Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Caved....

In the past month or so, I have enjoyed super low power and gas bills. A product of not running the AC or Heat for weeks on end. I had set myself a goal of getting through the month of October without having to turn the heat on at all. Alas, it was not to be.

When I returned home Sunday afternoon, the temperature had dropped drastically when compared with when I left town on Friday. The inside of my house was 59 degrees. "No worries," I thought, "I'll just bundle up in layers and all will be well." So I spent a relatively comfy evening (even though my hands were pretty chilled). However, bedtime approached. And the outside temp was just dropping steadily. I knew I would not be able to sleep as cold as it was. So, alas. I turned on the heat to 60. And then I tossed and turned trying to finally fall asleep since my nose was freezing (I don't like covers over my face). And I turned and tossed some more. Finally, at some point I fell asleep.

I woke up yesterday and was reasonably comfortable most of the day, although I had bumped the heat back to 59 again. Did have a few chilly points during the day, but overall was comfortable.
Last night though, I decided I could not toss and turn for hours trying to get comfy because I actually had to return to work today! So, I put the heat at a "toasty" 61. I think that might be a good temp for my house (although I expect the Princess will balk at that when she comes home at Thanksgiving). I went to sleep easily. Was not frozen when I woke up, and was pretty comfortable all in all.

I bumped the heat down to 58 when I left the house this morning. It should be interesting to see how long it takes the house to warm up this afternoon when I get home. I really hate that I didn't make my "goal" of not turning the heat on until November, but there is a silver lining --- there should be a somewhat reasonable warmup this weekend, so I might not have to run the heat then!!!! Here's hoping!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Sad Farewell

Last Thursday, October 25, 2012, our family lost our matriarch... our Nana at the age of 91. My grandmother was an incredible woman. She lived through seemingly countless wars, sending brothers, husband, sons and grandsons off in service to our country. She lived through the Great Depression, major hurricanes, saw a man walk on the moon (on her daughter's birthday) and worked tirelessly for her church well into her late 80's. She buried her husband when the oldest of her children was only 12. She buried a grandchild right after the the dawning of a new millennium. At "best" count (and I say "best" because there are a LOT of us), she had 6 children, 17 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 6 great great grandchildren.

She was the glue that held our family together. She was our Nana. I had posted on facebook Thursday about what a truly amazing woman she was, and one of my childhood friends responded, "Your family has quite a few amazing women, must be her influence." --- I loved that. I like to think that my strength, spine, and ability to laugh in times in trouble come from her. I also like to think that my (now) frugal nature is a legacy she has passed on.

Our weekend was spent with joy and sadness, laughter and tears as we remembered and celebrated the woman who made us all a family. She will be missed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Of Coffee and Coupons

This was a week when I truly did not "need" to buy anything at the grocery store. Which was probably a good thing, because this weeks sales did not excite me very much. So, I just looked at the ad and picked up the things that were at a terrific price (using sales and coupons)that we use with regularity (and therefore I HATE paying full price!).

So, here is how I did:

3 Caribou Coffee
3 Wylers Light Drink Mix
1 Publix Peanut Butter
1 Stouffers Family Size Entree

Spent: $18.09
Saved: $34.05 -- That's 65% but coupon savings were $10.78 alone!
(and lots of good morning starts thanks to all that coffee!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting Paid to Exercise

Right now, post surgery, I am absolutely dying to get back to Zumba and to walks with Thing 2. While I "feel" up to the walks, I'm well aware that I'm just one squirrel away from Thing 2 pulling all the incisions open, so for now I'm staying out of the exercise realm ---- for the most part.

Today, I was walking back into the office for lunch with a co-worker (I had gone home to let Thing 1 and Thing 2 out and have a sandwich and she had gone out for takeout). Anyway, we were chit-chatting while we walked in, and she was remarking about how hard a time she and her husband were having making ends meet. Since she was just talking, and not asking my opinion, I refrained from pointing out that bringing a lunch from home each day might be a better choice than $10ish takeout from Applebee's!

So, we're walking in and I notice a penny on the ground. I stop and pick it up and toss it in my purse. My co-worker asked what I was doing and I told her. She said something to the effect of "Girl, who has time to go around scrounging up pennies off the ground?" I came back with "Girl, I pay $4/hour class for Zumba, and right now I can't do it..... but reaching down to the ground... hey, I just got PAID to exercise!!!!"

We both laughed and walked back in to work, but it got me thinking a bit. I think it says something about our as a society if we are so fiscally and physically lazy that it is beneath us to bend over and pick money off the ground. Yeah, its just a penny, but it was also just bending over. Nothing lost in the endeavor, but a penny gained.

Its Off To Work I Go

Today I head back to work for the first time in nine days. After taking a week off for surgery, it is time to get back to the daily grind. Truth be told, I'm ready. One can only watch so much HGTV and read so many internet articles in a week's time before one starts to go stir crazy.

I tried to get stuff done around the house during the recuperation, (nothing strenuous or anything like that), but truth be told..... my focus and energy levels were zilch. Yesterday was actually the first day that I really felt like doing much of anything, and even then frequent breaks were involved. I'm looking forward to getting back to a productive routine. I'm not one for lazing around much, it tends to drive me a bit bonkers, so getting back to normal is something I've looked forward to for a week!

There is one potential drawback to heading back to work though.... I have to actually put on normal clothes instead of weeklong wardrobe of cute pjs, tshirts and yoga pants! Okay, two drawbacks... I have to put on heels instead of slippers, too. Hmmmm, maybe I'm not looking forward to this as much as I thought!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Praise Of Banana Pudding

After a week of basically being a SLUG, I finally had some energy today, even if I'm not up to 100%. That meant getting the house in SOME sort of order before returning to work tomorrow, cooking an actual Sunday lunch and making the Princess's favorite Pumpking Chocolate Chip Cookies for her to take back to school. After she hit the road I decided to be productive and clean out the pantry (since I'd dropped a few things on my head and toes over the course of the weekend, I thought it might need some reorganizing).

So, I did that and decided to make use of a couple of things that needed to be eaten kind of soon and made some banana pudding. Banana pudding has got to be one of the THE best comfort foods known to man. And so simple to make (and no, this isn't all the way from scratch -- I wasn't THAT industrious!). I mixed up the pudding, sliced the bananas and realized that I didn't have any vanilla wafers (horrors!), but what I DID have was an unopened box of Do-Si-Dos (Peanut Butter Girl Scout Cookies in case you didn't know), that was rapidly approaching its "best by" date. (Do NOT ask me how we managed to skip inhaling an entire box of Girl Scout cookies --- it is simply unfathomable). So, I put the cookies in the bottom of the dish, put the bananas on top and poured the pudding over it.

I let it chill for a few hours and OMG. Do-Si-Do Banana Pudding is freaking awesome! Absolutely YUM. Comfort food with a twist. Okay, I'm going back to get another bowl... shhhhhhh.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Conservation Makes A Difference

Since the Princess went off to school, I've been on a mission to get my household bills down. You'd think it would be super easy right? Less people equals less consumption, but that's not necessarily the case. For groceries, I'm still buying fill in snacks and stuff for her to keep in the dorm room (honestly, I'd rather her open a box of Special K popcorn chips  or Chef Boyardee than head to the nearest Sonic for Cheesy Tots -- lets TRY not to make the Freshman Fifteen the Freshman Thirty, you know?). For the power bill, well, it still costs the same to run the refrigerator, the porch light at night and the TV, regardless of how many people are in the house.

Nevertheless, in some ways power consumption can decrease. I've unplugged all electronics in her room. She plugs them back in when she comes home for the weekend. I've made a conscious effort to have appliances that aren't used on a regular basis unplugged until they are needed. I've made SURE that lights aren't left burning when they aren't being utilized.

And now I've seen some tangible results --- I opened my power bill this morning.... $48.61 --- that's down from $63.57  for the same period last year!!!!! Let me tell you, I did the HAPPY DANCE!!!!! That's roughly a 23% reduction in costs, with rate increases included! Of course, not running the heat or AC for the past month has helped!

This morning, I woke up and it was a chilly 63 in my house. Some of you may scoff at that temp, but remember, I'm a Southern Girl -- and that is CHILL-EE down here! Anyway, I was a bit tempted to turn on the heat just to take the bite out of the morning chill, but instead, I pulled on a sweatshirt and my socks and slippers. Opening that bill this morning has strengthened my resolve and I am now in a competition with myself to see how long I can go without turning on the heat..... I'm curious as to how long I can do it!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Stir Crazy Shopping Trip

Being pretty much homebound this week, I was starting to go a bit crazy. So, BraveFriend came to the rescue and took me to do some grocery shopping on Wednesday -- yeah, I'd had nothing else to do EXCEPTsit there and play the "what do I want to eat" and "how can this work with my coupons" game. Yeah, I was going nutso, but I managed to do pretty well, getting some stuff that was needed, some stuff for dorm snacks and some stuff I just wanted -- cause hey, I didn't feel good -- "hello sherbet!".AND they had the gas card deal going on again!!! So here is what I got:

4 Special K Popcorn Crackers
1 Nestle Ultimates Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 Publix Exotic Fruits Sherbet (YUM!)
2 Bailey's Coffee Creamer
6 Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
1 Smart Balance Butter Spread
2 Tombstone Pizzas
1 Peter Pan Peanut Butter
1 Publix Greenwise Toilet Paper (Penny Item!)
2 Glade Candles
2 Yakisoba Cheddar Noodles
2 Tangerines
1 Publix Dog Biscuits
2 Quaker Stila Bars
1 Playtex Tampons
4 Skittles Funsize Candies

Spent: $63.47
Saved: $ 76.72 or 55%
Plus I saved $10 off of a $50 gas gift card!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Still Here...

I'm still here! Just taking it easy this week. My surgery went fine, but for the most part I've just been lazing around since then. I'm down to just a twinge of pain (which is making me have to be careful to not overdo). So, not much to write about just sitting here going "lalalalalala". Maybe I'll have something interesting to write about soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wish Me Luck!

Tomorrow morning I'll be getting up at the crack of dawn for surgery. Joy. Time to have the gall bladder removed. Even though it is an out patient procedure, I am just NOT looking forward to this.
But I am looking forward to having no more pain and not handing money out hand over fist to doctors offices.

The Princess came home this weekend to spend some time with me (and get her laundry done since I told her if she came next weekend, I wasn't doing laundry!). She's made it back to school safely, I've made my jello and will be heading to bed soon.

4:30 is going to come awfully early......

Friday, October 12, 2012

An Amazing Grocery Trip

I'm a little late in getting this one up, but since its one of THE BEST shopping trips I've had in ages, I just wanted to brag a bit! For this sale, I had a couple of things going on... 1. I was out of my fave coffee (and needed it badly), 2. Our office has switched to provide you own K cups for coffee, I will bring my own home brewed coffee, however, I wanted to have some K-Cups on hand for "emergencies", 3. Publix was offering a $10 off $50 gas card purchase with the purchase of $50 in groceries (pre coupon). So, I put together some deals that really worked for me and this is what I got....

2 Quaker Instant Grits
4 Hormel Compleats
1 Hefty Kitchen Garbage Bags
1 Yakisoba Noodles
1 Jenni-O Turkey Bacon
2 Betty Crocker Muffin Mixes
1 Yoplait Light with Granola 2pack
2 Coffee Mate Creamers
4 Eight O'Clock Coffees
1 Fruitplait 4pack
1 Caribou Coffee K-Cup Pack
2 All Laundry Detergents
1 Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 Taco Bell Ranchero Sauce
1 Publix Coffee
2 Publix Diet Lemon Lime Soft Drink 12 packs

Spent: $47.06
Saved $67.04 or 59%

PLUS I got a $50 gas gift card for $40 saving 10% on future gas purchases!!!!!

Not too bad....

Monday, October 8, 2012

And I'm Back!

What a whirlwind weekend. I'm back, exhausted and maybe even working on getting sick. (Going from high 80's to the 50's is horrendous on my sinuses!) We left on Thursday for a LONG 13 hour drive to South Florida for a truly lovely wedding. After getting there, I crashed out "early" --- as in unwound for a bit and stumbled into bed at 11:30 that night. Not really early, I must say....

Friday, we did a lot of running around for the after rehearsal party, a lot of cooking, but managed to fit in the first real manicure and pedicure I've had in years. Not frugal at all, but my fingers and toes do look quite fabulous! The rehearsal was quite terrific although somewhat unsettling as a massive South Florida storm raged around us the whole time. After that, my Dad and I made a trip to the airport to pick up the Princess. Given that it was her first flight since she was five, the landing in a storm had her a little unsettled, but she handled it like a pro. We made it back just in time for the END of the rehearsal dinner. Oh well, you do what you gotta do, I suppose. We cleaned up the place and crashed again.

Saturday dawned pretty and gorgeous. I was the self appointed shower monitor. Basically I cracked the whip on making sure that the 11 people staying in the house were getting ready to get out the door in time. I finally had to take my brother's (the groom) phone from him and tell him he was holding up everybody else and that he could have it back after he was all squeaky clean! He grumbled a bit about me treating him like he was 12, but did as I said! Ha!

Everyone got where we were supposed to be and on time. Except two bridesmaids that showed up five minutes before the ceremony..... which is when we realized we were short one bridesmaid bouquet. I took off running to the cooler in the kitchen, grabbed the "leftover" flowers and a stray piece of ribbon, bound it up really quickly and dashed back to the church. I gave my lovely "on time" bouquet to the very late bridesmaid and took the scraggly one I had just thrown together for myself. (How's that for keeping the peace since the bridesmaid was a bit petulant about not having a bouquet?--- I refrained from mentioning that had she been there on time we could have fixed the issue in a more aesthetically pleasing way). The wedding was gorgeous --- my brother handsome and his bride absolutely beautiful. The reception was fun and it was handled as though it was all done by professionals --- my Mom did the flowers and tables, the bride and her cousins cooked all the food.

Yesterday came EARLY and we all got up and started preparing to come home. The Princess caught her very early flight back to school and later, I caught mine at a totally different airport and made it back home safely.

I took the day off today to recover, and get some stuff done around this house as its kind of been a crazy week.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On Our Way

Today I am heading out of town for my brother's wedding. Given that the wedding itself is 13 hours away, this is not what one would call a frugal trip. After all has been said and done I will  be spending well in excess of $1000 for this trip. The Princess's flight is weighing at $450. Her shuttle from her university to the airport is $40, plus given the time of day she will be traveling and her layover, she will have to eat something at the airport. Our accommodations for 3 nights will be $300. The dress, with alterations, shoes and appropriate foundation garments came to almost $300. And I haven't even left town yet.

I am actually riding down with my Dad, and he isn't letting me chip in on gas for the trip. The Princess had to fly because her class schedule just wasn't flexible enough to allow for her to ride down with any of us. My niece and nephew got lucky because their college has fall break this week, so they don't have class at all this week and will also be hitting the road today.

At least two meals will be covered between the rehearsal dinner and the reception, but that leaves quite a few more to take care of during the long weekend. I'm hoping that everyone down there will help keep budgets in mind so that we don't end up eating out as a group at THE MOST EXPENSIVE places in town. Not sure how that will work out though!!!!

Anyway, wish us luck! For now, I've got to get on the road.....

Monday, October 1, 2012


So, Saturday I had a quest for shoes planned. Had to find the PERFECT shoes to go with this bridesmaid's dresss and I had to get the issue resolved BEFORE Wednesday, so, basically Saturday an Sunday were it!

I woke up raring to go. But first, I took a sidetrip.... a lifelong friend was having a garage sale, and since this friend tends to have REALLY good taste.... well, I just had to go.....

So, I get there, and the shoe spirits were smiling benevolently down on me... right there, right in front of me were THE shoes. The perfect bronze-ish dressy high heeled sandals. Perfect height. Perfect Size. Perfect (as in not "cheap") Brand. Perfect Soles (never worn). All that, and at the Perfect Price.
$2. Yes, TWO DOLLARS. Two lovely little George Washingtons....

Needless to say, those babies went home with me.