Friday, May 09, 2008

Cheapskate Friday

Growing up we pinched every penny until it screamed bloody murder. Looking back now, it wasn't easy but I thank my lucky stars because I can make fifteen dollars last for a week of meals!

Since the economy is going into the ditch, we could all use a few extra dollars to get by. I thought I'd share some of my favorite money saving tips and I asked my friends to share some too.

Laundry - My latest and greatest discovery is Sudsy Ammonia - you can find it in the cleaning products. Use 1/4 cup along with HALF of your normal amount of laundry detergent and your clothing will come out smelling fresh and sweet. This is especially good if you are washing something particularly smelly like gym clothes or dog beds. This stuff is a miracle!

Grocery Bags - It takes 1000 years for a simple plastic bag to decompose. Buy cloth bags and reuse them over and over again.

Coupons - don't be afraid to clip coupons! Thanks to the Internet:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=slv8-msgr&p=coupons&type=

you can find coupons for almost anything you want to buy. Mom is the Queen of the Coupons and it isn't unusual for her to save 50.00 or more every time she shops.

Milk - buy powdered milk and mix it with half regular milk. If you serve it ice cold then no one will notice. This is also good for cooking.

Ramen Noodles - Hey, love them or hate them, they are a college student's staple. Here are a ton of recipes to use for Ramen Noodles:

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geu.FqcCRI.WwAOGlXNyoA?fr2=sg-gac&sado=1&p=101%20ramen%20noodle%20recipes&fr=slv8-msgr&ei=UTF-8

Turn down the thermostat - In the winter we keep it around 66 and in the summer 74. Not only are we saving money but we also help the planet.

Cooking - Learn how to Braise meat. You can buy the cheapest cuts and create a masterpiece with a good braising liquid.

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geu8pucCRI2k0Bn19XNyoA?fr2=sg-gac&sado=1&p=braising%20recipes&fr=slv8-msgr&ei=UTF-8

Postage - pay everything online. I think I send out maybe 2 checks a month now. :)

And now some suggestions from my friends:

Jennifer Dunne - I bought a refrigerator negative ionizer that was recommended by my cooking club. It keeps foods from going moldy in the fridge, so I don't have to throw out fruits, salad greens, and vegetables because they've gone bad, or make multiple trips to the grocery store each week to buy foods right before I use them. Plus, it also gets rid of food odors, so I don't have to throw out foods because they're "off".

Kate Douglas - We got rid of the extra car that just sat in the driveway...with hubby retired we realized we almost always go places together and he’s got his motorcycle if I need the car. Saved us on insurance and registration. The only one we have is an economy pickup that gets good mileage—with gas up here already $4.18 a gallon for regular, we’re definitely watching the number of trips we take!

Sharon Horton - I highly recommend garage sales and visiting those antique/junk stores that have popped up all around. Last weekend, I went to a garage sale and saw a carousel horse that I recognized as being worth a pretty penny. I collect them, so I knew this horse probably retailed for a few hundred dollars. The tag said "make offer", but when I asked about the cost, the woman said she was hoping to get between $30.00 and $40.00 dollars. I offered to split the difference at $35.00 and she (happily) took it.
In addition to my carousel horse, I've saved lots of money by purchasing lamps, tables, wooden furniture and even decorative faux plants by visiting garage sales. Also, I like the idea of buying used items because it feels like I'm helping in the recycling effort.


JL Wilson - I also endorse Freecycle (a yahoo group) or Craigslist. I've sold 3 handheld computers in the last 2 days on Craigslist and since they were sitting around gathering dust, anything I got for them was a win.
Don't forget Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I got an excellent end table at Goodwill for $8 -- it's supposed to be one of those decorative flower pot holders, but I use it to store my TBR stack, thus freeing up space on the real end table for other things. And I've gotten some great clothing at Salvation Army for $2 - $3 each -- oversized men's shirts that I wear over a tank top in the summer time.
I also score big at K-Mart, which is my first stop shopping place. They've merged with Sears and Lands End, so the quality is really pretty good (Craftsmen tools, etc.)
Really, though, the best tip is STOP AND THINK: do I need it? will I use it? is it essential? do I have something that will work? We just rennovated our house, redesigning our home offices. I reused just about every piece of furniture (with some painting and some 'editing') and only added new bookcases from IKEA where needed. We added trim pieces of molding, and the $300 bookcases look custom-made and built-in.


NJ Walters - One of the best ways to save money is to ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Look at the clothing in your closet before you actually buy new. Be realistic--how many pairs of shoes or purses do you actually need. I know it's tough, but it's better to have two or three fabulous purses, or pairs of shoes, you love then to have a closet full of ones you don't use. If the clothing item or accessory is still good, but you're just tired of wearing it, then donate it before you buy more.
Shop thrift stores and yard sales. There's not a new dish in my cupboard. They're all yard sale. My every day dishes are from the early 1900's. It's cool to eat off vintage dishes every day.
Use public transit when possible.
Use reusable bags.
Once every six months, live off what's in your cupboard before you go out and buy new. If you're inventive, you'd be amazed how many days you can go before you have to buy much food. That way the food that is stored in your pantry doesn't expire and have to be tossed.

Ann Bruce - I did a TT on Saving Money at:

http://annbruce.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/tt-16-money-matters/

So what things do you do to save a few dollars?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Granny and the airbag...

video

My sister sent me this and it is too funny. The story is a lady was out videotaping some kids skateboarding when she hears the screech of tires. She turns to see whats going on and...well...its all here in humiliating glory.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Shut up and FISH!

I've always been fascinated with the way the human brain works. My father taught me how to love my brain when I was a kid and it isn't really something I can describe very well. But if you think about a maze - like the ones you played with as a child - your brain is very much like that. You start out thinking about one thing such as buying milk then 5 seconds later you're contemplating just how much lint your belly button can hold.

Okay - its a vivid image but just go with it...

I'm an avid blog reader. I admit, I like the bits of gossip as much as the belly button lint pondering. I enjoy seeing how other's minds work and how they move from one topic to the next. Are they a ranter? (I am - I pick a rant then chew it to death) Are they a Meanderer? (a person who wanders from topic to topic, taking time to get to their goal) Are they a type A blogger? (all bullet points) Are they a mumbler? (someone who comments on a lot of things but never really tells you what they believe - I think they're afraid of commitment but thats just me)

So I openly admit that I've been reading the other blogs who have been commenting on my inadvertent kerfuffle regarding the recent RT conference. That said, I haven't commented on any of them. Why? Because my father taught me that it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth (or keyboard) and prove it.

One of my favorite shows is Deadliest Catch on the Discovery channel. One of the captains, Sig Hansen, loves to say, 'Shut up and Fish,' when the crew gets to complaining. So rather than comment on the blogs, the only thing I have to say is -

'Shut up and Fish.' :)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fantastic News...

I'm pleased to report that I'm not front page news on any of the blogs today...thankyouverymuch! :)

Yesterday I spent most of the day excavating my library/bedroom. I'm in the midst of redoing my bedroom so my bed is here in my library. The best part is if I sit at the computer for too long I only have to get up and fall sideways to get into bed.

The worst part is that I only have to get up and fall sideways into bed. :)

I find I'm watching more television now (I don't keep a tv in the bedroom) and since the tv and bed are in the same place...well, you get the picture.

If you believe / do Feng Shui then you already know when you hit a rough patch in your life, you need to move things around. Movement in your environment changes the energy flow and will enable you to perk up a bit. (unless you're me and move too much then wear yourself out and end up needing a nap!)

So I'm going to spend today and tomorrow putting my library to rights so that I can write and feel peaceful in here. With all the clutter I find it makes me edgy...that and I lose things. Nothing irritates me more than misplacing something that I know I was the last one to use / touch. So organizing and cleaning, for me, is a great way to relieve stress and frustration.

What do you do to relieve frustration?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Taking the High Road

One trick my father taught me was when I wake up in the morning, to automatically say, 'this is the first day of the rest of your life.' Okay, it is a little schmaltzy but it does serve as an important reminder - no matter what you do in life, that deed can be redeemed. You cannot change your history but you can change the path you're walking.

I grew up in a negative household. It was always about what bad thing was going to happen next. Both of my parents were ill and I was the major caretaker, I was the one that held it together and it was hard, harder than even I can imagine or remember.

In my late thirties I decided I'd had enough of that constant negativity and I decided to turn it around. Rather than the 'why me' mentality I'd picked up in childhood, I turned it around to 'if I have enough breath to bitch about it, then I'm doing better than many.' How true that is.

In the past few years I turned myself from a glass half empty to a glass half full personality and that is something I love about myself. A sense of humor and the ability to see through all the bull is what will get you through life with a lot less bumps than someone who is constantly negative. There is nothing that I can't handle - I can roll with the punches and come up smiling.

I lost sight of that for a few minutes.

There has been a lot of negativity swirling around me lately and I allowed myself to get sucked into it. I forgot one of my life 'rules', just because someone says something, that doesn't make it true.

Several people have been making erroneous negative statements about me and my person and after two weeks of nonstop negativity, I allowed myself to get sucked in yesterday. I was angry, depressed and feeling negative about everything until I remembered something important - they weren't talking about me.

One of my favorite ANTM moments is when some of the girls are gossiping about another girl and they were being very bitchy about it. 'Mama' stepped in and told them, 'when someone is hating on someone else, it isn't about that person. It's because the haters are feeling insecure or threatened by the person they are hating on.'

How true it is. I don't know why certain people have decided I'm their target of the moment but it really doesn't matter as sooner or later it will be someone else. Rather than poking at me they should be looking at themselves and their lives to try and determine why they are acting out in such a hateful fashion. It's their issue, not mine.

So repeat after me - Just because someone says something, it doesn't make it true.

So for those who continue to take shots at me, just imagine what you could accomplish if you used your talents for good rather than bad? :)