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I heart coupons

July 21st, 2006 at 07:02 am

We cleaned the house in a hurry last night and then zipped over to the grocery store. We saved $13 with coupons...I was pretty proud of myself. Smile Shopping was so much easier having SO by my side (as most things are). We only spent $100, and that will last for a while. We bought some neat new Morningstar products to try (with coupons). I am having trouble finding specific toilet paper and specific bagged lettuce, though. Perhaps they just aren't available here.

My aunts will arrive this afternoon. Big Grin I took the afternoon off. I purchased some more Cutemol hand cream (with an online coupon, of course) and have to pick it up from the post office before they arrive. I bought a big container for my mom, so my aunts can bring it with them when they visit my parents next week.

I MUST remember to get a Sunday paper this weekend. Coupons on the brain, I tell ya! SO laughs, but he is awed by how much we are saving.

lots to do, no time for a headache

July 20th, 2006 at 01:47 pm

My head is pounding like the furies today. I'm hoping Excedrin will swoop in and save the day, because I've got to much to do tonight.

My aunts are coming tomorrow and are allergic to cats, so I have to scrub the spare bedroom, wash the comforter, change the sheets, and lock the furballs out of their beloved room. The cats sleep in there all day, so they will be irked this weekend.

Last night I went to Target (saved $9 with my fat stack of coupons!) and intended to go to the grocery store, but it was so busy in the store and on the roads that I just went home. I found it's a lot easier to navigate the crammed aisles, read my list, find the product listed on the coupon, and make it out alive with SO next to me. Tonight I have to go to the grocery store and pick up a few things for the weekend.

I was going to make a birthday dessert for one of my aunts and a chickpea salad for the weekend...don't know how that will happen at this point.

Still not totally sure what we are going to do this weekend. Lots of fluttering thoughts in my head but nothing pinned down.

Maybe if I stop worrying, my headache will go away! Stick Out Tongue

am I supposed to ask for coupons?

July 19th, 2006 at 01:20 pm

About this emailing of companies - am I supposed to come right out and ask for coupons? I've gotten several email replies from companies to my complimentary emails, and all they really say is "thanks." Only one (Amy's Kitchen) has said they'd love to send me coupons. I went down the Organic Coupon list and emailed those companies I knew. I'm just not sure if I'm should be forward and ask for coupons or not. And from what I've read, I shouldn't write more often than every 90 days...so I guess I'll wait a while.

Last night I made an impulse buy at Walgreens when I stopped in for my prescriptions. I bought a new fan for our home, but when I set it up, it was much louder than the display model in the store. It will be going back today. It's difficult to find a truly quiet fan.

I bit of respite from the sun and heat today...thunderstorms. My peppers and tomatoes should be happy.

Hitting Target and the grocery store tonight to stock up on provisions for my weekend guests and use some of my new coupons! Feeding my guests will be a snap - entertaining them will be more of a trick.

It's incredibly slow at work these days and I have so little to do. Dreaming of an office with a door and a job that interests me...

coupon train wish list

July 18th, 2006 at 10:06 am

updated 10/5/06

TOP FIVE WISH LIST:

- Hills Science Diet cat food
- Puffs/Kleenex
- any soda
- any cereal
- organic/natural foods (not meat)

DETAILED WISH LIST:

Beverages
Any soda
Any herbal tea
Canada Dry
Crystal Light
Dasani
Folgers coffee
Ice Mountain water
Kool-Aid
Ocean Spray juice
Perrier
Silk soy milk
Starbucks coffee
V-8

Cereals/Breads
Any cereal
Brownberry bread
Earth Grains bread

Crackers/Snacks
Goldfish
Hershey’s chocolate
Mars chocolate
Nabisco snacks
Nature Valley granola bars
Oreo's
Ritz crackers
Tostitos
Wheat Thins

Dairy/Deli
Any cheese
Cage free/organic/etc eggs
La Creme yogurt
Organic Valley milk
Organic Valley yogurt
Reddi-Wip whipped topping
Yoplait yogurt

Frozen
Amy’s Kitchen
Bird’s Eye
Boca
Cool Whip
Edy’s ice cream
Freschetta pizza
Hungry Man frozen dinners
Jack's pizza
Morningstar Farms
Ore-Ida
Skinny Cow ice cream
Weight Watchers ice cream

Other
Athenos hummus
Barilla pasta
Betty Crocker mixes
Classico pasta sauce
Creamette pasta
Delallo pasta sauce
Duncan Hines mixes
Jif peanut butter
Kraft salad dressings
Parmesan cheese (any)
Pillsbury mixes
Splenda

Paper/Plastic
Glad garbage bags
Glad Press’n Seal
Reynolds Wrap
Ziploc bags

Hair Care
Clairol
Dove
Garnier Fructis
Herbal Essences
L'oreal
Neutrogena
Suave
Thermasilk
Tresseme
Pantene

Personal Care
Almay
Always
Aquafresh
Biore
Clean and Clear
Colgate toothbrushes
Crest
Dove
Glide floss
Jergens lotion
Listerine
Neutrogena
Olay
Oral-B toothbrushes
Physician’s Formula
Playtex
Secret
Sensodyne
St. Ives
Tom’s of Maine

Household
All Free & Clear detergent
Any 35mm film
Bounty
Cascade diswasher tabs
Charmin
Clorox
Cottonelle
Dawn concentrated dish soap
Downy
Duracell
Energizer
Era detergent
Kleenex
Puffs
Quilted Northern
Softsoap

Medicine/OTC
Advil
Centrum
Excedrin
Nature Made vitamins
Pepcid A/C
Rolaids
Tums
Tylenol
Vicativ

Pets
Any scoopable cat litter
Hills Science Diet cat food
Tropical fish food

Amy's Kitchen & coupon train!

July 18th, 2006 at 07:22 am

I wrote an email to Amy's Kitchen, praising them for their wonderful food, and asking about new vegan options. They sent me a packet outlining all of their food items and enclosed were several awesome coupons, including one free product coupon! How exciting!

Yesterday's mail also brought my coupon train welcome packet! So many wonderful coupons, and a fat stack of them, too. Thanks so much, flash. I'm excited to jump on the train, and hoping I do it right!

Drove in to work this morning, the first time this month. I brought my gym shoes and plan to stay and work out tonight. My car is now down to two doors that will lock and unlock with the automatic locks, the A/C dripped all over SO's foot the other day, and a funny sweet smell flows into the car after the A/C has been running for a while. Mom told me I need a new car...yeah, I know.

I'm planning to visit the folks back home for a week in August. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out...if I'll take the train or if SO will drive with me...but I'm looking forward to it. I miss having summers off.

Every morning is still a struggle to get out of bed and go to work. My groggy mind thinks of all the possible ways to get out of going in, but I eventually lug myself out of bed and into the shower. It's tough, working just to pay the bills and have health insurance. I haven't seen any job opportunities I'd want to apply for lately. The grad school in Milwaukee would set me back $33,000, and that's with Minnesota reciprocity. Tack that on to the $13,000 in school loans I've already got, and it doesn't seem worth it at all. Who knows if I would get a job in the field I wanted after all that. There are plenty of people with Masters degrees flipping burgers.

I envy the people who know what they want to do with their lives, and do it!

Brownberry Bread

July 17th, 2006 at 09:21 am

I sent an email to [url=http://brownberry.gwbakeries.com/]Brownberry Bread[/b] last week to praise them for their new double-fiber wheat bread (it's great!). I didn't hear back from them via email, so I assumed they were too busy to write back.

Not so! Over the weekend I received a VERY nice card on thick paper thanking me for my feedback, and inside were two $1 off coupons. Great customer service! I am so pleased! It makes me feel a lot better about always making a point to buy their bread.

It can pay off to write to companies!

great weekend

July 17th, 2006 at 07:35 am

What a wonderful weekend! Apart from the oppressive heat and humidity, it was lovely. My family came to visit, and we hit the art institute, had dinner with some of their friends, chowed down on that delicious St. Paul ice cream, and toured a college campus for my sister (already thinking of grad school!). We also went to Penzeys Spices for the first time. What an amazing store! It's full of beautiful, fragrant spices. I had no idea paprika was supposed to have a scent. I forsee many a holiday gift coming from Penzeys this year.

Yesterday, I slept all afternoon. All I had to do was lie down on the couch and boom, down for the count.

The friend I was cat sitting for stopped by last night with an apology gift for her cat's behavior. Wink She gave me a gorgeous verigated oregano plant. She feels really bad about the incident, but it was my own fault for picking the cat up. The cut is healing really well, thankfully.

My aunts will be visiting this weekend. Entertaining them will be a tad trickier, since I don't know them as well as my parents, but I have a few ideas. I need to come up with backup plans in case it is 100 degrees again.

Overall, I spent about $23 this weekend. My parents insisted on paying for practically everything.

I'm putting $150 into the emergency fund today. It's nice to have the budget leeway to be able to do that again.

emailing companies

July 13th, 2006 at 06:37 am

I sent out a few emails this week praising companies for their food products. I wrote to Kellogg asking if they are planning to expand their Organic Morningstar line to include the Twin Cities. Their form letter response told me to buy them online. Not so much with the helpful.

On the other hand, my GoOrganic! coupons arrived yesteday - yeah! Amy's Kitchen wrote me a very nice email and said they'll send me information and coupons. Stonyfield Farm sent me a nice email as well. I guess that illustrates the difference between conglomerates and small businesses.

My family is visting this weekend, so we cleaned the house like mad last night. Everything is in its place and sparkling clean...my favorite. I haven't planned much for meals, though. Maybe I'll look up recipes today. It's just so hard to want to cook when it's 95 degrees!

My new pepper rotted on the vine. I suspect that there wasn't enough calcium in the soil, so I added bonemeal. It's also super hot on the deck, so maybe the plants aren't too happy with that, either. I don't have anywhere else to put them, though, out of the reach of hungry rabbits. The tomatoes are doing great!

I have taken the bus to work almost every day so far this month, and SO has picked me up from work most nights. It's great! I'm still on the same tank of gas from May. Smile

great deals & coupon delights!

July 9th, 2006 at 05:27 pm

About a week ago, I checked out the Coupon Train forum and read all about it. It sounded really interesting...but I thought to myself, "I don't even use coupons as it is! How can I join a coupon train?" So today, I did my best to pull out the coupons I've saved up and use them.

Today I saved $33.05 using coupons, and got $10 back in rebates!

That's not much compared to some of the coupon greats around here, but they are inspiring me to do better. Perhaps I'll dip my toes in the Midwest Coupon Train the next time it rolls around.

PetSmart is giving $5 rebate gift cards if you buy certain items in-store. Mostly big bags of cat and dog food qualify, but since I had a $5 off Science Diet coupon, I used it and saved! Yippee!

I also used a ton of coupons at Target and came away with a lot of pop (thanks to those Coke Olympic coupons). My stash of soda is nowhere near the quantity of ImaSaver's, but it will do. Wink

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. The only thing I splurged on this weekend was a stack of books (a trip to Half Price Books set me back $42). I have a penchant for novels about the Tudor family, Elizabeth I in particular, and they had a couple of thick books I couldn't pass up. Also got a cookbook, Vegetarian Cookbook for Cheese Lovers. Mmmm, my kind of cookbook.

Several family members are popping in and out over the next couple of weeks. I should really plan menus. I have a lot of cleaning to do, too.

I didn't scare the birthday girls too much yesterday, and they were really excited about our present to them - time with us. I need to remember that time together is often so much more valuable than a book or a trinket.

looking back on the last six months

June 30th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Six month averages

Savings: $171 per month
- Definitely not as high as it could be!

Normal bills: $788 per month

Medical bills & prescriptions: $118 per month
- Much higher than usual with all this chiropractic/headache care stuff

House/Pet needs: $168 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Food (including eating out and snacks at work): $260 per month
- Way too high. My grocery bills may put me in the Thrifty Plan of the USDA chart, but eating out is busting my budget.

Entertainment: $175 per month
- Pretty high, what with all the crafting, photo-taking, and anniversary celebrating.

Gifts: $88 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Personal products/Clothing/Haircuts/Massages: $158 per month
- Pretty high for not having had a massage for half of those months - it's the spring/summer clothes.

Gasoline/Parking/Car Maintenance: $213 per month
- So high only because I finally fixed the car in March! Without that, only $63 per month.

The worst part about this? The average total spent is more than I take home per month. *sigh*

It's easy to feel like this!



(taken at the Como Zoo in March)

a few photos

June 29th, 2006 at 07:31 am

Our stay at a bed and breakfast was wonderful. It was nice to take a day off in the middle of the week and bask in the sunshine. We rode our bikes all over town and enjoyed the perfect spring weather! This was one of my favorite views of the Mississippi:



All in all, we had a great anniversary, and neither of us wanted to come home.

Ways we saved money:
- Used our $95 in cash back from our credit card to help pay for our room at the bed and breakfast.
- Used two Entertainment Book half-off coupons for lunch and a coffee break. Saved $10.
- Bought four pieces of pottery, three of which came from the "seconds" room, so we got 10% off. I bought an awesome "seconds" cookie jar with a new lid and saved $10. We took an hour-long tour of the pottery factory, and since we had made a purchase, the tour was only $.50 each.

Last weekend we visited the Arboretum - here's a pretty photo:



and, as promised, a photo of the hidden waterfall near the campground we stayed at a few weeks ago (SO took this one):

striving to not spend

June 20th, 2006 at 09:01 am

Not spending is going fairly well here. Every time I think about going shopping, I remind myself of the fact that I will most likely only have $12 left in my account at the end of this month. Not much wiggle room.

Free lunch today, courtesy of my employer. Can't complain!

On Sunday we went to a friend's barbeque and swam all afternoon. It was lovely and fairly inexpensive...just had to buy a few groceries. Last night we visited SO's parents and had dinner with them for a belated Father's Day gathering. Free food and lots of love, as always. I'm dragging today, since we didn't get home until around midnight.

This week I'm meeting a friend for dinner (hoping it won't be too expensive) and maybe going to the zoo with another friend. Next week I have a chiropractic appt, and we both took our anniversary off from work. We'll hopefully be going to a bed and breakfast (SO has yet to make reservations, so we'll see about that). We both agreed not to give each other gifts, but what did SO's parents do? Bought us something! I have no idea what it is but I am a little afraid of how much it cost. Every time we see them, it's like Christmas.

Have to make a vet appointment for one of the kitties...dreading the cost of that. Perhaps that's why I've put it off all month?

can't..keep..eyes..open..

June 13th, 2006 at 12:19 pm

I visited the doctor again yesterday and started a new headache medication last night. The beta-blocker high blood pressure med was just not doing it for me. The fatigue and insomnia I could deal with, but once the crazy mood swings, bouts of depression, and worse headaches kicked in - forget it.

I've switched to an old school anti-depressant that is now used mainly for chronic pain. I hope it helps. I am so incredibly tired today that I overslept until 7:20, drove to work, and took a lunchtime nap in my car. I forsee an extremely early bedtime tonight. I'm sure it is a side effect of the new medication. The great thing about it? $5 for a 90 day supply. Can't beat that. The doctor said if this doesn't work, then we'll try anti-seizure meds, and if that doesn't work, I'm off to the neurologist.

Our camping trip was very nice, even though it rained the entire time and our camping mattress deflated in the middle of the night. We were still able to have a fire and eat s'mores (the most important part!). We hiked to a pretty little waterfall and I took a bunch of photos - I'll post some as soon as I can.

Otherwise, just trying to keep June's spending under control and hoping beyond hope that the CT scan bill isn't enormous.

My landlords are getting married next month, and though we aren't invited to their very small wedding, we feel we should give them a little something. We don't know them really well, and I've found a couple of their registries (Crate and Barrel is wayyy out of our price range). They are really into their yard and gardening, though, so maybe I could put together a gardening basket of sorts...

trying to whittle down costs

June 8th, 2006 at 01:51 pm

I'm trying to be good this month.

- No more cash withdrawals this month. Parents left $40 tacked to the fridge again, so I'm going to make it last.

- Trying not to drive, which saves on gasoline and on parking costs at work.

- Going to the chiropractor every other week instead of every week.

- Received cashback check from credit card, so we have about $100 to play with for our anniversary.

- Going to go through the pantry tomorrow night and use what's there for our camping trip. We'll need more chocolate bars for s'mores, but they are on sale at the grocery store. Just have to walk in, pick up the chocolate, walk out. No browsing.

- No more Target trips this month. (No, I'm not kidding!) I have plenty of everything and don't need anything.

- Brought the Entertainment Book with me today, because I'm walking with my friend after work and we'll probably get some dinner afterwards. If we can use a buy one get one free certificate, awesome!

- Using those free Coke coupons, even though cashiers are quite befuddled by them.

- Currently obsessed with pandora.com, which gives me free music to listen to and new bands to add to my amazon wishlist. It's fantastic because all you have to do is type in a song or a band you like, and it plays similar bands/songs. It's based on songwriting styles, chord structures, and instrumentation rather than "alternative bands" or "pop music". Love it.

homemade Father's Day gift?

June 5th, 2006 at 02:38 pm

I finally called the doctor's office today, and the CT scan was perfectly normal. YAY! and *whew*. I'm so glad.

The only thing is...what's up with these headaches? The daily ones are getting worse, not better. I'm going to give this med another week, and if it hasn't improved by then, I'll be going back to the doctor. Has anyone tried antidepressants to treat headaches? That may be my next step.

My family visited this weekend, and we had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, so we grilled fresh peppers, onions, red potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and salmon (for the fish-eaters). I made trifle for dessert. I baked a wonderful banana bread for breakfast, too. I felt good about their visit, since they didn't have to buy any meals. I spent a bit on groceries, but it was worth it.

I'm trying to come up with a homemade Father's Day gift. Any ideas? I'm well past the point of drawing cute pictures for him and I don't have any kids to do it for me. I don't think the kitties would like me to dip their paws in paint...

I wish I knew exactly how much the CT scan is going to cost...it could be anywhere from $40-$90, depending on how they bill it. That will determine if I have any wiggle room in my budget.

3% isn't bad, I guess

May 22nd, 2006 at 12:40 pm

Apparently my employer does not offer percentage raises, but dollar amounts. I got a $1000 raise, which essentially amounts to 3%. I'm not complaining; just slightly disappointed. It makes me miss the yearly 6% increases I received at my last job (except for that year when no one got a raise).

I'm still making a full $2000+ less than I would be had I stayed at my previous job. I don't miss it at all, but I am still envious of my friends of equal standing who are making waaaay more money than me.

At this rate, it's going to take forever to pay off my student loans. The current total stands at $13,054. *sigh*

I revamped my budget a bit, and I'll have $1000 back in my emergency fund in September, and pay off my smaller college loan in October. Here's hoping nothing goes wrong between now and then!

Potential Upcoming June Expenditures:
- CT Scan/doctors appts/chiropractor
- Cats need to see the vet & get microchipped
- Donation to friend's double marathon event
- Anniversary gift for SO
- Landlords are getting married (gift)
- Father's Day gift
- My favorite aunt's partner is retiring (wish I had enough $$ to make the trip!)
- Parents might visit
- Sister will most likely visit

frugal? me?

May 1st, 2006 at 02:38 pm

Frugal things I did last weekend:
~ Didn't buy a birthday card to go with a gift (don't most people toss them anyway?): saved about $3
~ Brought beer from home to the birthday party instead of stopping at the liquor store: saved about $12
~ Bought a birthday gift that had a coupon attached to it: saved $2
~ Read a library book instead of buying one: saved about $7
~ Made caramel rolls instead of going to Perkins for Sunday breakfast: saved about $10
~ Made calzones for Sunday dinner instead of ordering pizza: saved about $15
~ Fast-forwarded through recorded TV shows instead of watching the commercials: prevented many "I want that" moments

I shot an entire roll of film with my new camera (or so I thought) and was all set to rewind it and get it developed, when I discovered that the film had never loaded properly. Lots of potentially good shots, gone with the wind. Saved $4 on processing costs, I guess. Stick Out Tongue I was sorely disappointed, though. That will teach me to be a wee bit more observant.

The last several days have been rainy, dreary, and depressing. I wish I loved rain. I enjoy it now and then but endless days of it really get to me. Last year we had something like 23 days of rain in May - I hope this year is not a recap.

I just read a blog elsewhere in which a woman complained bitterly about not getting the amount she thought she was getting from her parents for her wedding. Now, I'm not one for weddings, but saying that the average wedding costs $25,000 and planning to spend that much just seems crazy to me (unless you are sitting on $25,000, are independently wealthy, and a wedding means the world to you). Just because other people spend that much doesn't mean you have to.

If SO and I ever get married (don't hold your breath), the wedding will be small. Really small. As in, I'd like to elope, but I think we'd disappoint a lot of people if we did. I certainly don't expect a penny from my parents or his - I'd rather have them be happy in retirement, should they ever retire!

my change jar

April 15th, 2006 at 08:47 am

Here's my change jar:



My mom gave it to me several years ago. I keep pennies, dimes, and nickels in it - quarters go elsewhere and get used up a lot faster. A nice twist on the piggy bank!

finally, my refunds!

April 3rd, 2006 at 10:17 am

My state tax refund check came yesterday, perfect timing. Now I just need the federal return.

and, even better, the eBay keyboard guy finally refunded my money. It took over a week to clear. I was starting to get really worried about that $200! I'm so glad it wasn't a huge hassle. It sounds like several people are having eBay troubles lately. Their buyer protection program leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion.

Happy Spring!

March 20th, 2006 at 09:58 am

Friday's evening spending consisted of all of $12 for dinner. Not bad. We ended up staying at my house all night. No spend days on Saturday and Sunday, yay! I have to go to Target though (we're out of kitty litter and several other things, like milk and eggs), so I am totally not going to meet my goal this month. If I spend as much or less than I did in February, I'll be ok with that.

On Saturday I made homemade donuts and french bread. I made dinner both Saturday and Sunday, too. I love cooking on the weekends! I need to build up my pantry a little more, to make it easier.

We did get another five inches of snow, but it is melting already. Hopefully it will be gone soon! I can't wait for summer (funny thing to say on the first day of spring, I suppose).

I think I could do the 8 day/7 night Mexico trip for $1075. I'd need to dip into some savings to pay for it. Still debating whether or not I should go for it! I'd really like to! If I really scrimp in April, I think I could.

hatchet in head

February 27th, 2006 at 07:34 am

Had to take a prescription painkiller to make it in to work today. Ugh. I hate these headaches. All I have to do is think about Paula Kamen's All In My Head, though, and I am thankful that my headaches are not nearly that bad.

I went out to eat and back to the grocery store this weekend, so I am over on my challenge. I also forgot that I was tracking cash food purchases, too, so I am significantly over on my challenge. I have done better than last month, though, so that's a good thing. It helps that it's a short month.

Did my taxes this weekend and I'll be getting a nice chunk back. Now I just have to mail the forms in and wait for my payment. I'm not quite sure what to do with it, though....pay off my smaller college loan sooner? Fix my car? Put it all in savings? I suppose that will depend on how much the car fix costs.

I helped a very pregnant friend clean up her house this weekend. I did a good deed but it took up half of my weekend, and this headache took up the other half. I could use another one!

chocoholic

February 8th, 2006 at 02:11 pm

Work is soooooo slllooowwww today!! I am trying to keep busy but it is hard to find something interesting to read/do. The last couple of weeks have been super busy, so I shouldn't complain about a lull!

The key to not spending? Not having any money in my wallet. I can't buy lunch, or chocolate, or beverages, nor can I pay for parking. I'm trying to hold out until the 15th to take out any cash, too.

I have already consumed all the chocolate I brought today, which probably amounts to two or three Snickers bars (eep!). I'll attribute that to boredom and stress.

Frugalocity for today:
~ bringing breakfast, leftover bean soup, chocolate, and pop from home
~ taking the bus (finally!)
~ avoiding my favorite internet shopping sites
~ making more mini-savings goals for the rest of the year to prevent myself from spending and show myself how much I can save

Got a bit of a case of Jonesing going on - my friend is planning to buy a big, pricey home. They're already talking about having four TVs, a new computer, new furniture, etc etc etc etc. They make a lot more money than I do, but still...I hate feeling so behind people my own age. I know I shouldn't compare myself to others, but it's hard not to. Especially when we have the same background and same education (except mine was way more expensive!).

All this talk of home buying makes SO want to buy a house. I'm so afraid that if we do that, we'll get stuck here forever. He is dropping hints about wanting to get married, too. Yikes! I must be the only woman on the planet who doesn't relish the thought of marriage!

Tonight the massage lady comes - yay!

great birthday

February 7th, 2006 at 09:41 am

Thanks for the birthday wishes! Smile

I had a fabulous birthday. SO and I had a delicious long lunch with my former boss (she paid). He and I went to Ikea afterwards and chipped away at a gift card we received for Christmas. I got a new dresser! I am so excited! After Ikea, we went to dinner with another couple at a great Thai restaurant (SO paid for me). Back at my place, we had ice cream cake, and I got a few very nice gifts. All in all, it was a great day. The sun was even shining - what luck! The art institute was closed, so that's why we didn't go there.

The concert on Friday was excellent, and we did eat dinner at home beforehand. I got to catch up with an old friend there, too.

We went to Brokeback Mountain on Saturday with another couple (SO had free tickets) and I paid $11 for concessions for both of us. It was a good flick. Heart-wrenching, but good.

I stayed home all day on Sunday. A migraine was building and culminated on my birthday, but I squashed it with drugs and some alternative therapy that my massage friend suggested. She's coming again on Wednesday, so I'll have to tell her that her suggestions helped.

So, not much spending on my part this weekend. It was so nice to have three days off. Wouldn't you know it, my co-workers didn't even notice I was gone! and my cube is right by theirs! Nuts. I'm glad I decided to spend the day with SO and friends instead.

cats eat bagels

February 3rd, 2006 at 10:16 am

It was sooooo nice to come home last night, open the door, and have the scent of dinner waft over me. I should use the crockpot more often.

Frugal things I've done lately:
- made Bisquick garlic cheese biscuits to go with the crockpot black bean soup instead of stopping at the grocery store for garlic bread
- directed the car HOME last night instead of going to any store
- baked cookies
- got a ride with SO this morning
- am resisting the urge to buy a hot chocolate, even though I am freezing at my desk, and can't have food products in my desk anymore because of critters in the office

Tonight I'm going to try to eat dinner at home before going to a concert with SO, instead of eating out.

This weekend I am going to try to eat all meals at home, even if friends stop by (I'll cook for them).

On my birthday on Monday, I'm planning to go to the art institute instead of shopping. We'll see how that works out. SO is taking the day off, too, so that will be fun!! Big Grin

Need to keep plugging away at the jewelry-making, so I get better at it. It's easy to get frustrated.

Also need to practice being calm with the cats, even if they eat my bagel with cream cheese off the counter and lick crumbs off of the cookie sheet. They are just being cats (dog-like cats, really).

will the sun ever return?

January 6th, 2006 at 07:23 am

Looks like lost of people went grocery shopping yesterday - me too! I spent more than I meant to, and good grief, we have a lot of food now. I need to do some meal planning. Didn't buy a lot of fresh produce because it all was either ridiculously expensive or looked nasty. Ahh, winter.

SO went to the doctor yesterday and he just has a viral infection. I am glad he went. I half-expected the doctor to send him off to the ER, but he didn't, thank God. He should be over this illness soon, which is good, because I've discovered I'm not a great caretaker! I can be for a few days, but after that, I can't take it.

Yesterday I ordered the latest Spanish-language Shakira CD and the book DivaJen mentioned from amazon. I love, love, love Shakira, but only when she sings in Spanish. I am so happy that she put out a new Spanish-language CD. I'm also interested in trying the migraine/SAD therapy book - maybe it will help. Seriously, winter in the tundra sucks. I haven't seen the sun in weeks, and it is really getting to me. I take Sam-e, which helps, but doesn't replace the sun! I'm not the only one who misses it: link.

I bid on a couple of beading magazines on eBay, but lost. I'm not too disappointed. I don't need to spend the money anyway! I started reading the book about starting your own in-home craft business last night. It is pretty good, and should help me make a decision.

Quiet weekend in the forecast! I just want to stay home, catch up on laundry, cook a little, bake a little, and make jewelry. Shouldn't be too difficult! Smile

itching to go

December 27th, 2005 at 07:09 am

I'm soooooo looking forward to going to my parents' house this weekend. I had a nice Christmas with SO's family, but it was totally nuts. Loud, unorganized, and people spent WAY too much on their family members. Seriously, how can you spend $500 per person? I did not receive gifts like that, thank God, but I watched everyone else open theirs. Wow. That kind of spending makes me so uncomfortable! I am looking forward to a quiet post-Christmas celebration at my family's house, where we don't spend much on each other but we enjoy it nonetheless. Plus, the quiet...oh sweet, sweet quiet... I'll also be glad to be "home" because it's nice to be around your own family. They know what you like, you are their first priority, etc. I adore my SO's family, and I know they love me, but it's just not the same. It was an interesting experience, though. I also feel horrible because my family did not do anything for Christmas, since I was not there!

Friends are coming over tonight to exchange gifts...tomorrow I'm packing...Thursday I'm leaving! Yippee!

better

December 14th, 2005 at 06:35 am

Ok, not so crabby today. Sorry for the rant. Thanks for your comments, they helped. Smile

We are getting socked with snow! They have forecasted 7 inches by tomorrow. I wore my very warm (and free) boots down to the bus stop and my feet stayed warm and dry. Last night I prepared for the storm a bit by stopping at Target and picking up several jars of Classico pasta sauce on sale (my favorite). That will go well with the umpteen boxes of Barilla pasta I bought when it was $.69 per box. We made stuffed shells for dinner last night. If we get trapped, we have plenty of food, a camping stove, and fuel. The chances of that happening in the city are minimal though...I guess I still have the living-in-the-country mindset!

I have been prepping and cleaning for a holiday party I'm hosting tonight...but I'm wondering if anyone will be able to come with all this snow. If not, we have a lot of deviled eggs to eat (what a problem to have)!

Funny, Russell...I don't consider myself single. This is the first relationship I've been in where I don't feel that way. I guess legally I am, but not in any other way. Interesting. I hadn't really acknowledged that shift in mindset until I read your comment.

I have this funny feeling that when I go home in a few weeks (without SO), I will get asked why we haven't gotten married yet and when we plan to. I hope I am wrong about that feeling. I don't particularly want to try to justify my lifestyle choices. If we get married, we get married. I'm happy with things they way they are now. I don't need a signed, legal contract to be happy. Isn't that enough? Well, not for some people, I guess. It will only be a five day trip...and hopefully I am wrong about that feeling... Wink

relaxed back

December 1st, 2005 at 06:22 am

November 30
$80 massage
$1.38 bagel and egg sandwich

Not a bad month. I was still way over budget, as usual, but I managed to put some away into savings. The grand total for gasoline was only $17.06, and groceries were only $182.85.

I have about $125 left to spend on holiday gifts. I'd like to buy a light therapy box this month (jointly, with SO), get my hair cut (but not colored), and pay double on both of my college loans.

The massage last night was so awesome. Probably the best one I have had from her. She won't be back until January, so that will save me $80 in December (although my back might protest).

On to December!

it's raining, it's pouring

November 28th, 2005 at 10:15 am

November 25
$1.05 water (forgot my water bottle in the dishwasher)
$.75 candy bar
approx $55 grocery store with SO (can't find the receipt, went on joint card)

My sister and SO made a delicious dinner. It was nice to come home to that. I fell asleep on the couch fairly early.

November 26
$20 movie and popcorn (cash)
$14.86 beading supplies (cash)
$75 boots for sister and me
$16.75 bowl and measuring cup
$36.46 grocery store with sister (went on joint card since most of it was for my household anyway)

After having homemade waffles for breakfast, we went to Harry Potter, and it was great! I really enjoyed it. Then we went wandering through two malls, and I bought her a pair of winter boots and a pair of high black boots for myself. I also splurged on the bowl and measuring cup (totally awesome set). She wanted some speciality groceries, so we stopped by the store. I picked up ready-made cheese fondue and garlic bread, and we had a delicious dinner at home. Yet again, I fell asleep on the couch fairly early.

November 27
$17.06 gasoline (my only fill-up this month!!!!)
$25 dinner out with friends (cash)

I baked in the morning, and made pancakes. I don't know what it was, but I was in a completely foul mood for most of the day (might have had something to do with the migraine that attacked in the middle of the night). I took my sister back to school in dense fog. She tried to pay me back for the boots, but I wouldn't let her. For some reason I feel guilty taking money from someone who has no income other than what my parents give her, because she spends ALL of her time studying. I mean all of her time. She is a spectacular student.

Later that evening, SO and I met some friends for dinner. I hadn't seen this particular friend in 4.5 years, and it was so great to see her, and to meet her partner. We had a long 3.5 hour dinner at a FABULOUS Thai restaurant. I would go back to that restaurant in a heartbeat. Seeing my friend completely cheered me up, too.

November 28
$4 parking
$2 pop and a banana

Lazed out of bed 20 minutes before I had to leave for my bus...uh, that sucked. No morning shower, and I ended up driving anyway. Oh well, the plus side is that I didn't have to walk in the rain. (Rain?? In MN? On November 28?? It's true.)

trying to stay awake at work

November 25th, 2005 at 09:05 am

November 24
No Spend Day!
I baked the sweet potato pie for our Thanksgiving feast, and it turned out great.

November 23
No Spend Day! (I resisted the caffeine urge)

It sucks being at work when it feels like no one else is. I mean, obviously I have plenty of coworkers around, but there's still a LOT of people out of the office, hardly anyone on the bus this morning, etc. I'd much rather be at home napping on the couch right about now. We're supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow today, too!

Well, apparently I really should bring my car in (thanks for the advice, Russell). I guess I will throw myself back into the challenge of trying to find a mechanic who doesn't lie to me, doesn't charge an arm and a leg, and doesn't look at me crooked simply because I am a woman who owns a car. I'm debating whether or not it is even worth fixing this car, but I don't want a car payment right now, so I guess it is.

I'm not sure what the rest of the weekend will entail. We might go to a movie tonight. We might go rock climbing this weekend. We might burrow into the house and not move until Sunday. We'll see.


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