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Budget Living

Stay-cation…

February 18, 2015
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There were options…so many that I spent an entire, wasteful afternoon on my laptop drooling over them all. Sun, heat, waves…BRING IT.

The only problem was my nagging conscience. Stinkin’ conscience. (For the record, this wasn’t the holiday-ing part of my conscience, oh no, that part has very little inhibition. Give it an idea, and it can be packed and ready in less than an hour.)  This was the budget part of my conscience. The oh-so-practical, pencil and paper at-the-ready, side of my conscience.  The point was, there just wasn’t enough in that yellow  envelope with ‘Holiday’ scrawled across the front,  to cover the cost of my dreamy, wild, kid-less vacation. (For the next record, “wild”constitutes a palm tree and a hammock … but not too much swing or my vertigo will return.)

So, there I was, left with a battle between Bahama Mama and PoinDexter. She brought me to shores uninhabited, white sand and lounge chair in the breeze, while he brought me nose-diving back to reality with a lick of his sharpened pencil and X number of dollars.

Could I have broken his pencil, his taped glasses and torn his budget in two? Surely…but then I’m just inviting a third party…guilt. If you think battling Bahama Mama and her lofty dreams and PoinDexter and his reality check are bad….you should try Guilt on for size. Geez, what a downer.

There was only one way to satisfy all 3…a Stay-cation. ‘But wait..’, you say…didn’t you just go to ‘Poor Mans Florida‘? Why yes, we did … WITH 3 CHILDREN. Lets call that what it is friends, Hard Work.
This time around its about the sacred covenant of Marriage, just me and the farmer and our old friend peace and quiet.

You wanna know where the big Vacay is happening? … London… *snort*, I ended up finding a really beautiful hotel room for 2 nights just 30 minutes from home. We also have a couple gift cards to use, and my parents are watching the kids…for Freeeee! (PoinDexter is quite thrilled with me.) In fact, the special part was, that after I booked the hotel room I went to our envelope system and lo and behold…there was EXACTLY that much in there!!

Talk about blessed re-assurance.

(*I hope to post more on our envelope system, and why it works for us, in the coming weeks.)

I like to tell myself ‘it’s only hair’…

February 14, 2015
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Once upon a time, my mom got my hair cut as short as my brothers. I cried.  The end.

Previous to the hair hacking, about age 7, my hair was long, mid-back range and my mom always took good care to have it done in braids, pony tails or nicely brushed…I’m certain this is a good part of why my hair went missing. It was a lot of work.

It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I finally had enough of being called my brother’s brother … or ‘Ramp head’ by my public school frenemies (kids can be so creative in their name calling..in the end I took it, seeing as my friend Theresa was being called picker..for obvious reasons. I’d rather be a ramp head than a picker.) Anyway, my hair had issues..it was too long to be controlled, but too short to be put up, it was a white girls afro. Puffy would be a great adjective.

When I was little I didn’t have much curl in my hair, but after it began growing out, it became obvious that I had been harbouring a secret all those years…I had a head full of curls, I just had to learn how to deal with  them. First rule I learned….toss the brush. Well, toss it in the shower that is…curly hair cannot be brushed dry…unless of course you want to be called ramp head :)

Years later, I’ve come to a few more conclusions on curly hair…my own at least. There are certain styles that result in a triangle shape, when curls aren’t layered they can become weighted and bulky at the bottom, resulting in ‘Triangle head’ (so essentially my head went straight from a ramp into a triangle…I always knew my head was a simple machine..heh.) A few stylists later and still no one was listening and I was paying phenomenal amounts to be heard.

Well, it just so happens that there are women who actually take matters into their own hands. I happened to find this out one night whilst The Hubs was away on business …

Somehow, my inhibitions were low and as fate would have it, I owned a nice, sharp pair of hair cutting scissors. I watched this video and got to thinking…’how difficult could this really be??’…

Soon enough, the deed was done and when I looked down I saw this…

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I prayed as I laid my head down on the pillow that night, that when I awoke I wouldn’t die from shock when I looked in the mirror.

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In the morning I was pleasantly surprised…no ramps, no triangles…and I saved about $100…maybe my head isn’t so simple after all 😉

Staying at home..

February 8, 2015
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Choosing to stay at home, By Stacy Makes Cents. (link fixed, sorry about that!)

This. All of it. Including the “to each his own” part. Now I have homeschooling as a major part of why I stay home, but it wasn’t always the reason. This article sums it up!

So blessed to live this life!

 

Caramelized peaches with fresh rosemary…

January 23, 2015
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Is what we haven’t been eating lately. Unless the peaches are canned and the rosemary’s been freeze dried.

What I’m trying to say is, the budget is going very well .. heh. Perhaps a little too well. The pantry’s been hit hard, and what used to be full shelves are now starting to look a lot like the Canadian Target’s shelves. (ouch…too soon?) The fridge lights now penetrate to the lowest shelf, no longer darkened by a full top shelf of half full condiment jars. Said jars are being emptied and used in my frugal yet tasty recipes! I was also able to use my rarely touched cornmeal for some delicious blueberry cornmeal muffins…yum-o.

I have been relying heavily upon dear ol’ Pinterest to give some creative recipes to percolate through my meal planning mind. I’m proud to say we ate out only twice this month, and both were within our dining budget. Boo-ya baby, I do believe that may be a record at the fifty!

The best part is that most of the meals have been slow cooker meals, which are my set-it and forget-it days…pure joy my friends.

We’ve had a pretty wide variety of meals including: Shanghai Noodles, Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Rice soup, Fajitas, and one of my personal favs – breakfast for dinner :) There’s been enough leftovers for The Hubs lunch nearly every day…except for the breakfast for dinner night…cold scrambled eggs…*shiver*

Even the old wrinkly apples were used up this month…Oatmeal apple cinnamon muffins were a highly prized snack :)

Peels n’ all …

Fresh..

January 5, 2015
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There’s nothin’ like a freshly born year to make me fill my brain with all kinds of new beginnings. Already there are new habits developing. 5 Days in and I’ve cracked the lid on a couple new plans. The budget has been re-vamped and we’ve drawn in a few notches on the ol’ budget belt. There are times when I quite enjoy being cheap, and there are times when I quite despise it. January 1st brings a sweet new feeling of el cheapo to life and I have no problem saying ‘uh uh’ to fast food and frills. (that’s exactly why we shop at no frills..heh)

I also have a new zeal for re-vamping the extra padding on my body…I wish it were as easy as scribbling down a few numbers, like the budget…but alas, this new beginning involves hard work. So, the children and I are now members of a homeschooling program at the YMCA that gets us moving. (this Y just happens to be 10 mins away from us…and we live in the country, so it’s pretty fantastic!!) The kids get to play sports, while their moms walk the track indoors then we go swimming. AND the best part is I don’t need a pricey membership to go! It was a flat rate that was quite ‘cheap’ I might add :)

My new meal plan is keeping me in the kitchen a little more, but so far so good, the hubs and kids are enjoying my creative food concoctions, and I’ve stayed well within my new ‘Crazy Frugal’ grocery budget. Exciting!!

Wish me luck on this new beginning would ya? Let me know what you’ve changed for 2015!

Budget ’14

December 9, 2013
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Here we are back into cold wintry mornings with crisp sunrises. The kind that make your lungs buckle with frosty air.

The hubs and I are giving it a go, again. The zeal of money managing has been stoked and we’re off and running with the budget of 2014. We’ve a clear direction now, thanks to many wonderful blogs I read that help to gently pluck those budgeting heartstrings. Yes, I have budgeting heartstrings…they lie next to my shopaholic strings…it’s a dangerous place in my heart…there’s a constant orchestra being conducted and it’s either playing one tune or the other.

In keeping with a Dave Ramsey style cash budget for the past 8 or so years, we’ve done a great deal of good. We’re moving up in our baby steps (for those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr Ramsey…please google. His baby steps are your key to financial freedom.)

Looking forward to a few baby steps being crossed off this year…yahoo!

Here’s a link to a blogger whom I very much admire, she’s real and funny and she and her husband love the Lord. It’s Stacy from Stacy makes Cents. http://www.stacymakescents.com/10-reasons-youre-broke  there’s a link to one of her husbands articles.

Anywho, off to feed the babes! chat soon!

Simple Beauty…

February 5, 2013
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Just put this little sheboppy together….thinking of using it in our school room downstairs.

And I had a good peruse-y through some of my ol photos and loved this one of the girls…that tanned skin makes me drool for summer.

 


And then theres this ol fave:

 
 
Annnd one more for good measure …
 
 
 I ordered myself a whole whack of seed catalogues to stir that old dirt desire right up and get it percolatin’ through my green thumbs. This picture reminds me of when we moved in and lovingly planted all that triple rated, grade A, high-end, super pricey grass seed and ran out, so we spread a little extra over the whole she-bang …we found that ‘little extra’ in an old freezer at the farm…I do believe it should’ve been labelled properly as ‘Weed seed’ but alas…it was free…and we are cheap. So in doing so, we tainted the whole lot (heh heh…our whole lot..) with this beautiful specimen.
 
Of course, as we were diligent Dave Ramsey followers, we were waiting to ensure the proper fundage and best deal for our grass hacker .. and as we scoured the net and used equipment sites, the heavens opened and poured much needed rain all over our parched seeds. Seemed as though our ‘weed seed’ was extra strength and though most of our grass seed had dried up, that mustard flower was just a waitin’ for a drink.
 
Lo and behold a week later we had a full 2 acres of the most brilliant yellow, ya ever did see. T’was a sight to behold. A beautiful house in the midst of a field of flowing weeds. Wasn’t long before those weeds were knee high and full of bees. So much so, that our poor children couldn’t even run to the trampoline for fear of a sting.
 
I threw all good sense to the wind and bought the first lawnmower my eyes did see that had a reasonable price tag. It wasn’t green, I can assure you that. More of an aged orange..or terra cotta. To be honest, that first ride as it shook my internal organs and flung my body forwards and back with every move of my untrained hand (I was used to a foot control, like a car, not a hand control…like a car for the disabled..) I couldn’t have cared less. It was me against those freaking yellow flowers and it felt gooood. The wilder the better…if it was hurting me, it was hurting them more. ‘Take THAT you friggen flower freaks!! Ha haaa!!’  It was the pinnacle of power! And I WON.
 
They were gone. I woke up to brown cracked earth with slain yellow flowers strewn all about. I grinned smugly to myself as I sipped my morning coffee. Good Riddance.
 
It wasn’t until I had uploaded those early photos of the building lot and this little jewel popped up, that I actually saw the beauty in it all. The more I stared, the more I saw. What simple beauty I had missed. 


The big B-B-Budget…

February 2, 2010

Not the Jet Set

Click on the above link if you’ve ever wondered what my budget consists of now. For all you Dave Ramsey fans, we folk are currently on Baby step 3. It too will take us a while…but we’re in this for the long haul.

I’m currently on the look out for an envelope system that’ll fit nicely in my purse and that will take a bit of abuse. Ramsey himself offers a planner with envelopes in it, but after reading the comments, I’ve decided to try to find something that is made from plastic or fabric, not paper as it tends to rip easily…(umm. duh ..)

So as the Hubs is at his Bible study, I’ll be scoping out a cash envelope system that works for me!! Hope y’all are having a great Monday!