Friday Fare

tomatoes

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Central Meadowbrook

 

 

I really am fortunate to be where I am right now you know.  My mind is NOT filled with the busy-ness of the rat race and the matrix of society.

I am so grateful the experiences that I have- I get to see so many things.  I have seen the worst in humanity and I have seen the best.

my sunset

I live in an area, the town Mayor or some city official decided to call Central Meadowbrook.  It’s in the eastern central part of town.

 

In a low income apartment building, with the faint smells of the overflowing dumpster behind us and the sewer line that seems to keep plugging up.  I take a small trash bag with me whenever I take the little ones for their walk and pick up as I go along.

overflow

My babes haven’t been to the groomer in a very long time; they are looking a little shaggy, but Olive wouldn’t have it any other way.

olive 2

I have learned to use natural remedies to keep the fleas at bay, and they actually welcome being sprayed down.  It soothes their skin.

I have made best friends in a very short amount of time.  We are a village-we take care of each other and share what we got.

share

 

The Spur always takes me to a new adventure.

I am seeing so many things and meeting so many people.

 

I know I will have to go back to work the 8-5 – and when I do, I hope I don’t forget how to really live.

 

For those that read my stories, Thank you.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

Move in Day

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

e. e. cummings

 

Here I am sitting on some mattresses on the floor, a cardboard box end table and two sleepy pooches.  It has been a journey getting here, but here I am.

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A few days ago, I decided to get sick again and spent 8 hours at the ER, just to tell me my electrolytes and iron was still low and they gave me some nausea meds for the tummy.  Slept for 3 hours and went to work.  Only because they are remodeling my store and I am not scheduled for the next 2 weekends.

strong woman

When I finally got home, I slept for 12 hours straight.  The next day…..

I just knew if I got a good night’s rest I would be back to my old stubborn self and would be able to move my stuff to the apartment all by myself, just like no biggie-   Wrong answer.

I drove my son to work so I could use the car, checked out the apartment and proceeded to unload the car to make room for my stuff.  Now, the apartment is on the second floor, so here I am carrying one 15 lb. bowling ball up the stairs like it’s a sack of 100 pound potatoes.  I knew right then, this was a bad idea.  I barely got the car unloaded and cleaned up; I was done for the day.

pretty 2

I decided to utilize my time and wait to pick up my son, to go shopping at the Goodwill.  Yay!  I found some super finds on pots and pans that fit right in with my décor plan for our humble abode.  Since, I was given so much stuff that belonged to my mother, that were post-depression era, which suits the 1960’s apartment building just fine.

By the time I finished my shopping and picked up my son from the bowling alley, I was pretty much spent.  My brain short-circuited hours ago, and I don’t really remember much after that.  Between my brother and my son, about a third of my stuff got transported to the new place.  I did remember to grab the poochies.

move in day

I struggled laying  the mattresses on the floor and some bedding.  As I was getting ready for bed, this is when I noticed I had no charger or toothbrush.  I found my curling iron and the dogs grooming sheers, so I can curl my hair and shave the dogs’ hineys…..but at this point I really didn’t care.  I made it!

Among random boxes, I did find a clock radio with an IPod dock, so I can at least trickle charge my 4s.

c r soup

I did get to make my first home cooked meal in my apartment; Chicken and rice soup.  And as soon as I find my bath bomb, I am breaking in the bathtub.

Until next time,

Hugs and Hope

A New Beginning

So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.

Christopher McCandless

 

June; the perfect time to start a new chapter.  My son and I are finally getting a one bedroom apartment!   If we can ever get moved in-it’s been one hurdle after another; but you can’t stop this stubborn red head!

 

The universe always has her own timing, so it is very important we listen to her!

 

This past weekend we planned on moving, but our unit flooded!  We would’ve lost all of  the few things we do own, AND I decided to get very sick.

I spent a few days in the hospital with some stomach issues, which told me it’s time to take my health a little more seriously.   I guess level 50 is the magic number to start thinking about that sorta thing.  The good news is, now I am part of the medical system and I have more options for care.

New carpet, new eating habits and a new outlook, I am ready for my next chapter!

 

So, with all of that life stuff happening, it’s time for me to get back into my handy dandy budgeting skills I am so famous for in unknown circles and get to budgeting!

These are a few of my old school tricks and some new ones that I have picked up along my journey of surviving this world on a budget!

big things

Big Things

Word of mouth works great when gathering things from scratch.  I clean house for a dear friend, she has been so wonderful, and if only everyone had a fraction of her giving heart; this world would be a hundred times better than it is right now.  Not only has she shared her home with my son for the past year, she has a garage full of furniture just waiting for a new home and has generously given it to us for our fresh start.  If only I could return the gratitude to her to show her and her family how this fills my being.

cool shop

 

Little Things

Of course, now I have the perfect excuse, I mean reason, to hit the Goodwill shops!  Oh, how I miss my second hand shopping!  I can do so many magical things with my findings from Goodwill!  Curtains, throw pillows, baskets, odd pieces, whatever my whimsical heart desires!  I have a few blogs on this very topic, since it is one of my many favorites, but check this out for some ideas.

lady in bath

Saving money and the environment

Since I have to watch my budget and my health; I was trying to think of ways to do both.  Since paper towels can turn into a huge expense-what about using finger towels and linens for wiping and drying?  The dollar stores and secondhand stores have both for very cheap and I can reuse them!  I also found bleach tablets where the fabric dye is in the cleaning supplies at your favorite grocery store, so I can sanitize them during each wash cycle.  Not too shabby!  I can use the pretty baskets and dishes I found to display them nicely in my kitchen and bath to add some personal touch that blends with my décor.

pests

Pests

Living in an apartment can make it challenging to keep the infestations to a minimum, so I am going to have succulents that have natural repellent properties. I haven’t actually tried these yet, but there is lots of info in the great world wide web, Mother Nature Network has lots of great info.

pooches

 

Pooches

Since my furbabies have to share a yard with other critters, large and small; I will need to keep an area by the door with wipes and sprays to keep my babies from bringing in unwanted house guests.  This not only is healthier for me, but for them too.  I can use some hand towels to wipe them down so we all can be happy puppies!

 

Since we are also on the second floor, my poochieweenie doesn’t have a great attention span and a tiny bladder, so to remedy this, I can have an indoor potty yard just for her.  Keeps her off the carpet and instills the mindset of grass being the potty place for pooches.  You can find all kinds of grassy yards of all sizes and prices to fit your needs.  So far, I found that Amazon has the most variety.  I found one that is reusable that lasts for about 2 weeks depending on frequency of potty stops.

It is also very important for my babies to be current on their shots and flea maintenance.  There are always clinics to make sure this can be possible.  Check out humanesociety.org  to find out more.  And never skimp on your flea regimen.  For more info on my tips for caring for your fur ones check out my blog here

vintage shopping 2

Pantry

With so many convenient options nowadays in the grocery store and the cost of food items, staying healthy and budget friendly can be quite a challenge.  My cure for this problem is buying fresh fruits and veggies and dividing them up into meal size packages and following food guidelines for proper storing. Good Housekeeping has some very reputable tips.

I could keep on going on and on,  but I do tend to get long in sharing, so maybe another day.

I just got a phone call that the apartment is still being worked on, so just a few more days…….

 

When I do finally get to move in, I am kissing the floor and am going to have a good cry!

Thank you for reading and

Hugs and Hope!

 

Sasy’s Tips-Fab Finds

 

Hellooooo World!

Hello Everyone!
My name is Kari and I loooove to save money! I don’t always have time to do the extreme couponing that I so desperately love to do but I do find ways to save money on a daily.
shop
Here are a couple of things you can do to save money on your everyday shopping that does not require you to purchase coupons or follow fads.
Its called apps. Many stores offer in-store discounts right on their app. No clipping or major planning. So, if there is a store you shop at often download their app & start saving.
cell phone
There are also rebate apps. Sometimes I want to save a bit more than the .50 – .75 cents the in store app will offer but I don’t want to spend time uploading receipts and all that jazz.
The savingstar app will automatically pick up your receipt from select retailers. So, all you have to do is load the deal to your app & shop at the select retailer, purchase the item(s) listed on the app & WALLA, 12-24 hours cash back! BOOM!
piggy
Well, I don’t want to overwhelm everyone with too much at once, just wanted to say hello & give ya’ll a couple of quick ways to start saving money today.
Thanks for having me Diane! And happy savings to you all!!
Sasy

Violating Personal Boundaries – Being Robbed of your Personal Stuff

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There are no words to describe the feeling you get when you realize you’ve been robbed.  Whether it is your purse, cell phone, car, home or personal media device.  I have had the experience of all of these happen in my lifetime.

When I was fresh out of college, I accidentally left my purse in my car with the keys on the floorboard.  Some kids decided to go for a joy ride and write some checks.  They left my car at a gas station near the highway, and when the snow melted, different people around town found various contents of my belongings.  The joy of closing accounts, replacing ID cards and bank cards, and don’t forget the hassle of local grocers wanting their money from the hot checks that were written.

My home was robbed 3 times within a six month period.  All from the same person.  Remember that saying “No good deed goes unpunished”?  Well, I was trying to lend a hand to a troubled teen and he returned the favor by stealing family heirlooms, electronics, and  any thing worth pawning.  He even took the time to have a hot pocket and finish off my beer.

My past experiences with controlling narcopaths; my cell phone would have spy ware so they could monitor all of my activity.  They would even search my belongings just to try to find something to start a fight with.

My latest, was my personal notebook.  My life could not be complete without the full on virtual hijacking!  Besides the feeling of being completely cyber raped; I lost all of my digital art (because I didn’t back it up, tsk tsk)  and the complete list of the media center.

I did manage to go to the root directory and gather enough information with IP signatures to nail these bastards!  Now, the fun part begins….

All of these situations have been very valuable lessons for me, and because I love to share my knowledge with anyone who will listen; I felt the need to share my tips on how to stay safe from selfish evil doer’s.  Protect yourself, be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.  Since I am lazy, I am going to put links to websites that have already written about this.

stolen purse

Your purse:  According to corporatetravelsafety.com, Purse thieves and pickpockets have been around for as long as anyone remembers – or at least as long as purses have been around. To many, being pickpocketed is just part of life, but knowing how purse thieves work is vital in reducing your chances of having your purse picked.  Take it from the women who it has happened to  – having your purse stolen or picked, especially overseas, can be very devastating.

cell phone

Spy ware on cell phones: There are millions of spyware apps out there and it is so incredibly easy to access your phone.   According to spyappsmobile.com,  sometimes,  the concern is that someone might have installed spy software on a device you own, without your consent. This is often the case with marriage infidelity suspicions, causing one of the partners to secretly monitor the other’s cellphone or computer.

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Car jacking:  This link has some very good information and tips.  citizendefensetraining.com

robbed house

Your home: protectedhome.com  has a lot of useful ideas to protect your humble abode

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And finally-

Personal Media Devices:  I chose   digg.com  because they had a more recent post on tips for staying safe.  I want you to have the most updated info.

I know this turned out to be a PSA, but even those who believe they are diligently practicing up to date safety measures, it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher.  Maybe there is something you haven’t applied to your system yet.

Thank you for reading and please like, comment and share.

Living on a $20 a week Grocery Budget

 

 

I have had some great experiences and adventures surviving in this crazy life of mine and this morning as I was having my coffee and going through all of my social media stuff and reading emails, I came across a post about how to live on $20 a week on groceries.  I didn’t read the post (shame on me) but it did remind me of when I actually had to do just that.  The fun part was I had a teenager still living at home at the time, the last one to leave the nest.

surviving

It was back when I was trying to come back up from being laid off my job after working there for 10 years.  I had been on an involuntary sabbatical for about 9 months.  I had definitely depleted all of my reserves and right about that time I was really scrambling for some hope.  I remember visiting my agent friend at the insurance office, (telling her I could only pay 1 month of insurance instead of the full premium) she looked at me and said ‘hold on’.  She got on the phone and called a local trucking company that desperately needed office help.  I drove directly to the company and was hired on the spot.

The answer I was praying for!

 

The pay was less than I wanted to be comfortable, but was just enough to pay my bills and leave me with $ 40 a week for gas and groceries.

 

So, with my upbringing of always having to be frugal and my mother who taught me how to make a meal with very basic ingredients; I put my skills back to work and my daughter and I ate on  $20 a week.

minion

 

This time of year is always tight for most of us.  Taxes are due, recovering from overspending during the holidays, in my case, hours are being cut way back since spending has taken a nosedive.  Or for whatever reason or situation any of us are in.  I thought I would share some of my old standby grocery budgeting tips that has got me through many tough times.

 

gravy-ring

Staple items:

 Powdered milk- you can use this to add to regular milk to make it stretch and also use it for cooking so you’re not wasting precious real milk.

Baking Mix- you can make biscuits, pancakes, scones, breads, cakes, dumplings gravy (flour is best, but it will work) the list is endless

Dry Beans- a very good source of protein.

Can tomatoes and sauce- for soups and sauces

Dry noodles- for soups and sauces

farmers

Your local farmer:

 Check around the outskirts of town and visit with your local farmer or neighbor that has a garden and ask them if you can take excess fruits, veggies and eggs off of their hands.  Or do a skill swap with them.  You would be amazed at how much gets thrown away that is perfectly edible.

Learn to can and freeze your goodies.  The internet has many resources to learn this almost forgotten skill.

can-beans

Grocery Outlet Stores:

 Ask around, check out the local paper and find those outlet stores in your area.  Those cans that look a little funky are perfectly fine most of the time.  Or that off brand that came from a different part of the country that we aren’t quite used to are also okay.   Do take the time though to learn what items could be tainted.  For example, jars that the lid has already ‘popped’ are no good and if the dent in the can is deep enough that it ruptured the integrity of the can could also be spoiled.  Also, the best before date on items such as mayonnaise and salad dressings are just a guideline for grocery chains.  These foods are still good beyond that date.  The dates range, so it’s a very good idea to learn the time frame on these items.

butcher

The local butcher:

 Talk to the butcher at your favorite grocery chain or your local butcher.  If they are allowed they can sell you cuts of meat that don’t look star quality at a discounted price.  Something definitely worth checking into.

 

Buy off brand: 

The quality of off brand items are just as good as or better than the name brand favorite 95% of the time.  Every once in a while this isn’t true, just have to do a little experimentation.

dsf

The Dollar Stores:

 Most of my paper goods, spices, vitamins, medicines and toiletries were found at my local dollar store.  Just have to spend a little time and do some comparative shopping to find the best deals.

 jar of money

No matter what your budget looks like, I hope this knowledge can help you make it stretch just that much further.  Thank you for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts and tips too!

Those Who Live in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones

 

 

I was in a local store the other day after getting my first real paycheck and after paying my bills, I thought I had enough to get some much needed stuff.   Thinking I had more money left over than I did, I grabbed some items that I was excited to purchase.

empty-wallet

As I went through the checkout, I let the cashier know I was walking to make sure to put it all in one bag and double bag it.  Well, as we reached the total, my card wouldn’t work.  So, I had to slowly remove items until we reached an amount I could afford to buy. There were a couple of older ladies in line behind me that grew impatient as we slowly took off the items.  Of course this encounter required a manager and although I wasn’t embarrassed, I became very humbled.  I could’ve easily turned to the ladies waiting impatiently and making rude comments about me within ear shot- that I was homeless and am trying to get back on my feet after leaving an abusive relationship. After a few moments of contemplation, I chose not to say a word, as it was none of their business and walked off with my few purchases.

cartoon-dog

I am homeless.  I live with my family and I have a part time job.  Because of the area I stay, there is no public transportation, so the days I work I stay with my friend and he and my son drive me to and from my job.  My son is also staying with some friends.  He came back here to save his mom from the horrible situation she was in. So I do the best I can until I can get back on my feet.

dog-love

You see, I left an abusive relationship.   I was in this relationship with an emotionally, physically and financially abusive person for 6 years. With the help of my son and an online support group I finally got the courage to leave, and I left with nothing but a suitcase and my 2 dogs.  My brother picked us up at a nearby school and have been living there since.   My brother and his family provide me with a bed and my own room.  I truly appreciate what they do for me.   I went from driving a Mercedes and living in a big fancy house to having no car and no home and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

hungry

I also rely on my new found best friend and whatever he feeds and provides for me.  I am very thankful for him, he has a huge heart and he takes care of me the best he can under the circumstances we are both in.  He takes care of his widowed father and has for the last four years without a single regret in his soul.

I also have come to terms with that I have to apply for government assistance.  I need to have a permanent residence so I can work on getting a full time job again to pay my way. I also need to see a doctor, I have had laryngitis for several months now.

I am not uneducated.  I have an Associate’s Degree, many certifications and about 90 hours toward my Bachelor’s.  So by no means am I unscholarly.

strong-woman

I never in my life thought I would be in this situation.  But here I am, working part time and living in two different places so I can make it to my part time job.  It is definitely an adventure. Good thing I have a positive attitude!

Since my new found minimalist lifestyle, I have grown a lot, spiritually and emotionally.  I have let go of material attachments and have learned there are much more important things in life than our need for material possessions.  I have found I enjoy each and every person I have come to know and love to hear about their life and experiences.  I have also learned that each one of us has our own crosses to bear and life experiences we are dealing with.

glass-house

I also never thought in my wildest dreams how some people forget what others are struggling with.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and dilemmas and when certain situations cross our paths we automatically assume the worst about that person struggling in front of us.  We are so quick to assume the young pregnant woman with her 3 year old using her food stamp card that she is unwed and is abusing the system.  For all we know, her husband got laid off from his job and she is humbled or embarrassed by having to use food stamps.  Or maybe she got brave and also left an abusive situation.  Or the person walking into a café and paying for their meal with loose change.  There are so many reasons why this person is living this way. The struggle is real.

Sometimes even our own families can judge our situation without justification.  They get so wrapped up in their own demise and forget to look up.

I guess what I am trying to say here is, please before you cast stones on others, take a look at your own situation and take a step back and give that stranger or family member some consideration of their situation and by all means do not judge!  I know this isn’t my normal content, but I felt a deep need to share my thoughts and experiences on this.

city-winter

During the holiday season can be especially stressful, even for the most financially successful person.  We should be considerate not only during the holidays, but, each and every day of the year.  Each morning when you wake up and start the coffee  before hopping in the shower, take a few moments and reflect and be grateful for what you have; and for those who are struggling and do not have please give them the common courtesy each and every one of us deserve.

Please like or comment your thoughts and please read more of my mindfulness at dianesthriftycupboard.com