Friday, January 27, 2012

31 Days of Nothing - Week 4

Checking in for Week 4:

This week was rough on me, with the grocery shopping. I bought ahead while I could get the stuff on sale so I won't have to pay full price later, but I haven't spent that much on groceries on sale or not in over two years!!

It makes me think I need to get back into the coupon shopping like I used to, but I'm not sure that's even possible.
Before, I could buy my Sunday papers for $1.00 each. No more.
Before, the coupons were higher value, like $1/1, now they're more like $1/2 or .25/1.
More of the stores put limits on the number of items you can buy. Since I drive 25 miles at the minimum, usually 40+ (one way), it doesn't benefit me to drive all that distance for one item.
If I wait until later in the week/sale when they tend to relax limits (except for those places with Cards) I don't know if there's going to be any stock left.
The stores have gotten so hateful with couponers, I never have any idea if I'm going to drive all that way and not even be allowed to use my coupons for whatever stupid reasons they can make up to not let me.

We had to go out of town for a cousin's funeral so that cost an extra tank of gas for my car.
My husband filled up Saturday night, then his truck all but broke down. He started having to drive our son's truck on Monday, which, of course, the gas tank was just about empty, so he filled it up.
Our son's been driving my car, not far, just around here to his school and volunteer fire station a couple of times, but he's not used to driving my car, so he has ended up sucking out nearly the whole tank of gas.
I think I'm going to have him fill it up next time, though.

$153.59 total spent on gas this week (uggghhhhhh)
$182.91 total spent on groceries (arrrggggghhhh)

$336.50 total cost this week (just for gas and food)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Shopping Day

CVS is having a good deal on 12 pack Coke products this week. (Dr. Pepper was included here for a change! Yay!) Also there was Fresca, Fanta, and Sprite that I can recall.

They are on sale 4/$10, or $2.50 per 12 pack.
They're included in the buy $30, get a $10 Cashcard deal.
Buy (12) 12 packs for $30.00 (Some stores are limiting to 4 per transaction, just do three transactions)
Get back $10.00 CVS cashcard (giftcard)
This makes the final cost $1.67 per 12pack. Or about .14¢ per can. or a little over a penny an ounce.
(24) 12-packs
Food Lion still has 2ltr sodas at .63¢ after Brand Sale...
Not trying to get too technical with the mathematics, but if you figure there's 144ounces in a 12 pack of coke, it would take just a little over (2) 2ltrs to equal a 12pack (67.6 ounce * 2 + 8.8 = 144).
If you break down the cost per ounce of 2 ltr. and multiply by 144 ounces, it would cost $1.34 to buy the equivalent of a 12 pack.
Only a .33¢ difference per 12 pack, and I can take the cans and cash them in the recyclers for money.

I bought more at Food Lion than I probably would have if I had gone alone, but my son was with me and he kept encouraging me to "buy it while it's on sale".

We got to the store really early, before 9:00, and there was a whole bunch of stuff on mark down. I got milk for $2.27 (almost a dollar cheaper than I usually pay), ground beef, stew beef, and fish nuggets all marked down.

I stocked up on some more ketchup at .64¢ brand sale price, pound of bacon was $2.75, canned veggies were .44¢, cereal $1.54.
The canned fruit was on sale 4/$5.00, or $1.25 each, then $1.00 each after brand sale. (Got over to Kroger and found out I hadn't paid close enough attention to the 4-day sale, they had canned fruit for .88¢, Argh!)

The little mini pizzas were .54¢ each after brand sale, and the frozen beef & bean burritos were .25¢, so I stocked up on quite a few of those.

The Tostitos were on sale for $1.99 ($3.99 BOGO).  The Walmart brand is a little cheaper at $1.68, but it was worth the extra few cents to not have to make a special trip into Walmart, and anyway I'm not even sure they are the same size bag. I need to check on that.

The Birdseye veggies were 10/$10, or $1.00 each. I had gotten a $1.50/2 coupon from the Blue Machine, which made them .50¢, or.25¢ each.

Then we went to Kroger for the 4-day and Mega sale.

They had Lay's chips for $1.99 mega sale price. Since we went mostly gluten-free, we eat a lot of chips, so I like stocking up on them when I can get them cheap.

I also got cans of Hormel chili, mega sale price .99¢. I probably should have waited and came home and seen if there was any coupons for them, but I got lazy and didn't want to mess with it. I was there, they were on sale, so I bought them.

Also got some Propel flavored water for .49¢ mega price.

The cheese is on 4-day sale for $1.48 a pack. About a dollar cheaper than Walmarts cheese regular price, so I stocked up with 10 packs. Well, stocked up for a little while. Wish I would put away like 50 of them. We use a lot of cheese.

The potatoes were $1.98/5 lbs for the 4-day sale.  I got a couple of bags, but IIRC I think I've gotten 10lbs of taters for cheaper than $4 bucks at Ingles or IGA.
I like to stock up potatoes when they're cheap since I learned to french fry or dice them up and freeze them. I didn't think much about having NO freezer space until I got home and had to try to cram all the frozen stuff I bought from Food Lion in. I just barely fit the cheeses in, because they're bags and maneuverable I was able to cram them into cracks and bends between stuff. But there's no way, no how any freezer bags of french fried or diced taters are going in at this point. I need another freezer bad.

Bread was .98, same as Ingles here at home, and sugar was $2.48 for 4lbs.  Walmart sells 5lb for $3.08, so that was within fractions of a penny being the same price.


$61.80 (24) 12-packs Coke
-20.00 Got back (2) $10.00 cashcards
= $41.80 cost

Food Lion:
$66.04 + 1.82 tax - $5.50 OYNO coupon = $62.36
Got back $9.00 OYNO
$22.08 + .66 tax - $9.00 OYNO coupon = $13.74
Got back $5.25 OYNO
Total cost $70.85

$61.82 + 1.85 tax = $63.67

Grand total $176.32

Friday, January 20, 2012

31 Days of Nothing - Week 3

Time for the Friday check-in of how we did this week.

We did pretty good this week, spending mostly on groceries. I spent ahead stocking up on some things during the Food Lion sale, but that'll save me money in the future.

Otherwise J bought snuff, a bottle of oil for his truck, and spent a little less than $2 bucks grabbing a couple of Krystal burgers while working on the ambulance the other night. (He took leftovers with him but didn't get a break to be able to eat it, so he ate that for lunch while working at the urgent care the next day.)

No doctor visits, and no gas purchases needed - Yet. 

Total cost this week $75.83.

There will be a gas purchase sometime today, though, as we're getting ready to be on our way 2.5 hours out of town to a funeral.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Food Lion

Made it to the Food Lion Super Brand Sale today. Stocked up on some stuff we use while I could get it cheaper.

The way this sale works is, basically, they give you .25¢ per item back in the form of a catalina coupon.  So if you buy (4) FL brand items, you get a $1.00 cat coupon. If you buy (40) items, you get a $10.00 cat coupon. (Any amount in between.)

We drink Soda. It just a fact of our life. We're gonna drink it if I have to pay full price or stock up while it's cheap.
The store brand 2ltr sofas are on sale (at my store) for .75 this week (.89 at other stores).  After the Brand Deal they work out to .50¢ each, which is stock up price for me.
(The Colas were already all bought up, dang it.)

This particular store also sells individual canned soda in the deli dept for .33¢ each. After the Brand Deal they were .08¢ each.

*Beans reg .79¢....54¢ deal price (Beans at Walmart are reg. priced .68¢)
*Mustard/Ketchup Sale Price .88¢....63¢ deal price
*Hot Dog Chili sauce .75¢....50¢ deal price (this is regular price .50¢ at Walmart so not stock up deal)
*Vinegar reg. price .99¢....74¢ deal price (Walmart's reg price for the same size is .78¢, so a little bit of a deal.)
*Shredded Cheese sale price $2.39...$2.14 deal price

*On the Clearance shelf I found (17) cans of FL Pork'n'Beans marked .24¢ each, so they paid me .01¢ each to take these off their hands.
*Also on the clearance shelf was Salt marked .48¢, so .23¢ after deal

The Campbell's Tomato and Chicken Noodle soups are on sale for .60¢ each, which is a pretty good price on it's own. I had an IP coupon for $1.00/5, making my soups .40¢ each.

Was looking for deals on pizza crust, chili seasoning mix, and brown gravy mix but Walmart's reg price on these items are still cheaper than Food Lions even after the deal.

Also bought (4) cans of snuff for J.

Total spent $54.67

Friday, January 13, 2012

31 Days of Nothing - Week 2

Time for the Friday check-in of how we did this week.

After our nice day of working out in the yard and getting some projects done around the house that didn't cost anything last week, my husband came back down with the same cold/virus we've been fighting for about two months. His turned into a sinus infection and cost a trip to the doctor and prescriptions:
$25.00 Co-pay
$39.00 Prescriptions

My youngest son is now sick again, so I expect he'll be costing us another co-pay and meds any day now.
What is going on? Why can't we get rid of this thing?

The next couple of days a couple of expenses popped up that I hadn't thought about, I don't really pay much attention to because they are auto-pays so I don't have to worry about making the payments. They are subscriptions to things like my webspace and a couple of online RPGs for the boys that were given as birthday gifts. So, none that I really want to cancel.

What I need to do is learn how to Blog for Money. I know a lot of people do it, and apparently make pretty good money at it.  I know about signing up to be an Affiliate and putting ads on your blog, but I'm not much sure about the rest of it: pay-per-click, tweeting, facebooking, Blogher, and so on.

$21.14 total Online expenses

My total for groceries this week was $17.51:
~ $11.25 Ingles  for (3) loaves of bread, jug of milk, (2) bananas, bag of corn chips, and (2) cans snuff
~ $2.98 buying Sure-jell to make blackberry jelly when my freezer went out (still no one has taste tested it yet to know if it's even any good or not)
~ $3.28 Ingles, another jug of milk

Filled up my car with gas $42.01.

Received $21.00 rebate from a True Value hardware deal I did a couple of months ago.

Total expenses (other than bills) this week $123.66
I figure I saved about $50 bucks this week (maybe more, including gas) by using this little trick: Not going shopping. 

We got the painters drop cloths dyed a couple of days ago; they came out more of a chocolate-ice-cream brown than the milk-chocolate-candy-bar brown I was going for, but I thought I would hang them and look at them for a few days before I decided if I wanted to dye them darker or not. This lighter brown may be just fine.  
So I was ready to go get my clip-hook-hangers and curtain rods.

And while I was out (doubling up on errands!) a local(ish) grocery store, Food Lion, is having a big Store Brand sale this week and I can stock up on some things cheap. 

But not that many things, really, to make a 30 mile drive (one way) worth it.  Then we figured out J wasn't getting a paycheck from the ambulance service last week (didn't work any shifts the week before Christmas, then we went out of town the week of Christmas)(He won't get one from the Urgent Care next week, either), I decided the curtains can wait. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blackberry Jelly

Last Thursday our upright freezer was going out. Turns out I had left more than butter and cream cheese in it.
The thing finally kicked the bucket and thawed everything that was left in it. (I had kinda thought it would keep the stuff at least cool for a little while with the door staying shut.) I ended up throwing away some cans of Pillsbury biscuits/sweet rolls, containers of noodles, a roll of sausage I had overlooked the other day (dagnabit!) and a gallon bag of cherries that didn't look too good.
But there were two gallon bags of blackberries that didn't look bad, so I decided to try to make emergency jelly out of them.

Since I have never made any jelly of any kind in my life, I called my Momma.
Mom says "I follow the instructions in the Sure-jell box".
She did say that she likes hers seedless, so she strains hers through a wire strainer basket thing. I don't have one of those....I tried using a little tea strainer thing but gah, I'da been at that all week. I thought I'd seen those before at the Dollar Tree, so I headed out to buy Sure-jell and a wire strainer.
Dollar Tree didn't have a wire strainer.

I started reading the directions from the Sure-jell package, and crushed my blackberries with a potato masher.

I thought I had read on a website somewhere that boiling the berries made the seeds separate easier, so I tried cooking the berries down, and then I mashed them through a plastic Tupperware strainer/sieve. When I did that, I only had 2.5 cups of juice.  I needed 5 cups of stuff, so I had to add back in some of the pulp/seeds.

Yes I made an awful mess!
Continuing to read the Sure-jell instructions....uh, sort of. Well, why would they not put everything in order anyway? What was the purpose of putting "Measure exactly the amount of sugar...into a separate bowl" between add the berries to the pot and add the Sure-jell to the berries? 
I added the (horrifying amount of) sugar to the berries, then the Sure-jell, then boiled. 

If this stuff turns out anywhere even close to jelly/jam it'll be a freakin' miracle.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ingles vs. Walmart

We have (3) grocery stores in my town: Walmart, Ingles, and an IGA.  Occasionally I can get a good deal at the IGA if they're having a special sale, but on everyday stuff, not so much.
I usually don't like Ingles because their coupon policy is stupid, and (I thought) they were more expensive than Walmart.  But, I recalled that I once was able to buy bread about the same price as at Walmart, and anyway, even if I paid a few cents more it might be worth just to not give my business to my local Walmart.

So this evening I headed out for some milk and bread and I thought, I think I'll do one of those comparison shops. I'll buy what I need from Ingles, then go buy the same stuff from Walmart and see exactly how much the difference is.
Since Ingles is close to me (by maybe 1/4 mile), I went there first.

The bananas at Ingles were .54lb.  A little more than Walmart I was thinking, but then again, maybe not.
They also had bags of a little bit overripe bananas for $1.49, I'm talking like 2 large bunches of Organic bananas I wish I had bought now, but I couldn't remember about freezing them. I know they are good for buying for making banana bread, but we don't eat much bread with our low gluten diet, and the sugar to make them costs too much to make the bread to give away.
I came home and read on the i-net that you can freeze them and use them later for smoothies, baking, and even as a substitute for ice cream.

Then I found bread marked .78¢ It seemed to be on sale for .98¢, regular priced $1.18. I'm sure it's not the freshest bread but as long as it's not crunchy hard we're okay with it.  At that price I went ahead and got 3 loaves (I put two in the freezer).

Milk was the same price as at Walmart.

The cornchips were marked $1.28 as sale and regular price, which about .20¢ cheaper than Walmart, but they rang up $1.48 which is the same as Walmart, so generally the same price.
What I didn't know was that apparently Ingles has the rings-up-marked-price-or-it's-free policy. I felt kinda bitchy disputing over .20¢ but then when she came back and took off $1.48 instead of price adjusting to $1.28, I was pretty glad I'd spoken up!

J's snuff was .21¢ more per can than at Walmart, but I was figuring I saved that much on the bread (which I usually pay $1.00 at Walmart for), so that equalled out.

Having stocked up on bread and getting the corn chips free, I didn't even bother to go to Walmart afterwards.

Total spent $10.73 + .52 tax = $11.25

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Paid For It Anyway

We've all been fighting some kind of crud ever since before Thanksgiving. Ryan came down with it first: headaches, body aches, sinus congestion, cough. I thought it was the flu and rushed him to the doctor. Not a flu, just a viral thing, no antibiotics required.

Kevin came down with it the day after Thanksgiving. I treated him at home but after nearly a week he wasn't making progress, so off to the doctor. His had set up Bronchitis.

A few days later Ryan said he thought Kevin gave it back to him. Neither of them were really sick at that point, but just generally miserable, coughing and runny nose. Then two days before the school Christmas holidays Kevin came down with it again. The next day, I had it.

This, despite washing the clothes and bed covers in hot water (repeatedly) and Lysol and Clorox'ing and drinking lots of orange juice.

I got over mine quickly, like in two days, because of sleep. I always preach that sleep is the best medicine, because it's a fact it's worked for me repeatedly with various colds and infections over the years.

J came down with it around Christmas but was feeling better after a couple of days of medicine and rest in sunny, warm Florida. On our last day in Florida the weather was gorgeous, in the upper 70's, and we visited a nature preserve, walking the nature trails. That evening, J was congested and stuffed up again. We dosed him up and he seemed to shake it off a day or two later.

On Thursday our weather had turned off pretty nice around here, and J wanted to get outside and do some things. I asked him if thought he should do that. There were some inside projects he could have worked on instead, but he said he could do those when the weather was bad and he couldn't get outside.

Then he had work a 12-hour shift on the ambulance that night, and as he does when he pulls an all-nighter, came home Friday morning and went to bed. When he woke up that afternoon about 2:30, he was dog-ass-sick.

So Thursday's *Free* projects ended up costing us a $25.00 co-pay and $39.00 worth of prescriptions.

If you actually read all I wrote above, you may have noticed that I was the only one that didn't require a visit to the doctor or prescriptions.
Kevin missed a total of 7 days from school. Ryan does most of his schooling online (college) so he was lucky to have not missed any, but he did miss some of his volunteer fire department training and a good many emergency calls, for which they get paid $10.00 a run.
J hasn't missed any time from work (he's too stubborn to call out sick) but he's gone in sick and feeling miserable for more days than he should have.
Did I have a job, I would have only missed two days, and been back to feeling fine after.

If you think you can't afford or don't have time to rest and sleep to get over an illness, it can and probably will cost you somewhere else later.

Friday, January 6, 2012

31 Days of Nothing - Week 1

Week 1 of the 31 Days of Nothing challenge went pretty well, I thought.

We started out the month with a $25.00 cash bonus from one of J's jobs. Even though it came from one of his jobs, since it was more of a bonus than income earned, I count it as - well, a bonus, or found money.

Day 1 - Spent $0.00

Day 2 - $8.54 Subway (J's dinner while working on ambulance)

Day 3 - $12.01 at Walmart for bottle of dye, milk, bread, and snuff (J's habit)
- $11.51 at Disc. Store for (4) painter's drop cloths 
- $8.23 at USPS mailing a package of stuff to a friend

Day 4 - +$5.00 Any Hershey RR
- $4.59 at Walmart for bag of GV tortilla chips, (3) cans GV pinto beans, Reece's candy single
- .75 Coke machine

Day 5 - +$3.00 earnings from Pinecone Research for doing a survey
- $1.25 at Walmart for a loafa bread (needed another milk, too, but my son paid for it)

Day 6 - (Today) $50.01 gas (J's truck)
(J worked on the ambulance again last night but took dinner/snacks/drink with him, Yay J!)

All totaled (total spent minus 'found' money) the week cost $63.89.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

As part of the 31 Days of Nothing Challenge I'm trying to spend as little to nothing as possible this month. But  we have a lot of work that needs to be done on our house that we're renovating, and finishing up the shed/barn/storage building we built out in the yard. And that gets costly, fast. Sad fact is, with Christmas just past, homeowners insurance due this month, and property taxes already past due, we just can't afford to do any big projects round the house right now.

So I sat down and wrote a list of things we could do that would make progress, but wouldn't cost anything to do, or at least not cost anything to do the prep work for a larger job.
For instance the enclosed upstairs front porch that I used as a storage room for years, I'm wanting to open back up into a front porch again. I cleaned everything out of the room and we tore up the old carpet and tore out the sheetrock ceiling. Now I'm working on removing 1970's paneling from the walls.

My house will never look like this, but this is the general idea of how it should resemble with the two front porches:

Today's weather was a big improvement over two days ago, when it barely got over the freezing mark. Today it was nearly 60*, which felt pretty warm in comparison. We were able to get outside and get some projects done.

J got the Roof Ridge put on the shed and I hauled scrap wood and tin and stuff out, raked the leaves that had gotten in there, and then we rearranged the stuff back inside more organized than it had been.

We turned the compost pile over and I picked up some fallen sticks and limbs from around the yard and put in the burn pile.

We got the Christmas tree out. It'd been undecorated for a few days but I thought J could take it out and right to his truck to take to the convenience center while he was carrying off the garbage today anyway. Turned out I wasn't ready to send it to the shredder yet. It's still such a pretty tree. We just propped it up in front of the shed for now.

There was one more chore that got added unexpectedly to the list that didn't cost us anything today, but probably will in the future - our big upright freezer is going out. The compressor is dying, it's making this terrible loud grinding noise. But lucky for the noise, instead of just going out, I got warning so I was able to start getting everything out before it went bad.
I still didn't get everything out. Even with our kitchen refrigerator freezer, two spare refrigerator freezers, and a small chest freezer I couldn't fit everything that was in that big upright freezer. I left butter and cream cheese in it. Hopefully I can get it relocated before the thing goes completely out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


While I was organizing my coupon envelopes yesterday, I discovered a $5 off Any Hershey Product RR from Walgreens I had forgotten about. Expiration TODAY! Lucky me!

I bought the Reece's (74¢), (3) cans Pinto beans (68¢ each), and bag of Tostito chips ($1.68). 13¢ tax, and they paid me 41¢! Lucky me! (Although I wished I'd gotten another can of beans and just paid a few cents. We could always use beans for cheap. Wish I could add, too!)

(I didn't go to my local Wahmart, I drove out of town to another one, but I was having to go past it anyway on some other errands.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Drop Cloth Curtains

Wow, it got cold last night. And didn't warm up much today. Our temps dropped into the 20's last night, with Wind Chills in the teens. Our high all day was only 34*.
I am not a cold-weather person, so most of my big plans for getting some stuff done today didn't fly because I couldn't seem to get more than an inch away from my little ceramic heater.

Since my heater is under my desk, and my coupons are beside my desk, I sat in the floor and organized coupons; culling out the expireds and filing the loose ones (clipped, tearpads, blinkies, etc.) in alphabetical order, and got my Store Envelopes cleaned out of old stuff.

Later, when I had to go pick up my kid from school, I stopped in at a local discount store that has these painter's drop cloths for $2.69.
I bought some Dark Brown dye, and am going to try to make some curtains for my livingroom.

I saw this idea awhile back about using the drop cloths as outdoor curtains. At another site I can no longer locate someone had used stencils to customize the curtains. After finding the cloths so cheap, I thought I'd give it a try dying them and making curtains for my livingroom. If it doesn't turn out like I want for in there, I can always hang them on my back porch.

Monday, January 2, 2012


It's not really a Resolution...or, it is, but one I made some time ago and am still working on - Decluttering my home and life.

I have a problem with Stuff. I'm not quite a Hoarder, I don't think, because I don't keep garbage or animal poop, but otherwise, I'm not very dang far from it.
Well, I say I don't keep garbage, but I will wash out glass jars and plastic containers to keep with an idea of re-using the items.  Everybody knows plastic bowls makes dern good Redneck Tupperware.

Drinking Cups
When I started couponing, I got a good deal on some Rubbermaid Storage bowls, so I finally parted with a good deal of my Redneck Tupperware, keeping only a few bowls to use for worms the guys dig out of our compost piles when they go fishing.

Otherwise, I have a lot Stuff. Too much Stuff. When I complain about it, people are like, "OMG, I know exactly what you mean!", but then I go to their house and I don't see what they mean. There's a basket of laundry on the stairs? A cup on the coffee table? I wish that was the extent of my problems.
Let's see, my house has {sort of} 13 rooms, including the bathrooms, old laundry/mudroom, new laundry room, and enclosed upstairs front porch. We are only able to use like half those rooms, because the others are full of my Stuff.  The carport and backporch are in similar states. And the storage room attached to the carport.

I started wanting to declutter some when I watched the tv shows Clean House and the UK version, How Clean Is Your House?, but I think it was really the Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive shows, not so much scared me straight, as just made me want to change my ways.
I can't really explain it, but it was just like all of a sudden, I didn't care about the Stuff anymore. I didn't want it anymore.

So, easy...just get rid of it...right? Well, no, it hasn't been that easy, for some reason.
Some of it the reason is pretty clear: sentimentality. Which kinda ticks me off, because I'm not generally a really sentimental person.
And then there's the whole "I'm going to make such & such out of those", or "I might need that one day".
Oh and let's not forget, "I think I can sell that".
Yeah. No.

Apparently I was an out-and-out book hoarder, aka Bibliomaniac {n. An exaggerated preoccupation with the acquisition and ownership of books}. Correction, I still am. It's just that all my book aquisitions are digital now.
I am also a Digital Hoarder, saving photos and printables and everything else I see and like from the internet. I have 500GB space on my computer that I just had to relocate a bunch of files onto a 2TB external harddrive in order to be able to free up space on my PC.

I think I can live with Digital hoarding, though. It fills my needs of having stuff, yet takes up very little actual space, only virtual space.

While I was downloading books to make up for getting rid of my physical books, I ran across a few (a lot) of decluttering, home organization, clean up, self-help type books.  Mostly they were the same, and involved buying plastic shoe boxes or other storage to be able to put your stuff in to organize it.
I'm not interested in buying more stuff, to organize my stuff. I need help gettting rid of my stuff.

This book, Stop Clutter from Stealing Your Life: Discover Why You Clutter and How You Can Stop by Mike Nelson was written by someone who honestly, you could tell, had a real cluttering/hoarding problem, and not just some BS unorganized messy house crap.

How many helpful-home-blogs did I read where they attempted to help people like me by advising, "Start small. Start with a closet, or a drawer."
Mike said, "...attacking something that I walk around or push aside everyday has more immediate impact than a drawer I won't see once it's closed. Our hoarding is an outward manifestation of our inward feelings. By leaving the visible clutter for later, we just keep reinforcing our feelings of powerlessness. So clear a spot of floor or a square of desk space and then stand back and admire it. Seeing wood or carpet is often a clutterer's first phase of recovery".

Know what's crazy? I don't have a clutter/hoarding problem inside my cabinets or drawers.

The book talks about the Traits of a Clutterer and quotes a psychologist who explains about the different types:
“There is no single cause. It would be easier to treat if there were one cause. You have addictive savers, similar to people who are addicted to alcohol or overeating. They do it to numb out bad feelings....Another type of clutterer is frugal. They have a strong rationale for everything they save....   [The third type] are people who have an enormous problem making decisions and they can’t
stay focused....The fourth type suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”
—Lynda Warren, San Bernadino psychologist,
in a 1994 Long Beach Press-Telegram interview

I am apparently the second and third types: frugal and I have a huge problem making decisions and staying focused (ADD).

It goes on to explain a lot of things as to why I collect/won't/can't get rid of Stuff, and how to work on the problem. It's helped me a lot already. The week before Christmas I went through several large boxes of the boys' old toys. I never thought I'd be able to part with their toys, but I did good at parting with at least half of it. I needed a little prodding at the end but finally gave in and let J take the rest of it to the Helping Hands thrift store for donation.

If you'd like to borrow the book I have it in PDF format (and can convert to other formats), send me your email at missi at bellsouth dot com.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, Shoppers!

It's a New Year...time for new resolutions and all that. I don't really make resolutions, but I do enjoy a good challenge, and I think I've found one. Thanks, Paige of Cheap & Sweet for posting about this!

Sara at Learning the Frugal Life is doing a 31 Days of Nothing (no spending) challenge.

These are Sara's rules, but she says we can change them to suit our needs:

1. The ultimate goal is to spend NO money except for necessities. For my family I consider necessities to be gas for work and appointments, monthly prescription medications, groceries (although very minimal, more on this later) and our basic bills and utilities. Necessities may mean something different for your family.

2. There will be no consumerism. My hope is to stay out of the stores completely. No new clothes, books, or any other impulse buys. No shopping the deals!

3. Groceries. I am allowing $25 per week for grocery shopping or $100 per month. I really just want to stick with eating from the pantry and freezers as much as possible. We will need milk for the baby, as well as fresh produce so I am setting money aside for those things. We should be good on most other items because our freezers and pantry are very full. I usually budget $500 for the month.

4. Zero money spent on entertainment. No eating out, we will cook from scratch and eat at home each day. No money spent on movies or impromptu ice cream cones. We usually budget $150 each month for entertainment.

5. Allowance. Everyone is giving up their allowance for the month. There will be no money in our pockets tempting us to spend it.

6. My gas budget is up in the air right now. I need to actually keep track of what we are spending so I can get a more accurate number. For this month though, I want to just try and stay home as much as possible. Combine our errands so that we aren't making multiple trips each week.

7. Get back composting, recycling, and shutting off. Our compost bin has been missing so scraps have been being tossed in the trash which makes me crazy. We are great at recycling but the bins need to be cleaned up. My family has gotten extremely lazy about shutting off lights and unplugging items when not in use. This is going to be enforced more.

8. Cutting back on water usage. Our water bill has done nothing but climb. We use alot of water. Mainly because of long showers and children playing in the sinks. Showers will be timed and sink time monitored to make sure we aren't being wasteful.


This shouldn't be too hard starting out, since last month was a spendfest, there's not much really left to buy.
Thanks to my husband's hunting, the freezer is pretty well stocked at the moment, as is my Stockpile.
It's cold out, so I go out as little as possible, which saves us on gas.

We hardly ever spend money on entertainment anyway - other than our satellite tv and internet bills - so that shouldn't be a problem.
We did eat out quite a few times last month, but man, December is a whole nother thing. We're not usually eater-outers, so it won't be hard to go back to not eating out again, with the exception of J eating out at work.

They cook at the fire station, but when he works at the Urgent Care or on the Ambulance, cooking or carrying leftovers isn't as easy.
He's carried leftovers to the UC before, so maybe we can plan better for him to keep doing that, but as far as when he's on the ambulance it's not going to work at all. Sometimes they don't even get back to the Office for the whole shift. They have to grab a bite where and when they can and eat on the go.
So I guess that's going to have to be a necessity.

I just thought of another necessity - building supplies for our home renovations. I need to decide on what projects we'll be working on and budget out an amount for that.
I know there's at least a couple of projects we could work on that wouldn't cost anything, and a good many unfinished projects that we could finish with a little more supplies.

I would like to sell some stuff from around here to offset a little of what we do have to spend, but the problem is, nobody else seems to want it either.


Link up at Learning the Frugal Life and check back on Fridays to see how everyone is doing and share how you are doing, too.