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My studio is open!

Hi! I just had to tell you all that my business partner Liz and I finally opened our Soap and Candle Studio! To make our first rental payment I decided to visit wegot1000 and apply for personal loan. My credit score is high so I new the approval was almost guaranteed! Never were to personal loans before, but everything went cool. That was really wise decision.

It’s wonderful in that I can make all the products and SHE can manage the $$…we are doing what each of us is best at. 🙂 And the *really* good news is that tomorrow I get my FIRST paycheck…for $25.00!!! LOL I will be thrilled. It sure isn’t what I made as a teacher, but I can take baby Tanner to work with me every day (we set it up with a kid/playroom all for him, plus of course he likes to come sit under the sink while I am working), I can take a break when my big pregnant tummy says I must, and I can work the hours that are best for me. 🙂

And maybe next month I will be looking at $50.00 a week! LOLOL With Liz in charge of the $$ I can really see how little things add up. We have not had any sales over $40 yet, but we have over $200 in the “fixed expenses” account, plus another $80 for supplies. If *I* had been in charge, I have no doubt that the $$ would all be gone and I would be wondering where it went…*sigh* I hope I will be able to learn from her example.

Hugs karol

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I thought that I would lay out my menu for our family for dinner

Hi all,

I thought that I would lay out my menu for our family for dinner for the last 8 days. I manage to keep our grocery bills down to about $160.00-$180.00 a month on average for a family of 5 and that includes dog and cat food and cat litter along with paper products, etc.. We have 2 big dogs, 3 cats and 12 fish! A regular zoo!

Here is what we ate:

Cheese and Crackers, (video night at our house)

Teriyaki beef on a bun, apricots, necterines and peaces, green salad (from our garden)

Lemon-dill trout (caught by the kids and I while on vacation with my parents in Montana), cheese scalloped potatoes (potatoes that my kids helped to plant and harvest in a friend’s garden), green salad (from our garden), steamed green and yellow beans (from our garden)

Corn on the cob feast! (corn from a friend that gave me a case of it), watermelon (given to us by a friend in exchange for some of the corn we gave her), homemade biscuits, green salad (again from our garden), jams and jellies

Pasta salad (made with tri-colored pasta noodles, diced cheese, vegis and italian dressing), fruit

Leftovers, make your own and a quick stir fry for Mom

Potato/Corn chowder (using some of those potatoes the kids dug, a couple of huge Walla Walla Sweet onions given to me by a friend {she had 2 boxes of them and was given them free} and some of the leftover corn on the cob), homemade cornbread, cucumbers in vinegar sauce, honey, jam and butter

Spaghetti with italian sausage, onions and tomatoes, green salad (garden), homemade biscuits

My husband and I homeschool our 3 boys, oldest will be 13 in October and the twins will be 11 at the end of this month. We are living on 1 income and a very low one at that (about $1,200 per month while my husband retrains in a different field of work). We tithe 10% before taxes and do so joyfully. God does reward a cheerful giver!!!! He is the one that helps lead us to all the good deals and makes the money stretch so far!

Our garden is very small. We do have 3 fruit trees (1 summer apple, and 2 cherries sweet/sour) and a huge rhubbarb plant! I also grow mint and garlic. Our small garden area has strawberries, lettuce, oregano and thyme (used fresh and dried), cilantro, spinach, cauliflower, brocolli, green and yellow beans, and tons of tomatoes! We can, dehydrate and freeze our bounty as well as share with others. We have friends with raspberry patches and have found wild plums and italian prune plums growing along the sides of the roads (we live in a rural area). I also shop the produce sales and farmer’s markets and freeze blueberries, blackberries (found growing wild), peaces, etc. along with cherries from our trees.

We have been blessed with bargains when it comes to homeschooling supplies. I buy alot of them used, make use of the local libraries, have gotten a lot of Christian biographies from a local free book store (part of a church’s ministry and these were the exact books I had been praying for God to provide a way for us to aquire them before the bookstore opened), my parents buy us the “Big Ticket Items” like the microscope for Christmas gifts, and we use the internet alot! My kids are very creative and eager to learn!

WE try to save money anyway that we can and that includes hanging out laundry in good weather, using cloth napkins, borrowing videos, books and music from the library and friends (we also loan out our things), share our lawnmower with friends and they share their utility trailer with us and provide us with free fertilizer for our garden (they have a horse) and many other things. Our kids swap Nintendo (the original Nintendo games, got some games and the machine for $2.00 at a yard sale) with friends, go to work for neighbors when they want to earn some spending money, and are getting really good at bargain shopping and cooking from scratch (they love to help me make bread and they are each in charge of making one complete meal a week). The boys also spend a lot of time just doing things for people “just because” and can frequently be found helping to weed or mow a neighbors yard, taking out their trash or taking care of their animals when they are on vacation.

I am very proud of them all!

Shopping sales, thrift stores, auctions and yard sales are not only a way of life for us but also a source of great amuzement! You never know what treasure you will unearth! Used bookstores are another one of our favorite hangouts. We love to trade in our “used and read” books for “new to us” books. We almost always come home with a new and exciting book that leads us off into another branch of learning.

Anyway, those are a few things that we do here! We enjoy a simple life full of friends, fellowship, love and lots of good food. Our home is a welcoming place for all our friends, young and old alike. Their is always room for a few more at the dinner table and the couches are quite comfortable to sleep on (according to our many friends who have stayed the night). Our lives are rich in the things that really matter to us!

To me living a frugal life really does free me up to enjoy and appreciate all that God has blessed us with!

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Now i remember my dad did the 52 weeks a year figuring with is budget – but that confuses me as i like to just figure one month at a time and i really like teh ” extra” ck every six months

Yep! We get paid once a month–which I like but then that’s all I’ve ever known. Anyway, I think it was Mary Hunt who suggested treating every month as if it only had 4 weeks. That last week might be a little long some times but it gets treated exactly the same in the budget as the other weeks. That I can handle. The game I “play” (seeing as I don’t get those “extra” two paychecks)is to save a bit here and there off the the budget and let the checking account accumulate up to the value of one month’s living expenses.

Once I get there, I can deposit the next paycheck right into savings or whatever big expense I want to put it toward. I only manage that about once a year but it is so fun to get that paycheck and think of it as “free money”–instead of “already spent” money!

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Question – sahm’s and paying off debts

Well i told my boss i am pregnant – and will probably take my leave in January and take at least 6 months- ( left her a note as i never see her as i work weekend / or nights) she called me this week and was soo nice – she was like “oh and don’t worry your seniority will be held for when you want to come back” ( i basically am a sub – i fill in shifts when they are available – they call to ask who wants what shifts based on seniority)

Since we have paid off the minivan -i probably will be able to quit all together when the baby is born as long as nothing comes up – that is what scares me – the something coming up – i ALWAYS was the one to work an extra shift etc. when that happened and that will be unavailable- It will be extremely tight no extra $ at all – and i cannot imagine anywhere else i can cut back (i mean 200 a month for food cleaning beauty paper is pretty darned low for 6 of us soon to be 7 !!)

( oh and i get my AOL for free since i get reimbursed for doing testing for a site every week and honestly $20 isn’t gonna save the deal anyway )

i really think i can do it but do not want to severe ties with work totally just in case we have a problem (plus in 2 years Ds goes to high school and we go private that is a lot of money that’s not in the budget now )

So my question – IF you had the ability to go to work say 2 days a month -at a low stress job you actually liked – NOT have all the problems that go along with work ( child care – milage – clothing – food etc etc ) and would bring in probably $350 ( after taxes ) a month to help pay off debt for those two shifts would you consider it – ??

If i was debt free that would be one thing but i feel that the debts will just sit at the same place being paid off very slowly just the minimums if i am at home FT (unless DH gets a huge raise which is highly unlikely ) and 16 hours a month – well to be honest i know sham’s that go out one night a week and leave their kids for that same amt of time a month easily – which i rarely if ever do – and they will be with their dad

I think I am nuts — I mean I am finally – 99 % possibly able to be at home FT but NOT HAVING to work actually makes working maybe 2 x a month more appealing as it will get us out of debt sooner ( of course the baby would have to be 6 months to a year old for me to do it !!)

As I said it wound not be like leaving my kids to work fulltime it would be 2 x a month when they are asleep anyway – I leave when they are asleep ( 9:45pm and get home before they even awake ( 6: 15 am ) – and of course if they were sick I wouldn’t go in at all)

Boy am I confused LOL!!

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Sears new credit card

Did anyone else get the new Mastercard from Sears. It seems that Sears has closed out all of it’s old accounts that used the Sears card and converted them over to a Mastercard with the Sears logo on it.

Of course, this is to help them gain even more profits, since they can now charge higher interest rates on non-Sears purchases.

I don’t know about all of you, but this really ticks me off. I am sure many people will be happy to have a new Mastercard without taking into effect what this can do to credit ratings and increasing debt.

As for me, I very rarely used my Sears card in the first place, so I will continue that practice and always pay it off each month like I did before.

Diane K. in Ohio

p.s. My back to school shopping consisted of getting down from the attic the bag of clothes from my SIL and then letting DS (6) go through them and pick out what he would like “new” to wear to school this year.

And a thanks to whomever mentioned about the Elmer glue stick price at Walmart – 2 in a package for 0.25. Beats paying 1.59 for one in a package at Office Max. I bought 8 packages, this should take us through to next year when hopefully they will be on sale again. Thanks

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Just when things look bad

Our budget has been looking pretty bleak lately. We had a lot of unexpected bills (car, glasses,etc) that my dh thought I should start looking for a job. Well my son is starting Jr. High and my dd is going to a new elementary school and I really feel I should be home for them.

Well today my dh called from work and he was given a promotion today and a 9% raise and another 3% in March. He has worked for the Co. for 11 years but only 9 months at this plant. A few employee’s have been there for 7years and have never been given a promotion so I’m feeling a little blessed tonight!.

The only change we have to make is going from a weekly paycheck to twice a month paychecks which will always be the same (salary pay).

Any hints on how to convert over?? Thanks for listening! I don’t have to get a job-well I have one I just don’t get paid in money.

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Limitedtoo and Sears sale

I took my 9yo dd to the “mall” today. Sears was having a big clearance sale and we got a coupon in the mail for an extra 10% off when you used a Sears card. Well I dont have one but my dad does so Grandpa went shopping with us (he had fun I think-lol) My dd went right for the clearance racks and found some great deals plus they had some stretch denim flared pants for 8.98 (she wont wear anything but these or leggings and only when her little legs start to turn blue in dresses during the winter).

Well my dad put it on his cc and I then wrote a check to Sears and paid it on his acct. The clerk was a little bothered but hey 10% is 10%. After we went to Limitedtoo (I’ve never bought anything there before).

They are having a great clearance sale!!! We got shorts, dresses and t-shirts for 4.99 plus if you spent 50.oo the give you a $25.00 off coupon for your next 50.00 purchase. Well they had a coat for $50.00 that I think Santa’s elfs will get for $25.00 in a few weeks-lol. Not only did we get a lot of deals we also had fun.

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I certainly have been mourning

I subbed to this festival immediately but was no mail and would check in periodically. I too miss the high volume and all of the helpful tips and suggestions. I am finally realizing that if I miss all of the posting that used to go on, then I better do my part and contribute soooo I’M BACK.

During the past few weeks I have been spending less time online. I have been doing my points programs faithfully to try to get a jump on Christmas. Once the kids go back to school, I am planning to hit the store clearance racks once a week to look for bargains. I have some GC’s saved and got a plastic web certificate card that I have been adding to for this purpose.

I am also (as always) trying to work on my food budget. At this point it seems to be the easiest place to cut. I don’t seem to be making much headway with my mini-emergency fund and would love to be able to add to it more regularly. My food budget for a family of 4 is $70 per week. I did our last challenge and was able to average out at $45 per week. It was really tough and I depleted some of the things that I stored up. I think that $55-$60 including paper goods and toiletries is “doable” and comfortable on a regular basis. An extra $50 per month would be great to add to the EF.

In order to do this, I am planning to drastically reduce purchased snack items and do more baking for treats. I also located a thrift store for bread. I can’t seem to make bread that I like for sandwiches. I love the Amish bread and make it for dinner and french toast but still purchase bread for sandwiches. With school coming, that means more sandwiches and therefore more bread. I should be able to save another $1-$2 by going to the thrift store each week. I am also trying to build my pantry so that I never have to pay full price.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to build my pantry in a systematic way. I am willing to continue to spend $70 per week, using $10 per week to stock up on sale pantry items.

If anyone is still reading this book, could you share any brown bag lunch ideas.

Well, I think that I have written enough to make up for all of the time that I was gone.

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I have a question

I have a question and I’m sure someone here must know the answer. I have been wanting to buy a water heater timer. I have checked around and have found a best price of $34.99 which I’m hoping will go on sale someday.

The question is can you use a timer on a gas water heater? If not is there some kind of gas water heater equivalent?

I’m working on reducing my gas bill and it seems that the water heater is taking about $25/month to run. Just to let any of you who have older fridges and freezers. I got a new fridge in Jan that was almost 2X the size of my old one and I am saving about $130 a year on electric usage because of the energy efficiency.

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Creative Celebration Ideas

When I read this post to the list, I thought how much it sounded like me! I love to celebrate with nice dinners out, as does my husband. But we just recently moved to Milwaukee and are strapped right now from the moving costs and such. Additionally, our rent (with parking — since that is a major commodity in downtown Milwaukee) is almost $800 per month. We made the decision to have that much rent with the knowledge that gas prices aren’t cheap and we share a car so both of us need to be able to get to work in downtown. I know I’m rambling, but bear with me.

I have to ramble on about rent that expensive, only because I’ve never paid that much rent in my life – I think it’s outrageous. However, there was another huge reason we decided to move into the apartment we did. The view! We live on the 7th floor and have an incredible view of Lake Michigan. Now here’s where I get to tie it into Creative Celebrations…. I’m no longer nearly as interested in eating out in expensive, fancy restaurants. We have such a fabulous view that we put our dining table in front of the bay window (instead of the actual dining area — which we made into an office).

We have a nice dinner (at the table with tablecloth, candles, nice glasses, etc), approximately 2-3 times per week) — except on Wednesdays… (we eat in front of the TV so I can be disgruntled about who’s getting kicked off Survivor!). Our big nights out now are at BW3, when they’re having 50c leg or 25c wing nights. Then we splurge a bit because we like to play NTN video trivia and it’s free. We have dinner, drinks and entertainment for about $15 on those nights. Other times, we might take a picnic lunch down to the park or beach on the weekend. I also used to eat out lunch a lot, but have discovered something else that really curbs that desire.

We buy really good bread (Rosemary Cheese, Jalapeno, Spinach Feta, etc) and make our own sandwiches. No longer at lunchtime do I think about that crappy sandwich in the fridge. Now I look forward to bringing a sandwich because it’s practically gourmet for way less than lunch costs.