Sunday, April 12, 2015

Steps Toward Financial Fitness (Last Weeks or More Frugal Accomplishments) Volume Ten

I know that I have been a slacker as of late.  I have been working on another project and it seems as if I have difficulty focusing on more then one thing at a time.  Remember the goal that I have to sort, purge and clean every nook and cranny of my property?  Well, I have been hyper-focused on that specific goal and I have been documenting the process and my progress.  I have created a blog for it but I have not made the blog public yet.  In fact, I may not ever make it public as it seems to be very personal.  I know, I know...I share details of my life with you guys all of the time from how much money I am spending on eating out to what the kiddos and I are occupying ourselves with.  Somehow, though, I feel vulnerable when I think about sharing with you all my process of wrestling with all of my stuff.  Maybe one day.
In the meantime I would like to try to figure out how to continue with that project while still focusing on financial fitness and lifestyle of learning and just sharing what we have been up to.
So in an effort to get back on track I present to you some of my financial fitness successes.

-I have taken another two bags of items to the thrift store receiving a receipt for my donations.  This receipt will be filed with my 2015 tax information so that I can take the deduction.
-I am organizing some books that I am ready to part with.  Some are put in the donation bags others are to be taken to a couple of used book stores to see if I can receive a little cash for them.  I imagine I will take them in this next week.
-Bishop and I enjoyed some truly frugal recreation.  We, along with some of his fellow scouts, went camping and hiking.  We went to a nearby state park where the camping permits are free.  We kept food costs to a minimum.  We completed a 5-mile hike and enjoyed each others company.  Frugal and fun!
-I purchased 8 dozen eggs - some for .99 and others for .88 per dozen.
-I also purchased a case of butter at under $2 per pound.
-Herb finished the taxes last night - always excited to be done with that task!
-I printed pictures for Bishop's boy scout bulletin board using a 50% off coupon.
-Easter was a financial success.  I sent Easter baskets to Christian and Keegan and, other then shipping, there was no out-of-pocket expenses.  I made chocolate-covered pretzels and sugar cookies.  I shared some of my stash of hot chocolate and gold presidential dollar coins to tuck in among other things.  Other then the hot chocolate, I gave Maceo and Bishop the same items.  I had vowed to do their baskets a little differently then in years past.  I didn't want to put in as much candy as I usually do.  The boys just don't eat it the way that they used to.  I wanted to utilize resources that I had on hand to create treats for them and I wanted to include a couple of really meaningful items as well.  Weeks ago I purchased bottles of lotion that Maceo loves yet has been discontinued.  I included one of these bottles of lotion and some Listerine strips (He loves those things) in his basket.

 For Bishop's basket I included a portfolio and a drawing mannequin.  I utilized 40% off coupons when purchasing these items.  Bishop's basket also had a custom dog tag for Ladybird that I got free from Shutterfly.  I did end up including some purchased Reese's in their baskets as Easter was rapidly approaching and I had not made the caramels and toffee that I had planned on and when purchasing the candy while buying eggs reduced the price of the eggs to .88 per dozen.  I couldn't get to their Easter baskets readily (this is due to the closet projects that I have been working on) so I had to come up with an alternative.  I ended up using small silver trays with "nests" made by crimping the edges of spring colored tissue paper.  I am pleased with my resourcefulness.

-The Easter dinner was also a financial success despite the fact that I lost my Easter planning file with all of my traditional recipes and I lost track of time.  I had that weird discombobulation that comes from somehow losing track of time while simultaneously knowing that Easter is impending.  The last time that I went to Aldi I did purchase a ham at .99 per pound and some highly discounted asparagus.  I didn't think further about the menu until the day before Easter when I was completely lacking in desire to go to the store.  So I made a menu using only what I had available.  It took creativity but I made a fantastic frugal delicious meal.  I made ham with a glaze of brown sugar, dijon mustard and root beer.  The remainder of the root beer was served as the beverage in place of the sparkling cider that we traditionally serve.  I made asparagus, deviled eggs, and macaroni and cheese; I used penne instead of macaroni because that is all I had on hand.  I think the penne might have been tastier then then the macaroni would have been.  I also served homemade rolls and while making the rolls I made a loaf of cinnamon bread for our Easter breakfast.  For dessert I almost resorted to pumpkin pie but I came up with other ideas instead.  I served the angel food cake leftover from fondue night alongside sweetened strawberries and whipped cream that I found in the freezer.  If I hadn't found whipped cream in the freezer I would have made some using the heavy whipping cream that I have in the refrigerator.  I also made Granny's cream cheese pie with a homemade graham cracker crust.  (Note: I used brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar that the recipe called for.  I must do that again).  It was such a satisfying meal that earned a giant thumbs up from the family.

-I received $15 in rewards from Kohl's.  I coupled that with a 15% off coupon to purchase bedding that was on sale.  I also earned $80 in Kohl's cash.  I took the boys shopping and let them pick out some clothing items.  They are definitely developing their own sense of style.  It is now time to help them sort through their wardrobe, to cull the items that they no longer use.  The project 333-inspired wardrobe is working for me and I hope to help them do the same.
-I brought forsythia and daffodils in to decorate the Easter table.

-I have been enjoying the blooming tulips and violets.  My backyard is virtually covered with violets.  I must get some of them harvested so as to make violet jelly.

Christmas Jar of Change:  The previous balance was $75.58.  I will add $18.73 to it for a new balance of $94.31.
Home Emergency Fund:  Previous balance was $80.  I must admit that this is now at $0.  I have allowed the boys to use the cash here and there when they needed cash and I was unable or unwilling to go to the ATM.  I will start rebuilding it this next pay period.
52 Week Savings Plan:  The previous balance was $206.  I have actually failed to deposit anything into this account.  It is one of those things that I lost track of as I began to focus on other things.  I WILL get back on track.