Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still plugging along quietly

The piles of garage sale stuff are growing and I'm fighting my usual urge to just "donate it already and be done with it."
The house is still in disarray but it's mostly because furniture is piled up waiting to be redistributed after my hubby steam cleaned all the spills and cat accident stains (yuck!!) off of our floor. I have started climbing the mountain but by no way am I near the peak.
Our first grader brings homework home nightly and has a spelling test every Friday. This year has been a challenge for her so far and we've been spending a lot of time trying to get her up to speed.
I still use coupons here and there but I only go to the grocery store when I have to or when I have a game plan. The occasional rebate check still trickles in. But, I've cut way back on purchasing everything because I hate bringing more stuff into our house to deal with.
I babysat for money again yesterday so I should be getting a check for that in the mail soon. Yay money!
My garden has all but petered out. We got a handful of purple beans, one pepper, and about a dozen small tomatoes. I know I'll start out again next Spring excited and raring to go with probably the same results. At least I have a bucket or two of horse manure saved up and I plan on changing my garden planting arrangement to improve my soil quality too.
My 37th birthday is this week and my in-laws are coming to (inspect) visit this weekend and I am more than worried about getting everything in order.
I have piles of laundry to sort and wash and a little boy to pick up from preschool in less than an hour.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why I love garage sales

I've been trying to stay away from garage sales this summer because I've been concentrating on purging my own stuff. But, today I tagged along with a friend and bought Big Girl a bicycle and a barely used pair of Timberland shoes for myself. Total for both was $4.50.

Zappos has the same shoes on sale for $77.

I managed to earn my first paycheck in seven years today also. Three hours of babysitting at a friend's synagogue during Rosh Hashanah adult services netted me $54. Yay!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mini Stops at the Grocery and using what we have.

Grocery shopping has been low on my priority list lately and I've taken to doing quick trips into the grocery stores to get just what we need when I'm out on errands. I went shopping in the basement yesterday to restock our freezer and get an idea of what we need. Shopping at Aldi and buying generics has helped me save time on worrying about coupons. Right now I need to get my life and house back in order instead of clipping coupons.

Today I made a use it up cake made out of two brown bananas, a jar of sweet potato baby food, wheat flour, oats, raisins, the last handful of brown sugar, an egg, some pecans, a few chocolate chips and the last bit of cocoa powder. It smells really good and I'm hoping it cures the brownie craving I've had lately.

The house is coming along and the garage sale piles are growing. I am feeling happier and less guilty than I have in a long time. Hubby steam cleaned a few rooms this weekend and seeing a spot free floor makes me so giddy. I didn't realize how the juice stains etc. had really started to get to me mentally. I dusted and rearranged the shelves in our great room and prettied up the mantle. I even started burning candles again which I haven't done since last Spring.
Even though it's only halfway there I am feeling glad to be home. I made a play date at my house for next Monday and I'm not worried at all. Right now I'd rather be home doing my daily rounds and little chores instead of seeking happiness in buying stuff at garage sales and thrift stores.

Dinner is even planned. I've got rice boiling in my rice cooker. Boca burgers and homemade applesauce are thawing on the stove. Big Girl and I picked a handful of lablab beans out of our backyard last night. I'm serving chopped bocas in a gravy sauce over the rice with steamed beans and applesauce. Homemade cake for dessert.

Laundry and FrugalCoast2Coast pod casts are calling me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What I'm doing today

Yesterday I stopped in at my favorite secondhand furniture store and scooped up another chair.

It's replacing the old garage sale chair that is going into our own garage sale pile.

So, today I am de-cluttering, tossing, garage sale piling, and de-toying the area where the "new" chair is going. Cleaning and decluttering and seeing my progress is almost as good as the deal I got on the chair. It was originally marked $90. It was clearance for $45. And yesterday they were having a 25% off all furniture sale so I scooped it up for $37. And it's in really good shape and comfy too. Proving once again that you -can- have nice things without debt if you are patient.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making my own Rootbeer.

In February I bought a bottle of root beer concentrate on a whim. The no grocery shopping this week has left me desperate for a taste of cold soda.

This is the cost breakdown:

A recipe contains 3/4 cup of sugar, water, concentrate and some type of bubbly water beverage.

I bought a six pack of sparkling mineral water a year ago for $3. I used two bottles for a cost of $1. The concentrate bottle makes 8 recipes at a cost of .43 cents. I'll estimate the cost of sugar at .15 cents since I got a good deal on it. I spent a $1.62 to make about about a liter and a half of root beer. If you're buying the ready made stuff in the grocery store then it's definitely a rotten deal.

How does it taste?

It's not as carbonated as store bought but I think that's because the sparkling mineral water I bought doesn't have much fizz. It definitely has a nice clean taste to it. I like it better than the high fructose stuff because it doesn't feel like I'm coating my teeth with syrup. I think it would be delicious over vanilla ice cream.

I was happy to use up the mineral water that was laying in my pantry. And I got the joy of surprising Big Girl with homemade soda. (she said, "You can make root beer????")
Someday it will no longer seem weird to her that her mother makes spaghetti sauce, chocolate sauce, apple sauce, laundry detergent, and sandwich bread from scratch. Maybe she'll even start thinking store bought stuff is weird. I can only hope.

Now I plan on scooping up club soda when it's on a great sale.

Fall is Here- Time for Baking

I love Gooseberry Patch stuff. I haven't actually let myself buy anything from their online store but I love my free cook booklets that I ordered.

You can get one here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

To Do List for this Week

We went to my in-laws farm last weekend and came home with lots of farm food. We have eggs, tomatoes (that were from seed that I started~yay!), cucumbers, peppers, sweet corn (that Big Girl helped plant), and potatoes.

Instead of going to the grocery store, I pulled out a box of milk from the pantry and put a roll of frozen oj in the fridge to make juice with later. I'm also out of chocolate syrup and sandwich bread. It's going to be a full day in the kitchen making and baking food for my family but that's ok.

I plan to make:

Boiled eggs for snacks, quick breakfasts and sandwiches
Chocolate syrup (done)
Cheater pickles (save your old pickle juice- Claussen works well and put peeled and thinly sliced cucumbers in it to soak. In a few days you will have crunchy, tasty pickles.) (done)
Frozen corn (done)
Wheat bread (minus the herbs for a sandwich bread) (done)
Freezer Spaghetti Sauce (done- this recipe is too salty so next time I will cut that in half)

This is what I'll be doing this week instead of grocery shopping. I don't can. I have no experience, knowledge or supplies. I am willing to learn but when freezing things seems so much easier and cheaper for me right now.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting Ready for a Big Sale

We haven't had a garage sale since we've had kids. I normally just give to friends or donate.
But, a bit of extra money seems like a good idea right now. Plus, I have added incentive to find stuff to get purge.

Today I worked on cleaning up our coat closet. Once again failure to record what I've bought has resulted in having too many of the same size. Big Girl has four winter coats and at least two jackets for this fall and her rain coat is too small. I also have purchased far enough ahead that I won't need to buy anything for next year either except new snow pants for her. At least I bought everything second hand and now have a trash bag full of coats and jackets to sell.

I went through my piles of make up today too and found a handful of new in the package and unused department store cosmetics that I can sell. I have had great success in the past selling "free with purchase" sample sizes of name brand cosmetics.

Getting rid of things is a high similar to buying them. The purging is better for our family and our finances.