Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Valentine's Dinner for Two

One dozen red roses courtesy of TopDad

Baked Salmon, brown rice, steamed broccoli, green salad, fresh homemade bread, and raspberry/cherry juice.

A very old recipe of my mother's - Wild Raspberry Dessert

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January's Frugal Report

One good thing to be said about surgery is that it keeps one from over-shopping!

I did well in keeping within budget for January, ending the month with almost $59.00, which rolls over into the next month.  The goal is to keep accumulating an excess which then can be put into savings or used to pay off something.

Here are the numbers:

tithing and offerings - $160
food - $179.80
gifts - $50.25
postage - $76.82
storage unit - $25.00
eating out - $44.33
bank fees - $1.61
other - $205.27

I was able to eat out of our pantry and freezer and was careful to use up things and not waste. I don't get tired of eating the same thing everyday, but my husband does so I get creative remaking foods, incorporating them into something new, or packaging up leftovers for the freezer to be brought out later.

Gifts ended up being less than I expected because of a change of mind. Not being able to drive limited me on what I could do.

Postage cost lots more than I expected, but in my defense I did finished some projects and got them sent off to far away children, so I felt good about that.

In my January post I forgot about my portion of the storage unit we rent; two children pay the other portions.

I hadn't thought about the meals we'd need when I had my surgery. It was out-patient surgery on my right eye; Mr. Movie accompanied me as he had time off work to do so. While I was in surgery he ate brunch, then we had dinner that night, and lunch the next day. Even eating cheaply it adds up.

Bank fees are exactly the same every month; a fee for the ATM and tax on the fee.

The "other" was where I broke in my resolve. I did well until the third week when I was going stir crazy so I surfed the net and spent money for books and sewing patterns (as if I didn't have enough already!). Other also includes the cat food, toiletries, treats, and things I bought when TopDad took me to Chinamart and a thrift store or two.

Overall, I feel I did rather well. It wasn't all deprivation. I like being creative, and I like feeling a little bit of pressure to be so. TopDad takes care of all the other household bills, debts, and such. I am responsible only for food (for humans and cats), laundry and toiletries, gifts and holidays, personal expenses (subscriptions, donations, clothing, grooming), storage unit (for me mostly books, and our crib awaiting grandchildren), and anything I don't want my husband to know about (which isn't much).

How did you do in January? Did you reach your month's financial goals? What do you find most difficult?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Here Comes the Sun

 As I cut a brownie for TopDad in the kitchen I noticed the living room wall was glowing.

I grabbed my camera and headed outside to catch a glimpse of the sun which has not been seen in over a week!

And there it was, just setting in the east casting its golden glow over all creation. Such a treat!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January's Frugal Plans

When our two youngest sons were about 5 and 7 they went on an errand to a corner store a few blocks from home. After they'd been gone longer than necessary for the errand I sent an older brother to find them. Lt. Lehi brought them home safely. I questioned the two boys about why they had been gone so long. Their explanation has become one of those anecdotes of family lore.
"Well, we were walking home and saw a giant pile of sand and accidentally played in it."
I accidentally spent more than I planned to on Christmas this year. Oops!

January is going to be a month of frugality to make up for it.

#1 I asked TopDad for just half of my usual household allowance, with the other half going to pay down the debt I accidentally incurred in December.

#2 I will be creating meals out of what we have in the freezer and pantry. The ONLY food I'll buy is fresh milk, cheese, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Plus some cat food when theirs runs out, and my vitamins as I run out.  I will be making all of our baked goods: bread, cookies, muffins, etc.

#3 I made a list of expected expenses related to birthdays this month and next, including shipping costs.

#4 I typed up a list of ideas for date nights to avoid spending money.

#5 I made a list of things I will not be buying in January: clothing, shoes, books, movies, music, haircut, perm, toiletries, etc. I will use up what I have, do without, make do, etc.

#6 I won't go shopping - no thrift stores, no Etsy, no Amazon Prime, no malls (not that I go there, but wanted to be inclusive), no shopping! No trolling for treasures!

#7 I'll purchase stamps (I'm old-fashioned and like to send cards and letters), and minutes for my phone only if I run out. (Which I'm not anticipating.)

This is what I'm planning for January. Some call it a Spending Fast; others call it a No Spend Month.

What I'm hoping is that I can permanently lower my budget and finish paying off the last of the total credit card debt before the school year is over at the end of May.

I welcome your support and/or suggestions.