  I'm still a work in progress at 46 years old.  Sorry that it was ironic.   :o

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Oh, that's still very much the idea I try and guide my spending with! My problem was that I really wanted to do a complete no-spend year last year. Absolutely no personal purchases at all. And I failed that in the very first month. So then I got down on myself and started thinking "Why bother? If you can't complete the whole year then why bother?" So that's where my progress not perfection comes in. I should have been able to say "Okay, January wasn't a success, but I'll try again for February." So I'm really working on that this year. What I did do well last year was not buy craft supplies without a very specific goal. Not buy books/projects/kits that the kids "might like". Not buy any home decor except for a print from the local art fair. But because my spending wasn't zero I got down on myself. What can I say? I'm still a work in progress at 46 years old. Sorry that it was ironic. :o

Well now that's just kooky! ;) Look, I did the mindful spending thread all year last year and I am only just now, for the first time, beating down my book-buying addiction. And who knows? I might sleep-walk tonight, go the my Wish List and empty it into my cart!

 

We all get a do-over. And another! And another! They are free, you know.

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I did that with buying books a while ago too.  I have books in my basement that have been gathering dust for years.  For some time (couple years at least) I have not bought new books for myself except rarely, e.g., while traveling if I forgot to bring one.  Oddly enough I still have more books to read.  I hope I finish them before my eyes are too far gone.

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I did that with buying books a while ago too.  I have books in my basement that have been gathering dust for years.  For some time (couple years at least) I have not bought new books for myself except rarely, e.g., while traveling if I forgot to bring one.  Oddly enough I still have more books to read.  I hope I finish them before my eyes are too far gone.

 

 I read a book called The Shelf a few years back where a woman decided to choose a shelf at a library and read all the books on it. 

 

I was all set to do this as well and then realized that it would be silly to do this in the library when I could easily do it at home!  So I've embarked on my own "The Shelf" project and have finished about the first 1/3 of a shelf.  It has been an intriguing experiment.  I'd say that half the books were ones I was rereading, which I rarely do, but which allowed me to determine whether or not I really wanted to keep them.  The other books I read with a much more critical eye than usual with respect to whether or not they deserved to keep a place on the shelf after being read.  

 

To this end, between reading the books on "The Shelf" and making a real effort to get books out of the library when I'm feeling a yen for something new, I've managed to not buy any books for myself for some time.  Let us not, however, discuss books for the children.

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I already mentioned that I signed the girls up for a really expensive sleep-away camp this summer.  I have lost my mind.  However, they are excited about it and I am telling myself it will be an unparalleled learning experience.  :P  I also signed up for another summer [day] camp and will eventually be paying for them to be somewhere or other all summer long.

 

I don't remember any other purchases in the past week, but that could just be senility ....  Oh wait, I did do that charity purchase for my kids' school's service project.  I think I mentioned that on the last post.

 

My kid says she needs a bigger swimsuit AGAIN, and I have to order my coffee before I run out, so a quick visit to Amazon.com is in order.  Who knows what else will happen once I get on there.  :)

 

For taekwondo, we will sign up for a belt test if the teacher decides we are ready (not sure since we didn't attend many classes recently).  Also, my kids have been bugging me for bigger head/arm/leg gear, and I did promise to buy them a new uniform a while ago, so I should get on that.  We have been using the present uniforms for 2.5 years, and while we could still use them, they are getting short.  Half of me wants to make them wait until they qualify for the black belt uniforms, but I did promise, so ....

 

 

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So this past week I did spend money on a hotel, gas, parking (omg), and food while dd and I visited two schools in the DC area (and she sat the NACLO at one of them). I consider it money well spent as the visits helped her solidify exactly what she does and does not want in a college and its campus.

 

:)

 

Dh got Chinese the night we were gone and had coffee with an out-of-town friend on day. We are invited to her wedding outside of Lexington in July! (She was one of dh's first Chinese instructors through the Confucius Institute at the university. She had to return to China for two years before she could come back and marry her American fiance.)

 

Tomorrow we'll have the expense of airport parking when dd20 returns from her winter session studyabroad in Greece. Her 21st bday is Friday for which we will take her out to lunch and a legal glass of wine ;) She would like an upgrade to her phone (iphone 5s that loses battery power out of the blue) so we might be doing that as her gift.

 

I've been doing well shopping locally, mainly at the natural foods store and at the locally-owned Shoprite. I will have to buy non-local chickens at the local butcher shop this week since the natural foods store is out of chicken until spring. I still haven't made it to the fishmonger...

 

(I just love saying fishmonger. I wish we had a greengrocer as well :lol:)

 

I want you guys to know I think every time I need to use a container or cover food. I have chosen our pyrex containers with the snap lids more than usual. Dh looks at me funny. I remind him about nonrenewable resources and being a good steward while dd falls over in hysterics :rolleyes:

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Well we got our tax refund and paid off a couple bills, fixed a few minor things on dh's truck (I think 2 power window motors and a new latch so we can open the back door of the truck without reaching around the door), and stocked up on some house hold items. Monday I'm putting some money back into the account to order somethings on Amazon (mostly stuff for school and a couple movies)

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It is very difficult to NOT buy more girl scout cookies when they are here in the house. That I only owe $12 for them at the moment is a feat of which I am proud.

 

Only other unexpected expense was a last minute invite for a kid to a birthday party. I limited her to a $10 gift.

 

I spent $50 on groceries, at the discount grocery place, so retail probably would have been at LEAST twice that. I stocked up on cereal, .50 cans of tomato soup (not even expired!), etc.

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This past week I thought I was going to get off cheap.  Yeah that didn't happen.

Store -- couple food items but geez prices were high on what I needed -- ok didn't NEED cokes but kinda did ;) that is my treat

Haircut for boys -- I wanted one but it can wait 

Phone card to add service days to boys phone -- tracfone service days ending

Baseball fees

Birthday gift for secret pal thing our group is doing

 

I too have so many books I haven't read and keep getting more.  More free kindle books and borrowing free kindle books from the library and borrowing actual books from the library.  I have a ton of actual books that I bought (thrift stores and yard sales) still sitting around my house waiting to be read. 

 

 

 

 

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I've been doing well shopping locally, mainly at the natural foods store and at the locally-owned Shoprite. I will have to buy non-local chickens at the local butcher shop this week since the natural foods store is out of chicken until spring. I still haven't made it to the fishmonger...

 

(I just love saying fishmonger. I wish we had a greengrocer as well :lol:)

 

 

I too love saying fishmonger but I love my fishmongers more. (Yeah, I have two which is a source of envy for some.)

 

Local eggs were becoming scarce in these parts with the seasonal change. I was delighted when a gal approached me to see if I wanted egg deliveries when we cross paths two days of the month.  Heck yes!  Two teens raise  chickens for an entrepreneurial project so this is a win-win.  I had been buying eggs from the girls but the laying diminished when the chickens molted. The things we learn...

 

 

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Good week for me spending wise.  Time to renew the gym membership so I checked out a nearby gym and we like it better than our old one so we joined- yes, it's money spent and it's not absolutely necessary.   The new place is priced 25% less than the old place and includes a lot more- pool, classes included, and a walking track.  I'm probably most excited that it's just down the street- there are nine houses between ours and the gym.  I can walk to it! Gas money saved, and sharing a car with my kids means I can workout without tying up a car. 

 

Dh and I spent the day yesterday criss crossing Iowa to meet candidates. We packed our lunch and drinks and other than gas, we only spent $5 for snacks at a coffee shop that hosted a candidate. Not necessary spending, of course, but I appreciated the shop letting us all take over for a couple of hours. And that was a fabulous muffin.  

 

The splurge- we ordered pizza the other night as kind of a celebration because dd was offered a job she didn't apply for, and it's one she needs  her degree for.   After paying for college, it's nice to see it pay off. So taco pizza seemed like a reasonable splurge.  

 

What is up with the price of veggies? At Walmart this week zucchini was $3.84 a pound.  

 

 

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Target. The road to hell is paved with red bullseyes.

 

Most of it was science demo and craft supplies for DS6, who is sick and small-scale reactions will probably cheer him up. Also a second donut pan. Sick kid loves powdered sugar donuts, but they take forever to make with one pan.

 

The only thing I wish I hadn't bought was a shower stall mat. The newly resurfaced floor is slick, but I wish I would have just bought adhesive strips. $14 wasted.

 

Other than that and a Taco Bell splurge on piano night, we didn't spend anything. Tomorrow is the big Costco and Aldi trip.

 

Quill, I'm glad you had a good Aldi experience. Ours is only a few years old and huge and I'm spoiled by it. Also, in cutting down on plastic, do you know of any reasonable hacks to replace lots of plastic baggies? I've put together a "breakfast box" of single-serve baked goods for the kids to feed themselves from, but I'm using TONS of baggies. Using a single large bag or container = smashed wasted food or taking more than they can eat. Ugh, I know I should just suck it up and sit down to eat with them, but my morning is so much more pleasant without subjecting myself to table chaos first thing.

We wrap baked goods in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer, and it works fine. Yes, it's still plastic, but it's cheaper, less bulky plastic that was less involved/processed in it's manufacture. We buy it in the huge rolls at Costco that last years and years.

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It is very difficult to NOT buy more girl scout cookies when they are here in the house. That I only owe $12 for them at the moment is a feat of which I am proud.

 

 

I usually buy a package of Thin Mints and another of the chocolate peanut butter patties annually.  One of my husband's colleagues has a daughter who is a girlscout so he came home from work with those.  At the banquet the other night I encountered another family who usually hits me up to buy cookies.  They didn't and I did not push the point.  I really don't need any more cookies...

 

 

Dh and I spent the day yesterday criss crossing Iowa to meet candidates. We packed our lunch and drinks and other than gas, we only spent $5 for snacks at a coffee shop that hosted a candidate. Not necessary spending, of course, but I appreciated the shop letting us all take over for a couple of hours. And that was a fabulous muffin.  

 

The splurge- we ordered pizza the other night as kind of a celebration because dd was offered a job she didn't apply for, and it's one she needs  her degree for.   After paying for college, it's nice to see it pay off. So taco pizza seemed like a reasonable splurge.  

 

 

Your meet the candidate date sounds like great fun!

 

And congrats to your daughter.  Very exciting!

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BarbecueMom--We use washable bags called Lunchskins as well as wax bags from my co-op. The latter is made by a company called Natural Value. Disposable, yes, but at least they are not plastic.

 

Some expenditures are investments in sanity. I serve as co-chair on a municipal advisory board. We have had town staff transition that is awkward and possibly problematic. After a meeting with the town manager, my co-chair and I hashed it all out over lattes. Well worth the price. We see a way forward.

 

Another committee that I serve on is affiliated with an organization that had a banquet Friday evening. Nice meal and I did not have to cook!

 

I travel periodically as part of a state organization. Because I hate interstates, I am always on the lookout for the backwoods routes. To assist me in that goal I bought a Gazetteer with county roads--using a Barnes and Noble gift card. Another investment in sanity.

 

After running errands today, we stopped at the local tap room to buy beer in refillable growlers. Beer may not be a necessary expensive but much appreciated after a crazy busy week.

Did you know Google Maps has an "avoid highways" function?

 

The only time I prefer the interstate is going thru the mountains. Last summer I took the U.S. 60 all the way home to Tempe, AZ from Canyon, TX. We stopped mid-way at a BLM campground and camped for the night. The drive didn't take much longer than taking I-40 most of the way would have, the campground was lovely, and camping was much less expensive than staying in a motel overnight if I wasn't up to driving 12 hours straight for the second time in a week (which I did on the way there).

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I travel periodically as part of a state organization.  Because I hate interstates, I am always on the lookout for the backwoods routes.  To assist me in that goal I bought a Gazetteer with county roads--using a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Another investment in sanity.

 

 

 

I did some mapping during the last census cycle and they provided me with a Gazetteer- up until then I only knew about the Rand McNally atlas.   OMG the gazetteer is awesome!!! Thanks for that memory jog- dh's birthday is in two weeks and I've been scrambling for an idea but a gazetteer of the area in Wisconsin where we like to drive the Corvette would be perfect!!  It's beautiful but we don't know the roads well at all. 

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Yeah, I am grateful to the guy who mentioned the Gazetteer a week or so when we were driving to a grant writing workshop together. We were chatting merrily when all of a sudden I looked out the window and realized that I had no idea which route he was taking.  He told me that he had discovered the very scenic highway via the Gazetteer which I had not heard of either! What is cool is that the Gazetteer not only shows highways and secondary roads but hiking trails and other recreational features.  The fellow who mentioned it said that he often uses his to find a fun weekend activity involving exploring small towns, historic sites, etc. 

 

This would be a great gift item.  Thanks for planting that seed.

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Speaking of Girl Scout cookies, my sister's 6yo is apparently in scouts now since I have been solicited via text.  And since chocolate no longer wreaks havoc on my face (one good thing about menopause), I believe I will order some.  I haven't had a thin mint in soooooo long.  :)

 

I did go on Amazon last night to order those needed items.  I am happy to report that I didn't buy anything silly.  I only bought three articles of school clothes in addition to what I urgently needed.  I was doing laundry last night and realized that Miss Never-ending Growth Spurt only has enough school clothes for 6 or 7 days, and some of those are getting too small.  Also she refuses to wear what she calls "paper shirts" (regular blouses), vs. the softer polo shirts.  So I ordered a jumper and a couple of polo shirts in size 12.  The bathing suit I ordered is size 14.  One hopes that these will last a while since she just turned 9, but who knows ....  The nice thing about these clothes is that they really do hold up well.  My smaller kid will wear them possibly until she graduates.  ;)

 

In full disclosure, I did go looking at kid books to see if anything caught my eye.  But I did not find anything compelling.  This could be because I already bought all the cool books.  :P  I have a box of books in my room that my kids don't even know about.  I bought them along with the Christmas gifts, but they are educational stuff and would be received similar to socks and underwear if I wrapped them up.  So they are there for a new thrill whenever the time is right.  (One of my kids will be thrilled.  The other will use the opportunity to practice her famous eyeroll.)

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Just finished grocery shopping. If I mention going out to eat any time in the next month, reach through the Internet and slap me.

 

Dear self, your fridge is not that big. Also, your budget is not that big.

 

That was not a successful exercise in mindful spending.

 

Thank you all for the suggestions on the non-disposable and cheaper food wrapping ideas. I'll mull those options over for next time.

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Yeah, I am grateful to the guy who mentioned the Gazetteer a week or so when we were driving to a grant writing workshop together. We were chatting merrily when all of a sudden I looked out the window and realized that I had no idea which route he was taking. He told me that he had discovered the very scenic highway via the Gazetteer which I had not heard of either! What is cool is that the Gazetteer not only shows highways and secondary roads but hiking trails and other recreational features. The fellow who mentioned it said that he often uses his to find a fun weekend activity involving exploring small towns, historic sites, etc.

 

This would be a great gift item. Thanks for planting that seed.

Oh, man! Want! Want!

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I bought these, for the only reason that they make me happy. http://www.frugalhotspot.com/2016/01/gourmet-basics-by-mikasa-jardin-porcelain-bowls-set-of-6/

 

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

 

I know I crave color and texture in this new house.  I think that's the "need" that those filled.  

 

I also bought Valentine's Day candy....for me.... Starburst Reds only jellybeans.  Also bad.

 

Other than that, I pretty much stayed on the straight and narrow this week by shopping only from my list.

 

Everyone is going to need shoes again soon, so I'm trying to be kind to my budget.

 

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This is my first time participating in this thread. I've been giving coupons another serious try. I last did this when ds was a little tyke. To make it worthwhile, though, takes more time than I had. Now that I have more time, I've been working on it. 

 

So, this week I needed driving snacks as I drove round-trip to ds' university. When I am driving long distances, it helps me stay awake if I have something to crunch on. Instead of buying snacks at a convenience store on the route, I went to CVS and used my extra bucks and other coupons for snacks. I had to keep adding things to my order to get it to zero - they won't let you check out with a credit.  They also you require to use all of the extra bucks coupon at the same time. That was fun, even though it was all junky type food. 

 

Other coupon deals (it was a light week for good coupon deals): 

Orville Reddenbacher 3 pk microwave popcorn: Reg. Price $2.95, Sale Price = Buy 2 Get Three Free - 1.00 coupon that doubled = .78 each, bought 5

Daisy Sour Cream, 16 oz squeeze bottle: Sale Price: 2.00 - .75 coupon that doubled =  .50 each, bought 1

Oreo Cookies: Sale price = 2/$5 - $1 off/2 coupon that doubled (had three) = $1.50 each (bought 6)

 

I let a $10 off $40 coupon for Pet Smart expire because they didn't have our cat food in stock. Oh, well! I still have a $5 off of $10 coupon that has a couple of more weeks on it, so I'll be able to use that the next time we need cat food. 

 

I also cleaned out the cabinet under the sink and found some "free" stuff. We had multiple bottles of stovetop cleaner, hand soap and carpet spotter. We also had a lot of parchment paper (I don't know why) and aluminum foil.  So, I took the extras out and put them on a shelf in the laundry closet and kept one of each thing we use under the sink. So, for 30 min of effort, I now have a clean cabinet and about $50 worth of cleaning supplies & paper products that I can find easily for future use.  

 

Gas was $1.79/gallon when I filled my tank. 

 

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I bought these, for the only reason that they make me happy. http://www.frugalhotspot.com/2016/01/gourmet-basics-by-mikasa-jardin-porcelain-bowls-set-of-6/

 

I'm not sure how I feel about that.

 

I know I crave color and texture in this new house. I think that's the "need" that those filled.

 

I also bought Valentine's Day candy....for me.... Starburst Reds only jellybeans. Also bad.

 

Other than that, I pretty much stayed on the straight and narrow this week by shopping only from my list.

 

Everyone is going to need shoes again soon, so I'm trying to be kind to my budget.

Those bowls are cute. They have called to me with their siren song. I plugged my ears. :)

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I did good most of the week and didn't spend a thing.  Saturday morning, my sweet daughter and I hit up a couple of yard sales.  I picked up a ream of colored paper for a dollar and at the next sale a mint condition 1959 Smith-Corona typewriter for $3.75.  My kids are crazy excited about it.  Daughter was lavished with a pile of free dress up clothes. And that is why she wore pink ear muffs and a pink visor to Target later.  Target--I controlled myself and only purchased shampoo and 2 small kitchen items that I needed.  Went to Ross for a set of sheets that was needed--since I don't have a dryer, I need a set to put on the bed while the other set is drying.  

 

Unfortunately, I was hungry when I went to Aldi for 1.49/gallon milk and .29/lb bananas. So over budget on the grocery side.  But lots of yummy things for Superbowl Party and dinner guests the week after. No more shopping til the 15th.  Its not like we won't eat it.  I depleted my pantry almost completely before moving, and am stocking it back up little by little, so that's part of my reason for going over, but yeah...hungry. It all looked good.  Aldi has improved so much in the last couple of years!!  2 1/2 years in a place with none close, absence does make the heart grow fonder. 

 

A tip I learned to keep bananas from ripening so fast:  I cut them off individually at the stem and just lay them on a tray.  They last almost 2 weeks.  I still had 2 that were too green to eat. 

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One thing I have been doing over the past few days is cleaning out some drawers that had disorganized, miscellaneous office supplies in them. I had been on point of buying some thumbdrives from Amazon when I gave myself my Amazon smack-down and I said to myself, "I bet there are a lot of thumbdrives lying around here with miscellaneous who-knows-what old stuff on them." Yes, there were. I found and cleared four old thumbdrives of old school projects and company back-up files, which I can now use for some fresh back-up files.

 

Another thing I turned up was a dozen notepads! I had been thinking of buying some next time I did a Staples order, because I have no more at my office. But I sure do have them at home! Oh and one was sort of a cute nostalgia because it had a log of my youngest child's eating and sleeping habits (or, eating and NOT sleeping habits).

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DD rescued another guinea pig but she paid for it herself.  The lady knows us well and gave her a discount for adopting.  We have been eating out the freezer this week so it is going well.  Dog had his surgery and apparently will need another next month so I need to save for that.   This week should be an easy grocery week. I just need some basics to add to stuff and lettuce.  

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We are reprioritizing our spending. Instead of trying to pay medical bills ( $500 this week and just getting started), make minor house repairs, and also save for major house repairs, and also survive all at the same time, we are putting off the major repairs, taking minor repairs and possibly medical costs out of savings, and working on fixing the things that we can fix. 

 

I have my eye on a bunk bed for $50. I'm going to try to pick it up tomorrow. This one with the bed tent Aries wants. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80253814/ 

Cross your fingers for me. 

I'm also looking for a job. Gotta get that cash flow. Wish me so much luck. This is daunting. 

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I bought a new bike. It was on clearance because it had a small dent in the fender, almost $100 off. I used my $100 giftcard to buy it, a new helmet, and a gel seat

pad. It came to $128. I work a part-time job, and had just gotten paid. That money is my fun money, so I used that for the rest.

 

Here is the bike I bought http://m.target.com/p/huffy-26-ladies-main-street-lexington/-/A-16374114

 

My one concern is food budget, hopefully other things will come out under budget.

 

Kelly

Edited by SquirrellyMama
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Desert Strawberry---as someone who has had about $750,000 in family medical bills in the last six years, may I offer some practical advice?  Call the financial services department of the hospital pronto, and work out a payment plan.  Most of the time, those with low incomes have the bulk of their bill written off, or have very reasonable payment plans of $20-50/month.  You still have to have some cash flow for co-pays for meds and doctor appointments, but hospitals are well aware that those with chronic health issues are buried under a bunch of bills.

 

Do the repairs for your home. You need a roof. You just do.  Living under a tarp with a family is no bueno.  Your house is paid off...do what you need to do to secure your four walls so that you aren't dealing with mold or other more expensive issues later on.  

 

Whatever you do, do not put medical bills on credit cards and do not get a CareCredit or whatever account. It very much limits your options for negotiation and flexibility in payment.

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Glad it's anew month, was under budget for January, I have a larger order coming this month from Azure Standard, but everything else should be lower for the next few months.  We haven't had to fill the gas tank in our van for over a week.  Goals for this week are cleaning out the freezer and I'm also cooking up turkey stock today, from our Christmas turkey.  I'm trying to cancel dh's self employment insurance, we've not been doing any side jobs and I told him I'd rather not do anything extra and save the $85/month.  I sent an e-mail to the agent and have not heard anything and the phone number always just rings (had this problem last time we dealt with them as well.  Pray I can get things taken care of without a problem.  It's electronic withdrawal, so that's the thing that concerns me.

 

 

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The kids and I have officially started our three month challenge (the challenge being to keep the credit cards bills for those months under a certain amount - we charge everything, so aside from electrical/phone bills and mortgage payments and some cash expenditures - piano/girl guide events/DH's allowance - the credit card bill is our main expense).  After living in our house for 19 years, we finally renovated the kitchen last year so that the fridge is in the same room as the kitchen, there is a window above the sink instead of a cupboard that I constantly hit my head on whilst watching dishes etc.  As kitchen renos go, it wasn't cheap, but we didn't have the money for it, so we had to open a line of credit.  However, it has significantly improved my quality of life.  

 

Still, gotta get that line of credit under control.  We will need to have the siding repainted and the roof redone soon and I'd rather have no debt, aside from the mortgage, when we do those.  

 

To that end, I am also looking for a part time job.  I have an interview in a couple of weeks.  Ugh.  I don't really want a job, but this is part time and temporary, so I think I could manage for 3 or 4 months.  Although to be honest, I have no idea what we will do with the kids during that time.  Hoping to work mostly evenings and weekends.

 

As far as spending is concerned, did a very minor grocery shop for 3 things and only bought those 3 things.  We are really trying to use the food we have in the house rather than going out and buying new things.  To that end, we are also meal planning based on what is in the fridge/freezer rather than what exciting recipe sounds good, which is what we did last month when the kids started to help meal planning.

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It has been a week full of blessings, went to pay off a dental bill, we owed $77 and the had written it off (Insurance had paid the rest)

When I got home, I had a Menards rebate ($13.xx) Meijer rewards of $15.00 for spending last month.  Then yesterday, I had a $2 ECB for CVS in my e-mail.  I was able to get the insurance canceled and praying they don't withdrawal any more money from our account, as it turns out, they should owe us about $150.00, (we pay 9/12 months and we've already paid 7.  I filled our gas tank for $24.00 today.  ($1.36/gallon) Plus I let dd pick out a ring for her 18th birthday and it turned out to be one that was on sale for $30 at Kohl's, so with coupons it was $27.xx oop.  I was expecting to spend about $100, so I'm going to try and get her something else too.

 

Edited by Prairie~Phlox
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More summer camp stuff.  The math camp people finally posted their summer camp info.  The day camp schedule doesn't work for us except for one week in August, which is probably a good thing.  I am not sure whether I will have them do weekly evening classes or not.  They really enjoy these and benefit from them, but they are only offered at 4:30pm and it's kinda far from our house.  I could (and will) obviously give them math to do at home, but the motivation factor is a lot different.  :P  Registration starts next Monday, so I will give it some thought.

 

So now that I know what week they are doing math camp, I checked out the zoo camp offerings for their age.  I registered for 2 weeks in June.  Looks like the kids will be doing lots of science this summer.  :)  I also registered for an overnight at the zoo, which I will also attend, in July.  I see that they have these most weekends all year long.  Looks so interesting, but it's hard for me to get away from my responsibilities.  :P  I guess if we can do one per year, that is better than nothing.  The cost is comparable to a reasonable hotel stay.

 

I still have a couple of summer weeks to fill up for the girls, and those will probably be horse camp weeks.  There are also a couple of weeks I left open for travel.  We are thinking about visiting some countries in northern and eastern Europe.

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I mindfully spent a lot of money this week. Tickets for the kids and I to spend a week in Ecuador with my husband, who is there for two months. And lingerie.

 

On the plus side, I've been good about cooking real food, so the eating out an convenience food spending is down a lot compared to other times I've solo parented for a long stretch.

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Desert Strawberry---as someone who has had about $750,000 in family medical bills in the last six years, may I offer some practical advice?  Call the financial services department of the hospital pronto, and work out a payment plan.  Most of the time, those with low incomes have the bulk of their bill written off, or have very reasonable payment plans of $20-50/month.  You still have to have some cash flow for co-pays for meds and doctor appointments, but hospitals are well aware that those with chronic health issues are buried under a bunch of bills.

 

Do the repairs for your home. You need a roof. You just do.  Living under a tarp with a family is no bueno.  Your house is paid off...do what you need to do to secure your four walls so that you aren't dealing with mold or other more expensive issues later on.  

 

Whatever you do, do not put medical bills on credit cards and do not get a CareCredit or whatever account. It very much limits your options for negotiation and flexibility in payment.

Perhaps I was unclear. We are making improvements like replacing broken windows and buying beds so that our kids aren't sleeping on the floor. Not exactly unimportant or frivolous. We are waiting on three large payments that will each easily pay for the roof and I am looking for work which will go to pay medical bills and house repairs. We are just not going to wait on the small repairs in an attempt to save up for the roof first. My kids need beds. We need solid windows. These things can't wait. We will repair the roof when a larger check comes in. 

 

I am aware that the hospitals will work with us. I am negotiating with the labs. It's a PITA, but I am doing it. 

 

We don't use credit cards. Ever. or any other credit if it can be avoided. We took out a car loan because it was unavoidable, but that's it. 

I'm putting three kids in school today. I don't think I'll be around here very much. 

 

 

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Meh, my kids are currently sleeping on mattresses on the floor after our move, and they seem to prefer it. We will probably get DD a bed eventually, mostly to put storage under her. 

 

I am trying to organize my kids' rooms without spending a lot of money. We went from the kids sharing a room and having a large living area as a craft/school/play room that was cramped, to the kids in separate rooms which now must hold their toys as well as beds/clothes, and a 3rd small bedroom to be the craft room; and the big cubbies that a LOT of the kids' stuff went in are downstairs being used for other things. We have concluded that DD is going to need some storage cubbies in her closet (as the most cost effective option); in DS's room honestly short of putting him in a loft bed (which I don't want to do), I don't know how we are ever going to organize all his stuff. Talking him OUT of toys isn't very likely, though it's something I'm gently working on. He's at that age where his "big boy" toys like tiny legos and preschool toys like Little People are all equally engaging, so other than baby toys I'm at a loss for what to get rid of.

 

And DD's room has half-exploded boxes everywhere. It's a mess.

 

I'm talking about this here because I'm really trying to find ways to get the kids' spaces organized WITHOUT spending more money.

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I read these threads periodically, but want to try to participate more as an incentive to stay focused.

 

We just returned from a two week vacation. Not sure in my mind if it falls under mindful spending, as it was much of our Christmas budget and we're focusing on giving experiences over stuff, or if it was excessive. We could have done many practical things with that money. It's spent and we have no vacation bills, so I suppose we should consider it well-spent and move on.

 

Plastics: We haven't found a great solution either, but we do handwash and re-use ziplocks. Long ago I bought a metal letter holder rack and we use it as a baggie drying rack. We don't throw them away unless they tear or have had something nasty in them. When I freeze berries, I date the bag, and I just put some cheese in a baggie that says "Blue-2013."

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Well, I decided to return my supplements. I don't notice any difference, and they were expensive! So, hopefully I'll have that money soon.

I also have a few savings bonds that were my dad's, and the forms filled out, to cash them in. I just need to get the forms notarized tomorrow. Hopefully, that won't take to long to redeem. I have to split it with my brother, but at least they're not just gathering dust!

 

Just a warning:  if those bonds are old, there will be significant interest on which you will be taxed.  I hope your brother is sharing in the tax burden.  ;)

 

My mother in law did something clever with her old bonds before she died.  She listed grandchildren as co-owners so that when they cashed them in at the expiration of the bond, the interest was taxed only at the kiddie rate.  Of course, this required maneuvering before she passed away.

 

 

 

 

 

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