Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: August Report

     "August is the longest month in the year," a friend said recently. She wasn't whistling Dixie. The heat (thankfully eased up about mid-month), must-be-done-right-now tasks, and some increasingly-detailed reports, not to mention sneezing and watery eyes, thanks to allergies, have made this month a long and largely cheerless slog. Gee, being a responsible adult is so much fun.
     August is a big birthday month for us -- for Daughters #1 and #2, along with The Mama, and several other relatives. I planned ahead for presents, but we dropped a goodly amount of money for both dinner out (for Daughters) and the Spanish Supper (for The Mama). It was fun to celebrate, though.
      Moneywise, we had to put out more cash for the second bathroom renovation. It's nearly done, and Son #1 (our contractor) assures us that will be about all, costwise. Some tiles and other materials can be returned, which will help out with the final cost. 
      Next: painting and floors. We need to earn some more $$ first, though. Our regular expenses are still covered by the Brick's pension, and we've got money leftover from the loan to keep making trailer payments. Any extra we make can go toward more renovations -- and paying off that pesky loan.
      That, friends, is why being frugal over decades is so helpful -- in the long run, it gives you freedom to change your mind and make different choices.
     I'll take that over a fancy dining room set and a custom wardrobe anytime. I wouldn't mind a housekeeper or maid now and then, though.


*The Brick has been making supper regularly, more or less, on Monday nights. It's had a surprise benefit -- he tends to wait til the last minute to figure meals out, so we clear out lots of leftovers! I'm okay with it. Hey, I don't have to cook.

*A big batch of cheap paper reams from Staples, thanks to rebates -- plus a $10 off $10 coupon. Back to school specials are good, too.

*Our local Safeway decided to renovate -- which meant rack after rack of half-priced items. I snagged everything from soup to dogfood, at very reasonable prices.

*I made one birthday 'cake' (actually, a cobbler) for Daughter #2's birthday...and found Daughter #1's birthday cheesecake at a very reasonable price.

*Goodies from the thrift shop. This has been a treasure trove lately, thanks to free bread -- two big bags worth, which the chickies, neighbors and we enjoyed -- plus jewelry, shirts, shorts, a few videos (including a Haunted History series from the History Channel), leather sandals -- and a boatload of Christmas and shower presents. (Example: a brand-new specialty crib sheet, still in packaging for a slick buck, and a Broncos short-sleeved collar shirt for $1.75.) Many of these were 75% off, thanks to a half-price sale, and my volunteer discount!
     Some of the others came from a stop at Grand Island's Goodwill, while in town for the eclipse including books for resale ($2), shirts ($1.50-3.99) and a beautiful leather jacket for the Brick. ($15) No coffee maker, though -- ours broke. (Just ordered a French press from Amazon for $10. That will keep us going until we can find an electric coffeemaker the Brick likes.)
 Daughter #2 and Son #1 got their own great buys, including clothing and, of all things, plastic horseshoes for pitching horseshoes while they're camping!
     Tip: Try this, next time you're out doing the tourist thing -- instead of fancy souvenir shops, buy a memory at the local thrift shop, instead. You're bound to find t-shirts, postcards and other items that will bring back memories of your trip, without having to pay a lot extra.

*Thin-sliced corned beef: $2.25/lb! This was a buy from a discount grocery found during our eclipse trip. Found some other items, too, but this was the star.

*A frugal afternoon with friends...thanks to the Colorado Rockies. A return trip to the Leanin' Tree Western Museum of Art. Then for supper, Taco Bell tacos, 4 for $2.00, thanks to seven runs in a previous game. Free McDouble at McDonald's on the way out of town, because the team hit a double the night before. Go, Rockies!

*EIGHTEEN DVDs for $18, including The Magnificent Seven (the new version!) and several Star Trek movies, all from the used book room at our local library. These will fill birthday presents and Christmas stockings. (I've been haunting the room for weeks, just waiting for someone to cull the library's videos.) A second visit a few days ago yielded fourteen more, at the same reasonable price.
     We'll watch some of these before passing them on, during our Friday date nights.

*A half-priced 'engineer's print' (really, a 3 x 4 foot poster) for Daughter #2's birthday, of her favorite doggie.

*Fresh fruit and veggies are well-priced right now. Best of all, they're not too green -- they actually taste like something. This has included zucchini and squash (from our kind neighbors), as well as several large boxes of Palisade peaches. We also gobbled down our share of watermelon and blueberries during our trip to Michigan. (See below as well.) Sadly, the produce stands were closed by the time we headed out of we didn't bring much extra home.

*Sold a dozen eggs to a neighbor, and traded another dozen for five large squash. (They've really been kind to us -- it's a pleasure to go back and forth on this.) Swapped an appraisal for yet more veggies. (They're currently borrowing the trailer to use as an Airbnb for family members who are visiting. idea for the future?)

*Packed sandwiches and snack food while on the trip to take business items to storage. Hot dogs and chips for a cheap lunch -- Burger King coupons, using the discount gift cards, after the eclipse.

*Got the BK gift cards for a $5 discount on every $25 purchased, thanks to Safeway.

*Used up a Groupon for Johnny Rockets, a burger place in Denver, before it expired.

*Watched more shows via the Internet, including Timeless and The Last Ship.  Love that Adam Baldwin; Eric Dane's not too bad, either.

*Sold three or so books and a video on Amazon. One of the books - $30.88, for a copy I found at the library used book sale for 50 cents! My best score in a long time.

*Did some appraising, including a large job for a museum. Picked up a restoration job I'll work on this fall.
     Unfortunately, the Brick didn't have any income this month...but we did get a slight increase on his pension payment.

*BOGO on Purina Dog WAY marked-down coupons for other brands. What is it with dogfood freebies and markdowns this summer?

*Allergy meds for less.  (We developed allergies after moving here -- Charley the dog struggles with them, too. Go figure.) Savings #2:  the vet was willing to refill Charley's prescription, as well, without the cost of a return visit. (Thank you, Dusty Plains -- we appreciate it!)
       A bunch of marked-down shampoos, conditioners and deoderants, too.

*Used free Friday download items at both Safeway and King Soopers. (For you Midwest and East Coasters, Soopers is affiliated with Kroger.) Visit both sites on Fridays, and they invariably have a coupon for a free item that you can redeem sometime in the coming week.


*Some repairs needed on the truck. Sigh....

*The bathroom. Obviously. Son #1 is taking care not to overspend, which we appreciate.

*The birthday celebrations. We dropped approximately $150 for each.

*Extra gas costs. Eighteen hours each way to Michigan really eats up the miles, particularly in the truck. Fortunately, gas prices were reasonable most of the time.

*Some incidental not-fun expenses. A book sold via Amazon -- then lost by Ye Olde Post Office. (At least I got the postage cost back...that helps, I guess.) $1.40 fines at the library for an overdue video. (Shame on me.) Some postage for sending a nonfitting dress back. Stuff like that.

*A dropped IPad -- now the screen's broken. The Brick figures at least $250 to repair it.

*A dying battery on my cellphone -- and a broken microphone on the Brick's cellphone. Are they talking to the IPad, or something?

You can access more months of reports by starting with July.
Hard to believe, but I've been writing these for more than a year!

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