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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Day 139 and Bare Bones Shopping

I did my bi-weekly shopping last night. Because of the unexpected loss of income and the unplanned trip to Granite today, I wanted to cut back my list as much as possible in order to have enough money for the gas today. So I went through my pantry and freezer and cut back my list quite a bit. I didn't get a new ink cartridge at Wal-mart yet. I figure with school out for the kids and me not having to do a newsletter for the child care association that I could put that off for a bit longer, of course that saved me about $30 right now. Anyway, bottom line. I usually spend about $200-$250 total, usually closer to $250 (between Wal-Mart and the grocery store) on the bi-weekly trips. I spent about $150. Besides having to get more milk next week, we should have plenty of food to last us until the next payday. I'm going to get the ice chest out and pack the sugar free dessert I made for tonight, along with some drinks, and I'm going to pop up some popcorn and find some other stuff to take along for a snack.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Day 138: Frustrations and an updated debt total

Well, there's been some drama in my child care the last couple of weeks with a dad who quit his job without finding a new one first. So now I have an opening and an immediate loss of income. It's a bit of a problem because I had budgeted based on what I expected to get paid from him next week. But I know that God will take care of us and so I'm trying to stay calm. It's just very frustrating.

One of the credit card collectors called us yesterday and offered to settle one of the $3000 accounts for $1168, the offer is good through the end of the month. Yeah, tomorrow. LOL. Of course, we don't have that kind of money just laying around. She also told me that our May payment hadn't arrived yet and I told her that it had been mailed Friday, May 16th. So I checked our checking account online and sure enough, that check and another one from that day haven't cleared yet. The other 4 sent out to credit card accounts have cleared. The suspicious and cynical side of me thinks that both of these checks are setting on someone's desk somewhere. Why do I think that? Because both of these companies are ones who told us that they would only accept payment arrangements from us if we gave them access to our checking accounts. So...I'm kind of wondering about this new development. I don't know what else to do except wait and send them their June payments as scheduled.

After the house payment and the car payment get made, our debt paid off since January will be up to $5576.57!!!

This is another one of those crazy busy weekends. I'll try to post, but if I don't, you'll know why!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 137 and The Complete Tightwad Gazette

One of my favorite ways to inspire myself when I'm in a slump is a book called "The Complete Tightwad Gazette". This is a compilation of the Tightwad Gazette newsletter over a period of 6+ years. The newsletter is no longer published and some of the information in the book is outdated or "out there" even for me. But what I like most about it is that it helps me to think outside the box for ways to save money. I'm going to get my copy of the book out today and start reading it again. As I run across ideas and inspiration, I'll share.

Last night, we had homemade potato soup, garlic bread, and grapes for supper. The soup turned out quite good, if I do say so myself. This is the basic recipe I use to make potato soup:

Potato Soup
5-6 potatoes, washed, peeled, and cubed
chopped onion (you can also use onion powder)
3-4 chicken bullion cubes
garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom (or celery, or chicken) soup
2 cups shredded cheese
cubed ham (optional, it's good without the ham too)

Put potatoes, chopped onion, and bullion cubes in slow cooker and cover with water. Turn the slow cooker on high and allow the potatoes to cook. As they get soft, use a potato masher to smash the potatoes up. After the potatoes get soft, add the cubed ham (if you want it). Allow to simmer for several hours, then about an hour before serving, heat up the mushroom soup with one can of milk on the stove. After it's thickened and ready, add the cheese and stir it in until it's melted. Then stir the soup mixture into the potato mixture in the slow cooker. Taste the soup, and add spices to taste. Simmer for approximately an hour or so, then serve.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day 136 and Getting Back to Basics

So I've been thinking today about how much we really need to get back to basics. We've slipped a bit in the last few weeks. It is hard to keep up that initial momentum, kind of like when you're on a diet and you start out real well, but it's hard to maintain that. I go through stages where I just get totally burned out with cooking and I think I'm in one of those right now. That makes it harder for me to be creative with meals. I've already stated my goal that we not eat out again until our mid-June payday. That will be a tough one when we drive to Granite this Saturday for my grandpa's birthday party. But I can pack an ice chest with some drinks in it and pack some snacks. We'll be eating supper there, we can eat lunch at home before we go. I'll be trying to think of some new goals between now and tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 135 and remember that Hee-Haw Song?

Gloom, despair, and agony on me? Deep dark depression, excessive misery? If it weren't for bad luck, I"d have no luck at all...etc. Every once in a while I get that song running through my head and it won't go away.

So I told you about the baby EF near miss with Josh locking his keys in his car. So then that same night, his car would not start and so he had to get a jump start. That was the second time that had happened (the first time he'd left something on). This time, I told him he should go to Napa on Tuesday morning and get his battery tested. Well, Monday afternoon, his car won't start again so Tom took the van and left Josh his car in case he needed it. Well, thankfully, Josh went up to Napa, got a new battery and took his own car to work. I don't know yet how much this will be affecting the EF.

Every once in a while, I get this feeling that a dark cloud just follows us around. LOL. I'm joking around of course, but it does seem like things happen all at once, have you ever noticed that?

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 134 and a new blog I like to read

So now that I'm done with college classes and other things have slowed down, I've spent some time looking for some new frugal sites of interest. A friend from church mentioned this one: and it's a very nice site. He has some great and practical advice and has a very nice writing style. He also offers suggestions for how to increase traffic on your blog site. All in all, a great site with good info!

So today we went out to eat at Godfather's for my birthday. It was yummy, but of course I ate too much. Now we are done with birthdays for a while, so I am making it my new goal not to eat out again until at least our mid-June payday. I'd really like to stretch it to July for Tasha's birthday, but I know that's probably unrealistic. Between birthdays and just becauses, we've eaten out too much lately.

Hope everyone is having a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 133 and a close call on the baby EF

Well, Josh locked his key in his car today, but thankfully Tom was able to get it opened without calling a locksmith. He is my hero! Now maybe Josh will finally go get another key made.

Well, today passed in a blur. Went to church, came home, ate lunch, went back to church (had to have Tasha there at 4:00 to practice a song) and got home again about 9:00.

This weekend, I have read three Robert B. Parker Spenser books and have started on a fourth one. It's so great to be reading for fun!