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It is sooooo cold

January 6th, 2010 at 06:34 pm

And tomorrow, it is supposed to be -30. Yes, that is 30 below 0. That is cold.

We are stocked up (as usual). People laughed when I moved here and created a huge pantry in the basement. I did it because we are so far from a grocery store. In the past it has come in handy several times and I think it will again this week.

A fire is going, the heat is set at 63. The living room (where the fireplace is at, is 71 with the fire going).

Todays tip is barter when you can. We get all our firewood for free. It comes off our farm, but we have someone else cut it on shares. The other guy cuts and splits it. He keeps 2/3 and we get 1/3. Between our 2 farms, we have enough wood on the ground from recent storms and a tornado to last both houses probably 3 or 4 winters.

We do the same thing with our hay. We grow and fertilize it. 2 other farmers cut, rake and bale it. From the first cutting they get 2/3 and we get 1/3. For each additional cutting we split it 50/50. (A good year yeilds 3 cuttings of hay).

In years past I have bartered/traded several things, such as child care for piano or swiming lessons, had my house cleaned for mending.....just exchange your talent for someone elses.

Got my scanner today

January 5th, 2010 at 06:49 pm

Today I received by fed ex, my scanner for the Neilson Homescan. I got it all set up this evening, and entered a couple of items DH bought today at the grocery store.

It came with a gift catalogue. Providing I enter shopping and send in weekly, I earn points. Then I can redeem the points for gift items.

My mom did this several years ago and said it was kind of fun. At the time she did it, she earned cash.

I had been on a waiting list, and was rather surprised that it arrived so quickly. I was only on the waiting list for about 5 weeks or so.

Todays lesson

January 5th, 2010 at 11:40 am

Actually, this is yesterdays lesson from my 13 year old. She and my DH had gone to town on a fire call, and afterwards called and asked if I needed anything. I asked her to get some trash bags.

When she got home she was all excited over what she bought. There were 38 in the box, and there was another brand that only had 16 in the box for the same price. She said these may not be made as well, but afterall, we are going to just use them to burn the trash, so that is what she got.

I am so proud of my kids for paying attention to the prices and sizes.

In the afternoon, she and DH "worked" outside in the snow and 12 degree weather. He got vehicles stuck, then had her unstick them. Being on the fire dept they have pulled numerous people out of the snow lately--most of which ended up in the snow stuck because they didn't know how to drive in it. She is learning how to rock a vehicle out, turn into a slide and such. She is just 13, so if they "practice" this every winter, she will have a lot of experience under her belt when she gets her license, and it will save her money from not having to pay for a tow. He also is teaching the girls how to change the oil, change tires, serpentine belts and other basic auto mechanics. According to DH, no daughter of his will be stuck by the road waiting for a man! For our homeschooling, we are counting this as "votech" hours.

More snow today

January 3rd, 2010 at 03:10 pm

I'm getting tired of it. It is pretty, but it's getting old. And, we are supposed to get more this week and colder temps.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get milk. $148 later.....we walked out. But, they had some really good sales that I could not pass up. Things that I normally buy and that stockpile good.

Then, they had the after Christmas specials--things I normally don't buy, but did at these prices--such as Duncan Hines cake mixes and frostings for 75 cents each--nice buy since I also had some 75 cent off coupons--so some I bought for free. They also had stuffing mix (normally I make from scratch) for 49 cents a box, so I got several of those. 7 up for 79 cents a 2 liter, so I bought several, and OJ for half off. Also rice that was going out of date for 19 cents a bag (really, how can dried rice go out of date...)

My goal is to teach my kids a tip a day, so what I pointed out to them today was the sales carts next to the bread aisle. This is where they put the short expiration dates, dented cans, sliced cereal boxes (even though the waxed lining is intact). Best part here is, the still accept coupons on these items--so I often get from here for free. DD#5 thought that is was pretty neat that we ended up with some free deoderant from the carts (packing change-so on sale for $1 with a $1 off coupon).

Between todays trip and what we have, I have ingredents for meals for almost a full month. Two weeks ago I spent around $140 at Aldi and that should last us till Feb. So for 6 weeks worth of groceries, my total is $240--plus anymore milk we buy. That is for 5 people full time, and 7 people part of the time plus 2 babies that I sometimes sit here at my home.


January 2nd, 2010 at 05:37 pm

Our high today was 7 above. This morning it was -7.

My money saving tip for today is on weddings--mainly from one we attended today::::

We went to a wedding today--it was a different and very fun one. Two of our firefighters got married, so the wedding was at the fire station. She wore the traditional gown, but the groom and attendants wore bunker gear.

Both had been married before (mid 30's couple) and didn't really need anything, so for their wedding, instead of a gift, they asked their guests to bring a covered dish. After the wedding, we had a sit down potluck dinner.

An uncle performed the cermoney, the location was free, food was free, centerpeices were borrowed. Dress was under $50. Music was provided by a CD player.

Total wedding cost, $50 for over 100 people.

It was too cold to do the traditional hosing down of the bride and groom and the fire truck ride. But it was fun. We finally left around 6 (it started at noon). We did help clean up--all the department pitched it and we had it cleaned up fairly quickly.

On the way home the kids and I discussed that yes, you can have a nice fun wedding without spending enough to buy a house.

new year and new goals

January 1st, 2010 at 09:42 pm

I am going to try and do at least one money saving thing a day, that I can share with my kids--sort of a daily lesson for them.

So, the lesson for today was making potato soup using a bunch of leftovers. Basically I made potato soup and added the cleaning out of the refrigerator to it--so it contained potatoes, 1/2 can of evaporated milk left from a Christmas salad, 1/2 can of cream of celery soup, some left over corn, 1/2 bag of shredded cheese left from tacos, 2 left over carrots diced up, 3 peices left over bacon, 1/2 of a left over onion and a handful of left over baby shrimp.

It was a hit, and the only "new food" in it was the potatoes. It made a crockpot full and we ate about 1/2 of it tonight with enough left for one more meal. If we don't eat it by Sunday I will freeze it.

Last night the girls and I went to a lock in at church. It cost us $10 each, but was a night full of all we could eat food, and games. They had drawings, and I won a shirt and one of the girls won a free pass to camp--which we were already signed up to go to, so that really excited her. She got to pick her own prize and picked it to "save momma the money". As a reward for her thinking like that, when camp time comes, I plan on putting half of her camp fee into her savings account.

Happy New Year everyone!!


December 8th, 2009 at 11:20 am

Yea!! My auction ended at around $20 including the shipping. I'm happy.

the cost of snow

December 8th, 2009 at 11:00 am

Ever wonder what it costs each time it snows?? We have several inches at my house and it is still coming down. The public school is in session and as far as I know the businesses are open (most in this small town are owned by the same family anyway)....

OK, I nanny for a family 2-3 days a week. Some days at my house, some at theirs--really depends on what is going on. Today I am at theirs-they are 15 miles south of me, and have 1/2 the amount of snow we do. In fact, you can still see the ground and it has stopped. They called off school. Some stores are closed. WHY???

Maybe it is because I live in a farming town and most of us have 4x4. The other is more of a suburb and has a lot of city people in it. They are freaking out. Like seeing Texans in a Michigan snow storm....the stuff really won't melt you-honest.

My poor kids--we homeschool, so school goes on-snow or no snow, although they will have an extended "PE" time for sledding.

woo hoo

December 4th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

My (kids) carhartts for sale on ebay are going to sell for at least double what I bought the new bigger pair for at the thrift store!! the auction isn't over yet, so they could go for more.

Scored 5 free light bulbs at the free lunch at the light co, cuz next to me were some ladies bussed in from a nursing/assist home. They didn't want theres--they home has all floursent lights in it. so, they passed their on to me! (probably felt sorry for me with 5 kids..acutally they babies were very well behaved)

The shop called. My car is done, and GM is asorbing the costs. I think the entire motor was replaced. It has been at the dealership for over 3 weeks, and they gave us another vehicle to use.

And, tonight is DH free work dinner, so supper is free for us too!

free lunch for today

December 4th, 2009 at 08:07 am

Today I, and my family (along with the babies I am watching today) get to go to a free lunch at the electric company. They do this 2-3 times a year. Todays lunch is chili and soup, and we get free light bulbs (cfl's) and get to register for various prizes.

All this year I was on their focus group, and in addition to being paid for that, I was given a CASE of free light bulbs (CFL's) at the last meeting.

Our baby calf born yesterday seems to be doing well, despite it being in the teens last night. It has a very soft warm coat, and slept in the middle of the cow "huddle" during the night. The momma is not a barn cow, so they are outside. It would make the momma nervous to try and stahl it, then she would not feed it. So, they will stay out.

I picked up an extra day of childcare this week--normally I try to do something to make money or save money with my earnings, but I think with this check it will either go into Christmas or kids activities. The 13 year old is thinking about going to 4H leadership camp in Feb, so I may use this check for her reg. Normally, we "live" off my DH check, and my childcare money is my "extra".

Surprise birth this morning

December 3rd, 2009 at 09:17 pm

No, not me, but I got your attention, didn't I??? One of our Angus cows gave birth, and we didn't even know she was expecting. I did know we have 2 others that are, but not her. Around here that baby is worth $400 or more, so hopefully she will make it.

Why does everything on this farm pick the coldest day to give birth or hatch its young???

We went and picked up the last of the gifts for our little Christmas angel today. We kind of spoiled her, but thats ok. She lives in a Christian children's home and we will get to be with her when she opens them. She is the same age as my girls so she fits right in. It is the same children's home that we go to church camp with and some of the house parents have been members of our church in the past. One of those places that you know when you give the gift it is really going to the kids.

Inexpensive choices this week

December 1st, 2009 at 07:45 pm

DH called around for a new exhaust system to be put on my suburban. It has had glass packs (I'm getting old-I want something quieter with chrome tips). We found a shop fairly close for around $200 and went with it. We took it in today and it ended up only being $126.

We have killed our last 2 vacume cleaners within the past 3 weeks. (we had 4 between the 2 of us when we got married 3 years ago...). I found one today at the thrift store for $17. It is bagless (as the old ones were), so no bags to buy (plus you can recoup the dimes and earrings that get sucked up). It works wonderful, and has more attachments then my last one did. It is built different though-the handle pulls up and turns into the hose and wand--oh--it also has a reverse on it and will air up items such as blow up pools and such.

DD3 and I spent $28 in the thrift store and come out with a vacumme cleaner, 2 kids learning computer CDs for her younger sisters, a black velvet skirt, a navy velvet dress with a matching jacket for her younger sisters, another Christmasy dress for her sisters, 2 shirts and a necklace for her, and a pair of used kids insulated carhartt coveralls (new, those sell for $60-I got a used pair for $5). Oh--and 3 hard back books. The blue velvet dress still had the JCPenney tag on it for $48. I paid $2. It is brand new.

Earlier in the week I found at another thrift store some items made from horseshoes for $3 each. I got 1 napkin holder and 2 mail/paper holders--one for DH desk and one for my desk in the office. I guess I should have gotten one more for my desk in the classroom, but I wasn't thinking. I have seen these before for around $15 each.

The girls have all outgrown their carhartt coveralls from the last 2 winters (I buy big so they last 2-3 winters), so I sold one pair on craigslist for $30 and the other is on ebay. But, I bought one set already today for $5 so only have to find 2 more. On a good year, I can sell them for the same price I am buying a bigger set for. On a great year I come out ahead on the deal. We will see.

yesterdays shopping

November 3rd, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Yesterday we hit up CVS--rechargeable batteries were buy 1 pack get 1 pack free and Dawn dish soap was 97 cents a bottle, and I had some 75 cent off coupons. So, we spent around $20, less $10 cvs bucks, so $10 cash out of hand, but I earned $1.50 CVS and then found andother $5 CVS bonus buck coupon in the car, so will go back and get more batteries with that.

Then we went to Aldi, and I spent my usual $180 that will last us for around 8 weeks. By the case I bought: corn, green beans, mushrooms, 6 cases of soup, pie fillings, peaches, pears, mixed fruits, peas, limi beans, mandarian oranages,carrots, chili beans, speg sauce, frozen chicken parmasauin, sweet potatoe pies, butter, koolaide mix, hot cocoa mix, frozen chickens and oatmeal. Case sizes run from 18-36 items per case.

The girls carried it all downstairs to the pantry, but it has not been rotated in yet and put on the shelves.

Then we went to walmart and I got 20 lb bags of flour, cornmeal, sugar and 10 lbs of salt. These items I store in my garage in a deepfreeze I was given for free because it doesn't work. It stays airtight, moisture free and pest free. Those large bags are just too heavy to haul to the basement pantry anyway.

We worked up a bunch of free pears, and apples, and now I have a few pumpkins to do. Then I am ready for the snow to fly.

I did hear that some Walmart stores are selling turkey this week for 40 cents a pound. If the one nearest us is, I will get a few later this week.