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Archive for March, 2012

Mypoints.com

March 30th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Does anyone else here do the mypoints.com thing. I have acquired enough points so far to get a $25.00 gift card and a $10.00 gift card in most all categories, or just $25.00 in pay pal money.

What does everyone else usually use their points for here on the SA blogs.

April Goals and February Recap

March 30th, 2012 at 05:46 pm

MARCH GOALS RECAP:

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources. Done very well in this area. Been replenishing stock. Made strawberry jam and stocked up on a b1g1 free bread deals.

*Take pics of the items I have cleaned out and get them listed on craigslist, ebay, sorted for a yard sale or donate. Sold some items at my SIL's yard sale, took other items to a antique/craft store - the lady bought most of my items and we consigned the trunk. Plus, took some good clothes/shoes to the consignment shop and donated not-so-good items to the Salvation Army.

*Welcome my new grand-daughter into the world. Yes, on March 27 at 12:45 p.m., we welcomed my beautiful grand-daughter, Mandolin Storey, into the world. She weighed 7lbs 14ozs. with a full head of black hair.

*Start getting really creative on debt reduction. Haven't had much time to work on this cause my furnace and the neon needed to be fixed.

APRIL GOALS:

*Plan the Easter Menu.

*Work on my craft business.

*Put together a recipe and menu book and work more on couponing.

*Re-do my budget, make phone calls to see if I can get some better deals.

*Continue to be diligent in cooking from scratch, finding local resources, finding creative ways to eliminate my credit card debt and close some cards.

Passive Income - Yard Sale

March 22nd, 2012 at 08:10 pm

I took some magazines and frames over to my SIL's yard sale and made $11.00. Adding that amount to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $107.00
Add monies: $11.00
New Total: $118.00

Making Jam - Being Frugal

March 13th, 2012 at 02:26 pm

We have been completely out of jam for a while now. I have been buying jam from the grocery store, which is more expensive.

So, yesterday I set out to get some supplies to make jam, but because I have to do everything as frugal as possible, it required a little ingenuity.

Normally I would buy fresh organic strawberries, but I called around first before I left the house. Meijers has non-organic strawberries for a buck each, but I don't like anything that has been sprayed with pesticides. So, as I was calling around, no-one but Whole Foods had organic strawberries which were costing over $3.00 each.

I thought that maybe I wasn't going to make jam, so I ventured out to Costco to pick my daughter up some eye solution. There strawberries were expensive, but they did have a 6 pound bag of frozen organic strawberries for $8.99 bag, so I grabbed one of those.

Not sure how jam would turn out from frozen strawberries, I was willing to give it a try. The beginning consistency while cooking it is different, but my end product is soooo wonderfully tasty. I only used half of the bag of strawberries, so $4.50 there, the pectin cost $2.11, and the sugar breaks down to possibly a $1.00 totaling $7.61. Not bad for 9 half pints of jelly. Normal cost would be around $27.00. So a savings of $19.39.

I am all set until strawberry picking time in June, at which time I will make a double batch. I am also going to make a mixed berry and possibly try my hand at a marmalade when citrus is in season.

Passive Income 2012

March 13th, 2012 at 01:42 pm

Adding $3.00 from a Pinecone Survey to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $104.00
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $107.00

Frugalness and Debt

March 12th, 2012 at 06:30 pm

I have made peace with the fact that I have debt, although I will not be a slave to my debt. It is gonna take some time to get back out of debt. My debt came to me because I had four loved ones who died within a very short period of time from each other, my children's dad, my dad, my mother and my mother-in-law. And, even though we sold off what we could from their estates to pay their funeral costs, there were other incurred expenses, like my Mother's hospice from the last three weeks of her life, my Dad's headstone, and not to mention my own scrape with death from an unknown allergic reaction to sulfates costing me $5,000 in doctor/hospital bills.

Then, things started to break down. Stuff that I had already put big money into, my well, my furnace, the car, etc., so, yes, it has been a juggling act for quite a few years. I had no debt prior to all of the tragedies stated above.

Even though I have always been frugal, I believe I can take this to a whole new level. I am gonna be starting some new series here that will follow those journeys. For instance.

*Freezer Swap. I really love this idea and I am going to try to get a group together to see if this is something feasible. It gives you an idea here as to how to do one, along with Once A Month Cooking on organic items I find on sale. For example, bag of potatoes - possibly make twice baked and freeze.

http://freezerfriendz.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-freezer-friendz-conducts-their.html

*Every year I grow some of our own food, but this year, I am going to do more. More canning and freezing. I haven't been putting up enough to get me through until the next harvest time. That means more jam, freezing corn, making and freezing spaghetti and mostaccioli sauce, freezing more fruits (peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) for baking. Making applesauce from my heirloom apple tree that doesn't produce good eating apples, but good enough for applesauce. I have so much in mind.

*Possibly more couponing. The problem with couponing is I usually only buy organic, not boxed or pre-made food, so coupons are slim pickins.

*Getting some chickens for eggs, which in turn will eat my scraps, along with some worms, which eat the scraps that chickens don't.

*Thinking about honeybees. Even though I do have a honey supplier close by the area. Bees are just good for the gardens also.

*Using more local resources for items I cannot grow enough of on my own.

*Doing more of my crafts and selling them in craft consignment stores. I just recently took some stuff to one of them and made money on my stuff. So, I will be expanding in this area. I will talk more about this in another post.

These are just a few ideas, but I am starting today by making some strawberry jam, because we are out.

Trying so hard

March 8th, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I am trying so hard to make ends meet, save money while paying off my debt, so that I can live a debt-free life, but unexpected breakdowns just keep happening.

First, the submersible well pump had to be replaced the week of Christmas to the tune of $830.

The Neon needed mechanical work, a new fuel pump costing $300, then it was ran into in a parking lot and required a new alternator and radiator, another $225.00. Plus, it really could use some new shocks, front-end alignment and oil change.

Then, today, my furnace went out again, so I called for another service call thinking it was the ignitor, but it turned out to be the circuit board, costing me $680.00. Well, I didn't want to dip into my emergency fund because my husband's work has been very sporadic right now, so I put it on a credit card.

So bummed.

The Mortgage Payoff

March 2nd, 2012 at 02:22 pm

Currently I am adding $20.25 extra to my mortgage payment each month. And right now, I have more going to the principal than the interest each month. That has me paying off my mortgage in 11 1/2 years. That is so exciting to me, because in the next couple of months I am going to make a huge dent in my Debt repayment, so instead of me owing on my debt for the next 4 years, I have implemented a plan to have it paid off in 2 years, which I can then add more to my mortgage each month.

My goal is to have my mortgage paid off in 9 years and 2 months or May 2021, my birthday month in which I turn 60, shaving off 2 years 4 months.

The Neon, Book Review, Gardening, Harvesting.

March 1st, 2012 at 01:14 pm

A couple weeks ago, the neon got ran into in the front end while it was parked at the mall. It loosened the bumper and put a crack in the front of the hood. Later that week, we had to replace the alternator and the radiator, costing me $115.00. My husband did all the work fixing it. My daughter and I split the costs of the neon. It is actually her car that she is letting me use.

I also received and finished the book I ordered "The Feast Nearby". I loved it. For a Michigan girl, it brought back many memories for me and it kind of depicts how I live my life, somewhat. With the local food buying, raising my own food, foraging, cooking recipes, harvesting to set myself up for the coming cold months. This would be the type of book I would probably write and I just might, but I would add more elements and pictures.

Speaking of harvesting. Almost everything I put up last fall is now gone out of the freezer and off my canning shelves. I will have to make adjustments to freeze and can more items. On the list is also to add more plants, shrubs and trees to my yard that are perennial edibles.

*I would like to espalier an apple tree or two.
*Add some blueberry bushes.
*Add more strawberry plants. The strawberries I have a problem with because the critters (chipmunks, rabbits, bunnies, etc.) like to eat them, so I need to get them up off the ground, and spray with a safe organic soapy type something to deter them from eating my fruit.
*Going to build some trellises in a couple different areas for hanging my cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins.

Here is my raspberry patch, which supplies me with lots of raspberries. It is not quite at the level of providing me with enough to make jam yet, although, I might be able to if my family wouldn't eat them all. They are soooo good fresh off the stalk. I think I will try to keep some to add to a batch of strawberry jam.



And here is a picture of the new peach tree I planted early last spring. It actually gave me some peaches. Looking forward to seeing what it will do this year. It is a semi-dwarf Hale Haven Peach.





I am very excited about getting started with my gardening this year. I have lots of awesome ideas.