30 pounds down

30 pounds down
Size 16--Size 8

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recent Adventures in Frugality

Have you ever tried something in the name of saving money, only to find that it didn't work out too well? I have two examples that come to mind: 1) Last year I tried drying out my coffee grounds and then reusing them---the coffee was bitter!!!! Disgusting! The best I can do is pick this up on sale at the dollar store. Lucky for me, I drink Folgers and that is not too pricey. Some may say to just give up the coffee---maybe I'll do that at a much later date :-) 2) My attic clothes line. I do about three loads of clothes/week (jeans, white, colors). I figured that I could save on electricity if I dried my clothes on a line. I used to have a clothes line in my back yard, but this was lost to construction 7 years ago. I decided that I would air-dry my clothes upstairs. Ewww...the towels were rigid and like sandpaper. and the clothes were all wrinkled. I guess drying clothes outside lets them flap in the breeze, thus reducing wrinkles and stiffness.

On a positive note, I bought a tag-along-bike. Jimmy has yet to ride a bike. This hinders going for a family bike ride as he can't keep up on his scooter. I got a good deal on the tagalong; it was barely used---still had the rubber stringy things on the tire. I bought it for half of what they sell for new. I debated for two weeks whether or not to buy it. I decided to go ahead---and that I could sell it for about what I paid for it when Jimmy finally learns to ride a bike.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tax and Tax savings on home improvement

Sometimes you have just got to run the numbers to see if something will save you money or not, so, I strongly suggest you do that before running out and making a big purchase...but let me tell you about my situation.
After the divorce, I did add on to the house (which costs money) for two main reasons...1) my house was a 2 bedroom house and I have 2 sons who won't always want to share a room 2) I spent an evening in my creepy cellar and vowed I would never do that again.... Here are two (or three?) ways in which I am able to save some with a home addition (Perhaps home improvement with you?)
1) Federal taxes allow for a deduction for a portion of any energy-saving improvements to your property. One just has to make sure the product you are installing qualifies. In my case, the windows applied (energy-efficient), which gave a me a small federal tax savings. Hey, every little bit counts, right?
2) When the old portion of my house was remodeled, the 100+ yr old sashes were replaced with new energy efficient windows selected to look like the old windows (nothing is more unappealing that modern windows made to fit the odd-size of older homes) I custom-ordered the size (just a few dollars more than off the shelf) so they look original. This has saved me money on my electric bill. My house also stays cleaner, too.
3) Our county has a tax rebate program on additions and improvements made to your property. Basically, you pay no property tax on the improved or added portion for 5 years. This is a big savings, too. One would have to check availability of local programs....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Savings at the grocery store

I did a big grocery shopping today. With a combination of e-coupons (the ones that are put on your shoppers card), circular ads, and manufacturer coupons, I saved $83.99 and spent $159.16. In this shopping I bought about six months worth of laundry detergent, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, dishsoap, and papertowels. I also bought about 3 months worth of food, although I will have to buy produce, milk, bread, etc. I'd be interested in hearing your saving ideas. Of course the papertowels will probably last longer as I don't really use them---and I make my laundry detergent. I just like the tide for my handwashables.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Photos--what one year of work looks like

Ok, It's been awhile since I've uploaded pictures. I took some more comparison photos tonight. The only thing that you can tell immediately is that I have a tan! ...well, as tan as this white girl gets... My hair is longer, too. I'm down to 139 pounds and was 170+ at my heaviest. I still have a gut. Though you can't tell from the photos, it doesn't fold over now (medical term is 'panus'). From April to Sept, one can tell that I've lost more weight in my breasts. This is a good thing. I had been contemplating reduction, but think that a combination of smaller breast size plus strengthening my back has eliminated most of my back pain. The past two months have been spent focusing on running. Maybe I should have taken pictures of my legs?
I started lifting weights in Sept '09, so this is pretty much a years worth of work.

Saving money-rethinking phone, etc.

I'm home sick today, so while laying on the couch, I thought I'd spend some time between naps figuring out how to reduce some of my monthly bills. The first on my list is my internet bill. I currently use Embarq or whatever their name is (formerly sprint). Anyhow, in order to have high speed, they require a landline. So, I pay for a land line (about $20/month) that I never use...the only people that ever call on it are telemarketers. LOL it was unplugged probably for 2 weeks and I never noticed it. My highspeed is $50/month for a total of $70 to just have internet at the house.

ATT ran an ad for $14.95 high speed and no land line required...and even had a deal that you could use your laptop on the go with ATT network. Sounds too good to be true. I called, and yes, it is a valid deal, but they don't service Oxford :-( So for now, I'm stuck with $70 internet.

I have a couple of options:
1) Call up Embarq and ask why they require a landline if ATT can do it without...
2) switch back to dial-up *sigh* (still have to have the $20 landline)
3) sit in my yard so I get a better signal on Oxford's hotspot at Napawalla Park. Currently I only get 1 bar and that's in my kitchen only.
4) Do without internet at all...I do have a Blackberry, but there are somethings that are hard to do without internet.

Thoughts? Any of you in Oxford have the hook up on cheap internet? I had SUTV come out to do a line of sight test, and my house failed.