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January 26th, 2016 at 06:32 pm

Moving to Northern California wasn't the easiest. Everything out here is ridiculously overpriced- especially real estate! When we moved up here, I managed to get a job part time at a college to add a little bit of money here and there to an exhausting budget. That was about a year and a half ago.

Fast forward to 2016 and I am now working full time. I actually love my job and the fact that I'm making a lot more than I did back home in the ole' big apple. Though this thankful increase of funds could not have come at a better time, now we are faced with a tough decision.

Housing: Rent/Own?

After all the bills are paid, we are left with approximately 1500 dollars to squirrel away, spend, or invest. Not much relief considering hubby's impending retirement will set us back about $1K monthly. Our current living quarters are provided by the military - a vastly under-appreciated commodity if you ask me. I'll have to come up with a plan to solidify living quarters asap!

Today I get to sit down with a financial planner for an hour to map out my 401K. I'm super excited - got my columnar pad with me filled with all the pertinent data- should be a breeze Smile


Law of Attraction

November 14th, 2014 at 07:13 pm

Since I've begun my journey back towards saving, I've been spotting (and picking up!) found change again. While I still have my changepot jar tucked away from our New York finds years ago - my family and I have found a total of $5.21 in the past two weeks. Hubby and I found a local running trail nearby and found a very folded up five dollar bill and I found $0.15 in the parking lot at the college where I work. My daughter's school yielded the other $0.06.

I definitely believe saving attracts money- or maybe it could be that I am looking on the ground more often and paying attention to every little coin I find? Regardless I feel so much better now that I am able to balance out my budget so quickly and am able to save up a few dollars in the process.

Happy Friday

Northern California not so bad :)

November 12th, 2014 at 07:47 pm

And so two years to the letter, we receive word that Uncle Sam wants us up north... Voila nous-en! The weather up here is much nicer and the trees make it all the more pleasant. I was able to land a job while hubby does his military 'thing'.

Earlier today I logged on and took on Jeffrey's 52 week challenge and offered my children an incentive for saving. Yours truly will math their saving incentive 100% provided they do the following:

- Save every week for 52 weeks straight with no 'withdrawals'.
- place money in a sealed envelope marked 1-52
- grades must stay as they are (any drops reduces the matching percentage!)

So far they've agreed. Let's see how much this will cost me lol

It pays to look! ($24.74 thanks to uncle Sam!)

September 30th, 2012 at 02:18 pm

So this is officially day 4 in our new surroundings. We just noticed that there are no AC's in our area. While my daughter is in utter agony over this, I'm actually quite excited. This means I'll be able to sweat properly and not feel the arctic blast in the middle of the night.

During our explorations at a local Target, my hubby and daughter picked out a really nice set of dinnerware. We bought it for $69.99 plus tax and felt it was a bargain. The next day, we visited an outlet mall and found the same set for the same price at 25% off. Not only was it lower in price but the store offered a generous military discount. We returned the dinnerware and purchased the set- and walked out with a whopping $24.74! That money went right into our side discretionary fund because we view it as money spent. The entire outlet mall offers a military discount- we will definitely shop there for our necessities!

armywife lesson learned # 1: Military Moves vs DITY moves!

September 24th, 2012 at 06:07 pm

And so I sit here at our local post library combing through the savingadvice website - such a joy to be back on here again! So much to learn here! Since our incomes will be shrinking back down to one salary and I must resume my armywife lifestyle, I'll be updating this blog more often.

Today's lesson was learned the hard way. Since I am still technically working, I was unable to be present during the packing of our household goods. My husband (bless his soul) had his uniform out visibly and forgot to put it in the designated spot we labeled as DO NOT PACK. For those of you who have ever endured a household goods packup, you know what happened next lol... his boots were packed in one of the fifty or so boxes that are now safely tucked in the vehicle.

Fun stuff. That little slip up is gonna cost me $160.00

Winds of Change : 2012

September 19th, 2012 at 03:50 pm

I stumbled across this website years ago when I was trying to take back financial control of my debt- here I am a few years later.. with looming debt and a cross country move in progress. so glad to be back!

10 things I am THANKFUL for :)

June 11th, 2008 at 12:45 am

As with any journey, one must have the strength come from within in order to achieve. I've been with SavingAdvice for many years and have learned some great Personal finance tips. In the process I've 'fallen off the wagon', 'bumped my head on the way down', and simply attained 'frugal amnesia' by forgetting how I got to where I once was in the first place.

May was a very good month here chez moi-- we've managed to write down EVERYTHING we owe on and have split it into two groups:

1st of the month bills: Car, Tuitions, Student Loans, 2 Credit cards

15th of the month bills: Cable, Cellphone, and Food.

Having them down on paper made me breathe a little easier because now I can devise a game plan and attack my debt slowly. Thanks to the stimulus money, we were able to get rid of one old delinquent credit card that stood proudly at 30% (penalty APR). I could have used that money for other things but unfortunately the collector was none too cooperative with his terror tactics.

While I see there is a '10 things I Regret...' contest going on here.. I'd like to put a positive spin on and aptly name '10 things i'm thankful for...'

10. Computer proficiency- without it i'd be lost in a dated Personal finance book without any contemporary information/advice.

9. My car- even though it's a bit of a gas guzzler, I can happily seat my kids, hubby, and my kids' friends when they go out on escapades with us.

8. My friends- although I have less than a handful, without them I'd be lost. Thank you so much guys for coping with me Smile

7. My living arrangement- Living in this beautiful four bedroom apartment rent free is an absolute dream in this economy. While most look at it as ::sigh:: base housing, I look at it as a realtor's dream -beautiful beachfront view and quiet nights without loud motorbikes roaring up and down the streets

6. My plants- They bring me peace. I've realized that no matter how hard I try, I just can't keep pets.

5. My parents- Despite their issues, they are always there for us time and again.

4. CUNY colleges- I could have easily overpaid ridiculous tuition for the same education I found in CUNY. It's the best kept secret in New York! Smile

3. Saving Advice.com- Like a good friend, SavingAdvice keeps me informed and no matter what site I visit, I always tend to come back here to get the expert advice from familiar names I know Smile

2. Health- That's just a given. Life without good health is just CHALLENGING.

and 1 of course, my family- It took me being a mommy and a wife to understand what life really stands for. I don't regret what I've done to get us this far.


Life is a journey-- and I'm LOVING IT every step of the way! Onward!!

Wow.. must have fallen asleep at the wheel!

April 26th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

hello all my frugal friends and savers alike!

It's been quite a while since I've updated this blog! I'm still supplying found currency into my Changepot (total as of today is $764.43) but I must admit I've fallen off the frugal wagon. The first step to financial recovery is admission of an issue (my wallet keeps slimming down while my credit cards seem to swell up with unnecessary expense). I'll outline a budget and set to work on fixing this issue starting this weekend. Good thing this stimulus payment is coming our way- we'll be needing some extra bucks for the essentials before the cash crunch Smile

Rewards... who'da thunk?

October 24th, 2006 at 03:14 pm

As I perused the holiday checklist, I've realized that the amount of people I have to shop for has decreased significantly. Hubby and I have racked up points with different reward cards and now it pays off!! We've redeemed over 12K in points- taking care of ten gifts which are being shipped (recipients not known yet)
8 3-pc pizza maker sets
2 mini Coach (changepurse) bags

Since there are five people outside of the family which I have to shop for, the pizza sets go for the ones with family.

BBL!

Bri's anecdotes

October 23rd, 2006 at 03:30 pm

My daughter has taken an interest in saving and making money in order to fund more entrepreneurial activities. I am so proud of her!

I figured I'd document her ideas on here so other tweenagers would like to undertake the same tasks to make a few extra bucks.

What do your children do to bring in some extra spending money?

GirlScout Idea: Gourmet Coffee Tip Jar

October 23rd, 2006 at 03:26 pm

Last night my daughter made a "tip jar" similar to those in Dunkin' Donuts. She approached my sad husband (the seahawks lost) and asked him how much coffee he drinks daily.

"About Three cups a day", he replied. We found out two out of the three cups come from Dunkin' Donuts. The afternoon cup hails from the office where his assistant brews and gives out coffee for free as an office pick-me-up.

"How much do you spend on your Dunkin' Donuts coffee?" she asked him.

$3.00. Two dollars and change. The rest goes into the tip jar on the counter. She also learned that if he doesn't have enough for coffee, he scrounges up change.

My daughter handed him a jar with an opening up top. She vowed to wake up earlier in order to make him coffee. Instead of paying D&D $3.00, he is to put $3.00 in her coffee jar in exchange for a thermos full of cafe con leche. Easiest six bucks she could ever make. Let's see how long this accord lasts? lol

Time to shake the cob webs out of this wallet and spill it as it is....

October 18th, 2006 at 07:17 pm

I've been bad.
What started off as a good year with lots of excess money and little trips here and there has now become a budgeting nightmare.

My bad points:

I have student loans which threaten to report my payments as late (they kinda are)(20+yrs)

I've got a horrible contract with DirectTV which I have no power to negotiate with (1 yr)

I've got a new lease for a car that barely moves maybe once a week (it's semi-luxury) (3 Yrs)

I've got nice furniture which I now have two zero finance credit lines that give me two years to pay off before turning into giant inflated financial train wrecks. (2 Yrs)

I also have a huge personal debt which I pay monthly and cannot budge or face serious issues- leaving us with one functional check per month.

AAACK!!!

I won't despair too much.. here are my goo d points:

Thinking ahead of time, I separated two CD's which are due to expire right before thanksgiving- just in time to shop for the holidays so no worries about that.

I have managed to save a few dollars here and there with my envelopes despite not having a budget- though not as impressive as it could have been, three hundred is still a good number for saved money.

I haven't touched the found money but it's nice to know that if I ever need it, I have some money there in case of emergency.

Now that i've got those things off my chest.. it's off to step 2- naming the bills and placing them accordingly. Since I've accumulated two credit card bills, I have to budget out a certain amount of money in order to pay these cards off before 2008. I'll work on those now and post it later Smile

Thanks for reading... and it's great to be back! Smile

One Year Summary

October 18th, 2006 at 06:59 pm


On October 9th, my found money jar celebrated its first birthday. The total amount of money we found and redeemed came out to exactly $365.50. During our inspection of coins we found a few valuable coins that proved to be of some value. Their face values were added into the 365.50 but the profit we'd received in exchange came out to exactly 14.00 (five silver half dollars: $17.50- $3.50 (face value) : $14.00)- making our grand total to $379.50.

I am quite happy because these change hunts have also helped my entire family slim down at least five pounds apiece. My daughter Bri is the most enthusiastic of all because she has discovered a new hobby- Numismatics! (aka coin collecting)

In the past week my family has found $20.05 (just enough to start the $20 challenge Smile ). This money marks a new fiscal year for the changepot- we hope to have more or less the same amount at this time next year... is it possible? Stay tuned here and on my blog for updates!

It's been awhile..

September 27th, 2006 at 10:05 pm

Hello fellow frugal fans!

I've been vacationing from this blog-home for a while but I've not forgotten what brought me here in the first place! Smile

While I've not had enough time to sort out a solid financial plan, I have continued collecting found change and documenting it. Next month marks a one-year anniversary and as of right now there is $338.27 in there. It's hard to believe that this is all money I've found in less than one year. I am suprised by my own willpower since I haven't spent a dime!

Starting October I'll be coming back here and re-starting my financial crunch until we get back on track. I have accumulated new credit card debt but I know how I got out of it the first time around... I hope to repeat the formula once again.

Toodles for now!
B

Moving Time!

June 13th, 2006 at 11:04 am

After much deliberation, DH and I have decided to move into base housing. I am neutral towards moving because of all the complications involved. Financially this move will save us an additional $440 monthly. The hardest part of moving is the psychological impact it has on kids.

I have been a bad girl. I have yet to save any money this month because of our extensive outdoor activities (and my lazy approach toward cooking home meals). Hopefully I'll be able to clear my head and come up with a plan of attack soon.

Hiatus of Frugal Fitness | Changepot Progress

June 5th, 2006 at 11:00 am

Well, at least five days are better than 0 days, right? I have learned to control my spending somewhat and the points system thrives for my two frugal fans.

Changepot Progress:
It's been 236 days since I began picking up change and tossing it into a jar. The rules are strict: No fountain coins, no money found at home, no spending in case of emergency. Zip. Zilch. Our total increased significantly this past May. The total inside the changepot today is: $230.66

Here are the statistics( as of May 31):

Bills: 31 (+7 bills)
Total value: $152.00 (+$106.00)

Hundreds: 1
Tens: 2
Fives:1
Ones: 27

Coins: 920 (+154)
Total value: $70.98

Dollar Coins: 1 (new)
Quarters: 138 (+18)
Dimes: 255 (+21)
Nickels: 118 (+18)
Pennies: 408 (+97)

--
My first Monthly Report

Here's my first attempt to document all found change for the month of MAY.

(16) Bills/Paper Currency
1 dollar coin
56 Quarters
100 Dimes
49 Nickels
579 Pennies

Monthly Total: $154.55
Dollar Finds: 14/31
$100 find: (1) May 25th Atlantic City
$5 find: (1) May 9th Jersey Gardens
Largest Day Total: $100.99 (May 25th)
Smallest Day Total: 8 cents (May 2nd) Opera day!

***************************
The $100 bill looks so lonely there in the jar! I know we'll never be able to find another bill of such high denomination but it was certainly EXCITING. I was able to feel like a real winner for the first time ever in Atlantic City! Smile

Day Five of Operation: Frugal Fitness

June 1st, 2006 at 12:07 am

For the next few days, I am only concentrating on one mission daily. Once I get more time, I will tackle on missions accordingly.

Special Events/Occasions--

June is always a budgeting nightmare. Three birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and barbecues. Between the pre-season Hurricane warnings and soaring gas prices, I am seriously considering the option of vacationing for the entire summer. Again, as I stated yesterday: It's going to be one ugly summer.


Here is/was my sole mission for today (updates included):

--MISSION ONE:GIFT PLANNING--
Since I've got two major occasions coming around the corner, I've decided to plan the gifts accordingly so the prices stay reasonable. Earlier this year I jumped headfirst into a vacation package which cost me 60% more than online prices. I won't do that again ::shudder::

I am sifting through some frugal gift giving ideas and have decided to do the following:

Everything except birthdays: Basket with items from thrift stores and a few scented, homemade candles. Each basket will be personalized and topped off with "memory cards"- business-sized color cards depicting the event, date, and personalized poem.

Birthdays: I have ordered four $50 giftcards from Amex. I figure this will be sufficient for the recipients to do with as they please. Usually my June birthdays run $300 each person (I splurge on only two).

No Points were added/accumulated today since we spent nothing.

Day Four of Operation: Frugal Fitness

May 30th, 2006 at 11:10 am

The Gas Guzzler blues--

Two days ago, I filled up my mid-sized SUV with regular gasoline. It cost me a little over $47 and that's because I went across the bridge to BJ's ($2.76 a gallon). The gas station up the block from me is $3.09 right now (the cheapest on Staten Island). Last night I stepped out on an errand and noticed that I am already at 1/2 tank. It's going to be one ugly summer Frown .

I am not a fan of public transportation. The fact that I pay car insurance monthly should give me the freedom to use my car when I choose, right? Hmmph. Well, I am choosing not to use my vehicle for driving short distances anymore. I read Jeffrey's article on Gas cards and decided to incorporate gas options into my daily mission. Here are my missions for today:

Here are my missions for today:

--MISSION ONE:GAS OPTIONS--
The goal here is to research the impact these weekly gas purchases have on possible credit card rewards. Though I like to pay cash at the pump, I realize now that using a reward credit card can increase my points and in turn, yield more cash and goodies during redemption time. I spend an average of ::gulp:: $30 every week because of work commuting, school, and leisurely activities. At $120 a month, $1440 in a year should yield something in conjunction with credit card purchase rewards.

--MISSION TWO:UPSTAIRS INVENTORY--
We spend lots of cash buying pretty, perfumed soaps and packaged beauty products from places like Target and the BX/PX. We buy multiple quantities and toss them into our linen closet for future gifts. I intend to organize this closet and make an assessment of needs vs. wants.

------
End-of-day Update:

The closet (mission two) was a success. I found an excess stash of shampoo and body products which will last me for quite some time. I even created a gym bag with items to begin my newest goal: showering at the gym every morning after 1 hour of cardio.

Mission one is difficult. Since it has to do with credit cards, I am very leery of starting the CC game again. I just recently got out of credit card debt and i'm trying to avoid the trap at all costs. I believe one blogger on here was discussing a GM gas card which allows unlimited cashback? Hmm... I'll have to dedicate more time on mission one at a later date.

No points earned/added today.

Day Three of Operation: Frugal Fitness

May 29th, 2006 at 09:36 pm

Memorial Day. Supposedly a day for reflection and meditation of those past and present. In 2006, Memorial Day is more like an opportunity for stores to unleash old merchandise by way of discounted sales and clearances. I am a bit affected by this heat so I won't make any specific missions today but the same rules apply (save, document, and distribute points per cash stored).

POINTS Update: 38
I earned 18 points today
Hubby earned 20 points today

I'll take a pic of the credit cards once they're done Smile

------
End-of-day Update:

Since we were all tuckered out from yesterday, we spent the majority of the day lounging around. We saved money by witholding from two specific activities:

1. No trip into the city to walk around the village. We decided to stay home and work on the backyard as a family (Money otherwise Spent: Metrocards $12, Ferry Parking $6)

2.Lunch and movie date: DaVinci code and lunch at Miyako's ($36 sushi lunch (taken out of the food budget) plus 2/$10.00 tickets for the movie. Theaters charge full price on holidays- no matinee prices Frown

So, We saved a grand total of $74.00 YAYYY!!!

Day Two of Operation: Frugal Fitness

May 28th, 2006 at 11:21 am

I am so glad I decided to do this now! The first of the month is right around the corner and I've got some serious planning to do. Around this time each year the utility bills get a little smaller due to less consumption; my goal is to help the bills shrink even further by a few small steps:

1. Unplugging what's not in use.
2. Avoiding cooking with the crockpot.
3. Limiting television viewing hours by two hours daily in favor of outside family activity.
4. Showering after PT at the gym in the wee morning hours (since I bathe twice a day, it'll save me some duckets)

Here are my missions for today:

--MISSION ONE:INVENTORY--
Time to check up on home office products. My desk has become a clerical disaster- bills, books, sprays, lotions, change jars, CD's, yikes!!! While I don't have time to clean since I've got a full day (cooking breakfast, church, barbecue, park), I can prepare a list of items i'll need for my trip to Staples tomorrow. So far it looks like I'll need bond paper, tape, and laser cartridges.

--MISSION TWO:RECRUITMENT AND REWARDS--

In order for any plan to work, my family
has to be more involved. While my oldest daughter takes the frugal high road (no more ice cream man spends, recyclable can redemptions, chores for cash exchanges), my husband needs work. I was very happy to see him react to the overpricing of BJ's vs Costco items last week. It's a start, I say! Still, old habits die hard and I can't necessarily say no to his occasional frivolities. I figure I'd present this fitness challenge to both hubby and DD in either of two ways:

1. The "no spend" Jar-- (knock-off of the Changepot)

Since we were extremely close to spending the money yesterday (they got on the line to get their faces painted, we walked to the theater, and DD is ALWAYS a challenge lol), instead of ignoring the sudden willpower, we should put the cash in the jar along with a little note stating what we would have spent it on complete with date and time. This way, we learn just how much we really spend on things with no value. All three no spends had no value after completion (facepainting, a movie, sugary food with little or no nutrition value). The No spend Jar would get a blog of its own (every person in my family has their own blog account- even DD) and we would contribute daily anecdotes under our blogger names. The family member who saves up the most at the end of the year receives a special, custom-designed prize (probably a plaque or engraved item from the engraving store in the mall).

OR

2. The No Spend Exchange Program (kinda like AMEX membership rewards)

For each dollar that is saved by a specific family member, a point is added onto their "credit card". Points will be assigned a specific value per age and interest. For example: DD's point prizes would have the following:

10 points: Manicure at chezMoms
15 points: Playstation privilege 30 mins
20 points: Two night No chore pass
50 points: Learn ten new things with mom (a two hour at home "school" session where I would make a lesson plan for her with ten unique things she'd never learn in school (for example: elemental spelling bees, basic Internet web designing, Latin/French 101, Greek mythology in a day, etc )

The point accruing system would have
specific rules and limitations to avoid over-compensation!

I'll check back in with the results and choice for recruitment later! Have a great day!!!

******************
End-of-day Update:

The vote is in, ladies and gents! My family chose the latter proposal-The No Spend Exchange Program (kinda like AMEX membership rewards) (3/3 votes). The general consensus was the amount of reward points and the ability to "cash in" the points: no black-out dates, no limit spending, etc. I am in the middle of making the credit cards and setting up rewards with some help from AMEX and Citibank.

I didn't save any money on 5/28 because we attended a barbecue and well, we kinda splurged a bit on the treats. It's ok though, I am making progress (I think) lol.

Armywife's 23 days of Frugal Fitness

May 27th, 2006 at 10:07 am

I must confess. I haven't been following my frugal roots for about three weeks now and it is interfering with my goals. While I still have a few money-saving ideas in place (the anti-smoking envelope, the bill shaver envelope), my family has had approximately two out of three meals outside of the house for a few weeks now. I normally do not spend this much but since we've been hot-footin' it around finding change, documenting our travails, and coming home EXHAUSTED, I just haven't had the time to cook home meals (the house needs a good whirlwind cleaning as well).

Fortunately, I am done with class for this semester and I can now work on fixing the issue before any further damage continues. Twenty three days is usually how long it takes for me to adopt a new routine. I have chosen to start today and since it's barely 5:50 am, I can start out my day withere Here is my itinerary for day one of twenty three:

--MISSION ONE:INVENTORY--
Check fridge for meal makers and shakers. I know I have plenty of food to cook weekend meals- the goal is to pull out one meal making item and prepare it for easy cooking later on in the day.
(Outside goal: Head to commissary later today or tomorrow to buy groceries for the week).

Inspect bathrooms, kitchen sink for applicable cleaning products
(I am frugal with the products except for bowl cleaner. That's pretty much self-explanatory Wink )

--MISSION TWO:TARGET AREA--
For day one, my objective is to DEEP clean the first floor of my home. When I say deep clean, I'm talking windows, rug shampooing, the whole nine yards.

--MISSION THREE:CASH INVENTORY--
Earlier in the year, I saved up a sizable amount of cash from some freelance marketing jobs I completed. I used up approximately 2K of this cash for frivolous spending in less than one month(eating out TOO MUCH, buying useless items, spending on things "because I could"). Since I was dropping hundreds each time, I wound up with ALOT of change and loose bills. My changejar from this month alone yielded $160.44. The bills are scattered in various pockets, purses, drawers, even bathroom closets. The majority of these bills are going back into the cash fund while a few will take their rightful place in my envelope system.

I plan on completing these three missions before 12pm so I can spend the rest of the day with my little ones.

My goal is to document my frugal plan of attack on this blog for the next 23 (22 now) days in order to keep track of my progress and document my short-comings.
Each daily entry will have two parts-- the morning report and an end-of-day update. Wish me luck!! Smile

******************
End-of-day Update:

Accomplished two out of three missions- cleaned the first floor and took inventory of meals. I found enough food to cook full fledged meals for at least 6 days! Today we took the kids to the zoo and I forgot to grab the sandwiches/snacks bag Frown . The trip to the zoo (not including gas and tolls) cost $41.00 ($8.00 parking fee and $33.00 for lunch (OUCH)). I did prevent three incidents where frivolous spending would have lowered my cashflow:

1. No facepainting for the kids & hubby this time around (3 faces for $25)

2. X-men dinner and movie date w/hubby (admission plus dinner at Boulder Creek for an average of $60 tip included)

3. Stopped the Dunkin Donuts A.M. trap b making an egg and cheese sandwich on a square bagel (three #3's and hubby's notorious Giant sized Coffee with extra stuff for $18.00)

So, I saved myself from spending a grand total of $103.00 YAYYY!!!

The Wholesaler War- BJ's Versus COSTCO

May 24th, 2006 at 09:50 am

Suburban American packrats like myself often feel the need to buy copious amounts of items as opposed to the standard supermarket portion. Wholesale shopping saves time and money IF done correctly. When I moved to this island ten years ago, I'd never heard of wholesale stores before.
Fast forward a few weeks later and BAM! I found COSTCO.

Don't get me wrong, I love the place. Where else could you buy institution sized coffee containers and hundreds of coffee filters for under ten bucks? Hubby spends that on three cups' worth of Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla (Extra large, extra cream and sugar). Yesterday at COSTCO we spent 100 bucks on things that would normally cost us three times the amount if purchased at an outside convenience store (gotta love brownbagging!!).

It is only after you embrace the love of shopping wholesale several times that you start to wonder what's on the other side of the fence. I knew COSTCO had a few competitors (BJ's, SAMs club) and so the frugal detective in me started to wonder, Could this BJ's be a little less costly? Heh heh....WRONG!

Last Saturday, Hubby and I intercepted a free sixty day membership pass to BJ's. I felt a little naughty, as though I'd defected to the other side of the wholesale cause but I quickly got over it. At first I was impressed because the store looked alot cleaner than COSTCO. Sadly, that was the only positive in my experience. Aside from a few minor things that aren't available in COSTCO, the rest of the items were equal or slightly higher in price. Green seedless grapes were $9.99 in BJ's while COSTCO has them for $7.99. The biggest jump in price I noticed was in the head and shoulders shampoo- BJ's has it for $9.99 while COSTCO's that and other shampoos for $6.99. The meats were MUCH higher in price... I'm talking at least four to five bucks in difference.

I'm thinking location might have something to do with the price difference? If there's one thing I learned from this experience it's this: IT DEFINITELY PAYS TO COMPARISON SHOP, EVEN IN WHOLESALE STORES!!


SIDEQUEST-

P.S: Our trip to BJs included a complementary backyard style verbal brawl. Two men fought verbally because one man apparently drove past the gas line (which had approximately ten vehicles waiting) and pulled up to an unoccupied pump in order to fill up his BMW. A few cars honked the horn and shouted a few things but One "special" pickup truck owner noticed, flew off the handle, and proceeded to name a few things he planned to do to said BMW owner. What the truck dude failed to realize was that foreign vehicles usually have their tanks on the opposite side. DUH! The pickup owner taught the rest of us innocent bystanders some innovative ways to conjugative expletives. All in all, it was a mighty fine spectacle to watch on an otherwise typical Saturday afternoon.

New Milestone in Found Change! YAY!!

May 20th, 2006 at 11:46 pm

My fellow frugal friends and savvy savers alike, I am happy to announce that today we have passed the hundred dollar mark in FOUND MONEY!!!!

Our current total is $100.32!!!!!

$100.32 in exactly 223 days! Okay so it's not enough to pay a mortgage or even a car insurance bill but the fact is PEOPLE DROPPED $100.32 indirectly into my jar for no apparent reason. I love it!!

So.... Have you started your own changepot? yet?

Where has that dollar been?

May 16th, 2006 at 10:46 am

Yayy! Quick update on the found money front: Hubby found a dollar yesterday while purchasing sweet nectar at our local Starbucks. He was kind enough to add this buck to our shared $20 challenge jar- bringing our total to $21.00 (for now). I am scouting the terrain for upcoming weekend yard sales- bear with me!

While on the topic of dollars...
Ever wonder where the legal tender in your pocket has been? I do. Sometimes I like to fantasize that the money I hold temporarily has been in a celebrity wallet somehwere (like Keanu Reeves or Brad Pitt). A nifty little website is committed to just that- taking on the task of tracking money. The site is appropriately named Where's George? I haven't had any successful 'hits' yet (meaning bills that have been documented as going through another user's hands) but I'm sure it'll come eventually!

Why I don't like eating out anymore...

May 15th, 2006 at 11:44 am

I've been slacking off a little as far as domestic duties are concerned. I have completed my trips to the grocery store as scheduled but I haven't cooked any meals for at least a week. This is a no-no considering I have such a tight budget.

The last two restaurants we visited were the Cheesecake Factory and Chevy's. Bottom line: BOTH bills had errors on them. Since hubby was too proud to show me the bill (perhaps because he knows I would've had a coronary) and thus, the errors weren't spotted in time. In Cheesecake factory they charged us for twelve meals and twelve drinks when there were eleven people in our party. Last I checked, we had one mouth per person?? I wonder had a free meal on us? The charge came out to an extra $20.00 on an already high bill. Since it was a large party, they charged us an extra $40 for gratuity despite the waiters garbage service. Hubby complained about the service to the manager but failed to see the price issue. Last night at Chevy's, they charged us for four adult drinks when only two were ordered. The food was horrible as well. The extra charge came out to $4.18.

This sixty dollar food bill could have yielded us a king's feast chez moi. From now on, I'm cooking ahead of time!!!

My $20 challenge

May 13th, 2006 at 11:34 am

I've got this crispy twenty dollar bill planted right in front of me. After reading so many successful $20 challenge bloggers, I have decided to have another go at it. This time I have a plan!!

#1. Go out and purchase twenty bucks worth of things that I think will increase in value.

#2. Sell them on ebay OR peddle them on campus. Students buy so much garbage in school it's ridiculous (and then they complain about lack of moolah... ugh!)

#3. Report progess/pitfalls in a separate section of this blog.

I know some days will be tough but I like a good challenge now and then.

Arrivederci!
Barb

The Boomerang Theory

May 13th, 2006 at 11:22 am

I wake up VERY early each morning because it's the only time I have in the day to meditate. I find my thoughts flow better while the birds serenade the aurora. City life can be quite constricting if you can't find solace ::sigh::

Today's post isn't so much about money yet it's pertinent enough to include in this blog. This post deals with a widely known silent rule (murphy's law, karmatic principle,etc.)- "you get what you put out there".

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day in great spirits because of the refund from the gas company. I just noticed that the money is exactly twice the amount of what I gave my mom for her birthday earlier this week. Hubby thought I was nuts because I gave her so much (200 in cash) but I simply replied with, "Nature will take care of us on the back end." And it did.. the very next day. Creepy huh?

The very same thing happened with a friend of mine that just popped off the radar for quite some time. We'd had a nasty fallout over a mutual acquaintance and I left it up to "Nature". Well... Nature brought me an email this morning along with Mother's Day well wishes.

The boomerang theory/ law of attraction does apply to life. Think positive and things will get better. Don't let life make you feel as though you're out of control. You are always in control no matter how much you think otherwise... much like a car. If you steer the car directly into a pile of muck (grudges, anger, helplesness), you get buried in it for a while. If you drive the car correctly- avoiding potholes, misdirections, and abiding traffic lights(forgive situations, let grudges go, plan positively without greed), you will own the road!

What road are YOU driving today? Will you choose The Road Not Taken? (frost poem)


Happy Days are here again!

May 13th, 2006 at 01:24 am

I AM SOOO HAPPY!!!
Today I received a NICE bill from my gas company. Apparently I overpaid on their billing plan and (GET THIS!!) I'll be receiving a check for $240 bucks because I didn't use as much gas as anticipated. This is awesome because now I get to take that money ($160 which is already separated and budgeted) and put it in savings YAYYYYY!!! I am also adding the $240 check as well... making it a whopping $400 that just fell right out of the sky. I can't quite count it as found money but this definitely qualifies as a sudden windfall of moolah.

I am on my happy cloud right now. Time to go dancing!

Packrat trait uncovered!

May 11th, 2006 at 10:07 am

Wednesdays and Thursdays are the designated cleaning days in my house. I whip out the diluted cleaning products, get on all fours and scrub til' my limbs go limp. Each room in my home gets the royal rubdown- linens washed, rugs scoured, windows wiped. I believe this vigorous cleaning quells the spread of infection/disease in my home. It also helps my children become accustomed to doing their own chores and spot cleanings. When mommy is under the weather, big sister whips out the lysol and windex. Little sister even helps out by taking cups downstairs (one at a time) and picking up after people.

During yesterday's cleaning frenzy, I discovered a box of yard sale items I bought about eight or nine years ago. I'm talking GI Joe dolls (NIB), collectible plates, porcelian dolls, sandwich makers, crochet how-to books, you-name-it-I-bought-it items at 70% off sticker price. I remember purchasing these items solely for future value. My husband asked me if I was going to start selling them. I am at odds because I just can't bear to part with it yet!

Hubby laughed because he saw how attached I was to the "stuff". I then directed his attention to his own stash of junk: various military "collectibles", ill-preserved sports cards, etc. He drew the line when I pointed to a stack of UNOPENED model plane kits he bought back in early 2000. His excuse? "Work's got me real busy right now... I'll do them when I have some free time"

I married a fellow packrat, folks.



OUCH! Walking Hurts!

May 10th, 2006 at 02:08 pm

Hubby and I walked close to 7 miles yesterday. We boarded the Staten Island ferry at 8am and mapped out our game plan accordingly. Our traveling took us from the whitehall station (Ferry terminal) all the way to Chinatown and back (2.12 miles one way). Once we made it back to S.I, we headed to the mall to shop for new sneakers. We walked the full length of BOTH FLOORS in the mall. THEN we decided to go to Target to buy some treats for great grandma.

I am surprised I still have feet!!!!

I sit here now with foot massager set to maximum WITH HEAT since I can barely feel my tootsies. I think I may have pulled something in the tendon/ankle region as well.

On the upside, Hubby found a five dollar bill at the food court. We were just as happy as if we'd have won lotto. I know that five bucks is nothing nowadays but the rush of finding cash makes our change hunting all the more worthwhile!


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