Saturday, October 1, 2016

Frugal Hits and Misses: The September Report

Another installment from the Department of Frugality, done Brick-style.  Not too bad, considering -- and a new development.

Before I start, though -- Go Buffs!  Colorado beat Oregon State.  And:

                                       Go Blue!   Michigan beat Wisconsin.      All right, guys!

     We haven't had this much dual excitement in years.

Back to the regularly scheduled program.
Little things first:

*We used up every one of those luscious peaches - and the chickies got any bad spots. The chickens are wonderful for converting spoiled items, stale leftovers and such into eggs-- and thanks to the molting season passing, they're actually laying again. (Our older chickens are starting to die off, though it doesn't seem to make any difference in egg production.)

*The chickens continue to produce enough eggs to pay their feed costs -- plus a bit extra. We sell 3 dozen to customers weekly, with an additional dozen elsewhere now and then. (Or given away to good neighbors.)

*I donated two large bags of stuff to Disabled American Veterans. (More planned in October.)

*Bought 50 pounds of Great Northern beans for $20. Whenever things get uncertain in the political or financial world, buying beans makes me feel better. (I know -- weird.) We're almost out of popcorn; found it in bulk at Sam's Club for about 25% of retail. That's my next purchase.

*More good food buys:  Six months' worth of our favorite coffee beans from Sprouts - $6.99/pound. Sliced Swiss cheese at $2/lb. (Thank you, Safeway...even if the price went up slightly.) Some free item coupons, thanks to King Soopers. A trip to my beloved Friday/Saturday store yielded a bag of free grapes and plenty of other goodies. (At the same place: 40 pounds of chicken wings at $20 for my friend.)
       By the way, milk prices suddenly jumped more than 20% in our neck of Colorado. Have you noticed a similar price increase?

*Bought two pairs of NEW jeans -- half-price, plus free shipping from Old Navy.

*Found a beautiful black turtleneck, plus newish leather gladiator sandals, for a few bucks each. (Thank you, sister Lori -- and the half-price sale at Mission Thrift.)

*Got an armload of zucchini -- for free. (We only got one small one from our own plant.) We love these sliced, dipped in egg and cornmeal/flour and fried. Ummm.
     In spite of the late season, the beans have been doing very well. We'll have lots of (green) tomatoes, too.

*Missed out on using Red Robin's 'free birthday burger' offer. Asked if I could have another week to try, and got a $20 credit to be used within 60 days. All right, Red Robin -- thank you!

*Wrote a compliment letter to Blue Bunny on their amazing 'birthday' ice cream sundaes -- and received an envelope full of coupons!

*Listed a book for sale on Amazon. I didn't get five items listed, per my goal -- but got one, at least.

Even the lemons count...

Now the bigger things: 

*Didn't spend too much on going out to least I didn't. Sadly, the Brick did, while I was in Michigan. (sigh) Back to austerity in this area.

*We got paid for a boatload of extra work. Including dogsitting, singing at a wedding, playing piano/keyboard for church. (Not ours -- elsewhere.) Plus appraising.

*The Brick got a new part-time job! He's a relief driver (substitute and field trips) for the Palmer Lake school district. Even a few days a week will help.

*I got an offer as an elections judge in October/November. The pay's crappy, the work's boring -- but everything helps.

*Swapped dog/chicken-sitting deals with someone else. Saved us at least $5 daily in fees...but no eggs on those days, either.

*Spent $78 for a roundtrip plane ticket to Chicago. (And promptly messed it up.)

*Didn't pay for checked luggage during that trip -- just took a tote bag with a few days' worth of clothes, instead. (And kicked myself in the long run, because it was so heavy to drag around. Maybe the Brick's IPad is a better idea than a laptop.)

*Got the fabric I needed in Michigan on sale. A quilt sample for an upcoming class -- with a second quilt made by The Mama. Part of that cost was covered by cash birthday gifts, too. (Yes, I dragged the quilt top back, stuffed somehow in the tote bag. Ouch.)

*Didn't make any big purchases -- except one. (See below.) Few visits to the grocery store, either, which helped.

And the bad stuff:

*Forced to buy an extra plane ticket -- because I was a doofus. Plus a very expensive taxi ride ($53) to O'Hare. Fortunately, the ticket was cheap: $89. But still...

*Paid for a brake job on one car. Another $340 gone. Why does the extra money get sucked away so easily?
     Both vehicles really should have their windshields replaced soon, too.

*No apples. Turns out their price per pound was very similar to what we would pay here. And I did NOT want to carry any more weight from Michigan.

*Got behind because of the drama in Michigan. I hope to catch up some this weekend.

Major changes coming:

We took a big step toward our eventual plans -- we bought a 29-foot trailer! It's not new, but it's in good shape, well-designed, fitted for all-weather use...and the Brick bargained the already-reasonable price down another $550. (Enough to cover sales tax when we register it on Monday.)
     It's beautiful. 

Tons of storage, a kitchen that's better planned than our current one, and plenty of windows. Once we figure out all the bells and whistles, it should be easy to maintain, too. (Could we possibly rent it out, airbnb style, to help pay for it? Hmmm....)

Our next action: find a reasonably-priced truck with fifth wheel capabilities to tow it. For now, the Brick will borrow a truck to haul it to the area the guys plan to hunt in this month. (Another problem solved -- our current truck camper is in tatters, and just wasn't up to the challenge.) I've made the guys promise to put down tarps on the floor, and cover the couch. At least they can cook and sleep in comfort this season.

We had to take out a loan. (And I hate, hate, HATE debt.) But the interest rate is minimal, thanks to our good credit, and the whole shebang will be paid off in less than a year.

          When we sell our current home.

                 And start living in this new one. 

          More on this in the future.

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