Getting Into the Groove

30 Sep

Suddenly I turned around and nine months of 2013 is over.  I really have no good reason for my blogging hiatus, except that life can just get away from you.  I’m very grateful that nothing drastic has happened during this time.  No life-threatening illnesses, catastrophic events involving family or friends, or job losses.  Stuff just happens.

 

There was a three-month period where I was dividing my time between two jobs, so that added up to about 70 hours a week there.  Even though those were sleep-deprived weeks, extra income is always nice.  I average about 45 hours per week at my primary job anyway.

My boyfriend (hereinafter referred to as “Cute Geek Boy,” or “CGB,”) moved in with me at the start of 2013.  As the last time I lived with someone was seven years ago, there was a combination period of adjustment and nesting too.  And sometimes you just want to come home, couch, and see what’s been piling up in your TiVo.

I certainly realize that I’m not the only busy person in the world, but I’m resolving to get back into the blogging swing of things.  Time to look forward and find my rhythm…

My Black Friday Purchases That Were $10 or Less

25 Nov

I was dragged out on Thanksgiving night/Black Friday morning.  My sister is even more obsessive about deals than I am, so I had a 90-minute nap and we did a marathon outing from 12:30 am to 6:00 am Friday morning.  If she hadn’t been visiting in town, I would have been perfectly content sleeping my turkey tryptophan away.

Here are the significant deals that I got:

Old Navy
- A half-zip fleece for my brother-in-law – $5 (regularly $16.94).  This price was only applicable between midnight and 4am.
- Black leggings – $5 (regular price $10)
- A black cotton Henley top ($6 (regular price $12.50)
- Flip-flops – $2.50 (regular price $3.94)

CVS Pharmacy
- Dental flossers – FREE ($2 with $2 Extra Bucks back)
- AAA batteries – FREE ($3.65 with $3.65 Extra Bucks back)
- A bag of peanut M&Ms and a Snickers bar – FREE ($1.50 with $1.50 Extra Bucks back)
- A Revlon lipstick – $2 ($6.99 with $4 Extra Bucks back)

I also had a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase, so once I threw in 2 boxes of their generic allergy medication ($4.99 each) of which I keep an on-going supply, I was over the $20.  I got the first 3 CVS items because they were essentially free, though I did end up using two of the batteries right away for a TV remote at my mother’s.

Toys R Us

We got there around 3:30 am, and it was UNBELIEVABLE how dead it was.  I only ended up getting these Animal Planet Storage in a Bucket things for my niece and nephew, at Buy One, Get One Free.  With sales tax, it was $11.95 for two sets.

Lowe’s
- 3 live poinsettia plants (99 cents each)
- 1 fresh pine holiday wreath ($5)

Target
- A cotton 2-piece pajama set – $10 (regularly $17.99)
- An oversized, super-plush throw blanket – $9.99 (regularly $14.99)

My sister got a couple of toys and some clothing for her family, so we received a $10 gift card that Target was giving for $50+ purchases made between 4am and noon on Friday.

Honestly, the worst part about it was the line at Old Navy.  They opened at midnight, and we got there at 12:30, so by the time we got there the lines were at peak length.  When we left an hour later, there were only about a dozen people in line.  Lesson learned there.

Was it worth the lost sleep?  Yes and no.  Some of the shopping is about the thrill of the hunt, and on that front it was enjoyable.  I also legitimately got a lot of my Christmas shopping done.  If all of the stores were as crowded as Old Navy, I likely would have gone home much earlier.  And as you can tell from my list of purchases, I certainly didn’t go after any of those deals on electronics that seem to drive crowds insane.

Now I only have one more holiday gift to buy, and of course I’ve been price-watching obsessively online.  I won’t post what it is here because it’s for my boyfriend and he’ll read this.  I hope everyone had a great long holiday weekend, whether or not you participated in the Black Friday madness.

Did you get any deals that you were particularly proud of?

My Best Friend’s Wedding

20 Oct

My BFF of 20 years got married a week ago in Michigan.  It wasn’t an egregious Kardashian-like wedding, nor was it a super frugal occasion that cost $591.12.  The nuptials took place in her beautiful hometown (population 2,000) on Lake Michigan, and there were 28 people.  It was perfect for who they are.

Bouquets for her country wedding (bride’s is the one on the far left).

I love my BFF like a sister, and for me, occasions like this are when I’m fine with spending money.  I save bucks on the smaller, everyday things so I have the money when I want to spend it. Continue reading

Frugal Ethics: Where Do You Draw Your Lines?

19 Sep

As someone with a frugal mindset, I’m always on the lookout for freebies or out to save a buck for an expenditure.  So, where does your moral code come into play when it comes to cutting costs?

Here are some examples:

My workplace supplies free coffee, tea, soft drinks, juice, and the occasional lunch.  I’ve seen several of my co-workers (some who have been there for decades) taking drinks home at the end of the day so they don’t have to buy them.  The same goes for office supplies.

When I go to the movies, I usually put a bottle of water in my purse, and sometimes a granola or protein bar in case I get hungry.  I try not to drink soda, and I find that pretty much everything at the concession stands is overpriced and unhealthy.  Perhaps I first learned this from my mother, who would bring popcorn in baggies when she took us to the movies when we were little.  Yes, I will cave and buy the occasional popcorn, but that’s an exception and not the rule.

Photo credit: heavyhand_2007.

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8 Books That Helped Form My Outlook About Money and Things

13 Sep

The problem with growing up without money is that I once I had some, all I wanted to do was spend it.  So began my (still continuing!) adult journey from spending money, just because it was there, to becoming financially savvy and independent.  Here are some books that have helped me work towards the latter.

1.  How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously:  Based On the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous by Jerrold Mundis

I have never been a member of Debtors Anonymous, but you certainly don’t need to be a part of DA to gain knowledge from this book.  First published in 1988, there are timeless principles here that you can use.  Mundis tells you that you must keep an ongoing spending record (done more easily now with sites like Mint.com) of all money going out and in, and from that you can glean a spending plan, versus a budget.  He also has a formula of how much to pay each creditor each month while still being able to live on your existing income.  Most importantly, he encourages baby steps: just take one day at a time not to incur new debt, while reminding you that there is hope to lead a financially stable life.

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I Fell Off the Shoe-Buying Wagon

24 Aug

I had been doing fairly well.  I’m not on an official Spending Diet, but I hadn’t bought a pair since March.  And then I saw these:

Bandolino Edgey printed pump. Photo from the DSW website.

First of all, they’re Bandolino.  I love this brand; I consider it to be both stylish and functional.  Any pair of Bandolino shoes that I have bought has never failed me.  Secondly, they’re peep-toe.  I’m a sucker for peep-toe.  And the platform makes them much more deceptively comfortable than one would think.  Lastly, the pattern was unique and eye-catching.  Black peep-toes should be a staple in every woman’s wardrobe, and latest fad is the patent leather nude one.  I wanted something different but still neutral.

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Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

Modest Money

Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

Drinks and Wings

You can discuss anything over a tasty beverage and bar food.

Cinderella After Midnight

Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

And Then We Saved

Living a full life in a big city at less than full prices.

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