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Chili, work and paying it forward

November 18th, 2021 at 06:10 pm

With our weather turning colder, I decided to make a big pot of chili for dinner a couple nights ago.  It turned out great and fed us a couple of meals.  Last night I turned the leftovers into 10 chili bean burritos and tucked them into the freezer.  These are a favorite go-to when I want a quick, easy lunch or dinner.  I used leftover hamburger for the meat, and canned beans/rotel that I got on sale - so the cost was around $10 for 14 servings!  

I pulled a steak out of the freezer and am going to try making beef broccoli for the first time tonight.  The recipe looks easy enough - so we shall see!  I am using a steak because all of my other meat is frozen in family size portions and a single steak will be enough for FD and I both.  If it turns out, the next time roast comes on sale I may get one and cut it into small portions for meals like this.

I have started researching ideas for some of the work I am doing for my son's business.  The first will be an onboarding checklist for new hires.  The business is growing so quickly that there is much opportunity for formalized processes.  They started as a two person business and have now grown to15 employees with the plan to add another 8-10 in the coming months!

All of FD's pay it forward bags are done.   She is super excited to hand them out.  We will be delivering just after Thanksgiving.  The school resource officer is on board with donating a few more items to the bags and going with her/us to help keep her safe.  I am excited to see her realize this goal.  I think this is the start of something bigger for her!!  

Kicker surprise and leftovers

November 13th, 2021 at 08:27 pm

I went online to make an extra estimated tax payment and the Oregon Kicker calculator was available.  To my surprise we are scheduled to get a $2600 tax credit on our taxes this year.  Um, YAY.  So I decreased what I would have paid by $1000 to hopefully still leave a buffer but take advantage of the kicker news!  Since our income drastically decreased this year, and some of the hubs unemployement wont be taxable, I am fairly confident our tax liability will be gentler on us this year.  In any case, I will leave the extra money in the tax account just in case and not consider it extra until taxes are filed.   Finger crossed.  I am no tax expert by any means, but am simply guestimating based on prior years results. 

Our local store put roasts on sale 50% off.  I picked up 5 at about $10 per roast, and put 4 in the freezer.  I made a Mississipi roast a few days ago, which made 4 hearty meals.  This morning I shredded the rest of the meat and made eight roast/bean burritoes for the freezer - quick, easy lunches.  I have a little left over juice, which I will use a few drops for a flavor treat for dog's and cat's food.  Probably very unhealthy, but they enjoy the occasional treat.

Ibotta added a number of free after purchase rebates recently, so I purchased them to donate to the family thanksgiving dinner.  Stuffing mix, gravy packet, cream of mushroom soup, fried onion topping, and a few others I cant remember right now.  I typically use the app to save on things I would normally buy to save a little.  This last shopping trip was $71 and I got just under $15 back.   Ive been using the app since April and have gotten $56 back.  Every little bit helps.

FD was talking at school about her pay it forward gifts for the homeless and the school resource officer asked if he could contribute a couple of items to the bags - how very sweet.  He is a retired police officer and offered to go with her to deliver the bags to make sure she stays safe.    I just love our community.  I am not sure we'll be venturing into dangerous territory, but when the time comes, if his offer still stands, we will probably take him up on it and buy him lunch as a thank you. 

Today is cloudy cold day, I am enjoying some Christmas music on Pandora and just enjoying a stay home and putz day!!

Stockpiling and Christmas

November 5th, 2021 at 11:50 pm

My son and DIL are at a conference this week, so they asked if I could come house, kid and pet sit while they are away.  Being retired means a big fat YES.  Even better, with the hubs mileage plan, me and FD were able to fly here for $11!!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with my Cali babies!!  Mom and dad come home tomorrow, and we fly home on Sunday.  It's been such a rewarding week.  I LOVE having the freedom to do stuff like this!

While the hub was home this last rotation, we bought an upright freezer on sale and stocked it full of meats and quick meals.  Now I will watch for sales and keep it stocked while taking advantage of good prices.  With all the turmoil going on in the world, we felt it was a good idea to do a little stockpiling just in case.  I have to say, it feels great to know we are prepared.  I also saw a sale on canned goods and stocked up on canned veggies.  I already had a stockpile of beans.  I still have several 5lb food storage buckets and plan to use those to store flour and sugar. 

The first few months of retirement was a period of adjusting to our new budget.  We were hit with a fair share of unexpected expenses (well repair, tires for our trailer, etc) but thankfully, things have settled down and we are back to living on our budget and having money left over for savings.  

Earlier this week, Costco had a flash sale on Alaska Airline gift cards.  $500 for $449.  I bought 6 of them, which will last use most of 2022!!  I generally budget $500 per month for the hubs travel expenses, so I will have savings paid back in 6 months for the gift cards.  

I took advantage of Kohl's Black Friday sale today and bought 10, good quality, warm fuzzy blankets at $8.50 each.  FD and I will add hand warmers and other goodies and hand out to homeless later this month.  I am budgeting $150 total for these or about $15 each.

I hope all is well with everyone.  I am looking forward to catching up on the blogs!

Group Challenge?

August 24th, 2006 at 09:57 pm

I was thinking...

Each year between Halloween and Christmas, I try to keep a decorated container by the front door that our family deposits change into. Visitors have been known to contribute too.

The amount is always a surprise when we open and count it at the beginning of December...and then we pull a name off the Foster Care tree and 'adopt' a child who is in foster care.

However, Im willing to use the money for any good cause.

Is anyone else wanting to do this as a collective effort?? Not so much that the money is given to the same place...but rather we keep track of how much was accumulated in our individual coin boxes for donations. and then see what the saving advice members grand total was?

We could set up a thread to communicate about it...and then tally up the money on a set day...and then everyone could report where their money went to.

Hmm....Is this against any savings advice rules?? Is this something you already do??



The Mices go Wine Tasting

August 2nd, 2006 at 06:26 am

Who knew we had all these great wineries right here in So. Oregon.

Today was my friends birthday and she wanted to go wine tasting. She is in town for a cousins wedding, so our mix of companions for the day included the new bride, brides mother, an aunt from England that now lives in Spain, another aunt from England, Aunt 'Rosie" (83) and a couple of others...9 of us in all. Since Linda and I have been friends since we were kids, I am sortof like family and knew most everyone already.

My first mistake...not eating breakfast.

We visited 4 wineries...let's see, thats about 24 tastes (3-4 glasses of wine in about 5-6 hours)...all on a pretty empty tummy...

Got home at 6:30, had a quick bite...and proceeded to crash....slept for 4 hours and now it is 11pm an Im wide awake.

It was a great day with my friend and her relatives. Such a festive group. (Designated driver was my friends poor DH who got to spend his day with all the tipsy female in-laws)

On the drive to the first winery, my friend was commenting how much she loved the city and how I was now such a country girl...she said she could never live somewhere like this....too boring....

all while passing mountains filled with pine trees, pear orchards, homes that were built at the end of the Oregon trail...lakes, rivers....

Well, we dont have Disneyland, competing theatres, famous dinner houses, Orange County or 90210....but we have large doses of unpopulated land between towns and no traffic jams on our one little freeway.

The country mouse is perfectly happy in her fairly routine, simple, calm, quiet little neck of the woods...Ill leave the city for the city mices...for I fear I would never be bored there...and oh, what joys I would miss in that.

when there is NO income

May 26th, 2006 at 09:26 pm

I made a new friend today. A delightful lady with such a positive outlook on life. She has fibromyalgia and is unable to work.

She receives a small amount in food stamps, but that is all. So she depends on her family for a place to live.

In return, she cleans their homes, cooks, and takes care of their children when she is feeling well enough.

She and I just had a nice long visit and she was showing off her 'new' sketchers tennis shoes. She was just tickled with her shoes...they look brand new and they are very cute.

They were a hand-me-downs from a niece who no longer wanted them. The niece also gave her some sandals, which my new friend proudly wears to church (and gets compliments on) with her thift store dress.(again, that she is very proud of).

I am looking forward to getting to know her much better. She is frugal-wise in ways I won't pretend to understand.

I gained a new perspective today...I have always looked at frugal finds as a 'cool thing that saved me a little money'...but today I saw how a frugal find is a necessity for some to even have the basics.

I know, pretty naive and nearsighted of me.

I am already trying to come up with small ways to make a difference for her....I can't do alot, but I can (and will) do something(s). Smile

A nice, surprise blessing to my day.

Sidestepped a budget buster...

May 6th, 2006 at 03:07 am

DD3 and I went to town this afternoon after her talent show. (Which went marvelously!)

She was pretty eager to go to a diner for dinner (wanted an omlette)...but I offered to make her a ham and cheddar scramble at home instead....So we stopped at the store and bought food for the weekend and for those omelettes and spent WAY LESS than we would have at the restaraunt...and she was pleased with the dinner(breakfast) at home.

I did tell her that we could go to the diner sometime when her dad can go with us. So I think she was ok with that....

I picked up a "tell us about our service" card from the bank today and am filling it out and mailing it in for one of the employees who has been so friendly and helpful.

I also decided to refund an unhappy customers money from the bug business. This actually is a FRAK for my son the pest tech, as this lady was a royal pain in the neck (honestly, we never have customers we cant please...but she was over the top) So my son won't have to go back a THIRD time to a home where we will never please this customer.

DD3 is having a car wash tomorrow (fund raiser) so my FRAK money ($4) will pay for some unsuspecting persons car wash...(shhh, don't tell)

Received an Act of Kindness...

May 5th, 2006 at 01:58 am

What a nice surprise I received when someone went out of their way to help me today.

I have mentioned DD3s recent visits to the specialist and insurance. Ended up insurance said no-go afterall....but this nice lady took extra time in her day to carefully document the medical necessity for the prosthesis.

She said DD3 absolutely needs it or she will eventually suffer scoliosis type symptoms and back, neck pain.

She is going above and beyond to help me...and, especially since it is helping my child, it is a kindness I won't soon forget.

Being on the other side of kindness today, I am re-energized to continue on with my goal to be kind to others.

More cans to trade in.

April 26th, 2006 at 09:21 pm

I am going to take another bag or two of pop cans to town to trade in when I go.

FRAK #1 I am pulling all the pull tabs off the cans for my moms Dialysis Center. (They collect them) I have been pulling these off of all the recent cans, but I decided to go through the old bags and pull them off as well...

FRAK #2 One of the guys DH works with loves my runza' I sent enough for his dinner tonight out of the stash I made yesterday as a surprise (DH doesn't like runza's)

The money from the cans will go towards the gas expense to go camping this weekend.

DD2, her SO and my GS have decided to go camping with us...The more, the merrier in my book! I am soooo looking forward to it!!!

Found a great bogo sale on steaks for dinner one night...and we will have burgers and hot dogs the other night.

along with campfire coffee (isnt that the best!) and nightime s'mores!!!(yummm)

Is it time to go yet?

FRAK -Frugal Random Acts of Kindness

April 26th, 2006 at 04:35 pm

I have decided to set a personal goal of doing at least 4 FRAKs each week. (I would do more, but most days are spent working in the office here at home, alone or with DD1)

I will put 10% of my allowance ($2) each week into the pot, as well as spare change.

I will keep my eyes peeled for recipients and keep an open mind to new ways to achieve a kindness. (all suggestions are welcome!)

I will update progress as it occurs!

Here goes...