Friday, June 16, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: June Report

I am tired.
     Dead beat and plum tuckered out. This has been a very long month, stuffed with teaching gigs, a LOT of appraising, and other demands that had to be finished by the end of the month. 
     The guest bathroom is nearly done -- just a few more drawer pulls that the Brick is busy installing. It looks beautiful: Son #1 did a wonderful job. 
     Our master bathroom, on the other hand, is a echoing hole in the wall, the door covered in plastic, and stripped down to studding and wallboard. Son will be working on that more this week. This bath is going much quicker -- in part because he's feeling some better (he had some bouts of sickness this month), and because we know to supply the items he needs, in time for him to put them to good use. Too bad we're learning all this...then when the bathrooms are done, we'll forget again. (Look for a post on this subject in the near future.)
     We've had so little rain that the front yard is crunchy and brown. All the grass I weeded out of the beds is back. I'll work on getting that out (again) when the appraisals are done and mailed. 

No lazing about  -- maybe in a month or two.

The Brickworks website is still in hiatus. That doesn't mean we are, too.
After www.cindybrick.com was nearly hacked, my IT guy has been extra-careful to check every page, rebuild and protect it. (I guess I should feel proud -- he thinks the Russians were behind it. They didn't succeed, incidentally.) 
      Because my IT guy is also the Brick, though, his has meant that the website has had to wait while other pressing deadlines were taken care of first. Stay calm -- Brickworks will be back soon. I promise. 



      This hacking business is only getting worse. If you have any kind of online presence, the implications are truly frightening.


FRUGAL HITS THIS MONTH:

Watched our share of movies and tv series for free, including our favorites, Turn and Supergirl. Wonder Woman was reasonably good; the Transformers movie, on the other hand, just seemed TOO dramatic -- flashy lights and poses, but not much substance. Oh well. We did see Hidden Figures at the discount cinema, too -- wonderful.
     Any other movie viewing came from either the library, the library's used book room ($1 each) or our own collection. (Yes, we like movies. A lot.)

Got a $10 off coupon for ordering groceries via Wal-Mart.com (free pickup). Got some nice buys too, like 4 cans of baked beans for $2.50.
    Other good food buys:  a five-pound bag of mini-carrots for $3, red peppers for 25-35 cents each, and cauliflower for 50 cents. Got more hot dogs for a buck, too. (Really good for pigs-in-the-blanket.)

Ordered sundresses and a jeanskirt from Old Navy -- $15 each, plus free shipping. My summertime wardrobe has been getting more faded and worn; some items needed to be replaced.

The food buy of the month: A big stack of mini Baby Ruths and Butterfingers -- for 51 cents each. The usual 6-pack was 8, instead, and the package was marked 50% off its usual price ($1.99). The dollar store usually has these for a buck each -- but not for 8 bars. I took a few to the checkout to pay for them. Lo and behold, they were on sale for another 50 cents off!
     Six and a half pennies per mini-bar; often, that's all we need for dessert, along with a cup of tea. (Yes, I went back and bought more.)

Enjoyed Taming of the Shrew (very much) and Hamlet (sort of) at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, for $12 per ticket. Julius Caesar and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead are next.

Made payments early on our trailer loan. I've been doing this for months now, thanks to Thrifty Mom in Boise. She pointed out that if you pay your usual amount a few weeks early, you save on interest that month. I wouldn't have thought it makes that much of a difference -- but it does. I've already noticed.



Sold 6 books and a video on Amazon. Listed two DVDs and a book or two

Purchases made on Amazon and Ebay for the bathrooms. If you're careful, you can get good quality for much less.
    Tip:  If they offer a 'Best Offer' option on Ebay, ALWAYS make a lesser bid first. You can change your mind later and pay their full suggested price, instead.

Made big purchases from Lowe's and Home Depot via Swagbucks -- so we could get a small discount, even if we weren't saving big bucks.  (We did buy the best-reviewed, most reasonably-priced items we could find.)  Go here if you want to learn more about this.

T-bone steaks ($5.77/lb) grilled for Father's Day. They were delicious.

A BIG bag of leftover bread, scavenged. The chickens loved it -- we did too, in the form of toast, garlic bread and french bread pizza. Gave some to friends, Daughter #2 and Son #1, as well. (Did this twice this month. Luck of the draw.)

Went to work -- or the hospital, to see our friend Thommy-- then came home. A lot. Wash, rinse and repeat.

Went out to eat more than usual -- but was reasonably careful about it. Used gift cards twice. Daughter #1 bought lunch once for me, and her father once (for Father's Day). What a thoughtful thing to do -- thanks, Lovey.

3 cartons of chicken verde, carnitas and chili chicken...free!  You're not going to believe this... but I found them, still reasonably cold, stacked by the cart return in the grocery store parking lot. (They were fully cooked to start with, which gave me more confidence to use them.)



Kept food I was offered during working days...and passed it along to others.   Like my wonderful assistants during appraising days. The Brick enjoyed a few cinnamon rolls I couldn't eat, too.

Was careful about away-from-home food purchases.  Didn't eat at the hospital -- or got the cheapest item. Brought Cokes to work, rather than buying them at 7-Eleven or the vending machine.

Stripped and repainted wood details in the guest bathroom. Like the built-in wooden cabinet and the wooden windowsill. The metal radiator cover was stripped and repainted, too -- these were all a perfect complement to the vanity we bought, because the Brick and Son #1 took a drawer into Home Depot's paint department to match. (HD was spot on.)

Did a BIG batch of appraisals. Several judging and teaching gigs, too.


NOW THE FRUGAL MISSES:

Spent a lot more in gas... driving to the hospital, and all those gigs.

No bus driving for the Brick -- half a paycheck, and no more coming this summer (darn).

Still bleeding money for the bathroom renovations. The master bath vanity set us back $599 -- and that was looking for the best-priced, best-quality piece we could find. The floor and shower tiles aren't a penny (see the May Frugal Hits and Misses)...but they're not much more than $2 each, either. Nonetheless, it all adds up. We spent more than $500 tonight alone.
     On the plus side, we've continued to find good buys here and there: like the pharmacy drawer pulls on Ebay for $1.30 each -- versus Home Depot's $4 price. The Brick is helping Son #1 finish off the guest bath too, which helps.
       I'll be glad when these are both done -- yet another big step in the right direction.

Had to pay almost $10 in interest - because we were one day late for mortgage taxes. (Grrr) Serves me right for not double-checking the date.

A beautiful raised bed of greens, radishes and peas: all fried, due to the sudden, fierce heat. The radishes went woody, the greens bolted and the pea vines died with blossoms still attached. I only got a few sprigs of greens out of the whole thing. At least the chickens could use what was left, but still...

Chickens got a reprieve. Again. Sold a dozen eggs to a neighbor, which almost paid for another bag of cracked corn. They're laying 2 or 3 eggs a day...if they feel like it. (Another chicken died of old age, too.) They also recycle scraps, leftovers and spoiled stuff nicely.  That's barely enough right now to justify their continued existence. But don't tell them I said that. They're scary when they get riled up.





* * * * * * * * * * * *

This reporting has had an unusual result: I'm even more careful how I spend our money, knowing I have to 'fess up to you, Gentle Readers. I don't feel apologetic at all about being careful -- every dime I can save helps pay for renovations and moving costs, without us having to scoop anything out of retirement funds. And that feels wonderful.

 When you do feel the need to defend yourself for saving money, take a look at the answers given to the Frugalwoods by blog readers. A nice variety of responses are here. They're not rude or lippy, either.

For previous months of Frugal Hits & Misses, starting with May, go here. 

And on with summer.







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