Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: March Report

This has been a long month. We have so many projects in the air right now; I'm determined none will drop, in spite of the juggling. It's difficult, and means I need to stay home and 'babysit' a lot. The projects, that is.
     While the rest of the country, seemingly, has had storm after storm, our weather has been DRY. Rain last week, plus a lot of snow early last Friday, was the first we've seen pretty much all month. It's meant lower energy bills and easier transportation. But boy, the garden and lawn are thirsty. Thankfully, it's supposed to rain or snow almost daily through the end of the month. So far, it has.
    For some interesting reason, a few of Brickworks' regular suppliers had deep clearance sales this month. We took advantage of those, for the website and teaching. It meant spending money I'd planned not to -- but will pay off in the long run. 

Drank a lot of coffee & tea this month...it may have been dry, but it was COLD.


*Season tickets to Boulder, Colorado's Shakespeare Festival this summer for $12/ticket -- the 'Early Bard' special. Yes, an awful pun -- but an insane deal for Shakespeare plays. Shows include Julius Caesar and my very favorite, Hamlet. (I was Ophelia in a college performance long, long ago.)
       If you're interested, check quickly on these -- tickets were going fast.

*Got the complete version of The Shadow radio shows: $4.95.  (darn -- they were $2.95 a week or so ago.) I loved listening to this via an old-timey radio show back in high school; it will be nice to have something to keep me occupied while we clean out, pack and clean up in the house.

*We now have a seniors national park pass. Plus a free Canada Parks pass good for this year!

*Replaced VHS videos of much-loved movies with DVDs: Moonstruck, Man from Snowy River and Return to Snowy River.  (I still think it's weird the movie guys would think we wouldn't notice the difference between dads.) Got them for $6 each. (Return was closer to $9.) Found The Fugitive,  Scorpion King and some videos for presents at a buck each at the library sale room.

*Paid support for three missionaries...plus Compassion, for our adopted 'son.' Ever since I can remember, 10% of our income has gone to God's causes...missionaries we've committed to help, the church we go to, groups like MCC (one of the best places in the world to donate, because they have such low overhead costs) and Operation Christmas Child. We've also sponsored kids for years through Compassion -- two sons finished the program, and our current child, Carlos, is from Brazil.
     Ten percent isn't that much!  If everyone in the world gave a tiny slice of their income, just think how much good we could do. Even if I can't talk 100% of the population into this...perhaps, Gentle Readers, you would consider it. Giving changes your life, as much as it helps others.

*Generally held back on spending again. The Brick saved us so much on insurance, and we're trying to use that money to beef up the emergency fund. So far, it -- and my extra work appraising -- are helping.

*Careful on groceries, too. I'm trying to clean out the freezer section of our refrigerator -- a lot of our protein this month came from there, though King Soopers had some BOGO specials on chicken nuggets and fish sticks. The best, though, came this week: 88 cents/lb for chicken breasts! (The nuggets weren't that great -- called customer service for Perdue to mention it, and got offered my money back. I'll take it -- and get some chicken tenders, instead! Thank you, Perdue.)
     No visits to Sam's Club or the Friday/Saturday store, and only one stop at Wal-Mart, mostly for dogfood. I'm almost out of flour, though.

Ate a fair amount of these, too -- mostly in soup, enchiladas and burritos

*Gave a dear friend her birthday present: four tickets to a dinner theater production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Saved $60 on the regular price through Groupon. She loved it -- and we get to go with her this weekend!  (No other appreciable costs on presents for this month.)

*The Brick changed the oil himself on the Outback. He also fixed a sewing machine for an elderly lady on a fixed income -- and refused to take any money for it. I'm proud of him.

*Bought a truck! Got an excellent price on it -- the Brick has been researching for months. (I guess this is a 'miss' too, depending on how you look at it. We still have to pay for the license, which will sting. Colorado is not a cheap place to live, in this respect.)
       Now to find the proper fifth-wheel hitch package. The Brick will find a great deal on that too, I'm sure. (He's good at that sort of thing.)

*Planted one bed of greens and peas soon after St. Patrick's Day. (March 17 is the traditional date to stuff them in the ground. I got them in in time to get snowed and rained on. Will plant the rest after this week.)

*Found some items for Daughter #2's wedding in the fall: rhinestone trim for her veil, rock candy swizzle sticks, tags, napkins for the rehearsal dinner and some joke items for her shower. These were all either discount or clearance -- yay!

*More shows watched for free: 24 Legacy, Designated Survivor, NCIS New Orleans, Walking Dead,
     Watching these without commercials is just an extra bonus.

*Taken out of the tin that I keep egg money and piano lesson fees: $265! (Plus some foreign money and a quarter or two.) Since I didn't go out much these past few months, the cash wasn't spent. Put it in the bank, instead.

*Took three of my piano kids to concerts, with supper thrown in.  We stopped by Burger King once; the second time, I made homemade macaroni and cheese. We finished with McDonalds for ice cream-- twice. I guess this could be a 'misses' x two, but we were careful on money, and the kids loved it.
     I give rewards when my piano kids finish playing through a book. Several were due this month, but I'd already gathered the prizes -- no extra cost there.

*Sold some eggs; gave piano lessons (except during Spring break); did a little appraising. Not much this time of year...but enough to add appreciably to the coffers. The Brick did some bus driving, too -- field trips and SPED (Special Ed) routes. I did lose two piano students this month...but my time teaching is winding down, anyways, due to our upcoming move. Our large, heavy piano has gone on its way to one set of students, who were thrilled. (And we were happy to find the extra space.)
      I'll give lessons on the electronic keyboard, instead.

*Found a quarter. The Brick found one, too -- in the space where the piano used to be.

*Sold some books through Amazon. They've increased their fees, so I'm not going to continue this, except for the pricier offerings.

*Picked up some new gigs, including one for a Boulder quilt guild in June, and teaching again in 2018 for the John C. Campbell school in North Carolina. Love this place!

*Donated several large bags of stuff to ARC. The veterans group and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum will get the next batch of stuff -- I've got a lot of quilt-related items that will go to RMQM.

*Gave friends flowers -- and kept a bunch myself. They weren't expensive Now daffodils and flowering branches are filling our vases, instead.


*Four chickens dead. One chicken had a lot of neck feathers gone, which often spells HAWK. They were all from the oldest batch of chickies, so who knows. At least one was a layer; our egg production has gone way down. Darn it.

*Missed out on being reimbursed for 2016 hotel expenses -- because I waited too long to submit the receipts for a teaching gig. At least I can take these as a charitable deduction...but still. (It was for a nonprofit, thankfully.)

*Went out to eat too much. And as the Brick pointed out, we paid too many times for other people's dinners. We ate out from necessity during our trip to North Dakota, as well.  (We were really careful how much we spent -- a hit, I guess.)

*Had to stay an extra night in North Dakota. Our credit union only transfers money for a two-hour period each day...and we asked too late. (Did they warn us about this before we left -- and the Brick asked? Nooooo....) BUT after I wrote an e-mail to the CEO of Air Academy Credit Union, they apologized, and comped us for the hotel night with a $100 gift card. Now, that's classy. (Thank you, AAFCU.)

*Bought a dress for Daughter #2's upcoming wedding.  I spent 70 DOLLARS.  I haven't paid this much for an outfit in decades. Daughter #2 probably thinks this hilarious, since her wedding gown was $500. I can't help it.
     Because there was also a "Buy one, get one for $5" special, though, I got a second dress, equally nice, for $5. Guess that's a hit. (Daughter #2's dress was actually a good buy, too -- and it's washable!)

I continue to be inspired by others' accomplishments. (Here's another person who does regular updates, too.) Hopefully, you're getting some ideas from visiting mine, too.
     For previous months' Frugal Hits and Misses, start here.

We'll get more of this, no doubt, before spring is over.

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