I’m back, and…??

A benevolent pal of mine sent me a keyboard middle of last week, and I have finally found the time to come off “no mail” and get back to some serious frugal actions.

I went to buy groceries Saturday and spent $47 at Save-a-Lot (cart FULL!) and $22 at Big Star, where they had ground beef for 79 cents/lb. I was able to get a pack of regular Cottonelle for free with my coupon and even a few school supplies, and should be stocked for 2 weeks. I also did a ground beef freezer session yesterday, and will probably go and get some more today while it’s still on sale.

DH had surgery on his hand last Tuesday.

He had general anesthesia, and he has really had a hard time getting over this. Has anyone had any similar experiences? He feels lethargic, alternately nauseous and ravenous, and just generally crappy, but not really bad enough to warrant going back to the doctor.

Frugal tips and thoughts

My name is Laura. DH and I have 2 sons, ages almost-9 and almost-5. We’d like to adopt a 3rd child sometime in 2001, too. And that requires lots of saving!

We live about 3 miles from downtown Atlanta. I’m a technical writer, and just started month 13 of a 24-month project. I would like to take lots of time off when this project is done, and am saving like crazy so we won’t miss my income. I was an active poster on the old CB list, and had to go no mail when things got very, very busy earlier this summer. Came back and it was gone – good thing I found you guys!

I really appreciate the encouragement I get from reading about other people who share my frugal outlook on life. Our culture is so stuff-oriented, and it’s hard to buck that trend. It’s also hard to raise kids to be frugal when their friends are walking around in shoes that cost more than my car payment!

My latest project is buying some nice 2nd hand furniture. We’re using the same stuff we had in our 20’s (early American Mom’s basement), and it’s time to upgrade. I went idea-shopping with a friend Saturday afternoon, and we hit a bunch of furniture places, just to see what’s out there. I’ve never shopped for new furniture, and boy is it expensive. No way I’m spending that kind of $$$!

As for frugal tips, here goes: 1) Never buy new if you can find the same thing used. Your money will go so much further because someone else paid retail first. 2) Never make a major purchase without sleeping on it first.

No impulse buying! The only exception is planned major purchases, where you’ve done your homework and allocated funds from your budget. Then, when you find a deal, grab it before someone else does! 3) Treat yourself to small indulgences so you won’t feel deprived.

I think #3 is especially true when time’s are hard. If your I’m-getting-out-of-debt-or-else budget is too restrictive, you won’t stick with it. Buy a new lipstick occasionally, go out to dinner, or whatever makes you feel pampered. Allocate a few bucks for fun money. It’s better to plan to spend $10 or $20 than to feel angry and deprived and charge $200.

Finally, read Financial Peace. It’s a great book!

Laura in Atlanta

I consider myself a sahm

I consider myself a sahm, but have always done something from home. Now that the kids are in 2nd and 3rd grade this fall, I’ll have a full day to work with. I still need to be available for the kids’ sick days/ holidays and even for myself because I can get easily wiped out. (I’m a cancer survivor) I teach music lessons in my home studio, but have to cut back on the hours this year. We still have times when we need extra cash and fortunately MtpLoans can help with bad credit installment loans. Used them several times already. Also, my husband’s hours may differ, and I need to be accessible for homework.

Favorite tip: getting rid of the majority of my expensive household cleaners!

glass cleaner/shower daily spray – 4 cups water and 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol On a household tips tv show, it was suggested to refill the blue glass cleaner bottles with windshieldwashing fluid that didn’t contain antifreeze.Well, I tried this trick and my mirrors also looked streaked afterwards.

Not with with rubbing alcohol and water!

1/2 cup vinegar, light sprinkle of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent, even in cold water the wash looks great and smells good. No more fabric softner liquid or sheets.

vinegar kills the weeds growing in the driveway cracks, along the curb, and behind the garage

fill large spray bottle with water almost to the top – add 3 – 4 squirts of hand dish-washing soap. I keep by the sink when I need to only wash a few dishes from breakfast or lunch instead of dragging out the dishpan.

I cut my “Brillo or SOS” type pads in 4 pieces – that way I can throw it out after each dish-washing session – no mess to deal with and going through a box in 7 weeks instead of 2.

Shaking baking soda and vinegar in the toilet bowl worked wonder for cleaning – also can be used for unclogging drains once a week. I should mention I do use the drop -ins once a month in the tank so this does help keep down cleaning time. Also tried 1/2 cup salt down the drain – seemed to help improve my slightly clogged drain.

Shaking baking soda in the carpeting before sweeping is a lot cheaper and doesn’t leave the artificial smell that can make some people or animals sick.

My husband looked at me strangely with this last savings tip: cut napkins in half. The kids usually grabbed them for Kleenex as well. Again, not huge savings but over a year it could equal a fast food meal out or a new pair of jeans.

I am able to find a gallon of generic vinegar for 1.27, box of baking soda for 39 cents, and rubbing alcohol for 33 cents on sale. Better for the environment, pocketbook, and time because I can skip that aisle in the grocery store/Walmart entirely.

I’m so grateful we could carry on the frugal ideas on Picoso.

Patti in OH.

My Apologies

Hi all,

I have been dealing with a personal situation the past few weeks so I didn’t devote as much time as I should to getting the blog running well.

I am in the process of ensuring the following:

-A techie moderator to make sure we have great settings and who can tell us when the problems are just net burps (Kyle are you still here?)

-a challenge coordinator to either assign or coordinate the vote for the monthly challenge

-daily instigators (still deciding whether this is appropriate and needed) to get discussion going on the topic of the month or a thought for that day.

Feedback on this would be highly appreciated on or off the list

My frugal day

well i went to my friends youngest 1st b-day party in PA and i came home with a huge bag of maternity clothes and a new baby swing (the nice drop in kind ).

then i went to JC penneys with my 10$ off 10$ purchase VIP coupon the had sent me in the mail that was only good tonight and i got a new belt for my Ds 12 for school and 2 pairs of booties/ socks To put away for the baby and only paid 1.41 for them all !!

Roll call

Hi all : )

– i am Alice -37 yo Mom of 4 soon to be 5 ( in February ) i have been a pretty good bargain hunter etc most of my life but have really been more frugal last 2-3 years- being frugal # 1 so i can be home with my kids as much as possible – basically in the last 2-3 years i stopped looking for new and improved frugal books that might have the “magic answer” in them and began implementing more of the things I learned from tightwad gazette and my own ideas- I am great at coming up with ideas but have just started really implementing them !! It really pays off too !!

we still have some debt but at least both cars are paid off thanks to DH’s bonus earlier this month that let me pay of the minivan!!

our debt is not so much CC’s as 2 credit line’s- that we used when we had to fix up the house (it was real fixer upper we did a lot ourselves as cheaply as possible but it still cost $$ ) and to cover bills etc when i was out of work on disability with the first three pregnancies – but we have not use them at all in three years and are paying them off slowly but surely!!

As previous posts may have shown i am in a quandary as to whether to not go back to work at all (i am a RN and work ~ 1 x a week right now ) after the baby is 6 months to a year or to go back maybe 2 x a month – to help get the debt paid off faster )

My kids attend a catholic school which the tuition runs about $350 a month for the ten months a year for the 3 kids in school – DS 12 will be in high-school in 2 years and the cost of high school also makes me very nervous- but we have not fully decided on that anyway – anyhow that is all about me in the shortened version LOL!!

I am a RN at a residential facility

I am a RN at a residential facility (campus- apartment type setting) for kids with severe behavioral disorders due to autism – brain trauma – congenital things etc.- i basically when i work nights walk around campus- and knock on apt doors and ck to see if all the kids are OK – then i hit the lockdown areas and see on the monitors each kid in in bed and document that – then for the rest of the night ( usually from 1-2am till 5: 50 am ) i sit in my office waiting for a phone call if anyone needs me for anything – and i can basically do what i please – i read- cut coupons – sometimes even catnap with my head next to the phone for about 15-20 min – so it is very unstressful 90% of the time that 10% of the time if kids hurts themselves or has seizures etc. or is sick bad enough to need to be sent to the hospital etc. is when it gets hectic especially if you have several; kids having a problem at the same time- but i use to work in a trauma floor so what might be called hectic by another nurse is not so for me …

at 5: 30 AM i give out some meds to some elderly MR woman in my building and i give report and leave at six am- i am home before 10 min – if i work days on the weekend ( 6a-2pm ) i just deal with the apartments not the lock-downs and just pour a lot meds – put on bandages do a few tube feedings etc and be available for any problems with the kids- there are staff in each apartment that deal with the kids with their actual behavioral problems.

The killer in giving it up fully is that for what i do i make $19 an hour base rate and i can make from $3 to $7 an hour bonus pay on the weekends – and i like the kids – i was stuck between being a special ed teacher and a nurse when i made the decision to be a nurse so the kids do not upset me – there is a high turnover where i work because some people just cannot handle the kids not being “normal ” — i guess i kind of feel that although is a job that i am kind of giving back by helping these kids too and they like seeing familiar faces rather than a different agency nurse every day = i have done things way past job expectations in the past i guess beach i feel the kids need a nice place to live ( ie repasted wall paper borders falling down in office / apartment using the wallpaper border paste i had at home etc )

i am worried about working past my 6th – 7th month as i will not be as quick as a normally am if i need to duck thrown meds- get out of the way of an unexpected ” behavior ” etc. and some nurses have been hit etc – but i am pretty careful and was only very lightly kicked and hit 1 x when i was new and didn’t know much about the kids now i know who to watch their eye s to know if they are going to act ut and who not too get too close to- to let them approach me for their meds . etc

so i am pretty sur ei will get out of there in early December at the latest for my maternity leave.

When I use raw potatoes

When I use raw potatoes, I grate them into a bowl, add some water with a touch of lemon juice to rinse off some the starch from the potatoes. Sometimes I will grate a fair amount, so I just grab a handful or two, drain in a colander and add salt, pepper and onion powder and put in the hot skillet that already has some melted butter/margarine in it.

But I like the hash-browns from cooked potatoes much better and for them, I like to use the red potatoes better than the russet. I like the reds better for salads also. I like the russets in baked potatoes, scalloped or mashed. Yukon Gold is also a good potato for the same thing that the russet is for, plus it comes out looking a pale gold color.

After last night’s hash brown disaster, my son says I “owe” him a good batch, lol, so I will try making them from cooked potatoes this time and choose red ones.

Last night was a comedy of errors, really. I forgot to rinse the raw (white) potatoes, then they were cooking so slowly I stuck the lid on the electric frying pan to increase the heat but then of course, they got steamy and soupy, and THEN the electric frying pan died in the middle of cooking them. So they took an hour and were awful. The next batch has GOT to be better.

Coaches gifts

I printed a picture from a clip art program with a cute tiger playing softball. I wrote something like To a Great Coach. and had all the kids sign and we framed it. My hubby says nothing too cutsy, guys aren’t into that so I tried to not be too cutsy. 🙂

We also pitched in 3 dollars I think and bought them a practical gift too like a gift certificate for dinner out. Just a thought

I’m the team mom for my 5yo tball team. I have the team party under control but need some frugal ideas for a coach’s gift. Can anyone help?

Portraits

Someone was asking about photo coupons at Sears. Sorry I forgot who. We get all four kids yearly pictures done a K Mart in September. I usually get all four together for the package and send those out at Christmas. I then buy portraits of all the girls individually 8 x 10’s through wallets for their school pictures.

I think I spend a total of about 80.00. This is for 4 girls school pictures as well as Christmas cards and Christmas presents for family members. Not too bad when you see how much school pictures can cost.

Carrie in Calif.