Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dishwasher Shopping.

Yes, I know washing by hand and rinsing in a tub of water is cheaper. But you know what? I absolutely hate hand washing dishes. So let's skip that argument and go right to it.

I'm getting a new dishwasher. My current one has been dying not so quietly for a few months. Hubby managed to temporarily fix it a while a go but it has slowly been getting louder and lousier at getting my dishes clean. I frequently have to rewash stuff. Hubby gave me the go ahead to start shopping around for a new one.

I have just a few minor must haves-
Must be black (all of our appliances are black)
Must have a food disposer (I can't remember to change/clean the filter ever)
Must have a water miser option

I would also like-
A water heating option (it's really nice when the hot water heater is acting up and you want clean dishes)
A fairly fast wash cycle - an hour or under.

We found dishwashers that fit that bill anywhere from $300-650. I'm looking for other ways to reduce our costs too like shopping through ebates and using our Discover card to get 5% back.

I really need to see dishwashers up close to know what is a deal breaker for me. But, I've had three different dishwashers in 14 years that ranged from a cheapo rental house model to a deluxe moveable unit. All of them have gotten our dishes clean. The deluxe model did the the best cleaning job but I'm not a price snob and I don't need anything fancy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Handmade Christmas Journals and Gift Tags

One of my favorite bloggers, Katie from Making This Home is living her dream of supporting herself and her husband by selling her handmade journals and other items. I love them all!
Check out Gadanke.com to see what I'm talking about.

I bought myself the Love Where We Live mini book. It's just precious. Every time I see it I get excited about the possibility of making my home a haven.

She just came out with the cutest Christmas tags. That made me think that her handmade journals would be a great Christmas gift for someone who loves handmade items or who loves to journal. I think she also sells gift certificates.

If you're interested in simple living you might just want to read her blog for inspiration.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making A List for the Dollar Store & I keep finding more stuff

I'm as bad as the next person when it comes to over buying stuff that wasn't planned when in the dollar store. I think the lure of cheap items sucks out some of our thinking power. Some of the stuff in those dollar stores is actually more expensive than when you buy on sale at a grocery store (I'm looking at you, corn bread mix).

So, it hadn't occurred to me to do something as simple as shop with a list when I step into dollar world until I read this tip from the All You website. Ok, I think I can do this. Today my specific list contains one thing- a new eyeliner sharpener. I might be better off buying Revlon quality at Target with a coupon. But you never know, Revlon might actually be in stock today. I also need some more wrapping paper for kid gifts but I think I'll hold out for a garage sale mother lode. I can make do with what we have left.

So, I thought with the exception of my closet (which i can't really get all the way into right now because we shoved a bunch of rubbermaid tubs in there when we got new bedroom furniture) I thought I had conquered all out grown and unwanted stuff. I have another Goodwill bag filled.
And two smaller bags to give away to a friend. As long as I'm taking out more than I'm bringing in I guess that's good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Review


We had a family movie night and I made up a frozen Jack's pizza (bought on sale). I added additional ingredients like feta cheese (bought at Dollar Tree) and veggie crumbles. We watched a show on Netflix.
Nothing spectacular but the week leaves us pretty tired.


We caravaned to the car dealership so Hubby could drop his car off for new tires and other maintenance requirements.

Behind the dealership is a thrift store we'd never been in before so we stopped in and checked it out. Children's clothes were all marked $1 and I picked out a few shirts for Big Girl for this Fall. The store was full of shoppers- a lot of them well dressed women picking through the racks of clothing for great finds. The kids happily played in the toy aisle while Hubby and I looked at furniture. I picked out a square basket after being inspired by The Nester's post on using baskets for storage containers. The store was being stocked continually the whole time we were there. I have plans to take my mom shopping there next week.

After the thrift store it was time for lunch. I picked out a coupon from our entertainment guide and we ate at El Maguey. Hubby and I each ordered an entree and one al a carte item for our picky boy. Big Girl had part of our lunches. We shared a fried ice cream for dessert. Yum!

Then we raced to Little Guy's soccer game. Watching four year olds play soccer is quite amusing and a little frustrating. Some of the children obviously know what they are doing but quite a lot of them get bored and wander off the field or run the wrong direction. My own son put his shirt over his face and started wandering blindly off the field.

Then it was time to part ways. I dropped Hubby and Little Guy off at the dealership. I took Big Girl to the mall for planned Girls Day Out. The night before I assembled all of my mall coupons and had a plan of attack for what stores we wanted to shop. The mall I picked has an AMC theater so we used my coke points rewards to see a movie and get a free soft drink.
She's been wanting to shop at Justice for a while because her friends really like it. I have found many Justice items at thrift stores but she wanted something new so I let her pick out a few things. I don't really like Justice's clothing (it's all tacky) and I really don't like their price tags (I will never pay $34 for a pair of kid jeans). But, I had a coupon and we decided on a outfit that wasn't outrageously ugly or very overpriced. I splurged on candles at Yankee Candle and bought a few Christmas presents. After a carousel ride, time in the play land and dinner at Houlihan's we were exhausted. I think we're good on mall shopping for a long long time.
I suffered a good bout of sticker shock from going to thrift store to mall too.


Family At Home day. I did some laundry. I cooked three meals. I snuggled my kids. I took a tiny nap. We watched Project Runway as a family and just generally kicked back. I also put my new square basket into a drawer to hold office supplies. All in all it was my favorite kind of day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kids Christmas List So I Don't Forget

I've been collecting a list of Granparent/kid friendly presents in my head and decided it was time to write them somewhere.

Cartridges for view master
Dvds- How to Train Your Dragon and new Shrek
Toothbrushes- battery powered Thomas and design your own Spinbrush
Gift certificates for gymnastics

Beginning to Rethink My Blog's Goal

So, originally my goal for this blog was to highlight any frugal activities I was doing or ideas that had blossomed in my noggin. Sometimes I fail at frugality still. I will never be 100% without some spendthrift folly in my life. I can live with that knowing that I will always return to my more conservative frugal nature. I love domestic frugality. I like reading about it. I even like writing about it when I have something I'm excited to write about.

My life lately has been consumed by chaotic clutter in my home (and in my head and heart). It has taken priority over saving money. I wasn't raised in a clutter free, organized home. I grew up hating housework because it was an all day Saturday, anger ridden, punishment involved affair.
And since I had two older brothers raised in a 70s/80s era household most of the actual cleaning was seen as women's work (i.e. myself and my mom). I can't imagine how my Mom actually got anything done seeing as she worked the night shift full time. I am only now starting to realize how tired and drained she must have been. Anyway, you can see why I've never had a love affair with housework and even view it as a sort of punishment even though I know I'm not being punished or abused by sweeping up cat hair or washing a dish. So, there are weeks where I've only done the bare minimum of keeping the dishes and the laundry clean. And I'm miserable when my life is lived this way and this is not an environment I want my children to grow up in.

I feel really good when the floor is swept, the dishwasher is empty and the kitchen table is ready to put dinner plates on. I want that feeling every day. My first step has got to be getting rid of unnecessary items and keeping track of our good stuff. Just today I found an old rebate check that expired in May for $5. I think somehow frugality and a clean, organized house must go hand in hand.
If I am organized I will be able to find those birthday presents I bought a few months ago and won't have to buy new ones. All the checks we need to cash will be found and deposited before they expire. All our bills will be paid on time because they won't have gotten lost under a couch cushion. I can keep track of all the kids toy parts because they only have a few favorites to play with and those are sorted in neat containers. I will be able to whip up dinners and snacks in our clean kitchen and won't be tempted to order out.
More on this later.

Right now I've got to go make stuff at our (cleared off, wiped clean!) kitchen table with my daughter. I promised her some craft time.

Take This Bag and Recycle it.

Whew! I am in the process of cleaning our collected (ok, my collected piles) of stuff. I have a full bag of recycling to get rid of consisting mostly of old school papers and expired coupons.

And also, I found a ton of crayons, hair accessories, books, memo pads, and mini toys. And my long lost address book. Great Grandma just might get a card soon!

Yay for recycling! Yay for decluttering! Ok, back to work. I almost have a full trash bag to take out too. I can't stop now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Doing it Again- the clutter cycle with joy

Today I could not resist the siren call of the fall garage sale. The weather is cool and sunny and the leaves are so bright and colorful. I managed to find two promising garage sales.

Little Guy and I hit up one before I dropped him at preschool. We hit a toy/kids book motherlode.
I picked out-
Books- If you give a mouse a cookie, A Where's Waldo activity book, and a large Usborne book about rescue vehicles
Toys- two nicely dressed and accessorized barbies, a Barbie accessory container, and a few Barbie clothing items. Little Guy picked out a little Tonka firetruck.

I paid $3.

The second one I got to go to by my happy little self. This one was pretty picked over but I picked out a few paperbacks for myself and my mom. I also bought some Halloween decor for our mantle.
I paid $3.75

I didn't get great bargains today but I came home invigorated and ready to clean and decorate.
I also started another purge to donate to Goodwill. So far I've only found three books that escaped the garage sale pile. I'm going to keep looking for stuff to get rid of so I can justify my little garage sale habit. Soon it will be too cold for garage sales anyway.

The mantle is clean and decorated. The bookshelf is dusted. I put out my fall candles that I've been saving and plan on using up this month. The kids and are I are going to read If you Give a Mouse a cookie later and dig out our Mouse cookbook and make sugar cookie cut outs using fall themed cutters. Of course, that means that I will have to clean the mountain of stuff off of the kitchen table. I'm looking forward to filling my trash and recycling can to the brim so even more decluttering. And Yay! cookies. I still have half a can of frosting and sprinkles leftover from my little birthday cake (I splurged on a little Jiffy cake mix box for .69 cents and used half a can of Halloween themed frosting I found in the pantry).

(on a side clutter note about cookie cutters- I went through them a while ago and gave up the cutters that I didn't like. I donated them to the playdoh bin for my kids so they are not really gone. Just re purposed.)

It's almost time to pick up the kiddos from school and I have a load of laundry to fold. What a glorious day today!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Garage Sale Day 2

Saturday was a really slow sell day. I made less than $100 even when we set up a $1 bag table for the clothes and kids shoes.

We took an entire truck load of leftovers to the Goodwill and my garage is now cleaned out. That part feels really good. I wish I would have sold more but I did make about $200 and got rid of a ton of stuff. There's still more to do but my goal of cleaning out the closets this year is coming along nicely. The kids closets are mostly clean except for the floor and the top shelf. My closet is a disaster and needs the most work. But, I can do it a little bit at a time.

My debate is whether or not I want to start stockpiling for another garage sale in the Spring or just donate it as I get a bit here and there. It's so much work but I do enjoy that extra bit of money we made.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And I click the delete key

I spent a happy hour clicking thru the online sale pages of a women's clothing store picking out things I would love for fall.
After removing the items I wasn't sure about I whittled it down to a nice outfit- a pretty blue tshirt with shirring and lace details on the sleeves, a fitted and stylish denim jacket, and a sleek pair of cropped black pants. I pictured myself in that outfit jaunting about town on the weekend with the family, going on the school trip to the pumpkin farm, casually sorting through produce in the grocery store. It was going to be mine.
And then I remember my badly kept pledge to quit buying clothes for the rest of the year. Oh, I have not done this well at all. But, most of my "new" clothing purchases have been second hand and cost no more than $3 apiece. That outfit alone was $60 (on sale, with coupon). I closed the tab. If I really want that new outfit I bet I can piece it together for less than $15 second hand. And maybe even have room leftover for a nice pair of black flats. (They went best with the cropped pants, you know).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Garage Sale Day 1

I made $150 today at our garage sale. My Mom made about $68. We still have a lot of stuff left to sell on Saturday plus I'm encouraged to go through our house once more and find more stuff to put out.

The best part is knowing that a lot of that stuff is gone from my house. We sold our old bed frame and box springs which are no longer needed because we bought new bedroom furniture. I sold them cheap at $30 but am happy just knowing that I didn't have to haul them back into the garage.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome October

Apparently my urge to blog hasn't bounced back since school started over a month ago. Also, I've been too lazy to put fresh batteries in my camera to snaz up my posts.

This week is our garage sale. Slowly I've been bagging up things and dragging them to the garage.
I still have piles to sort through. I haven't priced anything. I'm still prowling around drawers and shelves looking for things to part with. Nothing is coming back in my house if it doesn't sell. It's all going to Goodwill.

The kids and I took the Amtrak to Kansas City on Friday to meet up with Hubby after his business trip. He took us to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival on Saturday for my birthday. I picked up some pretty things and bought a bottle of perfume oil (a custom blend of carnation, white amber, and white musk) for my presents. My daughter enjoyed the jousting and my husband enjoyed the fire eating/glass walking. My son had fun with the magic wand he made in the children's craft area. It was a good day.