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Viewing the 'Junk and more junk' Category: My English Castle's Personal Finance Blog
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A Fun but Cold Saturday

January 19th, 2020 at 10:23 pm

I got some course prep done Saturday morning, caught up with laundry, and thought about tackling "the drawer of death" as my husband calls it. It's where insurance papers go to die as well as articles I somehow think I need to save and coupons, school announcements, and various horrors.

That's been pushed off for during today's football game. I figure it will be a bad game for us here in Cheeseland so DH and I will work through the drawer to distract us. I'm hoping to get through it, file the flex spending, and put things in their proper files.

So what was fun about Saturday? We went to a great birthday party for a dear friend thrown by her 85-year-old dad. They're also Brits so lots of UK talk, really smart people with interesting jobs, opinions, and fun. Great food and a beautiful flat overlooking Lake Michigan too. Unfortunately on the way out, I took a tumble on the ice, smashing the cake I had in my hand, and sliding into the street. I struggled to get up and cursed the fact that DH and I took separate cars so I could pick up DD from work. I can feel the wrench to my back a bit, but it seems much better today. Then on the way into the car, I fell again. I love snow, but ice--ugh.

Got home rattled but safe and sound. And at 1am, DH and I finished our 1000-piece jigsaw of the London skyline. We're such dorks that it was way more fun than it should have been.

So today is church, lots of cooking, more course prep, football and the drawer of death. Then here comes the semester.

Freezer Excavation and an Odd Thing

January 5th, 2020 at 05:52 am

One of my January--maybe into February--goals is to eat through the freezer. It's been too long since it's been really emptied. So to that end today I took out two more things to cook. So we had chicken thighs for dinner and I made two enormous pots of turkey broth from the bones of a turkey I'd roasted in November. There are enough thighs for another meal this week, and I'll make soup tomorrow and freeze the other half of the stock.

I'm trying to make it fun--a freezer scavenger hunt!

Now for the odd thing. I was cleaning out a summer purse (what? it's January?) and found what I thought was a circle clasp for a key ring. I remember picking it up sometime last summer, maybe in Madison or Chicago when we were out with our French student. I was about to throw it out when I looked a little closer, and I think it's a wedding band. But I have NO idea where I picked it up. My husband says he has a vague memory of it, but can't remember where we were. So what do I do with it? If it were in Milwaukee, I'd advertise in the free lost and found, but I don't think it was. It's got a few small stones and a jeweler's mark for gold inside. And it looks like it's been run over or been through the garbage disposal. Ideas?

Did I Say It Would Be a UFM?

July 25th, 2018 at 03:26 am

I am so wrong, says the woman who spent $800 on rugs today. And I had coffee drinks, bought a crate of peaches, and a bunch of craft supplies.

Truly I was planning on buying new rugs for the dining room and family room. Would you be shocked if I told you our dining room rug was bought in the 1980s? It's done its duty. And the family room rug is part of my vast redecoration scheme in there. More on that as it develops, but I did look at paint colors and get a bid on the painting. We'd attempt it ourselves but it's a vaulted ceiling and a huge room. You'll see it's on my 2018 goals.

The peaches have become a summer ritual for us, but this year half of them will go to my friend whose husband's kidney comes out tomorrow. If you're a praying sort, keep them in your prayers. please. And the craft supplies (slime--eww) were for her son who is making slime with friends tomorrow to keep him busy.
I'm really pleased with the rugs; they were part of the Bon-Ton going out of business sale and were supposedly 70% off. I think that's a dubious figure but I really like them. Much jazzier than my usual traditional taste.

I made a huge Greek salad for dinner to use some CSA veggies and will shortly head off to bed with my new library book.

World Cup Lunch

July 4th, 2018 at 04:14 am

We had a lunch out today--not ultra frugal, but I did have a coupon, and who can deny an England fan a chance to see his team finally break through the knock-out round. What a match!

I did sell two games on FB and made a swift $10. They're already gone; it's so satisfying to declutter and make some cash. And I got to the gym. An all-around good day.

Update on UFDay

July 3rd, 2018 at 01:30 am

The frugal feeling is in full flower. I've got rotisserie chicken bones in the crockpot with some veggie scraps to make a batch of broth. Dinner was all from the CSA box with the addition of the last of the rotisserie chicken--an excellent strawberry spinach salad. And the NS day got even better when I listed some basement clutter on FB and sold the first thing for $5. Another is being given away tomorrow.

Relaxing Week

June 22nd, 2018 at 03:48 am

Well, it has been relaxing--especially since my department's part of the grant fell through. I thought it might; we just weren't the best fit. I just wish they'd have figured that out before 10 hours worth of meetings. So DD and I have been hanging out, and I've really enjoyed it.

We even enjoyed cleaning the closets today. She found an old state quarters map, and was thrilled to pop out the quarters and add them to her cash stash. No luck on jobs yet. Having a summer birthday sort of hampers that. We've spent some money on summer fun. We joined the local gym and have been every other day. We took a free water zumba class which was pretty funny. A bunch of older ladies, me, and mu daughter in the pool dancing to "You can Leave Your Hat On" had me laughing all day. And DD is also taking an advanced French conversation class to keep her French up over the summer. She loves French, and may very well do some sort of international something. I think it's in the genes.
We sold some clothes from the closet purge this afternoon too and took the rest to the charity shop. All in all, a very satisfying rainy solstice. We've also been making great use of the library; she has a stack of books, and so do I. Tonight we watched the last Star Wars; last night it was My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I think we're doing a darn good job of balancing lazy and productive. I am planning an ultra-frugal July, but we have so much stuff in the freezer, it shouldn't be too hard. And the CSA starts next week too. My new class starts in 2 1/2 weeks, so I've been writing the syllabus. More to do, but only tackling one job at a time. The weekend looks like it will have lots of World Cup, a Scandi midsommer celebrations, and probably the art museum with friends tomorrow. Not sure I could tackle this much leisure all the time, but it's nice to have a few weeks of it!

Happy Days

January 17th, 2018 at 11:21 pm

I've had a couple of lovely days. Yesterday a tedious meeting turned into a happy occasion as two of the top three places in our writing competition were taken by MY students from last term. I couldn't be happier if I won myself. The prizes are small-ish with the top student earning $150, but it's so fun for them and great for their resumes. I've also made progress on readying my classes for the upcoming term.

We got lots of decluttering done, and today I made $15 on a selling some of that stuff. And I had lunch with a colleague--one of those lovely long lunches because it's so fun to talk with them. I cashed $50 out of Swagbucks which is going to my big goal. I'll credit my totals when it hits the bank.

And I made the most delicious mac and cheese yesterday from a recipe on a can of evaporated milk. Fattening and decadent, but used up lots of pantry stuff and delicious.

Quiet and Snowy

January 15th, 2018 at 07:46 pm

We're all home today for MLK day which has turned into a nice snowy organizing day around here. We continue Uber-frugal helped by the overflowing pantry and freezer. I've just started bean soup for my DH's lunches this week. I had beans in the pantry and a ham bone in the freezer. I also extracted a bag of CSA carrots from the freezer which I'll put in the soup and try roasting some with dinner. I'm not sure about roasting veggies which have been frozen, but we'll give it a try. yesterday's spending was a canister of oatmeal and the church offering. We're also going to sit down today and try to fund DH's grad school tuition more mindfully. His classes handily total (ugh) $5200/year, and I think he finds that figure staggering as do I. But if he wants to continue, some cuts will have to be made elsewhere. We'll see what happens. For now, the decluttering and the freezer contents reduction have been very satisfying. Ideally I'd like the chest freezer empty by spring break.

Amazing

December 4th, 2017 at 06:18 pm

Yesterday DD and I were right next to a local Target store. I had a return, but we also walked through the entire store without spending anything. I didn't buy the gift card deal either. Now granted I was in a Target the day before, but this may have been one of the few times in my life I went through a Target without a purchase.

We did spend a bit at the grocery store, but they were having a reopening sale and I got peanut butter, and a case of bottled water for 99 cents. We normally don't drink bottled water, but I always think it's good to have some around in case of emergencies. Bread was 49 cents--not a favorite brand but good enough for sandwiches and chicken breast for $1.49. We made chicken Parmesan last night ( or chicky chicky parm parm if you're a Parks and Rec fan)

It's been a splendid day as my classes are just working on final projects and I'm there to offer advice and feedback. It's nice not to have to "perform" some days.

I'm on a mini-declutter roll. I took a bag of stuff to Goodwill this morning, and as I put the rest of the Christmas things out, I'm sure they can be sorted and culled. Friends gave me a lovely Molton Brown gift set for my birthday--it's my favorite English bath brand. The gift set included trial size shampoo, but I'm a shampoo monogamist, and I thought, heck, try to sell it. It sold for $3 on the local FB list which I'll add to my totals. I'm feeling frugal--time to make some soup!

One More Day!

November 20th, 2017 at 11:40 pm

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!

It Was an NSD

August 29th, 2017 at 08:44 pm

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!

Determined to Recoup

August 28th, 2017 at 05:02 pm

Yesterday's garage cleaning did mean I found some more items to sell and declutter. I've sold DD's red wagon from her childhood days (kind of sad?), and it's awaiting pickup with the bathroom light fixture.

I've also cashed $25 out of Swagbucks which is being transferred to my Big Goal UK house fund.

In other frugal news, some of the fridge veggies found a new home in a pot of soup, and I've made extra brown rice and quinoa for salads this week. DH is taking soup to work for lunch all week.

My adjunct class starts tonight, so it's good to be back in the earning cycle. it's just composition, but maybe I'll have another superstar like my ex-con from two terms ago.

Cleaning the Garage

August 28th, 2017 at 04:22 am

DH and (briefly) DD and I spent the bulk of the afternoon cleaning the garage. We got a lot done, and happily I found a few things I can sell. I'll try to get them listed tomorrow. But what a yucky job. We tossed a bunch of wood and pipe found in the garage, recycled garden pots, threw away big sheets of plastic, folded tarps, and sorted all the various types of garage-dwelling liquids. We have two shelving units in there and have always rather slovenly just put all the various things on either shelf. I wiped down the shelves and separated the garden stuff from the automotive stuff. It looks much better. After a shower and a drink, we complimented ourselves on a job well done.