Saturday, May 30, 2009

Malls vs Yardsales and b'day wishes!!

Happy 14th Birthday to my oldest boy, Will, seen here jumping into Dobsis Lake. It's also my husband, Mike's, 46th birthday!!! I love you guys!
So here's my question of the day. Why does anyone buy anything at a mall? Yesterday being the first day of vacation, I took my kids to the mall at their request. I bought one book on the bargain table for a buck, knowing I'd probably find it at a yardsale for 25 cents. My 15 year old daughter was with me, happily she doesn't like to shop either.
I've yardsaled nearly every Saturday morning from March to November for 17 years. I estimate 75% of what we own is preused. There are so many options now: yardsales, thrift stores, ebay...if you want it, someone is selling it. Some purchases today:
Like new New Balance running shoes $1
New Camo hoodie $1
2 like new bed pillows for 50 cents each
1 pair mens black dress shoes $2
1 pair converse $2
Aquarium with filter and all accessories $10
Boys suit $3
You do the math. I saved well over $150.00. I always bring one kid with me. They would prefer a day yardsaling over the mall...ask them. It teaches them sticker shock.
Oh, and we did go to the army navy surplus of my boys favorite places. Will bought a sword for $20 and Lee bought a machete for $5. (We like "manly" toys!) Can't beat those prices.
So tell me, why does one go to the mall? I was bored silly...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last day of school & vacation savings

Yes, the day has arrived. I pick the kids up at 11:30 and we're done for the year. If Abby didn't have a conference in mid-June, I think I would head up to Maine tonight! I mean...look at this shot...Maine is just a beautiful state. June 21 and I will be there.
We always go to Maine in the summer and Michigan in December, so our vacations are built around family. We are actually taking the kids to Montreal and Quebec City this summer in a round about way to Maine. Mike took me to Quebec for my 40th last year and it was incredible...very European without the price tag. Speaking of which...I used a credit card to pay for our medical bills(which I paid off) to earn "rewards," which for me translated into four free hotel nights in Canada. How sweet is that?! We basically only have to pay for the gas to get there. Will be scoping on food deals and such over the next couple weeks. I suggest if you are going on a long vacation to one area that you buy an entertainment coupon bbok. You can get them online and they are worth it for savings on attractions and food.
Last year went to Florida. I prepared for months in advance...we saved post...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frugal author sells book for $20.00!!!

Yes, it's true. I am an author of a self-published book and I am selling it for $20.00. I would never pay that much for a paperback!! There is a reason for my madness, however. I decided to self-publish, which means I pay the costs up front, and I decided to sell through Amazon, simply because I think it would be a neat thing to make it into their top 100 list. Amazon takes 55%. I also really want to give a significant amount to several ministries...hence the price. I'll probably sell some copies on my own for less after I figure out all the paperwork. If you are interested, type Love, Blessings and Seatbelts into the search engine on Amazon and my book will pop up. I have a crazy goal to sell 5000 copies over two days, May 28 and 29.

On December 23, 2008, our family was involved in a horrific car accident near Cleveland, Ohio while we were going to visit family over the holidays. All four kids were in the PICU on Christmas day. The book is a compilation of all the emails I sent and the encouragement we received from all over the world. I'm hoping it will be an ray of hope for others facing similar situations.

And the money saver for the day....Harris Teeter is tripling coupons to .99 this week...woo hoo! Rack up on some free stuff. I just spent $22 and saved $47. That's when I can sing "my Harris Teeter!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The cheapest way to lose weight...

Everyone knows that diet products are a billion dollar industry...but I'm telling you, you can do it for free! No special foods, no pills, no gym memberships, no fancy clothes...yup, I have THE ANSWER! Here it is...quit eating so much and exercise more. I know, you are shocked at my logic and could never have thought about it on your own, so just remember, you read it here first. Actually, with my approach, you will SAVE money because you won't be spending so much on food. So, with your doctor's permission, try this. Women, eat 1000 calories a day, men, 1500, then throw on your sneakers and start walking or jogging...or using that exercise equipment that's in your basement. I can almost guarantee you'll drop the pounds. You can also eat anything you want, just in smaller quantities. Try it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Today my husband and I walked through a cemetary down here in High Point, North Carolina. We took some time to look at the stones of men who died in various wars and some other ones as well. I didn't know anyone, but that's really not the point.I am always grateful when I think about the sacrifices so many have made on my behalf. It was a huge cemetary, and there was only one other gentlemen there. He was crying, tipping a bottle and talking out loud to one of the stones...his daddy's I would guess. And therein is the reality of this age...death. Yet the reality of what is... is GOD. (Thanks Doc Martin, I was listening, and I remember you today also.) So to all who paid the ultimate sacrifice, thank you. Some of us do remember.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

working to pay to work....what do I value?

Yesterday I worked. As in, my "real" job as an RN. I only work prn (which is medical speak for "as needed;" I fill in for other people. I don't get paid time off or any other benefits, but I have a lot of freedom and can usually find hours if I need them. Currently I'm only working a day or two a week. It pays the bills. I'm sure I could get in full time, but it's not that important to me right now. (Long story...)

I was thinking about how I save money with my job....first of all, we wear uniforms. I have three that are all about 5-8 years old which were purchased at discount scrub shops. That's all I need. I have always worn Reebok walking shoes and wait until they are on sale for $39 or less. I use the same pair for 4-5 years. (I can do this because I wear them exclusively for work). But I found a pair of white Danskins on sale at Wal Mart for $11 a couple weeks ago, and you know what? They are SOOOO comfortable. Decent savings there.

I walk to work, even if it's raining. Granted, I only live 3 blocks away, but I would walk much farther than that if I had to. Besides the savings, it's good exercise. When I was pregnant with my first child and I was going to nursing school full time, I still worked part time as a nursing assistant. I rode my bike 3 miles one way to the hospital in the dead of summer 6 months pregnant. It IS possible....

I take my lunch to work with me. The hospital where I work has a sneaky little program that allows us to use our employee badge to pay for meals, and then the money is deducted from our check. Initially, I signed up for this, but found it was way too easy to spend more money at the cafeteria than I I had them take my name off the list. Now I can't use it anymore and that forces me to bring my lunch. You'd be surprised how much that saves. When I worked full time (3 twelve hour shifts) I would easily spend at least $5 a day x 3 day =$15 a week or $60 a month or $720 a year. See how that works? Now I bring leftovers and that is usually less that $1 a day.

My job has evolved with my family. I know there are lots of opinions on the subject, but for us, a Christian education is a priority, be it homeschool or Christian school, so I have had to work around that. When my husband was teaching at another Christian school, we couldn't afford the tuition, so I homeschooled and worked weekends. Then he went to a school that had no benefits but the kids went tuition free and I worked full time so we would have health insurance. Now he is a HS Principal and has benefits for the family, so I am back to part time work. If you think you could never homeschool or afford private education....there is most likely a way. I know many families that have given up a second income to homeschool their kids. Some even have sold homes and moved into apartments. Yes, they live on less and cut lots of corners financially, but it is worth it to them. I remember reading an article once by a man who was bemoaning having to take his daughter out of a private school he just loved because they simply could not afford it. The next week his article was about a lavish vacation to Florida that I'm sure cost more than the year's tuition. We pay for what we value.

What do you value? What does God value? Where can you cut costs on job related expenses?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is what I wanted?

Funny thing happened today...I set up a blog, and a website, and I even signed up for ad sense and I'm not even sure how it works. Figure I might as well go for the gusto. I woke up this morning, got my kids (4 of my own and one foreign exchange student) and my husband (who happens to be the HS Principal at the school my kids attend) out the door. I checked my email, I checked my VRBO listing, I checked the status on my soon-to-be-self-published-book (it's at the printers...a month out from being complete). I took my dog to the vet and paid $163.00 so the vet could tell me that he has allergies that can't be cured and I forgot and used my debit card instead of my credit card and now I only have about $50.00 in my checking account to last for two days. That really shouldn't be a problem except that sometimes my DH uses it and I need to remind him not to use it. I thought about something I read recently: "You can't drive a parked car." That's what I've been doing. Sitting in a parked car asking God to move it. I hadn't even turned on the ignition. I want to be a writer. I love to write. I'm just not very good at it. But I can get better! So, today I turned the key and I started to drive. I can always turn around and go another direction if I need to. But I will drive.