Home > Archive: May, 2008

Archive for May, 2008

Something To Hide Behind- Tree? Book?

May 30th, 2008 at 06:47 pm

I love books! I love trees!

A website that allows you to plant a tree for every book you read!

Finally something I can get behind!!!

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This could get costly folks as I've read a BUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNCCCCCCCCCCCCCCHHHHHH of books in my lifetime!

Feeling Lennonish, but Albert works!

May 30th, 2008 at 03:39 pm

The conversation over on the forums about folks trying to feed themselves on limited means and with limited shopping options has got me feeling all Lennonish this a.m. But, Albert will work! We're ALL needed to fight the gorilla on our joint humanity backs! No man is an island.

"A human being is a part of a whole,
called by us _universe_,
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself,
his thoughts and feelings as
something separated from the rest..
a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from
this prison by widening our circle
of compassion
to embrace
all living creatures and the
whole of nature in its beauty."

~ Albert Einstein

The May utility figures are in:

$90.75 CableTV/Internet/Phone
$92.00 Gas
$63.00 Electricity
$49.40 Water/Ambulance
$14.00 Trash
$309.15 May total

April totals were $318.70, so we're down $9.55 this month! YEAH!! Big Grin

Cleaning out the wallet to add to the $20 Challenge:

$013.25 balance
$020.17 cleanout
$33.42 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $141.08
Cumulative Challenge Total $669.69

Convenience is Taxing Me How Much?

May 29th, 2008 at 03:15 pm

Yesterday on a small grocery shop ($36.27) at Aldi's I went ahead and bought powdered coffee creamer there at $1.49 when I know I can get it cheaper at the dollar type stores, where it's usually just a dollar.

I did it the last time I shopped as well. And, I'm aggravated at myself about it.

No, I wasn't out, but I didn't want to run out either and I lazily didn't want to stop at the dollar store. Grrr!

And, I'm wondering just how much this convenience shopping is taxing me in a year's time?????

So, on the shopping list for the next dollar store shop? A BUNCH of creamer! Perhaps a years worth!

And another thing that came to mind while perusing the ticket upon my arrival home...the tax rate. There are two near-by Aldi's in our general metro area. One of them lies in a different town. I'm thinking the food-tax rate might be different in the smaller suburban town. I need to check on that. The difference? The one in the main metro area is 18 miles from my house. The other is 21 miles away. If taxes are lower, in the long run, it might pay to drive the extra 3 miles. Yesterday, I was already in the neighborhood of the one I shopped at. Next time, I might have a choice.

What kind of Convenience Tax are you paying? And on what? Is it worth it to you? How often are you convenience taxing yourself??? And would the actual tax rate on what you are buying be cheaper if you drove a few more miles? Would it be worth it to you?

Cleaning Off The Keyboard

May 28th, 2008 at 05:19 pm

Adding more keyboard change to the $20 Challenge:

$012.30 balance
+000.95 keyboard change
$013.25 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $120.91
Cumulative Challenge Total $649.52

Raises & Stimulating The Family Coffers

May 24th, 2008 at 04:05 pm

On Wednesday FrugalSon got a raise on his last paycheck of 20 cents an hour. Yeah FrugalSon!! Then he comes home on Friday and says his boss told him he's getting another raise on the next check another 35 cents an hour! WOOO-HOOOO! Hope it shows up. I do know that he'll be getting more when the mandated minimum wages go up in July. Is that 2008 or 2009? Anybody know off the top of their head???

Earlier in the month CashHappySon paid us back 421.00 from his tax refund on his car note. Today we got another $200 from his Stimulus Check to apply to his loan. He got $600 all together. So he spent $100 for fun (PRESENT), $200 for debt reduction (PAST), and $300 goes to help replenish his emergency fund so that's for the (FUTURE). Of course, he'd of liked to have blown it all. As it was he spent $75 buying himself a used TV off of Craigslist that is set up for easy gaming and then spent the other $25 on ebay buying new games.

So our inflow this month back to the FrugalisMoneyMarketCoffers account sees another $200 addition. That makes me happy. I hate having money come out of there because it was so hard for me to round it up in the first place so to have some we loaned out come back into the coffers? Oh yeah, that makes me smile! Big Grin

It reminds me of one of my favorite books, Mama's Bank Account, by Kathryn Forbes:

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Read it if you get the chance! Or watch the movie that's based on the book.

Keyboard Change & Vacation In Sight

May 23rd, 2008 at 09:41 pm

I've got 30 cents here on the keyboard to add to the $20 Challenge.

Day before yesterday we locked in our timeshare exchange for this year's upcoming vacation. It is within 4 hours driving time so that won't hurt too badly on the old gas budget. Now it's just a matter of getting all the boys' employers on board with the time frame.

There is alot to be said for never being absent and covering other's shifts for them, and they've both done a lot of that, so, here's hoping! In any case, they're going. If they have to find alternate employment upon their return? So be it.


$012.00 balance
+000.30 keyboard change
$012.30 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $119.96
Cumualtive Challenge Total $648.57

I've spent a bit at garage sales this week - $8.50 yesterday and $2.10 today.

This morning we spent our time outside doing some brush burning. Still cleaning up from the ice storm. There's still lots more to burn!

Found Money - Thanks Koppur!

May 16th, 2008 at 05:34 pm

I found $2.00 the other day. Thanks to Koppur for reminding me. I'm taking them out of the wallet and putting them to the $20 Challenge before I buy a couple of tacos with it! Big Grin

I'm slow, but this morning I just now am getting around to moving my April Challenge money over to the Roth IRA. This will go later.


$010.00 balance
+002.00 found
$012.00 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $119.66
Cumulative Challenge Total $648.27

Reward Me Already!!!

May 14th, 2008 at 01:00 pm

Baselle got a reward check from her bank and it reminded me that we should be up for our Discover card reward soon, since we put the replacement refrigerator on it. When I pay the bill in a few days I bet they'll be able to cut me a reward check! YEA!!

Yesterday was a No Spend Day for me. I spent most of the afternoon curled up in the bed under Grandma Many Moons' quilt and w/a corn bag on my banged up ankle (my toes are still BLACK! Gaa!), reading a book about a Texas oil family that I got for a quarter at a recent garage sale. A nice quiet cozy afternoon! Lumping up in bed just reading & relaxing is something I haven't done in years - not since before the last two boys. So yeah about 20 years or so.

The boys did the cooking & cleanup last night - chili-hotdogs. Did I mention the other day that the price of el-cheapo hotdog buns has jumped to $1.19 from their normal .79 cents????? I'm going to start baking my own again.

Vitamin D is Cheap Entertainment

May 13th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Yesterday we did shopping & banking errands while we were on our way to and from set activities.

FrugalSon, TheGrrl and I, packed a few homemade sandwiches & filled bottles w/homemade tea and headed to the lake (about five miles away). No swimming but they enjoyed a walk before and after lunch and we had a fire in the firepit and watched a family of ducks, enjoyed lots of pretty wildflowers, and soaking up lots of good Vitamin D sunshine. Cheap entertainment. I read my book and laid in the sun while they held hands and walked around. Then we let TheGrrl-i-o practice her driving on the empty roads around the lake. She says I'm more patient that either of her parents.

Got good stuff at the scratch-n-dent grocery on the way home from the lake. 2 jars of soup base .79 a jar, 4-parmesan cheese shaker cans .99, small mayo/mustard jars at .49 each for vacation packing, 2 BIG boxes of cheeze-its at .99 a box, 4 big jars of dill pickles at .99 a jar.

We came home, put up our groceries, and I mowed the acreage up top while the young'uns picked up more broken limbs left from the ice storm.

(Our house sits behind & under those evergreens about half-way down the road)

Then we cleaned up & went to see Speed Racer at the matinee movie at an increased price of $2.75 - up from $2.50! GRRR! I'm tired of them raising the prices of the matinee!! It makes my Frugalicious Gene (TM) pucker!!!

Then we came home and ate Mother's Day leftovers of baked ham, creamy 'funeral' potatoes, green salad and German Chocolate cake.

It was a full, yet inexpensive day for me. CashHappySon's car had to be towed back to the place we had the motor replaced at. Possibly a cracked head or busted head-gasket or some doo-whicky. If it's either of those two things it should be covered under the warranty and all he'll have to pay is the towing fee. Fingers crossed!

Deposited two recent Pinecone checks. I'm adding them to the challenge:


$000.00 balance
+010.00 surveys
$010.00 May MTD

2008 Challenge Total $117.66
Cumulative Challenge Total $646.27

It's Always Something! How Stimulating!

May 9th, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Our stimulus dollars arrived today in the checking account. It was under the $1200 by a few dollars. Not sure why that is exactly. Anybody have a clue?

Hubster and I just had our 'state of the nation' talk. He's to get back to me exactly what we're going to do in the next couple of days. We are at an advantage in that we have his inheritance money coming to us fairly soon. Final hearing scheduled sometime mid-June. We have several projects around the house that need doing and we're not sure exactly what order we are going to do them:

1)Replace bathtub (cracked) and then tile the bathroom floor. It will leave a new footprint and the carpet in there is already shot, so these need doing. Even if we stay in the house it can only get worse. If we were to sell, still has to be done. It's a patch job for now, there is some kind of water-proof tape on it at the moment. If you read about Bubba (FrugalSon's) excessive use of TP and the resulting overflows you can see we really need tile in this area instead of just floorboards that are carpeted!

2)There is a pipe in the basement starting to look pretty iffy. It has to be replaced before we have a very wet 'boo-boo'.

The plumbing portions of #1 & #2 can be combined in one visit from a plumber who's a close friend of the family for some savings. I can tile the bathroom myself, except for the fancy cuts, which a niece & nephew will help me with.

3)The air return vent for our heat/cooling system is not large enough and keeps causing the switch to go out as it has to switch on and off too often somehow. This spot needs to be enlarged. Apprx. $500.

4)Our heat and cooling system in now 9 years old. It was the cheapest model the seller could throw in here in order to get us to buy the house. It will likely need replacing sometime in the near future.

I personally vote to put stimulus payment in the IRAs and let the inheritance money cover some of these expenses. We shall see. For today, I'm moving it out of checking into hard labor over at one of the online banks. Now, gotta go check who's paying what interest today!

I am grateful to have this stimulus money returned to us. Big Grin Because, obviously we're in need of it!

Acid Rain? No, I'm Queen of the Mist!!

May 7th, 2008 at 05:20 pm

Pic: Annie Taylor, (Queen of the Mist) who, in 1901, became the first person to plunge over the brink of Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Come along Lil'HippyChillen' and sing along with me...

"My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,
My Bonnie Lies Over The Rain Barrel!"

I've been bemoaning the price of my water bill on here lately. This morning on a whim - since it's raining here today - I put out an old trashbarrel under the inside L corner of my roof, where two ridgelines meet, to fill w/rainwater. I'm planning to use it to water the banana trees and tomato plants later this week when the sun comes back out. Don't try this at home if you've got small children about. If you've got kiddos you need a closed system that one couldn't fall into!

Then serendipity led me to this:
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Holy Toledo, this place says there are beacou gallons to be had? WOW!

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So, if you are feeling greenly conservation minded you might want to do something similar. As a teen I was constantly washing my hair w/rainwater, but that was back before acid rain and such. Oh, we probably had it, we just didn't know it!

I did speak to Hubster this week about perhaps installing a graywater system of some kind, and he said he thought we could hook one up pretty easily, so we'll see. Doubtful we'll go this far! I was just thinking of hooking off of the bathroom sink or something. I'm not this much of a gardener!

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This reminded me of my time in Honduras. Many people live w/cisterns year round as their main source of water.

And once I started thinking of this and googling around for pics I found this link that many of you may enjoy sloshing around in:

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and this should have a special appeal for a certain someone who opposes composting toilets!

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Well, of course I have to categorize this post as INFLOW! Big Grin

Paper When Will You Topple??

May 5th, 2008 at 09:03 pm

Because of the buggered up ankle today is a No Spend Day. No Drive Day.

Sit-at-home-and-wish-I-wasn't-on-so- many-people's-mailing-list-Day as I spent a portion of the day using the shredder to shred CRAP that comes thru the mail.

Take me off the mailing-list people! If I wanted it, I'd call you up or email you. That I haven't already? Should give you a clue!! Big Grin

I am so tired of being the only person in my house who can go thru the mail, you know?

Somehow it all ends up on MY corner of the desk and I have to stop my lovely family from laying everything here!

There is so much more paperwork these days with grown kids living at home. They've got insurance, they've got IRAs, they've got bank accounts, etc., etc., etc., and all seem to have forgotten how to file their STUFF!

Okay - end of rant! I did sit my little crippled up self outside in the sun for five minutes trying to find where I lost my groove & strut, and took out the dishwater to water some flowers. Straightened the house from the weekend and did 2 extra loads of laundry today. FrugalSon's blankets smelled like UGGGGGGGG and the dog got sick on her pillows last night. There goes the water bill for May!

Well, Isn't This TERRR$$$$IFIC???? Yes!

May 4th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

The Hubster got a $1400 a year raise the other day! WOOOO-HOOOOOOOOO!! Now that is probably not much to many of you, but it is to us. It was included in his last check and after taxes and more going into the 401-K he'll come home w/an extra $70.00 or so a month.

Inch by Inch - They are finally catching on that he's vastly underpaid for what he does for them!

I am so tickled for him!

Especially in light of today's shrinking economy!!! TA-DA~!!!!!!!!!!

Twist & Shout

May 3rd, 2008 at 09:05 pm

Thursday afternoon I fell down the steps on the side of the house. Poooh! I did twist and I did shout. Uggh! Hubster went by my niece's house and borrowed a foot brace which allows me to hobble around enough to get to the bathroom!

I mentioned in my last blog post that the frig went kaput. Hubster is out shopping for us one right now. He just called on the phone. We are attempting to be wise shoppers and getting the bottom of the line! I think we'll get out with a new machine right at $500. Does stainless keep the food colder? I don't think so.

Putting it on the CC which will be paid off next month. This one will be Energy Star rated at $43 a year to operate.

April Utility Bills Were...

May 1st, 2008 at 11:38 am

April 2008 Utility Bills fell out like this:

$90.75 Phone/Cable/DSL
$92.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$59.95 Water/Ambulance Fee
$318.70 April Utilities
-$313.08 March Utilities
$ 5.62 >difference

Dang that pesky water bill. All I personally did different this month was water the 6 tomato plants TWO DAYS for just a couple of minutes - I didn't just stand there mindlessly either, purposefully watered only as little as was needed!!

Going to look at getting a different shower head and pricing out a more water saving washing machine! GADZOOKS!! I will refrain from cussing (HRUMPH - I mean discussing Big Grin)about a 10 yr. old refrigerator that possibly needs replacing because it isn't freezing correctly this morning until after I try moving it out a little further from the wall and vacumning the coils today.

In today's advanced industrial society you'd think we could make a frig that would last longer than almost 10 years to the day!!!

Wave goodbye to the stimulus package Mrs. Frugalis! DAGNABIT!!! I wanted to add that to our Roths. There is some money in the Frugalis Furniture/Appliance Fund, but not much.

Compared to March 2008:
$90.68 Phone/Cable/DSL
$97.00 Natural Gas
$14.00 Trash Service
$62.00 Electric
$49.40 Water/Ambulance Fee

I still need to look back at this time last year and go thru all the files and see what last year's utilities were.