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Archive for November, 2016

productive weekend

November 28th, 2016 at 10:47 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed my quiet Thanksgiving staycation and I am so sad that the break is already over. I put the lights on my Christmas tree on Saturday night and barely had enough because the tree is larger than I realized. I made do with what I have because I didn’t want to venture out to the store yesterday and I think it looks ok. I thought I'd start trimming the tree last evening, but never did, so I will do that this week when I can find pockets of time.

I dedicated time Saturday and Sunday to decluttering. I want and need to get rid of a lot of junk that has accumulating in my house and is weighing me down. I started to tackle my office, guest bedroom and my clothes closet. Ugh – I always make the same mistake of working on too many areas at once. Now the house is in disarray and I am back at work. I am not sure when I will have the time or energy to focus on this project again. Ideally I will spend a little time each day going forward, but the reality is that I won't do this consistently!

I have a bag of clothes to donate. The trick will be to actually take them out of the house. I started this particular bag a few months ago and it has just been sitting in my bedroom. I think there might be a local organization that recycles textiles, so I have a bag of unusable clothes, too. Uh oh, I did some quick research and it looks like textile recycling is no longer an option in my area. This is a tricky situation for me. I have had a stash of these unusable clothes in my back room for years because I had heard of textile recycling, but wasn't sure where to do it and I couldn’t bring myself to just throw them away. (Update – called a local thrift shop today and they DO still collect for textile recycling! I'm going to take both bags of clothes there this week!)

The reason I have so much junk is that my own mind is a master at talking me into keeping anything that I try to get rid of (might need it someday, could use it for this, etc.) AND I have a serious aversion to throwing things away and adding to a landfill. I also hold onto things with the idea that I'll have a yard sale, but I never do and probably never will. How can I let go of stuff that I could possible sell? But then I don't try to sell it. It's a vicious cycle!! A few years ago I hired a woman to help me get rid of stuff. She was great and very compassionately helped me to sort through a lot of items and took my discards with her to drop off at a donation center. She even agreed to take the boxes and bags to the car herself because I was afraid that I would see something and want it back! I've thought about hiring her again, but I'm going to start out on my own and see how far I can get.

I have some old sheets and towels for the local animal shelter – items that are on their wish list, so I hope they will take them. They were closed today, so I'll call tomorrow to inquire. I also added three rolls of toilet paper and one roll of paper towels from my paper products stash to that box since those items are also on the shelter's wish list.

I found $70 while cleaning out a purse, which was a total surprise because I rarely carry cash so I don't usually find money in pockets or purses. My best guess is that the money is from my birthday in late September. I bought concert tickets for a group of friends and it might be part of the reimbursement that I collected. Cool though!

I also refound a $1500 check from my 2015 flex spending account in a stack of papers in my office. I need to deposit that check and work on the paperwork for my 2016 flex spending which will be another $1500. I will most likely get a specialized mouth guard from my dentist in the next few months which will cost about $2000 and won't be covered by insurance. Frown I plan to use part of the $3000 total flex spending reimbursements towards this expense.

I wish I had kept track of snowflakes and found money for the year. Two recent ones:

$125 cash from sw@gbucks over the past two months
.16 found in parking lots last week

I also found $10 in a washing machine at the laundromat a few months ago! That was exciting! Smile

I’m on Day 23 of no sugar!

Goodness – it's very late on the east coast - time for bed!

Black Friday

November 26th, 2016 at 06:36 pm

My Black Friday was low key. I got my Christmas tree at a local farm - total cost was $44.94 - and it's beautiful! My friend M, her 8-year-old daughter J and I found the perfect one in a field, cut it down and took it to my house to set up. Unfortunately, the basic stand that I have been using for many years would not work with this tree. M has helped me to put up my tree for years and this was the first time we failed! The trunk was too short and the tree too heavy for the old stand.

She had to leave, so I drove to the local hardware store and bought a new-fangled stand for $31.79, took it home and tried to set up the tree myself. It would have worked, except that in order to center the tree in the stand, I needed to be able to lift it straight up once I got it upright in the stand, but it was too heavy. Thankfully my cat sitter happened to be home and she was able to come over and help me finish the job. The stand is so easier to use and much sturdier than the old one.

It is interesting, I will suffer with an inferior product as long as it "works". I have wanted to get a new tree stand for a while, but it was so hard to replace the old one even though I know there are many new designs that are far superior to my old metal one and worth the investment.

The tree and stand didn't even actually cost me anything and it was still hard to pay. My mom likes to give me money for my tree. This year was the first time in a long time that I didn't celebrate Thanksgiving with my mom and my brother and his family in my hometown in southern NJ or that they didn't all come north to my area to celebrate with me. My mom decided to go to Florida early, so I stayed home to enjoy a much needed five-day break. My mom mailed a check for the tree, but also added money for me to go out to dinner for Thanksgiving because she felt bad that I didn't have plans. I then decided to make plans with M and her family and our meal out only cost $5 each. So, the $125 check covered my meal, the tree and the stand with 43.27 left over. Thanks Mom!

Usually I buy local chocolate milk (I like to call it liquid crack) to heat up, local whipped cream and some snacks for our tree day, but I was on day 19 of no sugar (today is 20!) and M didn't have as much time to hang out as she usually does. So, I didn't bother getting anything and thankfully little J was fine eating slices of local Macintosh apple (free from a recent work event I hosted) with freshly ground peanut butter that I had on hand when she got hungry. Whew.

I bought an InstantPot pressure cooker from Am@zon yesterday - on sale for 68.95 from 129.99 with free shipping. I had $60 worth of languishing Am@zon gift cards from sw@gbucks, so my total cost was only 8.95. I hope I like it!

My total Friday spending was $85.68 and it was all money well spent.

Today I only spent $2.50 for garbage drop off. I hadn't disposed of trash and recycling for over a month and I was glad to get rid of the buildup. I ate the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and made a box of Annie's mac and cheese from the cupboard with steamed broccoli and cauliflower for dinner. It has been gloomy here all week and I was in the mood for comfort food. I also enjoyed free local apple cider left over from my work event.

Time to put the lights on my tree. I usually invite my friend D over to help, but I'm in the mood to be alone this weekend. My tree is quite tall, so I am hoping that I will be able to do the lights by myself tonight.

I've been listening to Christmas music all day while tackling some decluttering. I really need to get rid of unnecessary stuff!!

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend.

happy thanksgiving!

November 24th, 2016 at 03:32 pm

Hope my fellow american bloggers are enjoying a day off and a delicious meal.

I had a record frugal holiday this year...a $5 full Thanksgiving meal (and got some leftovers to take home!) at my work place with some friends followed by free cross-country skiing on early snow at a local place that was closed for the holiday. Super casual and relaxed day.

Now I'm home with my Christmas candles lit in the windows and I'll get my tree tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving! Smile