I am SO looking forward to Thanksgiving break. And I think my students are too; it's that time of the year when we're all weary and can use a break. To make the day better,I've just realized it's been a no-spend day! That hasn't happened in a while.
I spent the better part of the weekend catching up on paper grading, writing the final case of the semester, cooking, and cleaning out a few closets. Our church had a coat drive and I found two to donate, and three things to list on FB. Two of them sold--jeans and a Christmas sweater DD wore years ago. I'm adding $10 to my junk sales list We also enjoyed our third symphony performance. I'm really pleased with that birthday gift for my DH. We've enjoyed the evenings out.
Wishing you all as pleasant a day as I've had. Stuffed spaghetti squash for dinner too!
Viewing the 'No Spend Days' Category
I am SO looking forward to Thanksgiving break. And I think my students are too; it's that time of the year when we're all weary and can use a break. To make the day better,I've just realized it's been a no-spend day! That hasn't happened in a while.
My second consecutive NSD day hopes were dashed when my friendly carpenter wanted the second part of the bathroom cash. I expected him to ask for it a week ago, so perhaps I earned a few cents interest on that $8000. Ugh. But things are progressing in there.
My class started last night with nine students. It's beginning composition and usually we read a variety of essays from a textbook assigned by the university. I've decided to tweak it and make the readings all essays about people and their relationships with money. They're all adult learners, so why not talk about money, right? We'll see how it goes. I pulled a bunch of essays off the web, but would welcome anyone's suggestions for more.
The bright spot is more junk is leaving my house. We keep throwing random things into the dumpster, and the red wagon has been picked up as has the light fixture. Count that as $20 in. I've just listed a small table which has sold too!
Oh my word--I wish I was one of those people who entertained without stress. My poor DD. This was her first birthday party at home in years, and she must've caught my nerves. She was awake at 1am the night before fretting over having chosen what she feared was the "wrong" flavors for her ice cream cake. She worried about the guest list; she threatened to cancel. My maniacal cleaning probably didn't help. For some insane reason she thought she should invite friends from 5-11, plus I had to drive 45 minutes south to pick up her friend who has moved. So how did it go? Fabulous. People told her it was the best cake they ever had--a Baskin Robbins Oreo ice cream cake. Four pizzas, endless bags of snacks, our new patio lights, games and chatter until their parents hauled them away. One girl slept over and they weren't up until 11. Her first party with BOYS.
DH and I sat outside for much of it, admiring our new patio lights and enjoying a nice bottle of rose'. I'm exhausted, but the whole thing probably only cost $125 or so. England in 12 days.
I had meetings at the university yesterday, and I'm pleased to say that one of my spring semester students won a writing prize. DD and I had our traditional Friday summer lunch out--frugalish with coupons and a Noodles gift card we're using.
The frugal fail came at the mall. I wanted to pick up a baby gift from the Hanna Andersson store for my niece. I used to shop their outlet all the time when DD was little, and their clothes are so cute. I did fine there--and adorable jacket with a snail embroidered on it and a sale shirt. But I made the mistake of going into Loft and trying a few things on. After successfully avoiding buying anything there, I promptly went home, found everything I tried on for MUCH cheaper on their website and bought it. Granted it was less than half the store price, I got free shipping, and 2% back from SB, but I probably didn't NEED it. And it was only $64 for four things--and a black summer cardigan is useful--oh I'm going to stop rationalizing and call it a lapse.
It will be better today. I may limit the grocery spending to $30 and focus on eating through the fridge. But we need milk, eggs, berries, etc.
The 9+ hours in the car on Wednesday have made me achy, and I need a walk. I also need to iron, enter grades, and so some tidying.
After a very long drive from west central Minnesota yesterday, we're home safe and sound. Sometimes I think we take these long uneventful drives for granted, but about halfway home yesterday we saw a young man on the side of the interstate with his car engulfed in flames. We could hear the sirens coming, and he was quite a distance away from the car talking on his phone. What a bad day for him, but he looked unhurt. We spent about $18 on lunch, another $8 on beverages (mostly icd coffee to keep me going), and $30 on gas. I bought my favorite Norwegian lefse for a couple friends, spending $30 there. Despite packing snacks and water, we did spend a fair amount on road food, so I'm planning on an NSD today.
There's all the food DH buys when we're away to use up. That might keep us going for a week at least and we need to start to draw down upstairs freezer food before our UK trip. That should keep us uberfrugal for a few days.
I cashed out $25 in Swagbucks, need to deposit my adjunct check, pick up the CSA box and a piece of marble someone is giving away. I'll either use the marble for pastry making or in the garden. It's hot and humid here so it may be a great afternoon to spend tidying the basement.
My lunch for friends went very well, but after wine on the patio, it was too chilly to eat outside and we came in to eat lunch. Everyone stayed for hours, then I rushed off to class. I spent nothing today, but sure wish I had more leftovers. My classes are over until late August. The highlight of tomorrow is our appointment with the bathroom remodeler. That will likely NOT be a NSD.
We've had heavy rains all evening--the aftermath of a very muggy day.
It was a no-spend day here, and I picked up the CSA veggies, some of which went into our pasta tonight along with the garlic scapes. We have a lot of lettuce, so salad on the menu for tomorrow. I need to find ideas for the salad turnips that came with the CSA box. I'm busily dejunking my home office, and scads of paper have made it to the recycling bin. Barclays has raised their savings rates to 1.15% which will help make us a bit more cash. And I cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which went to the UK House fund. Between that and reading a few capstone projects, it's been a quiet day.
A struggling strip mall near us just got a Kohl's Off/Aisle store. I'd not heard of them before but they are a sort of Kohl's outlet/overstock/return store. We popped in there a few days ago and I bought two black tees for $4 each and a summer top for DD for $6. I thought they were quite the bargains, but when I got some I found a rip in each tee--and one wasn't sized correctly. They allow exchanges, but no regular returns, so we went back today and got a pair of decent looking Lee shorts for DH and some baby socks for a gift.
I hope they make it; it was all summer seasonal things now, and while I don't see myself buying much there, it was typically Kohl's middle/low range semi-disposable clothes. The shorts for DH will be fine as will some summery tops for DD, but probably not for me.
Yesterday was a NS day; I brought snacks for during my teaching hours, and we ate fridged leftovers for dinner. I bought taco ingredients for tonight as we dodged the rain drops this morning. I plan on an easy day of reading and a little cleaning. Maybe a walk later. Time to enjoy some summer.
Oh, the shock it--I spent NOTHING yesterday. DD and I went for a hot walk, ate our semi-successful mason jar salads ( PSA: Use a wide-mouth jar unless you want to wear that salad), did a library run, and then I taught/counseled/urged/cheered on/goaded my evening class. Two more class nights left, and still my ex-con student is my clear favorite. Last night's line after trying to teach APA citation: "I'm going to stay here tonight, Miss, until I get it. If they have to throw me out of the building, I'm going to figure this out." We won't discuss the one who left with his work undone.
I've been again running Swagbucks in the background while I read papers. They're starting to add up again. Anyone have a good tip for high online savings rates? I see Barclay's has 1.05%, but I read somewhere that some online rates are as high as 1.25%.
It's been a busy week, but I said goodbye to two of my classes this morning. They're so weary, but they were both good classes. I still have some grading to do for both of them, but they're the easy one. My health science writing classes will end tomorrow. I still have an avalanche of their papers to grade, and will spend the rest of today on those.
Tomorrow should also be full. After my classes there's the department award ceremony and I'm humbled to say I won the teaching award. I'm pleased to say it comes with some cash. It remains to be seen how much cash, but I'm happy about it no matter what.
We've sort of been coasting around here until my grading is done. I did cash $75 out of Swagbucks and put $50 in my 100K fund. we'll have 97599.32 to go. Little by little, I guess.
And a sunny one at that. My MW classes are working on a big project, so I'm there mostly to give feedback. The Tuesday/Thursday ones are still getting modified lectures, and we're building in some time to work on their projects. My students are really really tired. With four weeks left of the semester, they seem to have hit the wall. I think they'll need some love--probably in the form of doughnuts next week.
I was about to splash out on a coffee during my office hours today, but found one lonely little orange teabag in my work bag, so made a quick cup of tea through the magic of the electric kettle instead. Chalk up a $2 savings.
Our theatre building at the university had a serious fire on Sunday causing over a million in damages. But the local community has been very generous offering us space, extra materials, and cash to rebuild.
Something a little strange has happened with my DH's job prospects. He's heard from a source that his old job may be interested in having him back. I think if they offered him a non-contract job, he'd go back, but we'll talk it through tonight and see how steady it is.
I have indeed deposited $1300 in my new account toward the $100k goal. So, I'm 1.3% of the way there! This may be painstaking progress, but I'm eager.
It's spaghetti night here. Do you all have a regular taco/spaghetti/pizza or something night?
This has been a glum week in my academic department; we've issued "none renewals" to seven people, some of whom have been here for more than 15 years. Demographics are hurting us, and it's going to be a bleak few years. I've spoken to several of them, and we're trying to figure out what we can do for people. My decision to go for what I'll call alt-tenure a few years ago was, in retrospect, very wise. It seemed to have no reward at the time and took months to complete, but we're only hiring two people without it in the fall.
Faced with their situations, we're still in modified frugality around here.I've spent nothing since Sunday, and tonight was an amazing variety of leftover made a bit more exciting by crudites and dip. Eat it all, as my friends the Frugalwoods say. DH is still toting his lunch as is DD. I gratefully accepted a coffee from the textbook peddler who came to visit me during my office hours.
I'm very glad Monday and Tuesday are done. The rest of the week is busy but easy. I'm starting the cash transfer toward the $100K goal tonight.
I've had way too many late nights this week editing a dissertation for a local nursing student. English is her second language, and her grammar and phrasing needed a lot of work. But it was an interesting project, and despite my issues getting her tables to merge into the original copy at 1am this morning, we're finished! She had the original tables, so all is well. I took the dog to have her stitches removed this morning, deposited some rebate checks, came home, and took a nap. Two hours later I felt like a human again and started cleaning the kitchen, catching up on laundry, and grading quizzes. Inspired (as always) by CCF's idea of a new savings goal, I'd like to try to save a big chunk alongside our regular retirement savings before DD heads to college and we consider moving to the UK. Ideally, I'd like to shoot for $100,000, but I'm not sure how realistic that is. The more reasonable figure is $50,000 but I'm going to aim big. Maybe I'm loopy on sunshine. So far it's been a NSD as the stitches removal was free.
Y'all know I have a traveling bug, but I just turned down a weekend in NYC with friends--partially needing to make up for the one-salary stint, but also it's too tight a weekend for me in May. I'd have to leave the last day of the semester, and by then, I really need downtime more than a big city jaunt.
I had a weird "visual anomaly" for the past two nights that I was worried might be a retinal tear, but the opthamologist now says is a migraine event. I've never had what I'd consider a real migraine, but after the exam yesterday and pupil dilation, I had a whopper of a headache.
I haven't spent a dime since Saturday, but DD had a dental co-pay today that DH paid. I'll get that cash back from flex. I am going out with friends for drinks tomorrow, and although he's committed to the job offer, DH has another interview tomorrow.
Bruegger's Bagels was celebrating their birthday this morning, and I popped in for three free bagels. I (really) ate one in the car on the way to the university but saved the other two for DD who loves their Asiago bagels. Such a simple thing but a nice little treat for still very-frugal me.
My non-frugal office mate scolded me for not going out to lunch with DH while he's unemployed telling me I had no bills. Excuse me? No mortgage maybe, but plenty of bills still.
I had very good classes today which is always fun, and best news of all, my adjunct university offered me a summer class. It's composition--not my favorite subject, but still. That means I'll have summer cash when my regular university salary is over. That gives us a lot more breathing room and we could probably make it even if DH doesn't get a job. But I think he will. Still, a relief.
Here's some good things that have happened today.
DH had a lunch interview with a company that has branches in LONDON! He said it went very well. They want to see him again next week.
I spent nothing today. Again. I may have officially kicked my coffee shop habit (at least for a bit), and love my kettle.
I stopped at CVS hoping to use some coupons, but they didn't have what I wanted. I did pause briefly at their moisturizers as it is cold and dry--but walked out without spending a cent.
DH made oatmeal this morning, and it boiled it all over the stove top which made the burners all spark continually. I thought we were due for another expensive repair, but he managed to fix it.
I got an e-mail from a textbook publisher asking me to review a new book for $150. Yes, please.
Last night I made chili, and it's all ready for heating up tonight. Gees, that makes me so happy.
The congestion seems to be sort of clearing from my foggy head. And I'm halfway done with my teaching week.
We've been oh so darn frugal. And I'm pretty darn sick of it, but that's just too bad. Yesterday was a no-teaching day, but did have one long and trying meeting. Perhaps my tremendously stuffed-up head didn't help. Anyway, I've got a new opportunity at the university which I'll detail as it proceeds. It's not what I would have wished for, but it could be pretty interesting.
Yesterday I made turkey broth with the remnants of the turkey breast. We had three dinners and two lunches from that lovely thing--and now the soup to come. Since I have frozen potstickers, I think we'll go Asian and add some bok choy, edamame, and some red cabbage. I've got a couple Asian-themed meals planned for the NY celebration. There's a bottled stir-fry sauce and some water chestnuts in the pantry. Like CCF, I have rice that I'll make into fried rice. Looks like the weekly grocery trip will be on for today. I mostly need fruit and veggies as we're still plowing through the freezer.
Yes, the freezer still has a long way to go as does the pantry. I made bread from a mix yesterday, and we made a pizza from the remnants of the stuff in the fridge. I fried up mashed potatoes into patties for lunch with some eggs. The pizza was good, but not sure about my potato patties. But we ate them.
DD starts a swimming unit at school on Monday and needs a one-piece swimsuit. I guess that probably means Target. Just glad I don't have to buy one myself--especially after our uber-frugal (and uber-starchy) meals of the past month. I'll use the Redcard and should look for coupons before we head out.
I've started a new book, The Essex Serpent, which I'm liking, and have a day full of laundry, budget totaling, and course planning to do.
Still uberfrugal and today was a NSD. My classes went well despite oncoming cold. DH has had it for a week so I guess it's inevitable I'd get it.
Yesterday we got a refund of $147 from the dentist which went into the bank this afternoon. DH had a good phone interview and lots of other leads. I think things are picking up for him. We'd love to see a job offer.
No other news to report. No BBQ sauce spills. I should turn the turkey breast bones into soup and should bake some pumpkin bread. We'll see how much zip I have left.
And speaking of eating it all up, somewhere along the line DH bought a bag of frozen lima beans. Honestly, I'd have to be in some desperate straits before I willingly ate lima beans, and all the recipes I see for them have cream of something soup or ham bones or something like that in them. Anyone have ideas? Should I just combine them with canned baked beans and have him eat them? You're all invited over for a lovely ladies lima lunch.
Sorry,NJDebbie,but there is lots of joy in Wisconsin this morning after that amazing Packer game. And we didn't even eat all the game time snacks because we were too nervous during that last quarter. But, they will be out for next Sunday's Atlanta game.
Except for the church offering, it was a NS day with new movie titles from the library and several new books--including--to my delight, the Colson Whitehead book that has received such raves. I love the library, especially now as we're being uberfrugal.
Speaking of uberfrugality, I may need to have one day with a little leeway. We're planning to head to western Wisconsin this weekend to watch the eagles feed on the river. It will be a good day for a lunch out. Maybe I can use the cash from the boot/skate sales.
Meal plan for the week is done. It's going to be a meatless Monday with a quiche for dinner--leftovers to DD's lunch this week. Taco Tuesday and spaghetti Wednesday as per usual.
We finally got the Christmas tree down, and I've chosen some unloved ornaments to go in the donation bag. I'm also making granola bags for my buddies without full teaching loads. I have lots of oats and dried fruit, so no outlays there. In other exciting plans, DH and I will clean the carpets, and I have meetings at school beginning tomorrow.
Happy MLK day! We're spending some time today to act on his words: "The time is always right to do what's right."
Let's start with the good news, eh? My presentation went very well. I had dozens of people at my session and got excellent feedback. They also fed us breakfast, coffee break snacks, lunch, and more coffee break snacks. DH dropped me off so I wouldn't have to pay to park in the ramp or walk on our ice-coated sidewalks.
Now the bad news. Two of my friends got more teaching sections cut due to poor enrollments. They're going to be really pinched financially. To add insult to injury, my boss has hired a new lecturer while cutting sections for others. This is really out of line and a tremendous morale depletion. I'm fine: fully booked and fully enrolled. He certainly has the "right" to hire who he wants, but it's tremendously insulting and, I think, morally wrong. I am debating complaining to the department chair.
Hopeful news? My DH has had conversations with a potential employer, and we're hopeful he'll have an interview soon. A friend from his old firm has also dropped off his resume with another possibility. And remarkably, it was a no-spend day.
Yep, that's my blog these days. I have another couple hours of organizing my conference talk and am ruing my choice of the hour-long option rather than trying harder to find other participants and do a panel.
Guess what we ate for lunch? Leftovers! I pretty much always eat leftovers for lunch, but somehow serving them to DH makes them seem pretty mundane.
It's Wednesday which is always spaghetti night here, and we've had freezing rain. Perhaps my mood can be ascribed to not being out of the house since Sunday. But I'll be at the conference all day tomorrow. Or the mood could be blamed on it being the first January since 2012 that I haven't been headed for London. Let's not even discuss that.
No spending. Indeed nothing but working.
I spent all morning working on my upcoming conference talk. I still have lots of work to do on it, but the bulk of it is laid out. DH went to an early networking meeting and applied for a few jobs. We spent nothing and ate leftovers. I'm really boring, but I did get half my class admin stuff ready for next semester--spending hours--as usual on the details of the syllabus and learning platform. I got an e-mail offer from a textbook publisher to take a quick survey on their classroom simulations for a $10 gift card which should arrive next week. Still waiting for the Chicago seminar reimbursement and the accuracy checking money from another publisher.
I'm still cabin feverish, but it's so icy here I don't see myself going out until Thursday. It took me 10 minutes to walk to the end of the drive and back for the mail.
All my family is home now; child sniffling on the couch, husband rooting around, dog happy that everyone is home. And it's very cold here with negative numbers for the wind chills. As directed by the Frugalwoods folks, I'm clearing out the pantry. I've got bean soup on the stove with bits of the NY ham and tomatoes and chiles from the pantry. I've made some wild rice which will be stuffed into the remaining CSA butternut squashes.
Every bit of laundry is done, and now I either/all need to face the office, the Christmas boxes, the basement, and school planning. Or escape to Costco with a friend for an hour or so. I honestly think it will do me good to get out, and I raise my right hand and promise to spend no more than $5. We need milk and spreadable butter. I spent nothing yesterday. I made my SB goal. I should go out.
Well, three days into uberfrugaldom, and so far, so good. I met university colleagues today for coffee, but brought my own to our university coffee shop which adjoins the library. Everyone brings their own food there, so it didn't seem out of place. We've had lots of bad news on enrollments, and while I appear to still have a full teaching load, many of my colleagues will be cut back to 75 percent or even less. I'll need to be a frugal evangelist to them. After doing some work, I deposited my adjunct paycheck and bought some necessary toiletries for DD with CVS extra bucks. Total outlay 17 cents, and I got $1 in Extra bucks back. Teeth cleaning was free with my dental plan, so today's spending topped out at that 17 cents. It's turning cold here tonight, so I'm watching the heating bill closely.
We are busily eating our way through the refrigerator's contents, and I've made bars for DD's lunchbox this weekdays. I wish she had a few more days off; we've enjoyed the down time. I've also been a whirling dervish decluttering and picking up. It's been good and there's so much more to do. Tomorrow I'm heading to the university to start planning spring semester and work on an upcoming conference talk.
We had a lovely NYE. Rather than sacrificing our rather modest tradition of pizza, a movie, and a jigsaw puzzle by the fireplace, we went ahead with it. We saw the Dev Patel movie, Lion, which I recommend although the more cynical among us may find it sentimental. In my current mood, I thought it was very good.
I did some bargain grocery shopping on double coupon day yesterday, and the freezer is well stocked. Lots of pasta bargains, the usual chicken breast markdowns for the dieters and some freebies.
In an unusual situation at our church, they had no volunteers for the nursery this morning, and they sent out a call for paid help. DD was interested, so she made some spending money, and I tagged along. They tried to pay me as well, but that's silly, and I refused. Through both services we had one very charming little boy who played with toy cars on the playroom rug. We came home and made pumpkin pancakes which were delicious, I must say. We've now used up the non-carryover part of our flex spending, we gave some time to church, and (!) I sold my ice skates for $12. I hate to admit it, but I think my 50+ years of skating are done. My fear of falling has overcome all the joy I used to get out of skating. I'm happy to have them out of the basement and happy to have the $12. Now to find some more crud to declutter--especially if it brings in some cash.
It's time for me to return to scrupulous savings since two weeks ago my DH got his notice. His company has outsourced 100 of their local contractor jobs to India, and they've undergone massive belt-tightening. It's time for us to do the same. Tomorrow is his last day, and prospects are neither merry nor bright.
On balance, with some juggling and budgeting we can manage on my income for a while without withdrawing money from savings. We are mortgage-free, and I've just paid the property taxes. We don't have a car payment either, but our nasty scenario would be to have to replace one of our aging cars.
Our health insurance is from my job, so that's covered. We are trying to figure out unemployment since neither of us has ever filed for it. I have a full teaching load for spring (Hallelujah!) unlike some of my colleagues. I just finished my adjunct class, so they still owe me for a month there. Another adjunct class begins in March. I've already started to drive DD and DH crazy turning down the heat, but that's going to be the drill. Christmas will proceed as usual, but it's going to be leaner but still lovely. And yeah, I have Swagbucks videos running in the background. :-)
Any advice is welcome.
I spent yesterday cooking for my recently hospitalized friend--making pulled pork and coleslaw and baking brownies and banana bread. We ate the same for dinner, and besides returning some library books and doing some laundry, didn't do much else. Happily it was a no-spending day as I hope today will also be.
I can't quite believe it's June 1. June always sneaks up on me as February or March never seem to do.
Today is office cleaning day, a bit more laundry, and packing for my weekend trip to the Twin Cities. I'd be a very happy gal if I can get the office straightened out, some pictures hung, and everything cleaned up in there.
Things are winding down for DD's last days at middle school, and DH is starting to prep for the trip to the UK. On the financial front, I've been in contact with the Education PhD candidate whose dissertation I've been editing. He's ready to go ahead, and although I think it's pretty weak, I'll just be doing the language edits and citation issues. The student's first language is not English which always complicates things. But I need the cash, and it's interesting work. I've also been offered a fall composition course at my adjunct university. I don't much like teaching composition, but again, we need the cash. If our five-year plan is to move to the UK, get the kiddo through the university, and have a two-continent retirement, there's lots of savings to be done.
It's been a lovely few weeks in Londontown, punctuated by a trip to Nice with my girlfriends. I'm really trying to relish every single moment. It's going to be tough to go back to real life in six weeks.
Amazingly Nice didn't cost too much. It's off season, and I shared a room with my Minnesota girlfriends who flew over to join me. Six nights with breakfast and a balcony overlooking the Med cost less than $300 each. With the flight under $100 (thanks to my BA Avios), and the wonderful bus system there, it was just dinners and some misc. spending. We went back to Eze on a day trip, also Villefranche and the fabulous Rothschild villa and gardens, and Antibes and Vence all on the bus. A seven-day bus pass cost 15 Euros (less than $20), and with the enormous breakfast buffet, we rarely ate lunch--just coffee or wine and pastry.
I've had two no-spend days since coming home Sunday, but am off to the National Theatre tonight and will have dinner there too. Next week my students are coming here for dinner ( I think), so there will be a little more grocery spending. They are such super-nice girls; my best group ever.
They were in Scotland while I was in France, and one of the California students slipped at a castle and had a compound leg fracture. She's still in the hospital there. Ugh.
In my very charmed life, I'm trying to decide whether to go to Rome next weekend with a friend. Hotel and airfare is about $500, but I came home with a cold and I'm kind of tired. I'm also fretting a little about money--though I don't think I've spend much--certainly less than in previous years. May all decisions be so nice. I'll post a photo from Eze--a hilltown outside of Nice.
I walked down to Camden Town yesterday and mingled with crowds of people and hundreds of shops and stalls selling all sorts of things and food. I didn't buy a thing and decided there is just way too much junk in the world. I estimate I saw 5000 tee shirts for sale in all those stalls. There was so much stuff it really put me off buying anything. My original plan was to walk down there and take the bus back, but I felt up to even more walking so cut through Primrose Hill and walked all the way back home--and miracle of miracles, without getting lost. No spending!
I taught one class this morning, but came home for lunch and work, then out for another stroll. I see a trip to Hampstead charity shops happening perhaps tomorrow--maybe after classes and my meetings? Two no-spend days? I didn't think it was possible.
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