Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses - July Report

     It has been a long, hot month: trudge, trudge, trudge. Work on commitments. Wash clothes. (Wear them damp sometimes, because it just feels wonderful.) Feed the animals. Work on the house. Work on the yard. Try to sleep. (Much of the time, it's  too hot, and one of us is restless.) We're making progress; filling and getting rid of the dumpster was a big step forward. 

I'm not sure how we did it...God's grace, most probably. But so far, we've paid for property taxes, extra expenses for the truck PLUS bathroom renovations without having to pull money from retirement accounts. We did take out a mortgage loan to help pay for the truck and bathrooms, but there's still a chunk left  -- not a huge one, but we still have extra left. And that will go back to help quickly pay the loan off. 

     God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.


*Donated bags and bags of stuff,  to the Disabled Veterans and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. What a relief to see these go out of the house, and on to a good cause.

*Watched some more free television -- episodes from Supergirl, Turn, The Vikings and our newest: The Mist. Got a couple of dollar videos from the library's used book room.

*Toured Celestial Seasonings' Boulder plant. Not only was the tour free -- we got a free box of tea for signing up for their e-mail newsletter. They were also having a 'tent sale:' 75 cents for a 20-bag box, and $1.00 for 40-bag boxes of Celestial Seasonings tea. Guess what the girlies are getting in their Christmas stockings...
    If you're visiting in the Boulder area, be sure to stop by and visit. It's interesting, and the tea prices are great.The only caveat: kids 5 years and younger are not allowed on the tour.

Jo, Willo and Chris, toasting the latest Celestial Seasonings tea. I am lucky to have these good friends.

*Made a stop at Leanin' Tree's western museum of art -- this is one of the nicest smaller art museums I've been to, and it's free. (It's also only 3 minutes from the Celestial Seasonings plant.) Sadly, the museum is closing at month's-end in August; the paintings and sculpture go up for auction in January next year. Info is here.   Free factory tours and a gift shop will continue after the museum closes.
     One extra bonus on our recent stop: a rack of postcards of paintings and sculpture -- free for the taking!

*Started a new phone plan: combined with friends in an expanded family plan. Not only was it cheaper, it included unlimited data -- something we're going to need when on the road.

*Didn't do much shopping -- and then, mostly on necessities for the house. Home Depot and Lowe's are getting to know us and Son #1 by sight.

*Half-price day at the thrift shop. We live in one of the wealthiest counties in the country -- which makes going to Treasures in the Park a rewarding experience. Often I can find clothing that's better quality, with brand names, than what I could afford elsewhere.
     Today was no exception -- thanks to the sale, plus a volunteer discount, I got two denim shirts (one of them Land's End) and a linen shirt for $1.25 each. Jeans for me, and a pair of shorts for the Brick:  $1.50 each. Birthday cards for 12 cents. Videos for 50 cents to $1.50 (for sets). I held back a lot -- don't want to move any more than we have to -- but these were all great deals we can put to good use.

*Jesters Dinner Theatre in Longmont: a night-out production of Anything Goes -- for $25 vs $40, thanks to a Groupon-type special. (Plus a free drink for joining their e-mail.) Enthusiastic dancing, and the show's female lead is amazing. The food's good, too.

*Met the deadline for recertifying with AQS...barely. To keep up my certification with the American Quilter's Society, I have to submit a detailed report and sample appraisals every three years. (A $100 check, too.)

*Flowers for the back deck and front. A pink-streaked yellow rosebush ($8 and change), plus a purple Eyes of God flower basket ($6.80). The yellow rosebush I got back in the spring on discount just produced its first blossom!

*Big bag of hot dog buns -- from a friend. (We used them for a meal or two, and fed the rest to the chickens.) Another big bag of rolls, from a stop at the thrift shop. (They give out free bread once in a while.) These padded out supper -- the rest will go to the chickens.

*A couple of deli readycooked chickens for $3.59 each.

* A huge sale on freezer burritos: 25-cents each. (I bought 17, which helped get me through the week the Brick was gone.)

*Two dogsitting jobs.

*Got some Christmas and birthday presents on deep discount. (Now if I can only store them until then without the recipients noticing. I've already caught Daughter #2 rummaging through a box.)

*$20 worth of cherry tomato plants  (plus some free bananas and a can of mice) from our neighbor friends. Hopefully those tomatoes are going to start bearing big-time.

*Cherries for $1.49/lb -- then 97 cents/lb! Hooray for summer's fresh produce.

*Some appraising -- especially collections this month. (I was also busy revising and clearing away ones I'd already done. More's coming in August and September, anyways.)  Deposits for an upcoming restoration job, and 2018 gigs. An editing job. A focus group for our newly-renovated library.
      Everything helps.

*Sold two books on Amazon. (One never arrived -- had to refund. Darn.)

*Whenever Swagbucks offered extra points (Swagbucks) for shopping, I ordered -- if it was something we needed., produced two bath mats, dogfood and treats. Plus a tank top and another birthday present on deep discount.
     Swagbucks is a great way to get bonus points for items -- and searches -- you need to do, anyways. They don't sell your information, and the Brick and I each earn about $50 in Amazon gift cards each year. Go here if you're curious and want to know more.

*Free bag of dogfood from Petsmart. ($25 worth!)


*We needed to rent the dumpster an additional month. Ah well.

*The Brick's mandolin bluegrass camp cost -- gasp -- MONEY! Actually, it was very reasonably priced, and he and friend Mike weren't spendthrift. He loved it and learned some things. And he had a nice break from the chaos at home. I'm glad he went.

The mandolin player at his art

*Garden #1 fried because of the heat-- the flowers and tomato seedlings have needed extra water to stay alive. We've also had to keep the swamp cooler running a lot, which means higher utility costs.

*The chickens are still alive. And still laying -- barely. I let some produce spoil -- ergh -- fortunately, they made good use of it.

*Didn't get a book and video returned in time. A couple bucks in overdue fines.

*Some household repairs that still need doing. More $$ out of the savings kitty for this.

*More teeth issues -- a root canal this time, for the Brick. Oh joy.

*Money is still flowing out for the master bathroom renovation. Thank God it's slowed to a trickle now.  We'll have to kick out more soon for paint and flooring, but it's okay. We'll deal with it.

*Another expense is looming, as well:  the Mama's upcoming birthday celebration on August 19 in Michigan. We'll share the costs with Brother and his wife, which helps. They're good Hollanders, too, and quick to see a bargain. We'll deal with that, too.

Every time I save on something, I'm part of a long and proud tradition. You can, too.

For previous hits & misses reports, starting with June, go here. 

Summer can only last so long. For which I am very grateful.

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