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Monday, January 14, 2008

Frugal Update #5 - Organizing and Pinching Pennies

My husband and son picked up some more free firewood! I've been really amazed at how many opportunities to acquire free things have come our way. Wayne Dyer talks about attracting into our lives what we want -- I guess when we put it out there into the universe that we're into freebies, they come our way! Who knows! Maybe we're just more in tune or more aware of opportunities.

Last week my husband took my son up to the campus bookstore at the community college he's been attending. I suggested to my son that he could get some money for his used textbooks. (Since his bank balance was hovering around zero lately, he perked right up at my suggestion.) Well . . . he got over $140! They told him to bring the rest of the stack he took up there at the end of the semester and he could get money for those then. Needless to say, he was thrilled! He's waiting for entry into a vocational training program in a month or so and isn't working right now so the cash was much appreciated!

I've been on a real organizing kick lately. I've just about finished the upper level of the house. I still need to paint one wall in the guest room and then go through the closet in there. We tend to use that room as a temporary holding area for stuff we just want to or don't have time to decide what to do with it. I want to get it in good shape and get rid of some of the stuff that's in there. I've pulled out, cleaned and replaced with dollar store/Big Lots under sink storage for the kitchen and upstairs bathroom sink. I've also redone the pantry and all my cabinets.

I'm about 1/2 way finished with the family room and then I just have our bedroom, my "study/office" and the garage. It really does feel good to get our house cleaned out, decluttered, organized and clean! My son has some clothes that are like new that he can't wear -- after he stopped wrestling (in high school) he lost weight and couldn't wear many of the jeans and dress pants I had bought him. My daughter dropped off two boxes of clothes to be donated last time she was here. I'm going to go through all of those and then I'm making a trip to Plato's closet. Hopefully they'll offer me a lot of money for the clothes. The rest will probably go to Good Will. Some of my daughter's stuff may be able to go to my girlfriend's daughter. It will just depend. My daughter's 23 and the other girl is 14, so all of her clothes aren't necessarily appropriate (or desirable, for that matter!)

Ended up with free shampoo and 29 cent toothpaste using coupons, sale flyers and rebates at various stores. Those were the two best deals, but I really cleaned up on some other items. I've got a raincheck for BOGO free detergent that hopefully will be in soon. I made a three mile circle from CVS to Walgreens to RiteAid this weekend and the savings added up. I took my canvas bags with me and got even more odd looks than when I'm in the grocery store. I hope it will become a trend again (I used to shop that way all the time!)

The world is in dire need of conservation. We have three -- count 'em three -- bags full of plastic bags! Some of them will go to the food bank. They use them to give out food. Some will go to the grocery store for recycling. We'll keep some for various uses around the house until they're all gone. I don't even use plastic bags for produce any more. I'm going to start taking paper bags with me to the store when I'm planning to buy loose produce in bulk.

Thanks to all the folks on Gather with the posts of sales, coupons, sites for free items, etc. I've really been using all the information and saving a bundle. It's kind of funny, because my husband and I now challenge ourselves to see how much we can save. We don't feel deprived at all and we've always been the type of people who like to have some rainy day money in the bank, all the bills paid and no debt.

We're not big going out to eat people, either. I guess the biggest money waster was on fast food lunches on the weekends. We just don't do it now and it hasn't been that hard to plan a little better and not pay the extra money when we have food at home we can eat.

My son has been collecting change for about 10 years! He started rolling up one or two rolls a day and is depositing all that into his bank account. He would eventually like to buy a car and those coin rolls will add to his bank account balance. As he's seen the balance grow, he's more enthusiastic about the idea.
Every week we grow closer to our goal of eliminating everything in our lives that hinders us from enjoying a bountiful, joyous, stress-free, socially responsible and comfortable life. It's a good goal. We're enjoying working toward it. Less is more. Really!

Stay tuned . . .

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