Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm Procrasting or How I am Frugal

My husband goes through these spells where he feels like procrastinating so he sits in his pjs and plays games. I procrastinate by surfing the web and writing in my blog. I just can't seem to make myself get up and wash dishes or put away two baskets of laundry or tidy up the house. I feel like its one of those hide away in bed and not do anything days, but I should and I will just maybe not everything. Shh don't tell my husband.

So today's topic is how I "rub two pennies together and make a nickel" as my dad says.

My husband and I bought a condo in a neighborhood on the East side of town. It was what we could afford without major renovations. The condo is 960 square feet and two story. It has two bedrooms and one bathroom. We do pay an association fee so we don't maintain the outside or the grounds. The condo was someone's winter home (we have snow birds where I live) and looked like pepto bismol. The carpet is pink (still is) and the blinds were pink (we changed those to more warmer wooden ones) and the linoleum is white with pink roses (still is). Everything was white washed. The first thing we had to do was fix the shower because one of the walls was molding and breaking apart. We did that ourselves. I don't want to ever do that again because I went two weeks without a shower. Had to do bird baths in the kitchen. Now the bathroom is white (I painted over the pink wall paper). We have a lot of wooden furniture to try and make the house warmer in color. I would paint, but I'm not supposed to as a preggo lady. Oh and there was a wall of mirrors (12" by 12") from floor to ceiling. We pried those off and fixed the wall. It now has a nice picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe hanging on it.

The condo is far from the lab (my husband is a Phd candidate in Planetary science, you know mars, venus, mercury, not hydrangeas and ivy). So sometimes he stays at home and works because he can log into his work computer. In other words he telecommutes to save money. But if he has to do actually lab work, we don't have lab at home so he has to go to work. He takes a lunch and reusuable containers and water bottle. I made him stop taking in cans of soda. Well I convinced him. Soda has a ton of sugar with no benefits. I've gotten him to take a water bottle with juice in it. Juice still has sugar but at least it's cheaper and has health benefits like Vitamin C. He likes his chips, but he will take fruit to work too.

So to get my husband to work on a budget, I go grocery shopping. I'm not a coupon clipper. My husband has the things he likes and it's hard to change up what he uses which is what you have to do with coupons. You can't be brand loyal or so the coupon clippers tell me. But I'm a bargain hunter and I live in a Metropolitan city which helps.

Let me tell you what I did yesterday. Yesterday I went to one of our bulk shopping member only stores (there are three in town). I bought toilet paper. We go through a lot because I have to pee at least 10 times every night. I bought some undies. They have nice stretchy ones there. The cotton ones I wear until they fall apart. Literally. I can take pictures to show you. I also bought a giant box of Gold fish (I like to snack), dish detergent, some fiber bars for hubby, and two loaves of high fiber bread. The food won't last long. The detergent I might buy twice a year and the tp depends. Usually only need to buy tp four to six times a year. Less packaging is better for the environment too.

Then I went to target to find some water bottles with screw top lids. The straw kind are a pain to clean. The bottles were 5 dollars so I bought two. I also bought a printer/scanner/copier for forty dollars. It was the cheapest I could find for what I needed. Our old printer is no longer compatible with Windows Vista. I had that thing for about 8 years anyway. It was making funny noises so...

Then I went to Grocery Outlet, it's a store in our area that will buy all the bulk products that companies produce and can't get rid of. So you get stuff for dirt cheap. I usually buy frozen or non-perishables there. I don't buy dairy because I can get it cheaper at a regular grocery store or produce because it doesn't taste right. You do have to be careful of expiration dates. Some things are expired or close to. So I bought a can of Campbells cream of mushroom (which I use in a lot of casseroles) for 69 cents. I bought a Piggly Wiggly brand box of chocolate pudding for 30 cents (we don't have a Piggly Wiggly here so that's kinda funny to me. My mom has them were she lives). I bought salad dressing for 1.29, whipped cream 1.29, two cans of Welch's frozen juice (1.29 a piece), and a can of green beans for .69. Some things are cheaper at the grocery store and some things are cheaper at Grocery Outlet. I bought several boxes of my hubby's favorite cereal for half the cost at Grocery Outlet, but they aren't carrying it right now so I may have to look for coupons. Other stuff like cans of tomatoes, veggies, fruit, pasta, tuna, etc I get for next to nothing. The chips cost 1.50 a bag. They are 2.50 if their on sale at the grocery store. So I load up when I see something that we will use.

Then I make a trip to the grocery store. I usually buy two gallons of milk. I have to check the paper for the cheapest price in town. Walmart and right now Fry's and Safeway will take the competitors ad price. So I save the ads that come in the mail. It's cheaper than the getting the newspaper. I can get milk for 1.37. I also look for the cheapest fruit and veggies because I can eat them as snacks or make them sides. I buy frozen veggies for sides mostly and fresh stuff like herbs for recipes. So the frozen I get at Grocery Outlet and fresh at the store. Yesterday they had russet potatoes on sale for 1 a pound. I also buy meat at the grocery store. Right now Safeway is selling Turkey's for 39 cents a pound. I'm trying to find a small turkey or a turkey breast since I haven't the space for a 20 pound turkey. So I haven't bought one yet. Two weeks ago Albertson's had a killer sale on whole chicken fryers. I bought two. They were 5 dollars together. I've used one for two meals. You can totally stretch a whole chicken if you use the meat in a casserole or soup or stew. Veggies and pastas and rice are cheaper. We don't need that much meat in our diet anyway. I use all parts of the chicken except the skin and the organs. Preggos are supposed to avoid the organ meats. The chicken drippings can be saved for soups or casseroles or anything that calls for chicken broth. Same goes for roasts. You just have to be creative. I will write a blog on my more creative meal ideas. I used a coupon for 2 dollars off. I had two but Albertson's won't let you double. Fry's and Safeway will. I ended up giving my coupon to the guy behind me in line. It was expiring that day. Albertsons won't accept expired coupons but fry's and safeway will.

Anyway...I buy 2nd hand clothes for hubby and myself unless I'm window shopping and see a deal on something. I bought some preggo tank tops at JC Penney for 3 dollars a piece. I do sometimes go to Good Will and there's a Savers that I need to check out, but I like Twice as Nice. I bought my husband a named brand shirt that still had tags saying it was 30 dollars for 8 dollars. Garage sales are great. But where I live you have to be careful of the vultures. We have a lot of people who cross the border and will pick the garage sales over and then go back across to resale the items. I don't like to deal with those people. You also have to get up early to scorer for deals. I'm not a morning person. But I will have to get back into garage sales for kids stuff especially. My kid's not getting a 20 dollar toy that he won't be interested in after a few months anyway. That's just silly. I will say that I do not buy used shoes. Every doctor on the planet will say that's a no no for your feet. I invest the money in decent shoes or make shoes a part of a birthday or Christmas present. Christmas is great for deals on shoes. Socks and undies I usually buy at Walmart or Target. Those things need to last, but I don't go for department store prices. Although maternity bras are hard to find unless you go to a specialty store or a department store.

My husband gets his hair cut by Chez Moi. I bought a set of clippers to cut his hair while we were dating. We were grad students on a budget. I sit him in the kitchen and just clip his head. I can't cut my own hair and hubby doesn't know how so I usually save coupons and get my hair cut by someone else. And there is a beauty school in the center of town that cuts hair for 5 dollars that I might check out. I wait a long time between cuts. My hair doesn't grow unless I get it cut often. I'm not sure why. I don't have a fancy cut. It's just straight and long and no bangs. I have curlers if I get adventureous. But I'm a shampoo/condition and brush then go. I barely use my hair dryer.

My husband drives a very beat up Pontiac. It's rusting, the inner padding is falling apart, the emergency break doesn't work, and he doesn't have AC. Somehow it passes inspection. It's for commuting anyway. It gets better gas mileage then my much newer car does. We usually drive my car when we go places. If we move or his car dies, we'll probably look for a wagon or something like that. I bought a glider at the Salvation Army for the baby's room and couldn't put it in the trunk but it fit fine in my friend's hatch back. So I told hubby that we will probably have to buy that type of car. He can have my car.

We don't have cable (our rabit ears gets us several channels anyway). We have a land line and cell phones that our parents pay for. I'm not sure what we'll do if our parents kick us off their family plans. We have net flix or we go to a cheap movie theatre way after a movie has come out. If we go out to eat, we use coupons or go some place cheap. Cable internet is a must but we could down grade to a slower speed. Hubby uses it for work. We use the library often. I got my H1N1 vaccine for free from the health department. All our furniture is used. And I really can't think of anything else.

There are expenses that we can't get around. Taxes, health care, and insurance suck us dry.

Well I've sufficiently procrastinated. And my brain is tired so I need to get up and do something physical. I hope that my ideas have helped you figure out creative ways to save money. I'll have to write about my simple yet cheap receipes. Some are from cook books, some from other people, and some by my own trial and error.

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!