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March 30th, 2012 at 04:35 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 10:46 am


*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.


*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 01:10 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 07:26 am

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 06:42 am

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 11:30 am

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.


*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 03:31 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 06:22 am

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 05:14 am

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.

March Goals 2012 and February Recap

February 23rd, 2012 at 05:19 am

FEBRUARY RECAP: This month has been very stressful, but when I think about, I have been very stressed since November.

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources. Continuously doing.

*Get invites for baby shower, address them and get them in the mail before February 3rd. DONE

*Bake Valentine Cookies and enjoy with my family. Didn't do, I figured we had too many goodies in the house already.

*Bake something for Niece's going away party. Didn't need to do.

*Bake all the muffins for the baby shower and get them in the freezer. Pumpkin Raisin, Blueberry, Banana Nut and Zucchini Apple Walnut. DONE and GONE.

*Get cake ordered, menu set and have Baby Shower. DONE and it was absolutely beautiful.

*Add more money to my Savings account. Didn't get accomplished yet, but 5 days left in this month. There was also too much cash money going to other areas like the baby shower and property taxes.

*Start spring cleaning and decluttering for yard sale and donations. Ongoing. Did get done my bedroom, my pictures are organized in one area, my closet and my son's closet.

*Do Income taxes. DONE and it has already been deposited.

*Made a plan to lower my stress level. Continuously working on.


*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources.

*Keep working on lowering my stress level and bringing more joy into my life.

*Take pics of the items I have cleaned out and get them listed on craigslist, ebay, sorted for a yard sale or donate.

*Welcome my new grand-daughter into the world.

*Start getting really creative on debt reduction.

Not too many goals for March, I am trying to lower my stress level.

Federal Poverty Guidelines

February 15th, 2012 at 05:16 am

This is the federal poverty guideline. If we just go on my regular income of $19,572, I am definitely under the poverty level for a family of 4.


But, I do supplement my income by babysitting, cleaning houses and working a summer job.

And, yet I feel very blessed with everything I have accomplished.

Pretty Disappointed, but Implamenting a Plan

February 2nd, 2012 at 06:40 am

Did my taxes yesterday and after paying my husband's social security and self-employment tax, plus my youngest turning 17, which means I don't get the extra $1000 child tax credit, I am only getting $773 back.

I guess it is better than paying, but I needed to pay off some debt. Two bills in particular, my Care Credit card and winter property taxes are due.

So, here is the breakdown.

*$246.03 will go to winter property taxes; and
*$527 will go to Care Credit. Here is the breakdown of my care credit card.

-$987.00 is due by 4/27/2012. If not paid by then the accrued interest will kick in. Leaving $460 to pay off in 3 month. I will need to add an additional $153 each month to meet that goal. I do have the money in my EF account, so I can actually meet this goal.

-$537.00 is due by 5/28/2012, but my regular montly payment will bring this down a little more, so I will see where I stand the beginning of May when I pay this bill. I may just transfer the money from my EF to finish paying off this balance, if I don't have it tackled by then.

-The remaining balance after that on the Care Credit card is not due until November before the interest kicks in, but I will pay on it monthly to get it paid off before then.

I also want to kick the Art Van and Amazon Visa out of here, so I can focus on the remaining three, Discover Wamu and Freedom.

There is my plan. I am pretty excited about it, cause I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of this debt. By Memorial Day, when I start my summer beach job, I should only be dealing with the remaining three credit card debts, and that is a good feeling.

I am also going through my home and selling off many items, which will also help me meet my goals above.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Spring Cleaning and De-Cluttering

January 31st, 2012 at 11:05 am

As I have been looking around my house, I realized that even though it might look orderly, it is in much disarray.

I have made a list and decided that I would start my spring cleaning and de-cluttering early.

Revamp my Closet.
*Take everything out and vacuum floors and dust shelving units.
*Try on everything I own and either keep, mend or toss.
*Make a list of new items I need to purchase to make newer looking outfits.

Son's Room and Closet
*This closet is primarly used for storage. I need to pull everything out and decide to donate, keep or sell.
*Re-arrange room.

*Organize draws and cupboards.
*Re-arrange some items.

Laundry Room
*Take down shelving and put up cupboards for storage.
*Use shelving in another room.
*Fix ceiling and repaint.

Regular Cleaning
*All bedding, including dust ruffles, mattress covers and duvets
*Shampoo all bedroom floor area rugs/carpets.
*Re-dye living room curtains to even out from sun damage.

*Re-organize shelving and desk

*Wash curtains
*Get new bath towels and washcloths

*Go through kids items and decide what to keep and what to sell.
*Go through Christmas items and decided what to keep and what to sell.
*Clean and lay some flooring.

That is what I can come up with off the top of my head. Let's get started.

February Goals 2012 and January Recap

January 31st, 2012 at 10:35 am

Well I met most of my goals for January. Here is a recap:

*Need to get $304.00 back into my checking to cover overage. DONE.

*Need to get my EF savings account back up to the minimum balance, where I am not charged a fee to $300.I actually got it back up to over $1000. Yay.

*Keep working on finding a part-time job. I did put two resumes in this week, with one as a great prospect, and the hours work great with my other schedules. Pray that I get it. Would love this job. I didn't get the job I wanted, but did pick up another house cleaning job. So I guess it worked out.

*Get baby shower invites done and mailed out by the end of the month. The person doing my invites is a little behind, but promised to finish them tonight. They will go in the mail this week

*Get the rest of my bills paid before their respective due dates. Usually not a problem. DONE

*Finish up Bunco party gifts, make desserts on that day and have a good time with the ladies. DONE

*Get organized for the Club Board meeting. DONE

*Keep up with my menu planning. This has been working out great and keeps me out of the grocery stores every other day. I can't say enough for this. It helps to keep me on track and stay within my grocery budget

*Call my new house cleaning job to see what day is best for them. DONE


*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources.

*Get invites for baby shower, address them and get them in the mail before February 3rd.

*Bake Valentine Cookies and enjoy with my family.

*Bake something for Niece's going away party.

*Bake all the muffins for the baby shower and get them in the freezer. Pumpkin Raisin, Blueberry, Banana Nut and Zucchini Apple Walnut.

*Get cake ordered, menu set and have Baby Shower.

*Add more money to my Savings account.

*Start spring cleaning and decluttering for yard sale and donations.

*Do Income taxes.