Friday, May 31, 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Frugal Hits & Misses: May Report

This has been anything but a frugal month. In fact, with all the money expended for help, dumpsters, renovations and such, I should be breaking into hysterical laughter, just mentioning it. But the truth is:

*We live in an older house.
*It's needed renovation we couldn't afford to do.
*It will sell at a much higher price if we make those changes before we put it on the market.

And finally:
*Just by moving, we can afford the money for renovating.
          Go figure.

There is the possibility of another trailer to live in -- but it will also need some work. We'll be talking to its current owners soon. Until then, our wonderful neighbors have agreed to let us use their trailer while renovation on the house continues. 

God willing, the house should be on the market in mid-June. (Let us know if you're interested.)

Thrifty Mom in Boise resolved to use up what she already had, instead of going out and buying more. I agree with her philosophy on money, as well:  "I have always maintained it isn't just about how much money you make.  It is all about what you do with it.  The choices and decisions we make with that money are truly what matters."
    Amen, sister.

Even if it means spending more now, in order to save later.

Try getting your house ready to sell...that'll do it, too.


*More clothes have gone out for donation.  (More than a dozen large bags!) I am finding I don't need that many outfits, as long as I have a few good ones that wash easily. Ditto for shoes, too -- I wear the same pairs over and over.

*Said goodbye to the popup truck camper. It did yeoman service for years, while the girlies were little. Now it will make another family happy.

*Got final payment for the totalled trailer. That cash has helped pay the working crews. Sold the hot tub on the back deck -- that will help, too.

*Fruit deals:  Two pounds of strawberries: $1.88. (They spoiled within two days -- even the 'perfect' ones tasted spoiled. Returned them for a replacement.) A marked-down melon for a buck. Four last apples in the crisper, plus some dollar store blueberries and a leftover box of piecrust mix, made for a tasty tart.

*Half-price doughnuts -- for the guys working at the house. (They've been wonderful.) Also: five pieces, for a four-piece price!
       I've also bought a submarine sandwich and Little Caesar's Pizza sometimes for our working-men. We've been very lucky to have Drew (crew #1 supervisor) and his guys: brother Joe, Dave, Cody, Nick and Richard; and friend Tommy (crew #2 supervisor), Steve and Sam. (The painting/floor crew start in early June.)
    Moral of the story: Lunch, as well as coffee, soft drinks and sweet stuff (doughnuts, cookies, candy bars, whatever) go a long way in helping people keep on.

*Two for $10 flower baskets -- plus six-packs of flowers on sale. For the front and back decks. (Our realtor gifted another hanging basket, as well.)

*Multi-day moving sale. We didn't sell a ton of stuff -- the weather was too cold and rainy. But we did sell enough to offset some of the money going out.

*Gave several graduation presents I'd stashed away in the past. Cleaned out the present box -- but reserved some items for later use.

*Returned a bad ham ("Bad Ham, Bad!") and got our money back. Redeemed a King Soopers freebie. (They didn't offer many in May, for some odd reason.) Also got credit for a bag of potatoes (frozen), a jar of spaghetti sauce we were charged for. (It was supposed to be a freebie).

*Made the loan payment early -- saving on interest. All other bills were paid on time, in spite of all the whoo-ha and chaos around here.

*Cash found while cleaning up: Dimes, quarters, and a few pennies. (Nickels too, of course.)  Plus $39 in dollar bills, tightly rolled and stored in an old eyeglass case. Found while running coins through the machine at the credit union: a few foreign coins and -- true to form -- a nickel.

*$20 in Red Robin bonus bucks, for buying giftcards. (You can, too!) Outback giftcards contributed another $10 in bonus bucks.

*Cashed out a $25 Swagbucks gift card for Amazon -- I'll get a second one in early June, to help pay for needed tools and repair items. (The Brick used $50 of his SB-earned giftcards, as well.) Swagbucks is still a great place to earn gift cards easily! Go here to learn more.

*Did one appraisal -- and an addendum to an existing appraisal. Life was quiet, workwise, this month. (I'll pay for it in early June, when I have 2 lectures -- one for History Colorado in Denver, another for the historical society in Virginia Dale, near Fort Collins; and a multi-day gig in Granby.)

*Packed a suitcase on purpose with the embellishments, books and samples I'll need for the upcoming gigs in June -- so I'd have everything at hand, without killing myself looking for everything.

*Used Amazon Prime a lot -- it was a comfort to watch movies while resting sore legs and aching backs in the evening. Also caught up on the latest episodes in The Walking Dead.

*Cans of Danish butter on Amazon-- good for ten years-plus. This warehouse deal will join some other foodstocks, In Case the World Ends Soon.

*Didn't shop in stores -- except when I had to. (Home Depot, Walmart and Lowes were the major exceptions.) If at all possible, bought the items needed -- storage bins, tape, etc. -- on sale.

*Found all sorts of goodies stashed away while clearing the house. Including a number of wonderful trims and embellishments that will go for the Granby quilt guild. (Lucky for you, dears!)

*No piano lessons. Some restoration work. I'll finish up the latter as soon as we move out of the house. My piano students, meanwhile, will go on summer hiatus -- common this time of year.

*Earned money from some surveys. (The Brick did one, too.)

*Restaurant savings: Free burger at Red Robin.  Free Pick-Two coupon at Panera. Free order of Crazy bread at Little Caesar's.

*Bought a BUNCH of photos for the new book. (Yes, Ghosts & Legends of Colorado's Front Range is going to have a sequel.) Hard to spend the $$ for photos now, but it will save us so much in the long run. (Also found a picture of Charley Dickens and his daughters for my personal collection. Love that man.)

He was a little beat up, so I even got a discount -- after I'd saved via Best Offer, that is.

*Saved on those buying them on sale or submitting 'best offers' on Ebay. (Never pay full price if your Ebay item has a 'best offer' available! Didn't always get it the first time around -- but I did the second.)

*Took a friend and her mom out to lunch -- and gained some new stories and insight for the new book. It's priceless to hear these events recounted by people who actually lived through them.

*Made do with what we had -- even though we couldn't find a lot of things. (Our guys were far too efficient, packing.) Ate out of the freezer and a LOT of cans. Boring, but necessary. More difficult, though, once the guys packed the can opener -- and we couldn't find it.

*Donated to groups who could use it, including Habitat for Humanity, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, Vietnam Vets... and my beloved local thrift shop, sponsored by the Douglas County Task Force.

*Four new cushion sets for the patio furniture: $14.99 each at Plus a new umbrella cover we'd purchased some time ago via Amazon.

*Carbon monoxide/smoke detector alarms required for the house -- found the six needed on Amazon for $15.99 each (reg. $23.99).

*An absolute steal on birthday presents for Daughters #1 and #2 from Amazon -- but I can't tell you now, because they read this blog. (I wrapped them early and gave them out -- that way, I didn't have to pack them.) Also from Amazon: family packs of strawberry Pop-Tarts -- 32 P-Ts for $3.99! I love these guys, but rarely buy them because they're so expensive.

*More videos  from the library's used book room -- including birthday and Father's Day presents, plus all 11 seasons of M*A*S*H.  ($2 each!) Returned a video that didn't work.

*Boxes of books, to friends with similar interests. At least some of my 'babies' could help people we care about.

*Continuing cleanup:  Made roughly a gallon of wild plum jam -- that's how good our harvest was last year. (The fruit's been hanging out in the trailer freezer, so had to be processed.) Some of the best jam I've ever made...

*Used up some office supplies collected over the years. We're low on shipping envelopes, but I won't replenish those until we move.

*Schlepped Daughter #2 and Son #1 to the airport - then picked them up. Saved on parking fees. We kept our granddog Karma during that period, as well -- which Charley and Ruby both loved.

*No hospital or doctor expenses. For us -- or the dogs.  I am more grateful for this than I can express.


*Emptied the dumpster. Four times. Granted, the fourth time had items contributed by our neighbors -- but that amount of junk collected over three-plus decades is still...must I say it... Pathetic.

*Threw out the freezer -- at least half-full of way-too-old food. Also threw out a bunch of years-too-old cans and boxed food. (Drew insisted. He was right. Also Pathetic.) I will not be doing this much packratting in the future, for the simple reason that we won't have the space.

*Cleared out a bunch of freezer-burned items.  (Sometimes the dogs could eat it. Sometimes not.)

*Lots of $$ spent getting the house ready for sale. You don't want to know. At least the bathrooms upstairs were already done...and look beautiful, thanks to Son #1.

Go here for April's report -- and last year's.

We are close to dead tired and 'plum tuckered out,' as the Brick says. But the end is increasingly near. Just a few more weeks, and our lives will change once again.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Men's Fashions

Hey guys, spring is here. Why not update your wardrobe in a way that makes you stand out from your fellow man? Like these options:

...but only if you have cute gams.

Or a flair for the funky.

Yes, these were high-style back in the Seventies. God help us.

What can you say, but...

Keanu, We Hear Ya

Scruffy, unassuming and endearing...what's there not to like about Keanu Reeves? He hasn't had an easy life, but has a reputation for being helpful, kind and generous, regardless. An all-around nice person, albeit a little quirky.

    He may even give this guy a run for his money.  Or someone else.

Yet another lesson in making sure where your tied sleeves hang down...
unless you want to look like you're wearing a loincloth.

You can't really blame him...

This IS kind of weird...

What's with the poodle in the background -- stunt double?

And my favorite:


Monday, May 27, 2019

Entertainment Auction This Week

If you're a movie fan, Ewbanks' upcoming auction is perfect --

It's May 30-31, and features items from James Bond, My Fair Lady, 2001: A Space Odyssey and other iconic flicks, including:

A rare 1977 Star Wars poster

Description: Star Wars (1977) British Quad film poster, rare poster with artwork by Tim & Greg Hildebrandt, 20th Century Fox, folded, 30 x 40 inches. History: This rare version of the UK Quad poster was designed by the Hildebrandt brothers, and was issued when the film was initially released in the UK. However, subsequent to the films release it was felt that the depiction of the characters should more closely resemble the films actors, and therefore this version of the poster was discontinued in favour of Tom Chantrell's artwork.

Notice the foldlines? For posters, this is not that big a deal. Appraised value: between 2500-3500 British pounds -- roughly $3500-4500 dollars, give or take a buck of two.

Go here for more. May the Force be with you.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Monday (Fine, Saturday) Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff: Happy Memorial Day!

   Yes, this is earlier than my usual Monday post. But I figure you'll be sleeping in, going swimming or eating watermelon and hotdogs on Memorial Day...not reading my blog. So here are the latest things I've found, early enough for you to enjoy them.

The moving continues. We have more to do, but hope to finish it off this weekend...because next week, the painting starts. It's also the last few days of the moving sale, before most of the furniture gets carted off  by Habitat for Humanity. I keep getting a crick in my neck from trying to get work done, and watch for customers at the same time. 

No delightful lazing about for us this year on Memorial Day. Maybe next year.

What to do when you can choose the donor for your child...and you're black. I don't think the issues are quite so (ahem) black-and-white as this writer, but she does bring up some interesting questions.

Aluminum foil hacks that work!  Did you know that it can extend the life of bananas...and batteries?

When helping your kids is only hurting you. An interesting look at this subject -- partly because the blogger was once forced to accept help from her parent!   (From I Pick Up Pennies)

Easy ways to make your house smell good.  (From Knockoff Decor)

How to make a wooden spoon.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

Want to live healthier and cheaper? Clean less!  (From Mr. Money Mustache)

Ten art auctions in a week: two BILLION dollars in sales. Christie's did the best -- more than one billion itself! Sotheby's and Phillips did less than in the past. Here's the full report;  fellow appraisers, take note.  (From Appraiser Workshops)
A walk in Tintagel -- and a rebellion against 'spend a penny' British toilets!  (From Life After Money)

Modernism in antique quilts. Why this guy is so surprised that a 'modern' look can be found in very old quilts...well, I'm just not sure. But interesting, nonetheless.  (From Wonky World)

"Twelve of my favorite decorating finds -- under $50."  (From Thistlewood Farms)

Are shortages and price hikes coming, because of China's tariff changes? Misadventures of Widowhood thinks so...

Bigfoot's been spotted on Google Earth? Maybe...but at least you can see:

Ten reports of Yeti based on more than just footprints.  (From Listverse) And while we're at it:

Ten government officials who admitted the existence of aliens. Listverse, you just give us a giggle. After all, the Pentagon finally admitted to running a five-year investigation of UFO sightings.

Emptying the septic tank. This was surprisingly interesting, and reminded me a lot of Red Green's cohort, Winston Rothschild III and his 'septic sucking' business.  (Thanks for the smelly memory, Get Me to the Country)

The right salary versus the right job. Sometimes you take one, so you can accomplish different goals. (Thanks for the reminder, Donna Freedman.)

Estate planning mistakes you can avoid.  (From The Wealth Advisor)

Five products Trader Joe employees always buy for themselves. And they don't even mention the green curry sauce I would run people over for...

Seven Tiny Home kits you can actually buy on Amazon.  (From Dwell) Including the Sunray from Allwood, shown below. Less than $9,000 -- and they say two adults can build it in 2-3 days with minimal tools.

Feeding your family for $10 a week -- is it really possible?  Well, yes...and no.  (From Coffee with Kate)

The World Health Organization blew nearly $200 million on misused travel funds. The wasted funds were spent on first class tickets (a definite no-no, by WHO rules), unnecessary trips and luxury accomodations. No worries, though. It's less than they misused the year before. Gee, I feel comforted. Don't you?

Getting ready for winter. This blogger is Australian, so winter is beginning to loom...but it's good advice for the rest of the world, too.  (From My Abundant Life)

Have a great week(end).

Friday, May 24, 2019

Happy Memorial Day!

A lot of soldiers past, present and future, have made sacrifices for us. 

Let's remember them this weekend.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Ran errands part of the day, sold some stuff, returned some stuff...and ended up taking a nap. I seem to be fighting off something. 

The concrete guys have been grinding away downstairs. They finished the floor prep a couple of days early! Now for pouring the overlay.

I'm not big on vodka...but the sleep sounds wonderful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Free Movies in Colorado This Summer

If you live in the southern Denver or Colorado Springs area, this might be just the thing for a warm summer evening.

Updates - Sort Of

Well, we're still here. 

Far too many things are still open, in progress, or waiting for action.

Far too many.

Downstairs is an echoing wasteland, waiting for friend Thommy to do his magic in a few of the rooms. He did the decorative concrete work in our main area -- he'll pour in the office and 'quilt room' to match it. He's terrific at this, by the way -- go here for more.
     Once he's done, the painting starts -- every single room. (Earlier, if we can get it.)

The dogs have had a great time 'supervising.' Now, though, they're a little nervous that they'll get left behind. So they follow even closer, tripping us up. Or they sleep in convenient spots, like the hallway.

Upstairs, boxes and piles are everywhere -- but in great part because so many drawers and cupboards are empty. (We found a bag of coffee beans, but the coffeepot and electric grinder are still missing. Update: the coffeepot is here! Found by the Brick, who went to Sam's and bought ground coffee.) We have two bowls and a handful of plates to our name -- in part because they were in the dishwasher, and the clearaway guys missed them. Still haven't located the can opener, though.

The good news: space in the freezer is growing, as I use up things inside.

The bad news: the can opener is still missing -- and the baking tins are packed. (We use foil 'sheets,' carefully folded, to bake stuff.)

    The master bedroom closet, last to be emptied, is deserted, thanks to a dozen+ bags waiting for the Vietnam Vets pickup. Going through the clothes was an archeaology dig, more than anything. I even found some forgotten outfits that fit nicely. (Lesson to self: continue to buy largely in black, tan and cream, with some accent colors plus sky blue. They all match, that way.)
     Some stashed-away Christmas presents, too, which the girlies are receiving now with some amusement. (They also got their coming-up-in-August birthday presents too...but those were wrapped.)
     I have clean underwear...but where in the world did all my t-shirts go? I've been forced to swipe some of the Brick's, instead.

Guess I should be grateful I have clean underwear on, at least. Right, cheapchick...
Ironically, I keep finding nickels while cleaning. The Brick, interestingly, comes up more often with quarters and dollar bills!

Our goal is to have everything upstairs packed by the end of Thursday -- or Friday, at the latest. (Or maybe even Saturday...sigh.) Then we can finish packing the storage trailer and clear out some donations. Friday, our clearaway guys are coming back to mow the lawn and weed-whack. (Hopefully take just a few more piles to the dumpster, as well.) God willing, we'll have painting crews upstairs and down on Monday. Then once they're done, the floor guys move in.

Target date for the house to go on the market: June 16. 

Both our real estate agent and the contractor say that if the house is 'freshened up,' as they put it, it's going to sell fast.

I hope so. God willing.

We got at least 6 inches of snow this week, maybe more. (Daughter #2 thinks they got around 8 inches in Nederland, up in the mountains.) The skies are still overcast, with an occasional spurt of rain, but the snow is mostly gone. Our poor trees got banged around, but are recovering.

And I'm tired. 

But there's more work to do.

If you're in this position, remember:

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Coin Auction May 22nd

   Hundreds of gold and silver coins are coming up for auction tomorrow, thanks to the IRS -- and a guy who didn't pay his taxes for decades.

Go here for the full scoop.

A Morgan silver dollar -- these are still
reasonably priced

Jeffrey Sullender, a licensed nutrionist, apparently decided that he was granted free tax privileges, as early as 2000. (The rest of us poor misguided law-abiding schmucks never got the message.)

So he didn't. Pay taxes, that is.

Not only that, he sold his various properties to himself, for coins -- which he also kept.

If there's anyone you don't mess with, it's the IRS. (Ask Al Capone -- it's the major reason why he ended up in prison.) After they caught up with him, Sullender ended up in court, minus his real estate and coinage.

Which is now coming up for auction.

You can view the full catalog here. The actual auction is in New Hampshire on May 22. (It's hard to tell... but I believe you'll be able to bid online, as well. Check tomorrow, when the auction is set up.) No doubt there will be some real bargains. The auction includes not only coins (including my favorite, the Morgan $20 gold piece), but palladium bars and silver ingots.

This Morgan $20 gold piece is from, via Pinterest

This is an event worth spending your hard-earned pennies for. Even if you don't/can't bid, it will be a great source for "comps" (comparables): how much precious metal coins are going for on the open market now.

If you miss this one, Invaluable is hosting a huge multi-century gold coin collection May 27-28.

Have fun. Don't break the bank.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Two Completely Different Events -- And Baring Our Souls (Or Our House)

Our lilacs are blooming! 

My grandma had a big, fragrant lilac bush in her backyard. Its first purple blooms heralded the entry of spring. More than forty years after her death, that bush is still sending up growth in its Michigan yard.

    I love the smell of new-blooming lilacs.

This one comes via Pinterest - and Etsy

This year, for the first time, we had a large batch of blooms on the lilac bush we planted a few years ago. I've been looking forward to eating breakfast outside on the deck, smelling the perfume. Normally, we would, but...

Those lilac blooms are covered with snow right now. 

We have at least 6 inches, and more's coming down.

This was from May 2017 -- but it looks like this now, too. Charley loves it.

Fortunately, the air is not that cold, so the plants I haven't planted yet (thank God) don't seem that upset. They're just hanging out on the warmer concrete of the back deck, protected by an overhang, and the warmth of the house. Snow this month isn't that uncommon for us. Nonetheless, you keep thinking, 'Hey, it's May. Spring, right? Flowers, warm breezes and rolling in the grass??'

Or...shoveling out the sidewalk and grilling in the snow. It happens.

The house is definitely emptying out. Downstairs is clear -- upstairs has pockets of stuff here and there, but is emptying quickly. We worked so long packing boxes that my legs were shaking before we knocked off for supper. The cleaning guys cleared out the kitchen today. The result: we had to go to the garage to find any tea for supper. The can opener is persona non grata, and I'm betting we'll have to search for the coffeepot (not to mention the coffee) before we go to bed.

     Ah least we still have a bed to sleep in. That won't be the case much longer. 

And the snow will melt soon. It always does, this time of year. 

Thanks Pinterest -- via the-poppters-apprentice

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: It's One Way to Clean A House

Know how to do it?

Strip everything out. EVERYTHING. Hire two guys (or even as many as 4, one day) to help. Get a dumpster -- you'll need it. Takes a week or two, but your house will be empty. And sort of clean.

With the exception of a couple of bookcases and a small pile of fabric, the basement is empty. Scraps of paper and a drift of dust and dirt are waiting to be cleaned up. 
    The upstairs is half-empty...the remaining rooms have all had their big items removed, except for our bed. Piles are here and there, but two days of hard work should clean those up. We still need to strip out the dishes, food and appliances from the kitchen, too.
     We've sold some things, but lots of items are left. Our popup truck camper is waiting for a good home, too. 
     No couch to sit on, only a few chairs left. It just feels if this isn't our home, anymore. 

Which, in a way... it isn't. 

A reader is dying -- and his wife will inherit $500,000 in life insurance. What should she do next? Readers weigh in, through ESI Money.

A reader case study: more frugal than the Frugalwoods?  (From You-know-where)

Best quotes from Warren Buffett's 2019 conference. (This is Part II; there's a link included to Part I, as well...but I couldn't get it to work. Maybe you can. From GuruFocus)

Maybe you CAN stop those unwanted robocalls and texts to your cellphone. Here's hope.

An elderly Las Vegas man dies...after being shoved off the bus by a 25-year-old. Not only that, later reports state she did this in front of her young son. Contrast this shameful behavior with:

A Florida mom rushes back into her burning apartment to save her children -- and dies with them.

An eighteen-egg casserole??  It looks delicious.  (From Hundred Dollars A Month)

What the Kardashians eat in a day. I'm ashamed of myself for being nosy about this famous family...but this will satisfy my curiosity. (Nothing about their butts -- PLEASE.)

The burial site of an early Anglo-Saxon prince...found in a patch of grass near a pub and a supermarket. What's especially cool -- it's produced more than 40 unusual artifacts, some thought to be the first of that type found in Great Britain. At c.575-615 A.D., it's thought to be the earliest Christian Anglo-Saxon burial found, so far.  Also intriguing:

The Plain of Jars.  Whoa, what an intriguing site -- with more giant jars being found.

"My mother, her mother and a bargain" -- the story of a Korean deparment store -- and a coat.

Have a good week. I'll check in later, and let you know how things are going.

Friday, May 17, 2019

I Wish...

Got any curtains like this? We could use one...or two...or...

Moving Update:  Two dumpsters down; the second is being emptied and will reappear soon. The downstairs is nearly clear...amazing. You would not BELIEVE the amount of STUFF I managed to jam in that area over 22+ years.

Now it's on to finishing off the upstairs. We've also got a moving sale going, with lots of furniture, fabric, collectibles and other goodies. Take a look by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019