30 pounds down

30 pounds down
Size 16--Size 8

Monday, January 25, 2010

I've fallen off the wagon....

OK, so I've fallen off the wagon in more ways that one. First of all, I haven't been making daily blog entries, which could explain while I've backslid in other areas....or I've backslid in other areas therefore didn't want to blog. Classic case of which comes first, the chicken or the egg.
Well, I'm coming clean and will resolve to do better...
1) need to be better about blogging
2) My workouts the past two weeks (other than skiing) were practically non-existent
3) Between eating on vacation, cooking for coworkers, and having out-of-town guests this past weekend, my diet has been attrocious. Add to that my kids persuaded me to take them out for pizza after skating on Sunday...bad for diet and for waistline. I've also been loaned to another office and ate lunch on the run today. I was a bad, bad girl at lunch today--I ate KFC...not the healthiest of meals....

So, what have I done to remedy this situation?
1) I am blogging tonight
2) I went to the gym tonight though I feel like it conquered me...
3) I will pack a breakfast and a lunch for tomorrow :-)

More updates later....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the toilet paper saga continues...and about that ketchup...

I went shopping tonight. Can't say the exact amount because I left the reciept in the car, but I think it was like $80. Of that, the most expensive purchase was the Scott toilet paper ($15+for a bundle). I'm happy to say that walmart carries it for the same price as Sam's club. That's nice so I don't have to stand in line at Sams.

About the ketchup, I found a jumbo bottle (unopened) in the cabinet. So, that purchase is delayed at least for awhile. Still would be interested in hearing if you guys have any cheap sources for Heinz ketchup.

I did splurge and get the kids a mix for their easy bake oven. Do any of you know if regular mixes and/or recipes can be adapted for use in the easy bake oven?

Other "big ticket"items included envelopes (which i'll be reimbursed for); a gallon of milk, and a large package of string cheese (kids like to snack on that). Other items were small, but it all adds up :-)

Cooking for the crowd

My turn to provide lunch @ work. Thinking I'll do a "comfort food" theme. I have most of the ingredients already, but will need to pick up a few other items. Menu for tomorrow: beans and cornbread, mac and cheese, and chicken noodles :-) yum yum. Wonder how cheaply I can feed 16 for?

Why tightwaddery?

Being a tightwad (frugal person, cheapskate, spendthrift, etc) has a purpose. In my case, I am trying to save money so that I can pay of debt and rebuild savings. Tighwaddery also has another purpose. It allows you to save money so that you have money on hand when a good deal comes up.
For example, some people might find that they get a better deal on a car if they negotiate with cash. Or, if canned goods are on sale for 10 cents each, if you have cash on hand, you can stock up on a bunch.
My gym membership expires this month. They are offering a promotion where if you pay/renew for the whole year, then they will sell you the membership for halfprice: 12.50/month vs 25/month. The catch is that you have to pay all at once.
I don't have $125 laying around, but I will try to find money in the budget as this will allow me to save $125 down the road.

Diet and Exercise for the past few days

I had 2 sedentary days of driving and three very active days of skiing. That has been my exercise.

Kind of hard to follow a diet when meals are prepared for the group. I used portion control, but there were still some items that I ate that I would have not normally eaten.

Tomorrow is a new day and I will do better :-)

"new" car gets 34.8 mpg

Readers, I have finally purchased a "new" car to aid in saving money. The "new" car is a 1999 Honda Civic....a small car that is surprisingly roomy inside. I have two child restraints in the back seat and the kids aren't cramped.
I road-tested the car's mileage on the Colorado trip. It got 34.8 miles per gallon, which is way better than the truck's latest 13.4 miles per gallon.
Payments are in the range that i was hoping for. I think a previous blog, I had indicated that I'd like to keep payments in the $100-$140 range.
Not too pleased about the insurance rates. I have been a customer of my particular insurance company for quite some time. I haven't had any accidents or claims or tickets *knocking on wood*, and I am a female driver in my 30s. I'm being charged $60 per vehicle or a total of $120/month. I'll begin shopping around soon for a better deal on car insurance. Readers: Who do you like for insurance? Who do you think gives the best deals?

I haven't left you, I've been on vacation....$45/day skiing

It's been awhile since I've blogged, just thought I'd fill you in on my vacation. I took myself and my oldest son skiing for 3 days. I rat-holed some cash over a 2 month period (mainly by not eating out) and managed to save about $550. With the exception of gasoline, I paid cash for everything and had a little money left-over. The $550 covered lodging for 4 nights, food, 3 days of skiing (lift tickets), equipment rental, and 2 days of ski school for my son. He did not ski one of the days.
How did I do it? I vacationed with my aunts/uncles who are fellow tightwads :-) We rented a house vs a hotel, which allowed us to prepare all meals instead of eating out. We carpooled to the ski resort. We didn't buy snacks on-site, but instead packed our own. Some lift tickets were purchased at a discount.
The total vacation time was 5 days, though 2 of the days were driving. Cost per person per vacation day $45. I *think* I filled up 5 times @ approximately $22 per tank. Total travel cost $110. I still had 2 empty seats in my car. I could have reduced my costs further if I would have had a friend or two join me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gas again! Expenses for 01-11-10

I spent $50.81 on gas on Monday. This time the tank got me 262 miles before I filled up. Estimated mpg this time only 13.4 :-(

good news is that I signed papers for a loan for a car today :-)

Spent $7.26 at the dollar store. One item purchased was a set of iron on patches for repairing blue jeans. LOL there are 13 pair to be patched when I get time. Kids sure are rough on jeans. Patches here are $1.25, at Walmart they are $3+.

I also spent $32.80 to pay up my car ins for this month. Did it over the phone so as to not have to pay postage.

Total amount spent today : $90.87

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Odds and ends in the fridge: Ranch Dressing

Anybody have any idea of what to do with Ranch Dressing that is 3/4 the way full? It is still good, but will not be during the length of time it will take me to use it up. It's the good stuff (Hidden Valley) so I hate to throw it out.
Hmmm...now what to do with the bottle of green olives...yuk!

Tightwaddery and the neighbors...lol

Sooooo.....about a year ago, I was grinding soap for my homemade laundry detergent (see earlier post for recipe) and one of the neighbor kids asked what I was doing, and I said "making laundry detergent", to which he replied "You're supposed to use TIDE and BOUNCE" LOL this kid is an authority on laundry at the age of 7!

Tonight, same kid was over at the house. My eldest requested popcorn. I was making it in a pot on top of the stove and the neighbor kid had never seen this before and suggested I try microwave popcorn....lol

Then the kids were thirsty, so I pulled out the tea. I suggested that they put some ice cubes in their cups since I had just made the tea. The kid was astonished that one could MAKE tea. He said that they always buy it ready made by the gallon.

Speaking of tea, when I made the last batch, I decided to use up some of the froo-froo flavored crap in my cabinets. 2 regular tea bags and 1 flavored. Kids didn't complain, and it'll make my regular tea bags last 30% longer.

My recycled coffee grounds are at 1/2 quart. Once dried, I toss them into a canning jar. I use 3 Tablespoons of coffee per day, so to have 1/2 quart is a lot of used coffee.

Wonder what the neighbors will say when I get my clothesline back up? I kid you not, on a hot summer day in the windy midwest, laundry can dry faster on the line than in a dryer---plus you don't heat up your house by running the dryer.

Running low on Ketchup!

I have very few brands that I'm loyal to. One of my downfalls is Heinz ketchup. I've tried the other brands, and have not been impressed. My kids are ketchup fanatics, so we use more ketchup than any other condiment. I am a mustard kind of girl myself. My youngest can be persuaded to use mustard, but prefers ketchup. My eldest will use ketchup and nothing else. This is a serious item to be low on.
Tonight, with the goal of cleaning out the fridge in mind, we used the little ketchup packets that sometimes accompany fast food. These had been tucked away on a shelf in the fridge.
Help! I need a cheap source for Heinz ketchup.

Cheap entertainment, money, fitness and diet

I took the kids skating today. They boys received free skating passes at their birthday party, so their admission was free. We each have our own skates, so we don't have to rent. So all I had to pay was my admission, which was $3. Prior to leaving, I had the bright idea of having the boys raid their own piggy banks, so they'd think twice before nickle and diming me to death with "I want this, I want that". I limited them to two dollars each. That worked out very nice *pats self on back*. I'm sure some of you long-time parents are thinking "Duh!", but seriously, I'm new to the parenting-at-the-age-of-the-gimmes.
The kids were very receptive to using their own money and they enjoyed the freedom of going to the concession stand when they wanted to. My eldest even learned the disappointment of using his last 2 quarters on the silly game that drops the claw down into a bin of stuffed animals. Neither child complained when their money was gone.
Considering an allowance now...not sure of amounts these days....and job expectations for a 4 and 6 year old.
I also bought a drink for $1.
Total amount spend today $4 plus what I put into the offering plate at church, which is not up for discussion except that I am not at the tithing level yet....and need to be.
The skating was my workout for today. It's amazing the upper body workout that one gets from holding a 4 year old up. It's back to the gym for me tomorrow.
1 communion wafer
1 shot of grapejuice
1 2"square of lasagna (homemade :-) )
several handfuls of popcorn at skating rink
diet pepsi
5 cheez-its
1 small bowl of popcorn
2 pigs-in-blanket (2 biscuits, 1 slice of bologna) with mustard
1 slice homemade bread with butter
1 serving of Bailey's

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The low down on the toilet paper

I have received several comments on the toilet paper issue, Blog, Facebook, or otherwise. I'll take this opportunity to address some of these

1) A bidet was suggested. As a world traveler, I have used many toilet/bidet facilities and the smartest one is the Toto "Washlet" which combines the luxury of a bidet into the convenience of one fixture--the bidet feature is built into the toilet seat. Recently I considered getting one for the sole purpose of having a heated seat (the "washlet" has a heated seat, deodorizing fan,etc). Below freezing temps outside make for not wanting to drop your drawers and sit on a cold seat! The washlet is expensive. Cheapest I found on internet was around $500, and that's not including labor to install.

Not sure that it gets the job done, so to speak. My ex decided to give it a try while we were vacationing in Japan. After he did his business, he pressed the button for the bottom wash, and then the button for the hot air dry. Good thing he decided to give it a "test-wipe" because he discovered that it didn't work as intended, and in fact, he had baked the excrement onto his bottom, much like adobe.

I might recommend a sink sprayer as a cheaper option to a bidet. I had plumbed in a sink sprayer to the fresh water line of the toilet. The was for the purpose of rinsing diapers, and then later BM accidents, vomit, etc from kids clothes. One *could* use this as a bidet, but it is COLD water. BRRRRR!!! I never tried it as a bidet, but I *think* some of my foreign friends did. I removed the contraption after about 4 years because it began to leak.

One still has to dry themselves after this. I suppose you could use a washcloth or towel. It would be no different that drying your rear off after a shower. A French friend once told me that they could get 10 "uses" out of each rag: once for each corner on the front, and then once for each corner on the flip side, plus each middle.

2) Coupons were suggested. Where do you get coupons for toilet paper? Give me the scoop.

3) Sam's Club. Boy, I've had to get creative on the math. Toilet paper manufacturers don't all label the same, and this makes it difficult to compare. Want to make sure we compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. So, Mary K's Scott tissue from Sams Club has 115.2 square feet PER ROLL, and a case costs $18.88 and contains 30 rolls ($0.629 per roll). Cost per square foot (Dang, I sound like I'm building a house not buying toilet paper! lol) for the Scott tissue is (0.00546).

So, how does this compare to Angel Soft (cheap brand that I currently use from Wal-mart)? Angel Soft was recently being sold as a loss leader at our local Kroger equivalent. A 4-pack was $1.00, or 25 cents a roll. But what constitutes a roll? Angel soft sells in double or single rolls. A double-roll of Angel soft contains 41.75 square feet, whereas the single roll contains 20.87 square feet. In this case it was a 4-pack of single rolls being sold for $1. So, one could buy 83.50 square feet of Angel Soft for $1 or 0.011976 a square foot--about twice the price as the Scott's from Sams.

Guess I'll be shopping for TP at Sams...but where to store 30 rolls in a house with no closets? or cabinets in the bathrooms? I'll get creative :-)

My laundry detergent recipe

I've been making/using this for years. I'm not a total convert because I am known to buy a bottle of Tide (or All, etc) if it is on sale and I have a coupon....

Homemade Laundry Detergent
1 box Borax (the 4 pound, some odd ounce box)
1 large box baking soda (get the cheap stuff- I think it is like a 2.5 pound box)
2 bars of Zote soap (look in Hispanic stores or the Hispanic section of large retailers)

In a large container add the borax and baking soda. Stir together, you may have to break up the lumps of borax with your hands.
Grind/grate/shred the soap with a cheese grater. I use a rotary one from pampered chef. Add to shredded soap to the borax mixture and stir well.

To use: use 1/3 cup of the mixture and add about 1.5 cups water to the mixture. Microwave for approximately 1 minute to melt the Zote soap. Add to laundry machine.

I use a front loader and my clothes are not too dirty when they are washed. You will still need to pretreat stains and add what additives (ie bleach) that you would normally use. I use the same glass measuring cup for the microwaving step over and over again as it saves having to wash the cup. you may need to adjust the amount of soap based on your machine and the dirtiness of your clothes.

My ex really liked this laundry detergent because it is unscented. I used this on my kids baby clothes with no problems or skin reactions.


I've been cooking for my chickens

Since we've been having below zero temps here in the midwest, I figured that my chickens would like a hot meal. I regularly save eggs shells, veggie scraps, table scraps (no meat or onion-type foods), etc to feed to them. Yes, chickens eat eggs shells. If you don't feed them their egg shells, one would have to supplement their diet with a calcium replacement. My in-laws save their shells and bake them and then crumble them up. I find that frozen shells shatter nicely, so this is what I do. I have a bucket that stays in the freezer...in goes the shells, etc.
A few weeks ago I made beans and cornbread only to discover that the cornmeal was probably the nastiest I have ever had. Not sure if it was really old or had been in the freezer too long... so, I made a hot batch of cornmeal (Don't worry my oven was already hot from other baking projects) to which I added all of the freezer scraps.
The chickens loved it!!!!
Tonight, I cooked a pot of lentils. I found an opened bag in the deep recesses of the freezer. They smelled freezer-burned and I'm not a big lentil fan anyhow. I hope my chickens are because that's what's for dinner tomorrow.

Diet, exercise, and money for today (Saturday)

Yep! another day without spending anything! :-)

Exercise: Nada. Unless you count the many trips made up and down the creepy cellar stairs as I put away Christmas decorations.

plenty of coffee
1 scrambled egg
a few fried ham bits (didn't add any extra oil)
3 pancakes (about 2.5 inch diameter) with lite syrup, no butter
2 inch square of lasagna
2 1.5 inch brownies with half a scoop of ice cream
bowl of white rice, fried with 2 eggs, shrimp, and soy sauce
1 bite fudge

You might notice that I eat a lot of eggs. I have chickens and they give me lots of eggs, so our family eats eggs in many variations throughout the day.

cheap toilet paper?

OK, in anticipation of running out of toilet paper at the end of the month, I am asking my readers for sources of cheap TP. I usually buy the Angel Soft at WalMart because it is cheap yet does the job. I am wondering if any of you know of any cheaper paper that is acceptable?
I know some people do the "family rag", but I have washed enough diapers in my day and don't care to go this route again. For those of you who don't know, family rag is where you use a washcloth to do the cleaning and then you launder the washcloths....People that do this usually have a special color of rag so as to not be confused with a washcloth you use on your face.
Other cultures use water and their hand. Again, not an option for me :-)

Today's weigh-in

OK, so I had gained some over the Christmas break, so this week was focused on loosing what I had gained over the break, plus loosing some more. So according to my scales, since last Saturday, I have lost 4.4 pounds :-) of course so of that was Christmas gain, so not a whole let net gain, but still progress in the right direction.

Yesterday's (Friday) money, diet, and excercise :-)

So, yesterday was day one of my new workout routine developed by the personal trainer who works at the gym where I exercise. I did the routine and you wouldn't think it, but the hip exerciser ("Multi-Hip") is really hard! I can hardly do it and maintain my balance, but then again, I am a klutz. With the new routine, she has me off of the machines and doing free weights. Not sure how I feel about this...I don't like being in that room...packed with people...and I'm the only woman. And I don't like looking in the mirror while I lift....I am too self-conscious :-)
As far as cardio, we have a new strategy. I am going from low, to medium, to high intensity and changing every minute. Due to time constraints, was only able to do 30 minutes.
Diet: yogurt with blue berries and cereal
plenty of coffee
I did drink 3 glasses of water
3 servings of lasagna
1 slice of pizza
1 small brownie with scoop of ice cream.

Friday, January 8, 2010

yesterday's diet and exercise

no exercise except what I did at the gym during my assessment

yogurt with cereal and blueberries
sugar cookies (3)
coffee, lots of coffee
bowl of spaghetti
2 small brownies
1 2 inch square of homemade lasagna
1 crescent roll

Dang those sweets!

Where'd the money go yesterday? $0

Yes! Another day without spending a dime!

Fell asleep last night, but have good news!!!

Was intending to blog last night, but i fell asleep...without setting the alarm. I must have been tired....
I went for my weigh-in and measurements with the personal trainer who works at the local gym. I told her that the scales weren't reflecting much weight loss, but that my clothes were looser and I felt better. I have been exercising since Sept 20, 2009. Total weight lost is only 5 pounds BUT have dropped 2 percentage points in body fat %, and have lost 2 inches from bust, and from the waist and hips. I have lost 3/4" from my upper arms, which is where I wanted to lose it the most. The personal trainer was really excited about this, because evidently this is a hard place to lose from. I lost inches everywhere except for my calves, which stayed the same.
My resting heart rate was 68, and they like to see it below 72. This is encouraging because it was at night--and still my resting heart rate was low. She said if I were to measure my pulse in the a.m., it would likely be even lower.
She did a fitness test last night. Let's say that when I first started doing any cardio, my pulse would immedidately jump up to 165. Now, even after 15 minutes of cardio, my pulse is only 130 and I am not winded.
Still, I can't run. This is my next goal. I would like to train for the Race For the Cure in October. It is a 5K. I can't even run a mile! I have 10 months. Do you think I can do it?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tired from the gym tonight and still hungry

Did the routine weights at the gym tonight. Did 10 repss and 3 sets of most things. 20 minutes on the stair climber + 25 minutes on the treadmill = one tired girl!

If I am going to run in the Race for The Cure in October, I had better get to training...I've never done this before so am uncertain as to what to do. Any suggestions? I do a fast walk (3.5 to 4 mph) on the treadmill.

What did I eat?
several cups of coffee with splenda and fake creamer
1 bowl pumpkin wallpaper paste
2 bowls of veggie soup
2 handfuls of pretzels
5 cheese puffs
2 brownies
6 small sugar cookies
small bowl of spaghetti
2 bites of fudge

I could kick whoever brought all the snack/munchies to the office. I had better work on my willpower. It is getting late, and I am still hungry.

Fuel Economy of the Beast

This tank of gas got me 319.6 miles. Tonight I put in 20.570 gallons. This averages out to be 15.5 gallons. In 1997 EPA estimates for this truck were 15 for city and 20 for highway, with an average of 17. I think I could save money if I got a small car that got over 30 miles to the gallon.

Where'd the money go today? $55.02

$53.46 for 20.570 gallons of gas @ $2.599 a gallon
$1.56 for a box of lasagna noodles

I've got to get a different car

An alternative for automatic dishwasher detergent?

Doing dishes tonight and was wondering if anybody had any suggestions for an alternative for detergent for automatic dishwashers. I *could* hand wash, but try to avoid that since my hands get a lot of wear and tear from frequent hand-washing during the day. They are already quite chapped. Prior to getting a water softener, the only thing that would work halfway decently was Cascade gel packs. I've continued using these since this is what I've always bought...but am wondering if maybe I could switch to something cheaper. I hate to try it, and be stuck with some ineffective soap and out of my money.... Thoughts? Anybody know how to make dishwasher detergent?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

tightwad things done today?

1) I have resisted the urge to do a load of laundry because it is not a full load
2) I have respected the desires of the programmable thermostat--haven't adjusted it to be warmer...this might change in the next few days as it is supposed to be cold
3) continuing to dry out the coffee grounds
4) made cheap pizza tonight--from scratch. I bought the yeast in bulk SEVERAL years ago and have kept it in the fridge---it is still good. I made the crust, and the ingredients are fairly inexpensive (water, sugar, flour, salt, yeast, and oil). The sauce is made from tomatoes i canned this summer. I cooked down a double batch of tomatoes as I am planning on making lasagna later for dinner guests on Thursday (will they show? depends on the weather...). I seasoned with italian seasonings, which i have in spice jars. These also grow in my yard. Next summer, I should pick/dry the herbs to replenish what i've used. Cheese was block cheese purchased from the local grocery for 88 cents and brick. Cheese stores well in the freezer, by the way. The sausage was purchased on sale and was what was left over from making another recipe.
5) I went by the bank and got log-in credentials so that I can pay bills on-line and avoid postage.

That's about it!

diet and exercise 1/5/09

Several cups of coffee with splenda and fake creamer
bowl of pumpkin wallpaper paste
handful of mixed nuts
bowl of pinto beans with slice of ham
2 slices of sausage pizza, easy on the cheese and sausage
3 bites of fudge

No workout at the gym today. Maybe later I *might* get down on the floor and work on my core. Having a hard time getting the kids to fall asleep tonight....yes, that is an excuse :-)

Where did the money go today? $0

i spent nothing today :-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting home in order project #1

My old house has no closet. For clothing storage, my ex and I had a shelving system in our laundry room. I had to clear the entire unit off so that the builders can knock a hole in the wall for the doorway into the new addition. This shelving unit also held a lot of junk, in addition to clothes not worn in quite some time. So, I have many bags ready for Goodwill, and when the clothes/things go back on, they'll only be things that I have used in the past year.

what did i eat today?

3 no-bake cookies
several cups of coffee with splenda (no sugar :-) ) and fake creamer
bowl of pumpkin wallpaper paste (oatmeal)
handful of mixed nuts
bowl of pintobeans
grilled cheese sandwich (this is a no-no, but man! it was good!)
small bowl of spaghetti with meat sauce
3 no-bake cookies

LOL no-bake cookies are healthy, right????? fiber from the oatmeal, protein from the peanut butter and milk.....just kidding.

I drank 4 cups of water today. doing much better on the water, but not to level i should be.

Fitness today...

Again, I am quite certain that the butterfly is ineffective for me. I need to bring something to boost me up. Now..if they'd only make something to make my arms longer....
So did the same weights as before and did 20 minutes on the stair-stepper. When finished the stair stepper and dismounted, the lady next to me said "wow! you were on there a long time. How long did you last? 20 minutes?" I think I know why I never see anybody on these--they wear you out and make you sweaty!
I also did 25 minutes on the treadmill. Total of 45 minutes cardio.
I'm nodding off as i type this so I doubt that i'll work on my core tonight.

Where'd the money go today? $400

So........Major expense today. Not necessarily unexpected...Did I mention that I'm in the middle of a major home addition? ...and this blog also discusses getting my house in order. My existing house is only a 2 bedroom and fairly small. I had plans for adding on prior to the divorce, so just decided to carry out the plans :-) If any of you have ever built new, remodeled or added on, you know that rarely does anything go exactly as planned. So, this expense today was to cover something that was under-budgeted. This is a slight set-back in my plans (already on day #3) BUT when it is done, I will have a nice house that appraises for more than what I owe, which is always nice in this housing economy.
No other expenses today.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My intake today? 1/3 Sunday

1 biscuit
1 egg
1 piece of bacon
several cups of coffee with dairy free creamer and sugar
4 bites of ham
3 bites of chocolate fudge
1 cup of white rice with soy sauce and sprinkles (seaweed a sesame seeds)
3 ounces of sauteed shrimp
1 bowl of pumpkin flavored wallpaper paste (lol!) that was supposed to be oatmeal
I did drink 4 glasses of water today.

Fitness today

Did the usual weights :-) I'm fairly certain that I am not doing the butterfly properly. My frame is too small for that machine, no matter how I adjust it. I think I'll start exploring other options for exercising this area.
I did make one adjustment, Instead of standing to do the pull downs, I am now seated and am using a crooked bar. Pardon the lack of technical terms, but I don't know what half the stuff I'm doing is called :-) This change allows me to do 90 pounds vs a lighter weight.
Gym was busy today, probably because of everybody's new years resolutions. I did 27 minutes on the stair climber. Why such an odd number? The first 7 were spent trying to figure out how to program it. I'd get it going, and it would shut off! So, I switched machines and did 20 minutes. I kicked my butt! I'm used to the elipticals and treadmills. I might have to use these more often :-)
After a majority of the folks left, I was able to jump on a treadmill. I walked between 3.5 and 4 miles per hour, mostly 4 mph which is fast as I could walk without jogging. My calves would get tight and I'd have to slow it down to about 3.5 for a minute to stretch them out. Any of you out there know when your lower leg muscles quit tightening up?
I off to work on my core. I will also do some skull crushers as i'd really like to eliminate that flab on the back of my arms. As far as dumb bells are concerned, I own 2 10# weights, a 15# weight, and a 25# weight. These are becoming a little too easy and am wondering if any of you have creative solutions for making weights at home? Trying not to go out and buy any....

Where'd the money go today Sunday 1/3? $10.51+

I hadn't thought how'd I address this subject---until it came up today...I did put money in the offering plate today, but I don't think that it is appropriate to discuss charitable contributions. I will say that I'm not at the tithing level yet, and I need to be.
I did spent $10.51 at the grocery store today. I went to get ingredients for what was supposed to be my breakfast for the week. I bought what I thought was steel cut oats, but it wasn't :-) LOL, I might be eating wallpaper paste for breakfast, if this turns out badly. I also bought some fatfree evaporated milk (store brand) and some generic splenda. Recipe called for splenda, which i didn't have on hand. I'm thinking I'm going to make the splenda switch with my coffee---and save some calories. I'll give it a try :-)

Student loan pay-off plan

I have 3 student loans. 2 small Perkins and one large Stafford. Several years ago, when interest rates were low, I consolidated my undergraduate Stafford loans into one big loan so that I was making one payment instead of paying on 4 separate loans. At the time, I didn't realize that this would extend the payment period, and I regret doing this now, although paying on 4 loans would have been a challenge. I received a letter on Friday congratulating me for making all payments on time, therefore they were reducing the interest rate of that consolidated loan. 2.25% is the new rate. Doesn't change the monthly payment amount, but will cause the loan to be paid off sooner. Continuing the current payment amount and the loan is paid off by 2025--just in time for my boys to start college. That is not acceptable for me. I have a plan to have my two smaller Perkins loans paid off this year. I will then send the $72 to pay on the principle of the Stafford loan. I ran the numbers on a loan calculator today. This will get the loan paid off 6 YEARS EARLIER!!!!
I don't regret taking out students loans. That was my only option in order to get a college education as my family was not well-off, I just wish I hadn't inadvertently extended the repayment period. Advice: sign-up for autopay so that payments are received on time as you will get an interest rate reduction for timely payments.

Tightwad things I did today

1) I'm an avid coffee drinker, and lucky for me I drink one of the cheaper brands. I'm a Folgers kind of girl. A big tub of Folgers in the midwest will run about $7. Occasionally Dollar General will have it in special for $5. A rule for saving money is to not spend money, so one needs to do without, make it last longer, etc. Going through coffee withdrawal is not on my list of things to do, so I need to figure out how to make it last longer. I am know to re-use the same grounds throughout the day--just add a little more coffee grounds to the used ones. At the end of the day, i throw it out, otherwise it gets moldy. So, I am taking the filter out and spreading the grounds so that they can dry. Folgers is grounds coarsely--and I'm thinking that if I regrind the grounds (lol) I can get another use from them. Well see. Doesn't cost anything to try.
2) I have a backyard flock of chickens. With the weeks of recent snow, I've been going through more feed than usual as the birds aren't able to scratch the ground to forage. I'm low on feed. I considered buying a new bag (about $9), but remembered that I have a bag of sunflower seeds on my kitchen floor that were for the big bird feeder that used to hang in the tree that was cut down...so, chickens have sunflower seeds mixed into their regular feed. I also supplement with table scraps and vegetable cuttings. Using the sunflower seeds from the kitchen helps eliminate clutter about the house in addition to delaying the purchase of chicken feed by about 2 weeks.
3) Refridgerator make-over (still in progress). Trying to use up what's on hand in the fridge and deep freeze. Using what's on hand, means I don't have to spend money at the store---just yet. I have a ham thawed out in the fridge, but it is too salty for sandwiches (package says "sugar cured" lol), so I cut the ham off of the bone to freeze for soups, etc. I boiled the bone with vegetable trimmings that I don't feed the chickens (onions, etc will flavor chicken eggs and are best avoided). I keep a special container in the freezer for cuttings to boil into soup stock. So, I now have a large pot of soup stock to freeze in smaller containers, along with ham bits for beans, fried rice, etc. I'm going to try and not let anything spoil in the fridge this year. No science experiments growing in the fridge!

My Beastly Old Truck

When I was studying finances, I was shocked to learn that I spend between $400 and $500 a month in gasoline. I drive a 1997 Ford F-150 2 wheel-drive pick-up truck with approximately 190K miles. If you go to www.fueleconomy.gov one can learn the EPA estimates of fuel economy for a particular vehicle. In my case, city mileage is estimated to be 15 and highway is estimated to be 20, with an average of 17. I'm assuming the estimates are for a NEW vehicle and not one that is 13 years old with 190K miles on it. I can safely say that I've never had 20 mpg fuel economy. I've started saving fuel receipts and have started tracking mileage, so I'll have a better idea later what my truck is getting. I'm betting it's close to 15 mpg.
I work as a nurse and receive mileage reimbursement of 40 cents per mile. Depending on my work load, reimbursement runs from $160 to $350. I do a lot of personal driving to because my family lives out of state.
I think I'm in the market for another car. Let's say I can find a used one that gets 30 miles per gallon. The would cut my fuel expense in half, or maybe more if I could run the 87 octane vs. 89. My old truck won't run on the cheap stuff (pings, diesels, shakes, etc). I could keep the truck since it's paid for, and pick up a older, small used car for around $3000. Driving an older car would allow me to "save" my truck, which is more expensive to replace and hard to live without.
A $3000 car on a 24 month note would be approximately $140/month and for 36 months is approximately $100.
With a more fuel efficient car, fuel rates should be in the range of $200 to $250 with a car payment of $100 to $140. Best case scenario would be $300/month for fuel and car payment and worst case would be $390 for fuel and payment---still $10 less than what I spend on gasoline currently.
I'm thinking late 1990's small Honda or Toyota. I did have a Chevy Cavalier once that got 32 mpg. My ex had a Ford Festiva 1988 that got like 45 mpg.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What did I eat today?

3 biscuits
2 eggs
1/4 cup ground sausage
6 ounces of yogurt
1/2 cup pinto beans
McChicken sandwich
several bites of homemade chocolate fudge
several cups of coffee with non-dairy creamer and sugar
diet pepsi
I did drink one glass of water today which is a major improvement for me
I don't have the desire to calculate calories or fat. Anybody want to critique this? I've identified an area for improvement: carry healthy snacks in my truck so that I don't have to stop at a fast food joint when I get hungry.

Diet and exercise

I have been going to the gym since september of 2009. During the holidays, I "undid" some of my hard work by not watching what I ate, and not exercising. So, it's back to the gym for me. Goal for this year is to be able to run in the Race For the Cure (5K) in October. I have about 30 pounds to lose, too.
My workout at the gym was cut short today as I was on-call and had to leave. I did get my weight lifting done.
Let's take a look at where I started with weightlifting back in September (basically 90 days ago)
1) Seated Chest Press 40# 12-15 reps 2 sets
2) Leg Press 58# 12-15 reps 2 sets
3) Seated Row 40# 12-15 reps 2 sets
4) Leg Extension 25# 12-15 reps 2 sets
5) Bicep Curl (on ball) 8# 12-15 reps 2 sets
6) Leg Curl 70# 12-15 reps 2 sets
7) Shoulder Press (on ball)8# 12-15 reps 2 sets
8) Butterfly 40# 12-15 reps 2 sets
9) Tricep 30# 12-15 reps 2 sets

And this is where I am now:
1) Seated Chest Press 130#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets
2) Leg Press 149#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets
3) Seated Row 100#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets
4) Leg Extension 55#, 10 reps, 3 sets (I could do more but this KILLS my knees)
5) Bicep Curl 10# each hand total 20#, 15 reps, 3 sets (I do these at home and only have 10# weights)
6) Leg Curl 145#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets
7) shoulder press, 10# each hand (I do these at home and only have 10# weights)
8) Butterfly 100#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets
9) Tricep 80#, 5-10 reps, 3 sets this is my weakest area.

Pretty good for 90 days. Have at least doubled if not tripled the amounts I'm lifting.

No cardio for me today. If I'm motivated tonight I might get down on the floor and do some crunches.

So where did the money go today? $70.56

The first part of saving money is to realize where your money is going. The best way to do that is to write down your purchases. Think about your purchase before you spend---do you have to have it? can you make do with something else? can you delay the purchase? Can you make this purchase last longer so that you don't have to drop more cash?
I had 3 purchases today. The first was postage to mail the bills I wrote out last night and belated Christmas cards...I used up what stamps I had in my purse. I considered using stamps out of my stamp collection to avoid having to buy stamps at the post office, but reconsidered this since my oldest son had expressed an interest in the collection. If I end up totally broke, I will use the stamps from my colletion. I spent a total of $20.07 at the post office and still have one book of twenty stamps left. Visited the bank to get log in credentials so that I can do on-line bill pay for those bills that I don't have set up on auto-pay. Bank closed. Add that to my to do list for Monday.
Second purchase was gasoline in the amount of $49.42 for 19.775 gallons of 89 octane gas. My old truck won't run on 87 octane. Gas was $2.49 today. No shopping around as we only have one gas station, which I wholeheartedly support as it is one of the few remaining businesses in town. Expect a longer blog later on my fuel economy predicament. Gas is a necessary expense as I have to drive to be able to work.
While working today, I was hungry and didn't have the foresight to pack a snack. I bought the cheapest and most healthiest option at McDonalds and spent $1.07.
Total amount spent today is $70.56

Examining Finances

Paid bills last night and took a good, hard look at the finances. My goal is to pay off debt and replenish savings in an 18 month period. Divorce is hard on finances--going from 2 incomes, down to 1 with basically the same expenses, not to mention all the lawyer bills. I think I can do it. I have developed a debt repayment plan that will have my miscellaneous bills paid off in 10 months---or by Oct 2010. That will leave me with my mortgage and the largest of 3 student loans. Part of the plan involves paying off the smaller two student loans, and then applying that payment amount to the principle of the big student loan. We'll see. Also, I get paid 2 times a month. If I can set aside roughly a THIRD of each check for savings, then, after 18 months, I will have replenished my savings that I had prior to my marriage being in trouble. This is where it will get tricky--I'm basically reducing my income by a third. It's going to be tight, but I will try. I'll have to pull out some of my old tightwad tricks.