Happy October!

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OCTOBER’S PARTY

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came—
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly ‘hands around.’

George Cooper

Random Thoughts on Frugality

 

Image result for frugal livingThere is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means. – Calvin Coolidge

Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can. – John Wesley

Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift? – Cicero

Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache. – Philip Wylie

The best things in life are not only free, but the line is shorter – Robert Brault

The goal of life:  simple but not empty. – Terri Guillements

 

 

 

A Lesson From a Rainy Autumn Morning

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Free photograph; rainy, morning, autumn, fall, young, maple, tree

Oh, this morning. I was doing my happy dance. Not only is it the first day of Autumn but it was raining steadily to boot. I’m a morning person that is usually up by 5:30am (wasn’t always but have trained myself to get up early) but this morning I lingered in bed for an extra 15 minutes just soaking in the peace and quiet and rhythmic pat, pat, pat of the rain on my window.

As I was laying there, a feeling of contentment washed over me. Here I was, lucky to have a warm, comfy bed complete with fluffy pillows and warm blankets, a cell phone that I can communicate with friends and family both local and afar, a computer, a job I enjoy, a kitchen stocked full with food, plenty of clothes to choose from, an older but well-running car, good health, several books, that not only do I own but can read, in addition to several books that I am able to borrow from the library for free.

In those 15 minutes of relaxation, I realized how very blessed I am and that the things I just listed make me rich. I may not make a huge salary but I have all my needs met. I have tons of fun things I can do within a short drive that are either free or super cheap, I can make frugal, healthy meals that taste better than what I can usually find in a restaurant (and the ambiance is usually much nicer!), I can update my clothing selection by visiting a local thrift shop that tends to have higher quality clothing, and I can get more books/movies from the library or by using Swagbucks gift cards I’ve earned to buy on Amazon.

My point is this: if you take a moment to think, even briefly, of all the things you have going for you, you will realize how very rich you already are. That doesn’t mean to stop striving for excellence and for other things you want to bring to your life.  Rather, it means that you enjoy the journey along the way. I truly believe that gratitude brings more of what you want into your life. We all just have to open our eyes to see what we have and then live intentionally to bring what we really want into our lives.  Not what the consumerist part of our society says, but what would truly add value to our respective lives.  Sure, a nice, new car is fabulous but what about the payments?  That gorgeous 5,000 square foot home in a tony part of town might be the talk of your friends but what about the mortgage, not to mention the maintenance that you’ll have to deal with for years to come?  Or how about even less insidious events like schlepping the kids to several activities per week per child because that’s what everyone else is doing too?

Take a moment to really think about what you want and if it’s truly worth having.  And if it is, can you buy a slightly used car, buy a smaller home in the same great neighborhood and limit your children’s activities to one per week per child?  It’s okay to do things a bit differently than what everyone else is doing and still meet the same goals.

In fact, by doing so, you can also wake up, spend a few extra moments letting contentment wash over you and enjoy your life rather than waking up with dread because you’ve overextended your money, time and ultimately your life.

The choice is yours.

Why Shopping for Christmas Early Can Save You Big Bucks

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It’s edging towards the end of September and the leaves have yet to change but I’m already shopping for Christmas. Shocked? Annoyed? Don’t be.  Savvy shoppers start shopping early.

I used to be like any other mainstream shopper. The day after Thanksgiving would arrive and then I would make out my Christmas list a la Santa of who would be getting a bit of my hard-earned green. And then I would descend on the malls and online and search for the perfect gifts. I would have every intention of staying true to my budget but that would rarely ever happen. You see, I’m have an impairment that is very real–I am an over-giver. I think nothing of giving and giving and giving to others, especially my family. Over the years and because I’m not where I want to be financially, I have had to protect me from me. One of the ways I do this is by implementing hacks that help me to stay on track and on budget (or even under-budget) for my spending on others.

Here are some ways that have helped me to stay solvent yet feel like I’m still able to be generous with those I love and appreciate:

-Keep gift-giving to 3 gifts per person. I figure if this worked for the 3 wise men, it will work just fine for my family
-Decide on a budget for ALL my gifts–family, friends, coworkers, hostess, etc.–and then add 25% as a cushion. So, for example, if I decide that $300 is my budget for all gifts, I then add 25%–$75–for a total budget of $375. For some of you reading, $375 will still seem like a paltry amount of for others it will seem, well, overly generous
-Ask my family to make out a general wishlist with the caveat that they won’t be getting everything on the list
-Sign up for deal alerts from savings blogs like this one and look for deals on items that may be on my loved ones lists
-Earn as many points as humanly possible to be redeemed for Amazon gift cards on sites like Swagbucks and Microsoft Rewards
-If I plan to buy experiences (massage, bowling, eating out) I use cash back sites like Ebates to earn money on purchases through, for example, Groupon. Even if the reimbursement check isn’t sent before the holidays, the money will still come in handy in the New Year to be used for a slew of family birthdays in the first few months of the year. Sheesh
-Sign up for deal-tracking sites like CamelCamelCamel that will track the cost of items on my family’s list and then let me know when the item(s) are at my buy price or below.  -If my recipient is requesting a gift card, I’ll consult Gift Card Granny, an aggregator site that lists the price of gift cards that people are selling so they can be reimbursed for cash. For instance, I once helped my daughter sell a gift card for a store she didn’t care for due to the high prices. We sold her gift card at a slight loss and then used the funds received to buy items at other stores with better deals

Although this may seem like a lot of work, once you get the hang of it, like anything else in life, it becomes second nature and easier (and really fun when you find an excellent deal). And adding all these hacks together as much as possible can save you some serious coin.

Sadly, I can’t do anything about stores decorating for Christmas the day after Halloween but at least you can take comfort that you’ll be beating the stores at their own game by spending less while spoiling your friends and family just as much as ever.

Why Splurges Are Important When You Are Living Frugally

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Image result for spendWhen you read the title of this post, did you automatically equate splurge with expensive?  Funny how our minds work.  Splurges to me used to mean eating out at my favorite expensive restaurants, going away for the weekend, going to the mall and buying something for myself (that I usually did not need), buying some gourmet food, buying books that weren’t on sale, overspending on my kids and the list goes on.

By themselves, each one of these isn’t bad, per se, but a problem arises when these types of splurges are happening frequently and without being intentionally planned.  The best-lived frugal life can be best described as intentional at its core.  No longer (or rarely) does someone who has embraced this lifestyle go out and blow–without planning–cool, hard cash on an expensive dinner out, a lovely weekend getaway, a new tchotchke for friends/family, or the best sea salt caramels outside of France.

Now before you surmise that the frugal, intentional life is made up of misers that never venture out of their sparse homes, I am happy to be the harbinger of good news.  Right now, I am writing this post in my local Panera.  This visit cost me a grand total of $2.02 for unlimited refills of coffee with extra milk and a free chocolate croissant that was the result of my signing up for their app.  What’s priceless though is that for that small outlay of cash, I get to be in a relaxing, productive environment around other business people and meet my calcium needs to boot.

If hanging out in a cafe is not your cup of tea (literally), here are some other frugal adventures I’ve had recently that will demonstrate that you can have enjoyable experiences without spending a lot (or nothing at all):

  • procured an almost brand new high-quality plastic chair for the 2 year old that was outside the dumpster.  It just needed a little wipe down with homemade disinfecting spray and is now his favorite chair to sit on (and jump off of). I’ve seen these retail for about $20 so this was a great find
  • purchased a 60 minute massage through Groupon for $28.00 and also received cash back of $1.68 through Ebates bringing the final cost to $26.32 (without tip, of course), originally $60
  • purchased a 2½-hour group cooking class at a local cooking school for $39.20, originally $99 through Groupon
  • used an Amazon gift card earned via Swagbucks to purchase a Kindle e-book by one of my favorite PF bloggers, Donna Freedman
  • received a free breakfast sandwich at Chick-Fil-A for downloading their app
  • received a free McCafe beverage at McD’s for completing a survey following a visit with the 7 year old for a BOGO deal (the only time we go there)
  • won a Squatty Potty by entering a giveaway on one of my favorite savings blogs – $29 value
  • on September 24 will go with a family member to visit a local museum for free hosted by Smithsonian Magazine
  • entered into a Victoria’s Secret online giveaway and received a voucher for $50 worth of product.  In addition, I was fortunate to hit the store during a BOGO promotion and was able to buy 6 bottles of my daughter’s favorite body oil for @ $8 out of pocket.  Original cost would have been over $108.  These will be doled out as birthday and Christmas gifts for her.
  • put the word out that I was looking for a washing machine and my maintenance man found an almost new one for me for $80
  • ditto for a dryer and was able to get one for free that someone didn’t need anymore since they were upgrading to a fancier model (I did try to give them something for it and they refused)
  • joined a few book launch teams and was able to read some great books before they hit the market.  If you’re going to do this, you have to be willing to be involved, ie., writing reviews, being active on Facebook, etc., to share what you loved about the book with the rest of the team and the public on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
  • attended community events in which I not only got to meet my “neighbors” but also was able to procure a free Dogwood tree seedling, seed packets, shirts, pencils, and food samples to name a few

The moral of this post is that you can enjoy a wide array of opportunities to help stretch your dollars (or even keep most of them) by letting folks and the Universe know what you need, entering giveaways, getting involved with your community, trying new things, piggy-backing discounts and cash-back sites together (think Groupon & Ebates together) and basically being open to doing things a bit differently than just shopping for sales at your local department store/mall.

 

 

CVS Shopping Trip 9/18/16

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img_20160919_063637581I stopped by my local CVS store yesterday and scored the following 6 items for $1.79 after coupons and ECBs*:

2 Colgate Whitening Toothpastes @ $2.99 (used 2 $1/1 coupons, received $4 ECBs, final price -$.02)
2 Gold Emblem Abound Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Bars @ $1.00 each (used $2/2 coupon, final price FREE)
1 bag organic gummy bears @ $1.50 (ECB of $1.50, final price FREE)
1 8-pack Schick disposable razors @ $5.99 (used $3/1 coupon, received $2 ECBs, final price $.99)

Total before ECBs was $9.29, including tax. I received back $7.50 ECBs making my entire purchase $1.79 for 6 items! The gummy bears and the razors will be put in Christmas stockings this year for my kids. The toothpaste and bars will come in handy towards keeping me on track with my $50.00/month grocery and household budget.

*For those of you unfamiliar with the CVS ECB (ExtraCare Bucks) program, it’s basically a reward program that gives you money back in the form of a voucher to use on a future visit.  All you have to do is sign up for a CVS ExtraCare card at the front register and then scan your card at the red kiosk each time you enter the store.  When you do that, you’ll get extra coupons and offers that can be applied to purchases.  In addition to the kiosk offers you can also use manufacturer and online CVS coupons that can all be stacked together for even greater savings.

When you purchase an item(s) that qualifies for ECBs, they’ll be printed on your receipt.  Be sure to clip them off the receipt and keep them in your wallet so that you’re basically treating them as cash.  Also, be sure to pay attention to the expiration date.  On average they are good for a month.  There is nothing worse then going to use your ECBs to only find out that they expired (because I know myself so well, I also make a notation in my planner to use them by a certain date so that I don’t forget they are in my wallet–hey, it happens).

Harris Teeter Shopping Trip – 9/18/16

Note:  This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on a link in the post, I may get a small compensation at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

img_20160919_064406420One of the things I love about living here in North Carolina is the fact that my local Harris Teeter doubles coupons and sometimes, like yesterday, they were doubling coupons up to $2.00 face value. That never would have happened where I lived in California.

I was able to score quite a few necessities (and splurges) yesterday for a great price. Here’s what I bought:

1-12 oz. bag Seattle’s Best coffee @ $4.99 (used $1.25 coupon, doubled and submitted for MobiSave rebate of $1.00) Final price $.49
1-14 pack of Gain Flings @ $5.99 (used $2.00 coupon, doubled) Final price $1.99
2 boxes Kellogg’s Mini Wheats cereal @ 2/$5.00 (used $1/2 coupon, doubled, and submitted for MobiSave rebate of $1.00) Final price $1.00 each
1-4 lb bag sugar @ $1.67
2 bags Popcorners Sea Salt chips @ $2.29 each–these will make a great treat for the picnics I’ll be squeezing in before it gets too cold to do so– (submitted for MobiSave rebate of $1.50 and Ibotta rebate of $1.50) Final price $.79 each
1 bottle Dayquil Liquid @ $6.99 (used $2/1, doubled) Final price $2.99
1-24 pack of ZZZquil @ $5.49 (used $2/1, doubled, submitted for Ibotta rebate of $1.00) Final price $.49
BOGO cake slices from the bakery (splurge!) @ $2.49/2.  Yes, I know it’s cheaper to bake my own but sometimes the splurge is to not to

Total with tax came to $21.96 before MobiSave and Ibotta rebates. After rebates, final price came to $15.96 for 11 items.

City Mouse, Country Mouse

 

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Sutter’s Mill

One of my most favorite memories from my childhood was the almost weekly trips up to Coloma, California.  Coloma was the site of discovery of gold by Marshall Sutter back in 1848.  Image result for coloma, caI remember it being a quiet, slower-paced place where people took time for walks after dinner and for each other.  A place where we would eat wild blackberries off the bushes near the river until our lips and fingers were stained deep purple.  A place, where if you were quiet, you could hear the buzz of a bee, the wind whistling through the trees, the crackle and snap of a campfire, and the perilous drone of the “troublemaker” rapids that greedily claimed the life of people who  didn’t respect its power.

Troublemaker rapids on the American River. Coloma, California

I loved visiting this amazing place hundreds of times as a kid.  It is where I had my first crush, where my sister met her first love–someone I know she still holds hands with in her dreams–and where our mother took us each weekend to escape an emotionally abusive husband.  I didn’t realize that that last reason was the impetus for the 6-hour round trips by car we took most every weekend until I was much older.  Regardless of the reason, I am thankful for those trips.  They cemented in me a need to make sure I get out into nature as much as possible as well as regular quiet time to think and recharge.

I think this is one of the reasons that I love North Carolina so much.  I can drive just a few minutes and be in wide open spaces with views of pastures, horses   and cows.  I can go to a neighbor and ask to borrow a cup of sugar or just have a long, leisurely chat about life in general.  I love that my grandchildren are getting the type of upbringing that I had without the marital angst or long car rides.

If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering what this has to do with being frugal. Quite a bit actually.  Back in California, I barely knew my neighbors and that wasn’t for a lack of trying.  People were always so rushed and harried.  Here there is a noticeable lack of that.  Sure, it exists but it is the exception instead of the norm.  Why is this?  I truly believe it is because the cost of living is so much lower.  In California, especially in the Bay Area/Silicon Valley where I’m originally from, time is money and the commutes are long.  People are frazzled getting to and from their homes and jobs.  Traffic is a pain.  More and more young families are having to move out to the ‘burbs just to be able to afford the nice house with the 2-3 car garage that announces the world that you have “arrived.”

Here in NC, the cost of living is so much lower that I believe it is one of the reasons why people can still make time for each other.  I know several couples that have been able to buy a house even though both spouses only work part-time.  You try doing that in California–with an apartment.  It just won’t be doable unless you have several people chipping in towards the housing costs.

Not only am I really excited about buying a house within the next year, I’m also excited about having good neighbors that I can shoot the breeze with and borrow the occasional cup of sugar from.  Was it easy moving from California to North Carolina?  Well, take any local move you’ve done and times the difficulty by ten.  No, it wasn’t easy or cheap but when I compare my life now with what I left behind, I’d do it all over again.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.  – Helen Keller

Frugality and Dreams – You CAN Have Both

Image result for dreamsAbout a week ago, inspired by this blog post, I created a list of 100 dreams. Dreams are important and being committed to being frugal doesn’t change this fact.  It does, however, potentially change the how of making those dreams happen.  Gone is the lure of the quick flick of the credit card onto the counter to pay for the soul’s desires.  It also means saying no to many things so I can say yes to my dreams.  

When I look back on what I’ve spent money on over the years, it saddens me when I realize that I have spent a lot of money on things that didn’t enrich my life very much.  I spent money because I felt that it was what was expected of me by both family and societal pressures.  At times, if I’m completely honest, I was also a bit too frugal and ended up sacrificing quality for a rock-bottom price that ended up costing me more in the long run.

As I look over my list, I realize that aside from the travel I want to do, everything else can come to fruition fairly “easily” through focus, determination, waiting for awesome sales on things of quality that I want (and experiences) and old-fashioned hard work and some serendipity:

Financial

  1. Spend money with careful consideration on things that I—and my family—enjoy
  2. Pay off credit card debt and be debt-free (working on this)
  3. Buy a house before I turn 49 (saving up down payment via the spending fast)
  4. Continue sponsoring two kids (through Compassion International)
  5. Pay off house in under 15 years
  6. Contribute $400+ per month ($100 per grandchild) in a 529 plan (once I buy the house)
  7. Contribute 10-15% of my income towards my 401k (currently 8%)
  8. Send 50% of my pay to savings (on track with this; more on how I do this in an upcoming post)
  9. Have side income of at least $500 each month (working on this–blog helps even though it’s a lot of work on the back end + a couple of babysitting jobs here and there)
  10. Have one year’s living expenses in savings (working on this but realizing that 6 months might be more reasonable right now)
  11. Become so successful that I have more money than I need (I’d love to be able to give very generously to others after my own needs are met, give a sizeable to a library, hospital or an educational fund for needy kids)
  12. Make a list of free/super cheap things to do each season and do them! (just finished doing one for Autumn; working on Winter)
  13. Be completely debt-free (including the house) by the time I turn 60

Professional

  1. Write a series of best-selling Kindle e-books ‘s a great resource for learning almost everything under the sun)
  2. Write an article(s) for BankRate
  3. Write an article(s) for Dollar Stretcher
  4. Write an article(s) for Money magazine
  5. Earn an award at my job within my first year there
  6. Become highly proficient in Word and Excel
  7. Write a best-selling children’s book
  8. Get my CPC certification (cost is ~ $300 + countless hours of practice!)
  9. Become an officer with an organization

Travel

  1. Take family on a Disney cruise
  2. Take my daughter to Paris
  3. Take my daughter and daughter-in-law to NYC for shopping and sightseeing. Eat at a few landmark restaurants and have frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity
  4. Take the family to the Outer Banks and stay in a gorgeous beach rental that is close to the beach and has a swimming pool
  5. Visit New Orleans
  6. Spend a long weekend with my best friend in San Antonio and/or her house (for frugal reasons, her house will probably end up winning)
  7. Take the boys to Washington DC to see all the sights
  8. Spend a week in Maine and stay in a beautiful B&B. Stop by Pie in the Sky bakery for treats (this little bakery has seriously the best baked goods I’ve ever had)
  9. Stay overnight in an English castle
  10. Visit Hever castle (Anne Boleyn’s childhood home)
  11. Visit Hampton Court (Henry VIII’s home during his reign)
  12. Visit the Tower of London
  13. Take grandson to Legoland Florida (my 7 year old grandson is the only one who’ll really enjoy the experience at this point due to his age)
  14. Take family to Disney World and Epcot
  15. Go on an Alaska cruise
  16. Travel to Massachusetts during the height of Fall foliage
  17. Take adult kids to Haunted Happenings in Salem
  18. Stay overnight in a hotel that has amazing history (this could be in the U.S. or abroad–haven’t decided yet)
  19. Go on a bonding trip with my sister (this could be really frugal since we both enjoying camping, something we did a lot of growing up)
  20. Visit Santorini, Greece
  21. Visit New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado & Wyoming

Health & Wellness

  1. Reach onederland (seriously throwing myself a little party when I reach this goal that I’ve been trying to get to for a decade!)
  2. Get (and stay) within a couple lbs of my goal weight
  3. Wear a single-digit size comfortably
  4. Run a 5k
  5. Run a 10k
  6. Enjoy two one massage per month
  7. Have all my lab and blood tests come back in optimal ranges (my blood sugar and cholesterol were slightly elevated the last time I had my blood work done)
  8. Be able to do five non-girly pushups
  9. Meditate each day for at least 30 minutes
  10. Be comfortable in my own skin and confident

Other Experiences

  1. Take horseback riding lessons
  2. Have a nice stash of my favorite sea salt caramels  (giving this up for now since I have a hard time stopping at one)
  3. Learn to play the piano
  4. Go to a high-end department store and have a personal shopper help me pick out a core capsule wardrobe. I want to love everything that I wear (not necessarily frugal but once I hit my goal weight, this is going to be my gift to myself, plus high quality clothing will outlast the clothes I currently buy for less)
  5. Create “bliss days”—days that include a lot of the things I love to do
  6. Move to the East coast
  7. Host an enormously fun Christmas celebration
  8. Host an enormously fun Thanksgiving celebration
  9. Go to a coffee shop and write on occasion (using a free gift card)
  10. Attend a local ballet theatre’s Nutcracker Ballet (cost will be minimal and it will support a great cause)
  11. Volunteer at a Hospice (ongoing)
  12. Have a family picture taken every year in Autumn and Spring
  13. Have fresh flowers/potted plants in my home and office
  14. Take a cooking class each month (starting Oct. 2016; purchased at a steep discount via Groupon)
  15. Order beautiful personalized stationery (I’ll ask for this as a Christmas present from my kids)
  16. Take a wine-tasting class
  17. Live in an apartment/house that has a fireplace (apartment negotiable; must-have feature in house)
  18. Read 1-2 books each week (books from library or purchased for free with Amazon giftcards)
  19. Watch no more than 5 hours of tv per week. This is time that can be better spent on other things.  Must watch:  The Walking Dead (don’t judge); Longmire; Documentaries; and one movie of my choice per week (movies with the grandkids don’t count since it’s only 1-2x per week at the most)

Possessions

  1. Have only items that I love in my closet and only comfy, stylish shoes (frugal ≠ dowdy)
  2. Have a house with a nice sized, beautiful kitchen since I love to cook and the kitchen is the heart of the home
  3. Learn to grow my own tomatoes
  4. Have a beautifully decorated home without spending a ton of money. An Amish made piece of furniture is a must (this will be pricey but it goes back to quality)
  5. Buy the “I Am Busy” print by Gray Malin and hang it up in my office (wait until this goes on sale, currently costs ~ $200)
  6. Buy a home with a nice yard for gardening and the grandkids + a porch for enjoying warm summer nights and cool Autumn evenings
  7. Own a beautiful home on ½ acre of land in a gorgeous area with great neighbors
  8. Get a set of lovely dishes—for regular and entertaining use—that I get for a song
  9. Have a list of go-to gifts then stock them in my gift closet (after I buy them at a steep discount)
  10. Buy a pair of pretty, classy diamond earrings to wear every day (maybe this and #83 can be a group Christmas gift from my kids and their families…lots of good sales around the holidays)
  11. Ditto for a necklace
  12. Buy a black Coach purse that I can use for years to come
  13. Drive a later model car that gets good gas mileage—bought at a deliciously great price
  14. Buy a nice Crockpot—the kind that turns off on its own so that I can have dinner ready when I get home
  15. Buy a stash of nice bday cards, etc., at a steep discount so that I can always have them on hand  completed
  16. Buy a nice planner for 2017 (I love organizing my days but with the cost of planners being ~ $55 on average, I’m going to get a cheap one for the upcoming year)
  17. Meet the Economides’ (one of my favorite frugal families)
  18. Meet Amy Dacyczyn (Author of the Tightwad Gazette and the woman who is considered to be the start of the frugality movement)
  19. Meet a great guy (I guess I need to start dating first…)
  20. Marry the man above before I turn 51! #relationshipgoals
  21. Host a foreign-exchange student
  22. Host a kid-friendly Halloween party
  23. Meet the President of the United States and have my picture taken with him/her (I already had a picture taken with Joe Biden when he showed up for breakfast unexpectedly at a local coffee shop back in California)
  24. Win a swanky prize
  25. Become fluent in sign language (my 2nd grandson is non-verbal autistic so this will come in handy as he grows and becomes fluent in sign language himself)
  26. Become fluent in French and Spanish
  27. Go whitewater rafting
  28. Have coffee with Donna Freedman (one of my favorite frugal living bloggers; she’s the bomb and incredibly inspiring)

 

 

Weekly Menu for 9/12-9/18

As we begin the slow march into the holiday trifecta (Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas) and the potential ensuing poundage, I am making a concerted effort to eat healthy 80% of the time so I can spend the remaining percentage on worthy treats (read:  candy corn, candy apples, sweet potato casserole, chocolate cake, glazed ham and fruit cake–just kidding on that last one).  Therefore I have upped my intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods–which is something I need to be doing anyway–especially since I’ve started a couch to 5k running program.

My meals this week, for the most part, reflect this new, healthier side of me and the bonus is that good health is much more frugal in the long run than bad health.  I’m also proving–mainly to myself–that good, healthy food doesn’t have to break the bank or be tasteless.  I’m looking forward to this week’s menu.  I have two more weeks of sharing the rent costs with my daughter and once she moves out, I’ll be cutting back on my grocery expenditures in favor of more basic, yet tasty, meals.

Breakfasts:  White whole wheat bread with peanut butter; Whole grain pancakes with turkey sausage; Eggs and toast; Low-sugar banana & cinnamon french toast; Omelette with extra veggies and fruit on the side; Free pastry at Panera to enjoy while doing my Saturday planning session; Whole grain baked snickerdoodle donuts

Lunches:  Eggplant parmesan; Grilled cheese on whole grain bread, fresh fruit; PB & J on whole grain bread, fresh fruit; Leftovers x 2; Quesadillas and veggies; Chicken soup with homemade rosemary rolls

Dinners:  Marinated italian chicken with rice and veggies; Pulled pork sandwiches, green salad; Spaghetti & meatballs, garlic bread; Homemade BBQ chicken pizza, green salad; BBQ meatballs, roasted carrots, garlic biscuits; Leftovers x 2

Snacks:  Cheese and crackers; Lower sugar homemade chocolate chip cookies; Yogurt and fruit; Bananas with almond butter; Yogurt and granola; fruit smoothie

Beverages:  Coffee with 2% milk with breakfasts; water; occasional small glass of orange juice