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Archive for October, 2011

Clutter Ghosts

October 31st, 2011 at 05:09 pm

I found an article on the Miss Minimalist blog that is timely for Halloween. It is also a great wrap up to the Great Purge of 2011! Or inspiration for purges you still have left to complete before year end.

The article is titled "Exorcise Your Clutter Ghosts" and has some great insight about our desires to keep things.

To tie this into a financial post: You might just find something you no longer want, but someone else might be willing to pay you for. And that means more cash in your wallet, or bank account!!

Sears Tried to Woo Me

October 30th, 2011 at 01:48 pm

I went shopping with my daughter last night for a white concert shirt. Those white shirts can be tough to find. We ended up finding a shirt at Sears for $12.50.

I paid with my debit card, but not before the sales clerk tried to convince me to apply for one of two different Sears credit cards. The incentive? The shirt would be free. A savings of over $13 once sales tax was added on.

Sears. You'll have to do better than that to convince me to apply for one of your cards. I'm not much a fan of your stores, although I love that I can find Land's End merchandise there and can return the stuff I buy online. Otherwise, your store is my last resort in shopping.

I passed up the credit card offer and paid the $13.25 for the shirt. That is a good deal on a shirt my daughter will wear three times in the next 7 months.

Would Sears have convinced you to apply for their credit card with the offer of a free item? Why or why not?

Payday is Still 3 Days Away!

October 28th, 2011 at 11:28 pm

This is a long month between paychecks. It also seems to have been a bit spendy! I'm already dipping into some money I was hoping I could squirrel away for Christmas.

We have food at our house. Gas in the van. I don't think I'll do my usual fill up on Sundays. I've been filling the tank on Sundays and get a free newspaper for doing so. I know we can do without a newspaper this week.

We have our candy stash for Halloween. No one NEEDS clothes this weekend. As far as I can tell we should be able to make it through the weekend until payday.

Oh, just remembered we might need to procure a piece or two of posterboard for class projects. At least those are pretty cheap.

Did you just get paid or are you waiting until the first of the month, too? Are you looking to have a no spend weekend?

Purge Challenge: Day 8

October 27th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Today is the final day of the purge challenge. It's been fun and challenging. I'm glad I made the effort, but I'm ready to move on to other things. I'm sure you are ready to read other posts from me, too!

Here's the final purge list:
1 hand lotion
2 tubes expired ointment
1 clear bag
6 gift bags
1 pile of ribbon
1 set of gift tags
1 small gift box
2 rolls of gift wrap
1 pile of tissue paper and gift wrap scraps
21 pieces of paper

Again, I went above and beyond and found more than 27 items. Oops! I'm starting to wonder if that might be a point of the challenge to get you to find quite a few things, but find that you often exceed the goal. That can happen with any goal in my experience.

Thanks to all of you that have participated along with me. It was nice to have company! I'm glad I could help encourage you to purge. Will anyone continue to look for 27 items after today?

Last purge picture:

Purge Challenge: Day 7

October 26th, 2011 at 03:02 pm

Tomorrow is the last day of this challenge. And to be honest, I'm glad. Locating 27 items per day is challenging and a bit time consuming. At least for someone like me that can be a bit obsessive compulsive!

Here's what I found for day 7:
1 map
1 brochure
1 necklace charm
1 set of ear bud covers
1 magazine
1 wooden handle extension
1 store member card
1 expired Entertainment book
1 pencil sharpener
1 rain poncho
1 can of lice spray
2 candles
1 sponge
14 pieces of paper

I believe that is 28 items. Geez. I am an overachiever. Forgive me.

I've noticed with this challenge that it is completely different that locating items for a garage sale. Most of the items I've decided to toss are insignificant, but yet excess stuff that really doesn't need to live with us in our home.

Those of you still participating are doing great! I know it is a tough challenge. Even one item a day is great in my book. Decluttering is really an ongoing process.

Free Holiday Cards

October 25th, 2011 at 07:28 pm

Do you want something for free or nearly free?

You can get two free card sets for the holidays (or another purpose)from Kodak Gallery. You do need to pay for shipping. Thus the nearly free reference. Although you might be able to pick up at a local store. Not sure.

Here's the 2 cards free link. Or copy and paste kodakgallery.com/2freecardsets .

I'd love to go for this offer, but I can't seem to find any good pictures from this last year for the card. And there's a deadline on the offer of October 31, 2011. I might be able to make it work if the girls cooperate this weekend with a short photo session. Wish me luck!

Purge Challenge: Day 6

October 25th, 2011 at 01:07 pm

Everyday, I'm surprised at what I find to toss from our home. I actually recycle all the time, so I'm not including too many of those items. All the paper is from going through my file cabinet.

Here is today's list:
1 diet book
1 cd
1 door stop
16 pieces of paper
1 vacuum tool
2 hangers
1 package of freezer burned hot dog buns
1 package expired flax seed
2 bottles of dye
1 bottle expired vinegar
1 bolt

The total for today is 28 items! I made it. I hope I can make it for two more days. Are you finding this task challenging or is it a breeze for you? Let me know.

Purge Challenge: Day 5

October 24th, 2011 at 04:34 pm

I found some more things to purge from our home. I'll admit this list has quite a bit of paper in it, but it all counts. It doesn't make for the best picture, but here it is:



2 used batteries
22 pieces of paper
1 used spiral notebook
1 non working flashlight
1 empty toothpaste tube
1 car air freshner (too strong)
21 recipe cards
1 used diet journal
1 pair of pantyhose
1 scarf
2 calculators

The scarf and pantyhose were in places that I had already looked, but I looked again and there they were...more items to get rid of!

The diet journal...completely filled out in 2007. It doesn't have much use other than to remind me that I did lose weight at one time and what I ate then. That will be pulled apart and recycled.

I entered about half of the recipe cards into my Evernote account for easy access on my computer. I use Evernote primarily for recipes. It's free and can be used for keeping track of all sorts of notes and paper.

Why? Why does our house have 6 calculators? And why could I only part with two? Not sure, but for now I'm getting rid of two. (Hmm...maybe it is because I like to calculate numbers.)

So there is my 27+ items for today. There are still three more days left in the challenge. How are you all doing? What insights have you made?

Purge Challenge: Day 4

October 23rd, 2011 at 01:32 pm

I'm posting this early in the day because I actually found more things yesterday to total another 27 items. Now I'm like a day ahead. Sorry I'm really not trying to be an overachiever.

I hope my list might give you motivation today to find some things you can do without. We really need so little.

I posted a curb alert ad on craigslist yesterday and was able to dump a very worn patio set (table and 5 chairs) and a vanity light fixure I recently replaced in my bathroom. I tried to give away a car jack, but it was not of interest yesterday. If you are counting along that is 7 items!

The rest of the purge included:
3 pots worth of dead annuals
1 music cd
12 mini allen wrenches
1 plug adapter (that doesn't work)
1 miscellaneous tool
4 skewers
14 pieces of paper

That is a grand total of 43 items! Pictures below. Good luck today purging that which does not provide you with function and beauty.



Purge Challenge: Day 3

October 22nd, 2011 at 05:01 pm

I made it again...I found 27 items to purge from our home. Again, they are small things. Luckily for me, they add up!

1 gift bag
1 booklet
1 cat costume
1 bag of beads
1 jar expired yeast
1 ribbon
1 elastic casing
1 broken necklace
2 charms
1 bag of watch parts
1 spool of thread (near empty)
1 neck gaiter
1 cookbook
2 software discs
3 prs of tights
2 rebate cards
6 months of sales receipts (now shredded)

I'm still amazed that I have found this many items everyday. Glad to hear many of you are still challenging yourselves with tossing items, too. Every little bit helps keep the clutter in check.

The ironic thing is I'm about to head out shopping with the girls for some things they need. Shoes and pants. They keep growing. What can I do?!

Check in and let me know how it is going for you!

Here's the pictures:

Purge Challenge: Day 2

October 21st, 2011 at 05:20 pm

This is going to be a hard challenge for me. I don't have big items to let go of. But I seems to have many small items!!

Today I purged:
1 costmetic bag
1 set of used razor blades
1 bag of hair ties
1 bottle of baby powder
1 set of eyeglasses
1 contact case
1 eyeglass case
1 pin
1 set of shower clips
1 screen door part (with instructions)
1 set of tire valve caps
1 otc expired medication
1 reusuable bag ( I don't like this one)
1 magnet
1 broken lipstick cap
1 key ring
1 halloween safety light
1 loose tea holder
4 liquid medicine cups
1 plastic knife/spoon
1 container of drink mix
1 box of cocoa...nearly empty
2 plastic bottles for recycling
1 old cut up debit card (received my new one yesterday)
1 pewter envelope opener

So 29 items or more if you count the hair ties and each razor blade, but I won't. I made the 27 item goal. I hope some of you have big stuff to get rid of. I find that more exciting! Here is the pictute, and yes, some items will be donated or recycled as necessary...otherwise they are trash.

Check in and let me know how you are doing on this challenge.

Purge Challenge: Day 1

October 20th, 2011 at 05:18 pm

Okay I have my 27 items that are leaving this house. I just found the items as I was doing daily tasks this morning. As you can probably tell, these are the type of items that generally don't make the garage sale cut!!

Day 1
1 bag of freezer burned carrots (not in picture)
1 bag of freezer burned green beans
1 sponge
1 book
1 sewing machine box
8 pairs of socks
2 t shirts
5 pairs of underwear (not shown)
8 empty items to recycle

Oh look! That's 28 items. Can't wait to hear how you all do. Now here's the picture.

8 Day Purge Challenge

October 20th, 2011 at 01:09 pm

My mom is taking on a 9 day challenge to declutter, toss, recycle, purge 27 items each day. She started yesterday and made it to 27. I'm a little reluctant to say that I could do that many each day, but I think I'll try.

I'll be back later with an update. Maybe even a picture!

Anyone else want to join in for the next 8 days? Might helps us prepare for the upcoming holidays.

Mail Order Prescriptions

October 19th, 2011 at 04:04 pm

If I had to add anything to that previous list of 33 ways to reduce debt, I would suggest mail order prescriptions. Most plans offer this for ongoing prescriptions at a deep discount.

I recently just switched to mail order when I realized the price had increased again. The prescription (30 day supply) was usually $22 per month, but went up to $25. By mail order, I will get a 90 day supply for $25. Only $100 per year.

Do you realize the savings of that? I will save $200 per year by using mail order. That's huge!!

Why didn't I do this sooner? Because it seemed like a lot of work to contact the doctor for a change in prescription. This time the online site contacted my doctor for me. Easy!!

How much do you or could you save with mail order prescriptions?

33 Ways To Reduce Debt

October 19th, 2011 at 12:24 am

A very inspiring list.

The couple referenced in this article paid off $66,000 in debt in three years. The article contains 33 ways they reduced their debt. Are you doing any of these?

The only one I haven't done is number 3 on the list. I personally keep thinking about disconnecting our home phone line, and likely won't until we move. But it sure is tempting.

Truck Loan Under $13K!!

October 18th, 2011 at 01:10 pm

The regular payment on our truck loan posted yesterday. The principal portion reduced our loan balance to: $12,997.39!

We are under $13,000. Yipee!

In other news, I made a cover for my sewing machine. Now it doesn't have to sit in the original box from 1997! I found the idea and instructions on this blog.

A Principal Payment

October 17th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I mentioned last month that it would be nice to get the truck loan under $13K. With the regular payment we would be about $20 shy of meeting that mark. Today, I made a principal payment in the amount of $20. Our regular payment should post tomorrow. Until then our balance is:

$13,289.38

This is the first principal only payment I've made on this loan. It feels good, and I hope I can add more here and there in the coming months.

Stay tuned for the offical under $13K post...

$3 Halloween Costume

October 14th, 2011 at 01:09 pm

My youngest daughter decided she would be a Hufflepuff witch from Harry Potter. She owns a wand and she just wanted a scarf made in the black and gold colors of the House of Hufflepuff to wear with her 'muggle' clothes. Sure. Seems easy.

I made my way to the fabric store and purchased a 1/4 yard of fleece (her preferred fabric) which was on sale for $5.99 a yard. Thus $3 out of pocket with the two colors.

I eventually sat down and cut the fleece for the block pattern she desired. Cutting whet smooth with my rotary blade.

Next I set up my machine, ready to sew with gold top thread and black bottom thread. I also ran a test stitch. And I had a problem. Lots of stitch skipping. Big amounts of stitch stitching.

I went into detective mode and started making adjustments to fix the problem. Needle bent? Tension checks...mutliple times. I even dusted and oiled the machine per the manual. It did need it anyway! Still was having a problem.

At this point, I'm starting to look into the cost of repair. It's a Kenmore machine, so I checked into Sears repair online. Flat fee of $62.99 plus any necessary parts. More than I want to spend, but was definitely considering it as a possibility. It wasn't just the scarf I wanted to sew. I have holiday gift ideas!!

I tried a few more things. Looked at the needle again. Swapped it out. And realized my needle was in backwards!! I have no idea when that happened.

Finally, the machine was working like it was suppose to. Maybe even better than the last time I used it since it had now been oiled and dusted. It's like a whole new machine.

And of course, I was able to complete the $3 Halloween costume. Here's a picture:

Are your Halloween costumes homemade or store bought? We've done both, but I'd love to hear your take.

Paid the Bills

October 13th, 2011 at 06:29 pm

The paycheck is pending, but there is some extra cash in the checking account, so I paid the bills.

The big one was for DH's rent. So wish we didn't have to pay that!

I also renewed the registration on our van. That money had already been saved up for. We do that on a monthly basis. I believe there is a link on the sidebar about how we do that.

Otherwise it was a few smaller bills to record for when they automatically come out of our checking account. One of those is the truck payment that will post on Monday or Tuesday. Which will mean a lower balance!!

In other income news, I received the refund check from the dance studio. I haven't deposited it yet. I'm thinking about where to allocate the funds.

There Nothing Like....

October 12th, 2011 at 06:41 pm

Spending a rainy afternoon in a laundry mat. I took my comforter and one daughters comforter in to be washed in preparation for winter. Total cost to wash and dry both: $9.50. This is a far better price than dropping them off at a cleaners which would have cost me $24 each. Yes, each.

And while I feel like I accomplished something today, there is nothing like curling up with a cup of coffee and the internet on fall rainy day.

Here's the view out my backyard. I wish you could hear the pitter patter of the rain and the smell of the air. But trust me. It's wonderful!

Random Thoughts

October 11th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Random thoughts by creditcardfree:

My husband was home for the extended weekend. Loved having him around. We did do some spending. A few take out meals, wine and new running shoes for DH. We spent less than last time he was home, so that is a good thing.

Running two households is expensive, but we are still handling it all with cash. No extra debt has been incurred. Our savings seems to be staying intact, too.

I might be getting new tires for the van soon. Three are still very good, one is showing more wear. The current ones are only rated for another 9K miles. I think the van was out of alignment early on and wore down then. It has since been aligned a couple times. We priced tires at the dealer and a national chain. The national tire chain was nearly $300 less for a better tire (65K miles v. 50K miles)!! I just need to decide when to get that done.

My brain is starting to think about Christmas. Part of me wishes to skip all the gift giving, part of me wants to make all homemade gifts and the other part wants to shop!! I do think there will be some homemade gifts involved this year. Maybe biscotti or beer bread. I might even sew some drink coasters and cosmetic bags. I should get this clear in my head soon and start sewing!

Saving the Rebate

October 6th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I received a $5 rebate from Home Depot in the mail today. It came in the form of a Prepaid Mastercard. I decided to save it for now.

I counted up the cash and gift cards on hand and found I have a total of $205.54! I think this is the beginning of the Christmas Fund. Smile

I was also notified that I will be receiving a deposit from Half.com in the amount of $15.41. I forgot about those sales! I might just pull that cash out and add it to the above mentioned fund.

Are you saving for Christmas? If so, how do you save?

A Sad Refund

October 4th, 2011 at 08:59 pm

This post has mixed emotions.

The sad: My youngest daughter has decided that she no longer wants to take dance classes. Her heart isn't in it. I made her go for a full month before making a final decision. This would have been her fifth year of dance. I guess four was plenty for her. I'm going to miss seeing her smiling face at the recital this year. Of course, if I made her go for the next 8 months she probably wouldn't be smiling at the recital.

The glad: We are getting a refund for prepaid dance tuition! In the amount of $323. I pay in full to save the recital fee which is about 10% of the years tuition. It is the studios policy not to offer refunds for prepaid tuition. However, since we are still clients (my older daughter takes tumbling), we have been granted a refund of our credit balance. Whatever they want to call it, I'm getting a refund!! It should be in the mail this week.

And I can sell her jazz shoes and return a pair of yoga pants. Yipee!

Made Another $30

October 2nd, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Sold several books to a used book store: $5
These were garage sale leftovers.

Pet sat 2 cats and 2 kittens for 2.5 days: $25
The kittens were soooo cute.

It feels good to see money trickling in. Of course, I'm not against seeing a flood of money!

Garage Sale Results

October 1st, 2011 at 08:28 pm

Whew! Those sales are always a whirlwind. I've almost got the house back together.

I only saved two bins for a possible spring sale. Some items might get posted to ebay for the holidays.

I have about four small boxes of items to drop off at Goodwill. I'm also going to take some books into the used book store. I know it won't amount to much but I'd like a few dollars anyway!

The total sales for the two day sale were $664.50. My portion was $144.50. And considering I had a sale back in July and made $150, I think that is pretty good.

Okay back to work...still need to put tables and empty bins in the basement.