Monday, April 21, 2014

Frugal Doings

Hello Friends! It's been a busy, exhausting week. Today is my seventh day straight of work and I'll finally get a day off tomorrow. 

Let's get to the frugal doings, eh?

We had a nice Easter at home with a simple Easter dinner. I had to work, so Alfred prepared the food and did clean up. I managed to spend only $5 per child for Easter basket goodies (candy) so $15 total.

I saved the cotton out of a medicine bottle.

Added $1.56 to the change jar.

We have eaten all dinners at home. No fast food.

The weather is still pretty mild here so we're leaving the AC off as much as possible. I shut the computer down each night when not in use. The printer is not turned on unless needed.

I have had medical bills rolling in like nobody's business! The hospital bill alone was over $19,000. I will call the hospital's billing department tomorrow to see if I qualify for financial assistance and can get the bills reduced or eliminated. It never hurts to ask...

I've been running errands on my way to or from work, depending on my hours. 

I managed to save $150 out of Alfred's paycheck this week and transferred it into savings. Hoping to add to it a little with each pay period, both mine and his.

I plan to make a goal poster for debt-freedom and will work on that this week.

And most importantly, I am staying positive and not allowing myself to freak out over the medical bills and the amount of debt we owe (a lot!). I just keep reading, learning, and applying what I can to help lower expenses. 

I am determined to not give up.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This and That

I returned to work Tuesday and must work seven days straight before getting a day off - including working through the weekend. I'm tired of working every weekend and holiday. That's time I could be spending with my family. But employers don't care about that. 

Alfred is having trouble again with pain and inflammation in his left hand and arm. I talked to a lady at work who used to be a nurse and she said it sounded just like what her husband has.....carpal tunnel syndrome!

So I went to Walmart and bought a wrist stationary brace specifically for carpal tunnel and it brought him immediate pain relief. This morning the swelling had gone down considerably and he was able to sleep last night....unlike the night before. Still hurts for him to move his fingers, but hopefully by resting it for a little longer it that will go away. Money well spent for the brace.

Yesterday after work I was on my way to pick up my girls who had stayed with a friend who lives 45 minutes away. It took me over an hour to get there because I was stuck in traffic because of this:

I didn't get home until after 5:30pm and I left work at 3pm. Exhausting! I had picked up a family size lasagna for dinner. While waiting for it to bake, I cleaned and folded laundry. Today after work, I need to put away laundry and clean bathroom.

So that's what's been going on in my world...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday-Tuesday Frugal Doings


~ Found 25 cents in dryer doing laundry.

~ Cleaned out my change purse giving Alfred $2.60 for drinks at work and I put 12 cents in change jar.

~ Left AC off until 6pm.

~ Clipped & organized coupons.

~ We had planned to cook a large pork tenderloin on the grill but it poured rain. So we cooked it in the oven which took two hours. I made us scrambled egg sandwiches and we finished off the chips. The pork loin will be eaten tonight (Tuesday) instead. 

~ Washed a full load of clothes. Cleaned the lint filter before drying.

~ Had my follow up appointment with surgeon at no cost. I was released to return to work. Set up payment plan of $20/month for his bill for doing my surgery - $1,357.30.


~ Turned off AC when I got up. A cold front moved in and now it's cold! Mother Nature is all messed up.

~ Paid off a small dental bill of $52.

~ Spent $73.41 at grocery store; saved $31.50. Everything I bought was on sale, except sliced cheese and Special K cereal. I bought an 11 pound ham for Easter for $10.89, saving me $13.40. Also bought a 30 pound bag of Purina Dog Chow for $20.99. Regular price is $26.99 but it was $5 off and I had a $1 coupon.

~ Other items purchased were Charmin toilet paper, gold potatoes, sugar, tea bags, coffee K cups, lunch meat for sandwiches.  

~ Having the pork loin for dinner tonight with mashed potatoes and green peas. 

I plan to update more often so I can remember all that I do to save money while reducing expenses. Hopefully it will also keep me better motivated as I see progress.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Starting Over

I kinda fell off the frugal bandwagon, through no fault of my own (but that's a story for another day). Thoughts were running through my head like, "What's the use? We'll never be out of debt!" But it's that negative mind babble that keeps one stuck and I just won't allow it any longer!

So I've resolved to do my best to live frugally, to simplify, and to reduce expenses cheerfully. I will put to use my creativity to stretch our pennies as far as I can. 

It is my goal to avoid paying full price for as much as possible - whether it be groceries, toiletries, clothing or home goods. 

I also plan to put a little money into savings out of each paycheck.

Menu planning will be based off the weekly sales circular and paired with coupons. Coupons equals free money & I'm not about to pass that up. Leftovers will be eaten or made into a new meal instead of thrown away.

I will continue trying to reduce our electricity and water usage. Each month the bill has come down a little further and I'd like to try to get it as low as possible & keep it that way.

I've slacked on Swagbucks this past month or so but I want to get back into it. That's FREE money that I can use for Christmas. 

The girls and I are already planning to spend a lot of time at the beach this Spring/Summer. That's virtually free with the exception of drinks & ice.

Any extra, unexpected money we receive will be divided between debt, savings, family fun, and needs.

Anything we can do ourselves, we will. Thank goodness my husband is very handy!

There will be no more buying on credit, ever, as long as I have a say in it!

Holidays will be simple with the focus on doing and being together, not on spending.

I will continue to write out a budget each month.

Any lunch or snack I need to take to work will be brought from home. Alfred works close enough to come home for lunch and he gets an hour whereas I only get 15 - 30 minutes depending on the hours I work.

I will use less. Less dish & clothes soap. A pea size amount of toothpaste, less shampoo and conditioner and will try to get my family to do the same.

I will save all change in my big change jar.

We will do our best to use it up, wear it out, and make do. Recycle. Upcycle. 

Make a list of items needed and start hunting via garage sales and thrift stores.

Have a couple No-Spend months this year and bank the money saved.

Have more No-Spend Days than Spend Days and limit driving/combine errands to save on fuel and maintenance costs.

Does this sound like a bleak existence? I certainly do not intend for it to be! I plan to make it as joyful as possible. Some things will take getting used to as we whittle expenses to the bone. 

I don't care about keeping up with anyone. I would much rather have peace of mind and enjoy the simple things in life with my family.  

It's all about freedom....                                                                      

Monday, April 07, 2014

Creating a Spirit of Abundance at Home

It has always been my goal to provide a cozy home life for my family where no privation should be felt. I admit, I lost my way for a time.  There was little joy to be found here at home. But that has begun to change.

I am studying How I feed My Family On $16 a Week by Jo Ann York. 

I am looking for new recipes to try.

I printed out journal pages for my girls.

I purchased watercolor paints and paper for them to do art with.

We are about to start our second puzzle.

We are planning a family staycation in June.

I'm scouring Pinterest for neat crafty things the girls can do.

As soon as I am healed from surgery we will be doing more outside of the home: beach days, geocaching, nature walks, thrift shopping, ice cream treats and the like.

The focus is not on the money spent, but on creating a feeling of abundance with pleasant occupations and spending time with them doing fun things.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Every Day Joy

It's so easy to get caught up in the struggles of life, so much so that you forget that you are living life right now and you postpone happiness to some future date when you think you will finally deserve it.

No one wants to live that way, but that's what I was doing - punishing myself. 


I have resolved to search for joy every day of my life from here on out. We have problems just like everyone else. We have debt, but I don't have to let it steal my joy. There comes a point where you just have to let go and trust that things will work out.

So I'm just going to continue to simplify my life and reduce my outgo - not out of punishment, but of desire to create the life I imagine. I've never been an extravagant person. 

I'll take each day as it comes. Do I have what I need today? If so, all is well.  

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Counting Blessings

For the past several days I've done nothing but sleep and wake briefly, only to fall asleep again. I guess that's what morphine does to you  - oh and it gives you horrible headaches, too. But I was so glad for the pain relief while waiting to go in to surgery and afterwards.

So now I'm home recuperating. I can't lift anything over 20 pounds and can't drive until I go back to the doctor on the 14th to be cleared to go back to work. So I have a mini-vacation, only I can't do anything physical.

So I'm just going to rest and heal. I'll blog, read some books, catch up on my favorite shows, write/journal, clip coupons, nap, daydream, and count my blessings.