Monday, February 7, 2011

A Whole Year Gone

It has been forever since I wrote anything. I am hoping that I can begin anew.

The saving machine didn't work out as well as I would have liked for 2010; however, we are not giving up. We are going to continue with the plan for this year. I have figured out the issue with my focus and hopefully I will be more on target this year.

I began the new year by almost passing out at work (I had only been there for about an hour) and was so completely exhausted that I almost fell out on my desk. I discovered that I have a thyroid issue, which explains so much.

I know that this is why I had such a difficult time with getting anything done. I am working with my doctor to get this under control, perhaps in a few more weeks I will have the energy and the mental capacity to actually write this blog as I had planned last year. I will attempt to write at least once per week with at least one money saving tip.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Every year for the 4th of July, we always grill out and let off our own fireworks. This year is going to be a little different. We are going to have snack food and let off our own fireworks. Since our oven is still broken we are tired of using the grill. Instead of having hamburgers and hot dogs again, we are going to have chips and dip, popcorn shrimp, etc. This should be a nice break.

We have decided to make an attempt to fix the oven and ice maker on our own (with a little help from some friends). Hopefully, we can get them working without spending a fortune. The nice part will be the get together.

One of my favorite ways to save money and time is to get organized. I have found that the more organized the house is, the fewer things I need to purchase. I have also found that donating extra items is a great way to maintain the organization. I have taken about four car loads of stuff to donate so far this summer and I have only gone through about 1/4 of the stuff that I need to go through. Sometimes donating stuff is really difficult, because of the emotional attachment to the "stuff", the simplest way to get past that feeling is to continue to tell myself that someone else may really need the item, or that someone else may really love this "stuff".

There are only a few things that I continuously struggle with to save money: the most difficult to overcome is the shopping. I do love shopping. I have to continually remind myself that acquiring new things is not the way to build up our savings.

Hope that everyone has a great 4th!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Insurance Shopping

Once every couple of years, I begin the dreaded task of getting new quotes on my Auto and Homeowner's Insurance. I begin by reviewing my current policies and the price that I am paying. Next, I put calls out to multiple agencies and request quotes. I run a comparison to ensure that we are continuing to get the best coverage for the lowest cost. It is a little daunting, but I know that we always have the best deal around.

Just keeping these companies honest...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Staying Ahead of the Curve

It seems that no matter how much you try to save money, as soon as you think that you are getting ahead, something comes up. This time it is our oven, it has totally stopped working. I am not certain what the problem is, so I definitely will have to call a repair person. I am not looking forward to that bill.

At least I have a few money saving opportunities to suggest.

First, Netflix has been saving us about $50 per month. We were once a month renters; however, we would rent all the new releases on that once a month visit. Now we get Netflix (there are various rates depending on how many videos you want to receive), with our program we get instant streaming video (there are various ways to get this streaming on your TV).

Second, we have begun to save more money on groceries. We have started by using as many store brand products as possible and are working on limiting pre-packaged foods. We have reduced out grocery bill by $50 per week for the past two weeks. We will have to continue to work on it to maintain the level of savings. (We have, also, really started saving and eating left-overs.)

Third, we are clearing out the clutter. Just by trying to maintain the reduction of clutter, we have reduced the purchases made. Keeping in mind that everything at some point becomes clutter, we have been able to limit the small purchases that seem to add up to larger ones.
If anyone has any tips to share, please add them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer days

I just found this great article about saving money:

There is a lot of great information here.

Some of these tips are fabulous, I am definitely going to try some of this. I would love to be able to adjust our life style so that we could live on one income.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lazy Summer Days

Well, we have finished decorating both of my daughters' rooms and we have set up the guest room. We found a great couch-bed, we were looking for one that was comfortable and affordable. We found it at Cost Plus World Market, here is a photo of it.

It worked out very well, I signed up for World Market's Explorer Program and they sent me a coupon for 10% off, so I used that on the purchase. I was able to save some money that way.

It is funny, we set it up as an extra TV room and now someone is constantly in there watching something or playing on the Wii. We had to make sure that there was enough room to play, but it worked out well. We had an old dresser in the garage, which we cleaned up and put new hardware on. It looks great. Then we moved in a little coffee table and two small book shelves that we had. The room turned out beautifully. It is nice when we can use the stuff that we have hanging around the house to set up a nice room.

Now, I must get busy sorting the mountain of stuff that I brought home from school. I can't believe how much stuff I had in my classroom. I was able to stack it more neatly in the family room, and only take up half of the room. That allowed us to use the other half of the room to set up the desk and the computer stuff. There are a few pieces in the stack that need to be given a permanent home in the family room so that they are actually usable.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer is Here

Well, Summer is finally here and I immediately got sick. I am getting ready for "Summer" Cleaning and redecorating. I am getting ready to redecorate my girls' bedrooms. Both girls have decided on a theme and now we have to figure out how to implement them. I do not spend much money on redecorating, so we have to be creative in our design. Currently, we have selected paint and have decided how to reuse a couple of pieces in the house. Often by re-purposing some pieces we can save some money. I know that my kids are a lot like me, they can only handle a design for a few years before updates must be made.

We are going out today to buy paint for both bedrooms, I have found that paint is the cheapest way to change the look of a room and right now True Value has a buy one get one sale on paint, so we are going to check out there first.

Last week, we made some food to freeze so that we could have a few quick meals over the next month. Lasagna is my contribution, I love my easy recipe.

1 package "no-boil" lasagna noodles
1 16oz container ricotta cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 cup of water
1 lb of ground beef
1 can of sliced mushrooms
1 fresh garlic
1 onion chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In skillet, brown ground beef, garlic, and onion. Add mushrooms, sauce and water. Set aside.
In large bowl, blend ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
In 9x12 casserole dish, spread sauce mixture to lightly cover the bottom of the dish, then layer (in order) 3 noodles, 1/2 the cheese mixture, then 1/3 of the remaining sauce mixture, repeat.
Next, add final layer of noodles, then remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

That is it.
Easy and delicious.