Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nose to the Frugal Grindstone

As with most things in life, it is hard to establish a good habit.  Why make your own dinner when you can pick up fast food?  Why go to the gym when you can veg out on the couch?  Why cut up celery when you can open a bag of chips? 

I have fallen off the wagon.  The frugal wagon that is.

I have to admit that over the past few weeks, I have been a bad, bad, spending girl.  I've been feeling a little down and have been filling that void with internet shopping.  Bad, bad Frugal Fairy. 

Amazon has been my drug of choice.  Having my credit card linked to my account, my free "Amazon mom" Prime membership subscription, and an endless supply of "good deals" makes for a bad combination for this addict. 

It started with stuff for my son, Jackson.  Here's where it all began.  I reasoned that internet shopping couldn't be bad if I was buying stuff for my son.  It starts with necessities - like how he HAS to have a "puddle jumper" for swimming.  Then I move onto books, because certainly he's too young and too rough to beat up library books and he surely "needs" more books to read.  Oh!  Then he really "needs" to have some more Yo Gabba Gabba stuff because, well, he loves it.  He'll only be 22 months old once.  He "needs" this stuff people!!  I'd basically be a horrible mom if I didn't buy these things.

Then I move on to things for the house.  Again, I rationalize that I am not doing this for me.  It's for our house, our family.  Therefore it can't be bad.  I decide that we "need" to get new measuring cups.  Of course I can't just buy the basic cheap (and frugal) kind.  I have to buy the Russian nesting doll ones because I am convinced that it is a tribute to my Grandmother who passed away and that she would want me to have them.

Then the flood gates open and I decide that there are things that I "need".  I "need" new perfume.  This is a necessity for school, work, etc.  Then I "need" a pair of Tom's shoes that I find on ebay for a good deal.  While it is half off of what an actual pair of Tom's would cost me, it is still not really a necessity.  I have plenty of shoes.  Piles even.  I convince myself that I need some new shorts.  While at the store, I decide that I need an Elmo shirt to wear because Jackson loves Elmo.  The shirt, I reason, is for him. 

Next thing I know, I've raked up a ridiculous credit card bill.  Don't worry, I pay off my credit card every month, but I use it to rack up points which I can, in turn, use on Amazon. 

So now I have $10 of Amazon credit that I can use.  Since I am having my own personal intervention on my spending spree, I'm holding onto it until I really "need" something else. 

I had to convince myself that I don't "need" a Kindle (though I did have myself convinced that I did need one for a while because I reasoned that I could get tons of free books on it). 

But alas, I have put a stop to my spending spree for the time being.  I need to get back on track.  It's back to couponing and DIY projects.  However, I think I "need" some new craft supplies.....

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Psychology of Being Frugal

In trying to make the background to this short, I'm going to use a bullet point method to get you up to speed:

  • I haven't written in a while because I've been super busy.
  • I've been super busy because I am in grad school full time (5 courses, 15 credit hours), and working part time (22 hours per week), and there's the whole "being a mom and wife" thing.
  • Because of this, my individual income is now about half of what it was.
So that's where I am today.

Because of these recent developments, I've of course had cut way back.  If I was frugal before, now I'm probably edging on the line of "cheap". 

However, being the glass-half-full, optimistic person that I generally am, I hate looking at things in a negative light.  It is depressing and very limiting.  For example, I hate looking at things and thinking "I can't afford ____."  Instead I like to spin it like "I am choosing not to by ______ so that I can instead get _____." 

I think for me, that's a huge part of the psychology of living a more frugal lifestyle.  I like to frame it as though I don't HAVE to, but that I choose to.  In that sense, it empowers me and helps me make better decisions and also to feel good about those decisions. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Frugal Home Decor Challenge

It's been a while since I have yet again posted (I have a bad habit of that).  However I think having a challenge like this will hopefully keep me on my toes.

Yesterday I was looking through some potential crafts.  I was coming up with a list of "to do" projects that I would like to tackle.  However, as I brain stormed, the dollar signs were starting to pile up.   Even the smallest projects can add up unbelievably.

Then it hit me.  Why not give myself a challenge?  For the rest of the year - when it comes to home decor updates, my challenge is to spend no more than $10 per month. 

$10 per month?  That's crazy!  But I think that given that simple parameter, it will really help me to think outside of the box (and probably think into the trash) and give me the motivation to create some neat/unique things that I normally wouldn't.

My rules:

I can only spend $10 each month.
I CAN use coupons, specials, incentive points, etc. (ie, greenbax or the like)
I CAN reuse and repurpose any item I already own or an item that is gifted to me (my birthday is in October afterall). 
I CAN use freecycled items, things that other people are tossing, etc.

So wish me luck!! 

My first goal - I am going to make curtains out of something I already have.  Not sure if I want to use fabric that I already have or if I want to use something else.  I will make it happen though.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Free Offer: Kids N Pets

As a "mommy" to four fur babies (plus one husband and one actual baby), as you can imagine it is a chore to keep the carpets cleaned.  Our littlest dog, despite our best efforts, still has serious marking issues (he'll hike his leg to anything new on the ground if we don't watch him closely).  Plus we just had a bout with our bigger dog getting sick over something she ate.  Needless to say, we went through a lot of carpet cleaner. 

I needed to get some new stuff and went to Walmart.  I came across this "Kids N Pets" carpet cleaner and thought "hmmm, I have kids.  I have pets.  This is perfect!"  And the fact that it says it is endorsed by Animal Planet, gets my vote. 

However the biggest perk is that it had a little tag on it that said if someone "likes" them on Facebook, they will get a full rebate for the purchase of the product. 

I haven't actually tried out this product yet, so I can't give too much input, however, I thought I'd go ahead and pass along the coupon:!/kidsnpetsbrand?ref=search&v=wall

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Custom orders welcome!

Don't forget that I take custom orders!  Knit hats, necklaces, embroidery, and more!  Just email me or click the button at the right.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's been a while...

I've fallen down on my blogging job - but that's because my "real" job took up most of my time and brain cells.  ( Not to mention my now completely mobile child who likes to get into everything).

I'll be posting some more things this week.  I need to get cracking on some real projects.  I've been overcome with costumes for Dragon Con 2010....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BBQ Pizza Recipe

I know this isn't a crock pot recipe, but it is one of my favorites to make.  It is quick and easy and a hit.

Prepackaged roll out Pillsbury pizza dough
1 container bbq sauce
1 large onion cut
cooked chicken breast, diced
1 package shredded cheese - I like using mozzerella
Optional - jalapeno peppers

1.  Roll out pizza dough and "pre-cook" per package instructions.
2.  For this next step, I'm going to tell you what we do because my husband LOVES pizza drenched in sauce.  You can cut back to your specifications.  But I will squirt a good portion (about 1/3) of the bottle onto the dough and spread around liberally.
3.  Add chopped onions - chop as thinly or coarsely as you'd like.  We like thicker onion chunks, some like smaller bits.
4.  Add the chicken.  Usually I will use whatever chicken we have on hand.  If I'm doing breasts, I may use 2 cooked breasts.  I've used canned chicken before (1 big can) and that works.  I've also used half of a pack of those pre-cooked chicken breast strips from Tyson's before as well - I just cut them up a little more. 
5.  Drizzle another 1/3 of the bottle or more of BBQ sauce over the chicken and onions.
6.  Sprinkle 1/2 package of pre-shredded cheese liberally over pizza.
7.  Opitional - if you want some kick, add a few jalapeno peppers on it at this point.
8.  Bake for about 15 min.