Monday, November 15, 2010

Newbie frugal tips

I spend money. I spend my Boyfriend's money. I spend anybody and everybody's money.

I also have the ability to be simultaneously cheap. I am new to the idea of frugality and probably need to learn a lot more. I have gone threw a trial by fire process to see what makes a difference in my bottom line and what doesn't. These are my top five frugal tips (that are working for me now, they can and most likely will change):
  1. Recycle Paper: This one may seem like a no-brainer but its a twist. I do take my newspapers to the recycling facility on Tuesdays (most of the time). But, what is making a difference in my wallet is saving copier paper. The Boyfriend teaches and usually comes home with 75-100 test sheets that they turn back into him every week. He will never reuse the test (they are always different). So I started cutting off the bottom third with nothing printed on it and using it to make my to-do list or grocery list. I also saved about half to print my coupons on or a recipe. I was buying one ream of paper from Office Max for $7.79 every month and a pack of poss-its for $4.49. Now I can go 4 months with out buying new computer paper and I stopped buying post-its. Total saved per year: $123.99
  2. Use Dishcloths: This was super hard for me. I love the convenience off just tearing off a paper towel and using it. I stopped though, in June. I was buying one roll of Viva paper towel every week at least at $2.29. I used it for spills, washing dishes, cleaning around the house. Now I have a full drawer of dishcloths and I use them. When dirty I toss them in the towel load and wash once a week. It doesn't cost any more in water, detergent or energy. I still have 3 of six rolls I bought in June. total saved 4months: $43.51
  3. Stockpiling: I think I do this pretty modestly compared to those with 6 months worth of food, health, and beauty items. I came across a sale for expensive shampoo that I love. I had coupons that made it .06 a bottle instead of the normal $6.49. I bought 5 bottles and put them under the sink in the bathroom. Now when I run out I grab a .06 bottle instead of driving to the store and paying $6.49. I have done this with deodorant, body wash, and laundry detergent (all purchased under .50 and item). I never buy more that 5 or 6 containers. I don't buy more till I am down to my last one or two of that item. So the shampoo deal saved me: $32.15
  4. Gas Points: I shop at Kroger for almost all our grocery and personal needs. I always take my bags in (all billion of them). They give you the option to have cents off your total or gas points for using your bags. We take the gas points. At the end of the month the boyfriend and I have around 700-800 points. We use those points for a gas discount at Shell Stations. Its .10 a gallon. He puts 11 gallons in his car every week. I put 10 in my car every week. total saved: $100 a year
  5. At Home: I love to have a glass of wine while I cook. Or while I chat with friends. Or folding clothes...watching TV...okay anytime is good with me. But when I go out to order a glass of wine I spend $6-9 a glass. At home I have a box of Blackstone wine. The box contains the equivialent of 4 bottles of wine and 5 glasses of wine in a bottle. The best part is that I don't have to worry about it going bad if I open the bottle and only have 1 glass. Its is sealed so no wasting. So at $7 a glass it would cost $140 (and a tip) to have 20 glasses at a bar or restaurant. The box of top rate wine cost $20. That is $1 a glass of wine. Total saved: $120 not bad since that is about a month for me :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nashville half marathon

My stepson ran in the Nashville half marathon this morning. He placed 2nd in his division. I am very proud, he has only been running in races for about 4months!

I, of course, was bundled up with coffee, bagel, nuts, fruits (so it was more bagels and less fruit). I even had my ipod and refused to get out of the car until the temperature reached 65. But, I am celebrating like I won the whole damn race! He on the other hand has been asleep for the last couple hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Money Tracker Thursday

Weekly Earnings:  $12.35
Swagbucks $5.00 Amazon gift card
coins from washer/dryer $0.02
Upromise $2.99 10/27-11/3 $2.84
Rebate (staples) $4.49

Monthly Earnings: $25.57
November Upromise $3.83
November Swagbucks $10.00
Rebates $4.49
coins from washer/dryer $7.25

Yearly Earnings: $164.54
Upromise 2010 $45.87
Swagbucks 2010 $75.00
Coins from washer/dryer 2010 $39.18
Rebates $4.49

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I saved up 1,000 Swagbucks for the Cyber Monday sale!!!

I made it to 1,000 swagbucks. I normally cash mine out for a $5 Amazon gift card as soon as I earn 450 points. But, I saw on a blog that last year they had a sale on the gift cards on Cyber-Monday so I thought I would try to save all of mine for the month of November and see if I can score a few deals.

If you’re not familiar with Swag Bucks, it’s a free rewards program where you can earn points for doing web searches, online shopping, taking polls and more. Just a few searches a day can help you rack up points pretty quickly. Plus, you earn 30 Swag Bucks right off the bag just for signing up for the free program.
Every Friday is Mega Swag Bucks Day, which means you can earn Swag Bucks in increments of 50, 100, 200 or even 1000 just by doing routine web searches. A $5 Amazon gift card is just 450 Swag Bucks, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get your hands on one.
If you’re new to Swag Bucks, or even if you signed up some time ago, here are five tips to help you earn Swag Bucks quickly.
  • Search Regularly at I usually log on in the morning and search facebook or Google to check my mail. Just try to be natural in your searches. Don't keep searching over and over for the same word, the system can tell. One of these usually gets me first win. It may take a few minutes, but it’s always a rush when you win Swag Bucks!
  • Once you Win, Come Back in a Few Hours. Once you win Swag Bucks doing web searches, come back again in a few hours. It does happen, but it’s rare. I figured the pattern that works for me is about every four hours I get a win. It varies but I will probably not search swagbucks for about four hours after a win, I switch back to google.
  • Download the Swag Bucks Toolbar. I love having the toolbar because not only does it update me on how many Swag Bucks I have, but it is also a source for a code to pop up in! Gotta love those free bucks!
  • Check out Swag Bucks Outside of Visit Swag Bucks on twitter, facebook and on the Swag Bucks Blog to get codes that you redeem for more Swag Bucks!
  • Tell Your Friends. Once you sign up for Swag Bucks you have the opportunity to grab a referral link that you can send to your friends to encourage them to sign up. You’ll earn a Swag Buck for each one that your friends earns (up to 1,000 Swag Bucks) on searches. 
  • Swagbucks TV. All you have to do is watch a video that interests you.  At the end of that video, you may get anywhere from 1–5 Swag Bucks. You won’t win every time you watch a video, but you can win multiple times a day. Personally I have won 5-6 for each of my TV wins.
I have earned $65 in Amazon gift cards. I am saving mine for a Kitchen Aid mixer. I see a lot of my friends save them for Christmas and that can add an extra $100-400 to your Christmas Budget.

Monday, November 8, 2010

White Monkey, yummy

*I saw this saved in my draft posts so I thought I would share this with you that way your thighs may be just as large as mine. ENJOY...

I love coconut! So much so that I will willingly try new things if it has coconut in it. One of the new things I have been using is coconut milk. I opened a can and was in love with the velvety consistency of the contents. Today I was trying to use up the last of the coconut milk and came up with this winner, The White Monkey.

White monkey
1/2 cup vanilla bean ice-cream
1/3 cup coconut milk
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk

Put everything in the blender and pulse it a few times. It will be thinner than a milkshake but still have some body. It is so freaking good. I was going to post a picture but I already finished it so, next time!

The truth waistline

On Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of two of my dear friends. I spent the first hour on the verge of tears. No, no they were not tears of joy. The were tears of fat.

I had spent the morning at a race for my step son so when we got back with only two hours until the wedding The Boyfriend and I said, "nap time". We woke up with 20 minutes left for two showers and a quick pressing of clothes. Not great since I can easily spend 20 minutes under the shower.

I rummaged through the closet for clothes while he got his shower and laid everything out. That is where is all starts going down hill. The first outfit The Boyfriend put on looked like it was three sizes too small. I gave him another coat, a gift from two Christmases ago. That one wouldn't even button up. Out of five custom made suits, only one was able to pass for the wedding. It was not better for me. I even put the spanks full body suite on before trying to wiggle into my clothes. The pencil skirt refused to go over my hips. The cocktail dress didn't zip up and my boobs were a full cup size to big for the maxi dress!

I ended up wearing something that looks more bank teller than hot tewnty-somthing out to party and celebrate. I told my better half that starting monday things have to change. I mean it. If want to be able to walk in my closet and not be scared to try on anything. Living in sweat pants and t-shirts gives you a false sence of your shape. I put all my in a suitecase and shoved it under the bed today.

So everyday for better or worse I will enter my weight and try in ernist to keep a food journal.

Oh the Monday, why do you always show up?

Anyone out there ever have the Mondays? I am currently suffering from this ailment.

We got up this morning and discovered The Boyfriend was suffering from Gout again. This always complicates a very hectic schedule. I am not medically inclined. I can't stand to see people bleed and it takes more than one person to hold me down when I get a shot. I am being completely serious. But, the Gout.

I have researched online and read all the material the doctor and pharmacist have provided  us with. We changed his diet and modified lifestyles.

It just doesn't seem to make a difference. In fact I would say the flare ups are coming more frequently after each episode.
It is hard to see someone you love hurting or feeling bad and not be able to fix it. So today I am feeling useless.

Friday, November 5, 2010

There is a man cooking in MY kitchen

My Honney Bunney is in the kitchen right now cooking dinner. I really should have know something was up when he walked in the door and put a bouquet of flowers in my face. That is his let me go ahead and apologize for that which is about to happen. I was to happy arranging my flowers to notice the peppers come out of the shopping bag.

He has been in there for almost an hour now. He has managed to chop two bell peppers. He is working hard and unfortunately slow. Always has been in the kitchen.  I am sitting in the living room infront of a fire playing on my laptop. Trying not to think about how late it is going to be when we finally sit down to eat.

Wanna see what me Puppy Dog looked like for Halloween?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Money Tracker Thursday

Weekly Earnings:  $15.22
Swagbucks $5.00 Amazon gift card
coins from washer/dryer $7.23
Upromise $2.99 10/19-10/26

Monthly Earnings: $38.58
October Upromise $16.35
November Swagbucks $5.00
coins from washer/dryer $7.23

Yearly Earnings: $151.20
Upromise 2010 $42.04
Swagbucks 2010 $70.00
Coins from washer/dryer 2010 $39.16

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The diagnosis is...

I went to the doctor yesterday. He diagnosed me with stress/ anxiety and mild to moderate depression. He gave me a prescription for a new anti-depressant and told me "little lady, sometimes its hard to be the one at home, but women have been doing it for centuries". I felt the smack across me face, couldn't you!

I felt completely dismissed. He didn't think counseling or therapy was necessary because he wrote a prescription. I know I may be in the same shoes as hundreds of other women but I feel like I am drowning most days. I sit in the floor in my bedroom and cry more days than I would care to admit. I feel cut off from friends and family and it seems like the boyfriend is out having a blast every night while I am stuck here in the 'burbs dealing with HIS son.

yes. I think stress, anxiety, and depression are all present. But I don't think a pill alone can sure all. Do any of you ever feel this way? Should I try to suck it up and carry on? Any advice????

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh my GOSH, ...ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh

*Excuse me while I try to squelch the panic...
For the last hour I have been pacing in my house. I have opened every cupboard and drawer in the place. Here is how we got to this point...

I woke up this morning, all snuggled into a warm ball (yes, I really curl up in ball to sleep). I opened my sleepy eyes and the Sweet One was putting a cup of coffee on my bedside table. Awwwe! I know what your thinking, how does this lead to pacing?

Well I got up to see him off, lock the door, and turn up the heat. Then he called from the car to say can I pull some articles for his class to read over the Thanksgiving break. He just wanted to start reviewing options.  I was fine, wrote it on a post it and stuck it to my laptop. Then IT hit me in the face.

Today is November 1. Where did October go? No really, there were things I was going to do in October that aren't done yet! So I started pacing the house looking at all the things that need to be done, NOW!!!!

November starts a downward slope for us at the Smith-Harrison's. We Start the month with going back to Chattanooga to have friends over for a vacation. The next week we go to Raleigh, NC to spend the Holiday with his other two kids. We come back and turn around the next weekend to see his parents. After that We hit December. He finished us teaching and giving finals, I substitute and proctor, then help grade. I also have a ton of meetings for the law program I am in. We have no less than 8 holiday parties to attend.

And one big stresser. We split up in the middle of the month. He goes back to Raleigh to For his daughters birthday and then brings the kids down to Chattanooga for Christmas with the Family. In the mean while I will finish shopping for the kids and get things ready to go to Chattanooga. One week before Christmas I head down to visit with family and help Smoochie-Kins mother prep for the Christmas Eve Party (we have over 30 friends and family for a sit down dinner). It is no small feat. I am not organized enough this year. Having his son around just throws it all off axis for me, big time. So I just walk around the apartment opening drawers and cupboards and looking at everything that needs to be done and then I take an anti-depressant and cup of coffee and climb back in bed with my laptop.