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Archive for April, 2010

Free Homemade Laundry Detergent

April 30th, 2010 at 06:18 am

My neighbor decided to make her own laundry detergent on Earth Day. She loves it! She made a kit of ingredients for me to make my own batch.

The batch will make two gallons of detergent. I think she said the cost per load is $0.07! She didn't say how much the ingredients were but they had to be fairly inexpensive.

Here's the recipe that I plan to mix up this weekend:
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap
1/2 c. washing soda
1/2 c. borax powder

You will also need a small bucket approximately, 2 gallons in size. I purchased mine yesterday with a lid at Home Depot for about $5. I sure don't want this stuff to spill!

Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan. Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir. Let the soap sit for about 24 hours to gel. Use 1/2 cup detergent per load of laundry.

This recipe is from this

Text is website and Link is http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm
website. I'll let you know how I like it soon!

Mother's Day Gifts

April 29th, 2010 at 08:26 am

Mother's Day is just over a week away. It is on Sunday, May 9. Time to start thinking about how to acknowledge your mother.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of this Hallmark invented holiday. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my mom. But why do we all have to thank and appreciate them on the same day? I'm a mom myself, and I'm still not a fan of the holiday!!

I do usually get my mom a card and a small gift. This year she will be receiving 4 handmade (by me) coasters and some loose leaf tea. I'm guessing this will cost me less than $15.

As I write this, I realize I bought her coasters about three years ago that have pictures of my daughters in them. I think she uses them as small framed pictures instead of coasters.

This year, the coasters are the right thing. She was eyeing the ones I made for myself. So I think she will enjoy that I made some for her, too. I hope she likes the fabric. If not, more can be made. And she loves tea, so I can't go wrong there!

Are you buying or making a gift for your mom to celebrate the day of mothers?

$200 Allowance

April 28th, 2010 at 03:20 pm

My husband will be getting an allowance of $200 each pay period for the next year. We are paid twice per month. His need for cash is very minimal while overseas.

Secretly,(Unless he's reading this blog today. Hi, honey!) I hope that he will not spend it all. Last time his expenses included some pop, lots of cigars and Subway sandwiches (one does get tired of DFAC food), haircuts and occasional postage for packages.
Two hundred dollars seems like plenty don't you think?

Right now my plan is to take this allowance from our regular spending. I think this is possible because of all the things that we won't be spending money on. Less will be spent on fuel and groceries here at home for sure!

Reimbursed

April 27th, 2010 at 01:54 pm

My husband's travel expenditures from his last trip were finally paid today. If I didn't harp on him about someone approving it about 10 days ago, we would still be waiting.

Half the money went to pay the balance on his government credit card and the rest into our checking account. It doesn't feel like a windfall, considering how much over the reimbursed travel expenses he spent.

It is what it is!

Don't Spend, Sew

April 26th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

In an effort to keep our spending down this week, I have stayed home today except for my trip to the gym.

I have spent my time cutting out pieces to make four placemats and four coasters. The coasters are a gift for Mother's Day! The fabric is pressed and pinned together. I will actually sew tomorrow afternoon.

Looking Forward to Payday

April 25th, 2010 at 01:39 pm

It's been a spendy month.

There is something about wanting your about to be deployed husband to get whatever he wants, even if it isn't in the budget! I've been out to lunch three times in the last two weeks and bought too much wine, beer and coffee. Oh, and the family went out to dinner and ice cream, too.

I only regret it from a financial standpoint. We did enjoy ourselves. It also isn't going to hurt us in the long run. Too much! Smile

I'm really looking forward to payday on Friday to get back on track. I hope to keep the spending to a minimum this week so it doesn't get worse! Unfortunately, the Army has already made a paycheck error in their favor by at least $70, maybe more. Someone is looking into it, so I hope to have that money back by mid May.

Are you having a good month financially?

400 Days

April 24th, 2010 at 08:14 am

Deployment begins today. He's still in town for a couple more days, but the Army is in charge of his days now. We are counting down 400 days until he is back home.

Small Money Mistake

April 23rd, 2010 at 01:31 pm

I wanted to buy a used Apple USB wall charger for my daughter's ipod. I went to ebay. I was the only bidder, so I won the auction. I spent $10.

It arrived on time. However, it isn't a USB wall charger. It is a firewire adapter/charger. It will not work with a 5th Generation Ipod. I knew this and was looking specifically for a USB wall charger.

Buyer does not accept returns. I'm okay with this because I knew this upfront. The model number in the auction is correct. I should have checked it though and I would have known this wouldn't work. The description was wrong. It should not have stated USB in the title. Ugh!

I'm out $10, until I can sell this on ebay. Disappointing. But it can be corrected.

If you think you need gutters repaired...

April 22nd, 2010 at 01:45 pm

listen to this story.

We are having our house painted in about 3 weeks. One of our gutters was seperating away from the house enough to allow water to run between the house and the gutter. This caused water damage to the paint and over time would cause damage to the siding.

Gutters are attached to the facia with some sort of long bolt. It seemed like something specialized, so I hired a gutter company to repair it. Turns out it is a very easy repair and didn't really require any special skill.

Our repair involved three new nails placed under the gutter to attach the facia to the soffit. The gutter is attached to the facia and since the facia was pulling away so was the gutter! (I think I have my terms right. Sorry if I'm off a bit.) They also added a bolt to the end of the gutter where it meets the another side wall of our house. I think this was just an extra safety measure to hold it in place.

Honestly, I don't even want to tell you what this cost me because I am disappointed that it only took three nails to fix the problem. Nails that I could have probably installed myself.

When I called the contractor, I said I wanted it repaired and replaced, if necessary. I did ask for a quote over the phone. I ended up paying the quoted price. The disappointing thing is I thought the quote was my maximum if I had the whole piece replaced. Nope. It was my minimum.

I will take it as a lesson learned, which is also why I'm mentioning it to the rest of you. I probably should have had the contractor out to give an estimate in person, rather than over the phone. A trip out probably would have told me that it would have been an easy repair. Next time my gutters are pulling away from the house, I will nail the facia back to the soffit by myself!

Second Paint Estimate - Yikes!

April 21st, 2010 at 11:13 am

We received our second paint estimate today. Not exactly the nice figure of the first. $3,900. Nearly double the first. The second estimate does offer a second coat of paint, but no repair work included. Strange. We asked for a small repair to be included.

Two coats of paint seems like a good idea, but we are moving in about two years (or less). The main problem is the bottom edges of the lap siding, which will be scraped, primed, spray painted and then back brushed. I think this proceedure will correct that problem. We are also staying with the same colors.

Final decision: first estimate hands down.
Savings: $1,825


Let's Make A Deal

April 20th, 2010 at 07:20 pm

We made a deal tonight with our out of town relatives. We will sell them our Ford Taurus for $2500 in October of this year. I think we would get less as a trade in, but more if we sold it privately to a stranger. So we met in the middle! Good for us. Good for them.

I will still have it sitting in the driveway for the next 6 months, but at least we have a plan. I guess they would probably like it if I drove it around once in awhile! I should make a weekly date to drive it for ice cream. Smile

Hmm...can I put this towards my Ebay Challenge money? If so, I don't have to sell one more thing to meet my $100 per month average. No. I will continue the challenge and keep the car sale out of it!

The money will definitely go towards the emergency fund goal. That will help quite a bit considering I'm about to dip into the 'new' emergency money to fund part of the house painting.

Our Spending is in the Gutter

April 20th, 2010 at 10:26 am

My post was lost. My first time ever. I wrote it pretty quickly too. I went to an area I don't think I've been before...maybe the forum login? Not sure.

Our spending is up! It was up last month. Now this month. And I expect in May as well. It's beginning to effect my ability to add to our 'new' emergency fund.

We are literally getting a gutter repaired or replaced this week. Ballpark estimate $150. This is preventive maintenence for the new paint job. I would hate to ruin it because of a bad gutter.

Turns out I will have to dip into the new EF for some of the paint costs. Darn. Once we sell the car, I can instantly replace the money. Yipee!!

First Paint Estimate

April 19th, 2010 at 02:41 pm

We have our first home painting estimate in our hands. Including tax and a small siding repair, the first estimate came in at $2,075.82. My husband guessed $2,500 and I was really hoping for less, so I win!! No just kidding. I'm just really pleased.

The salesman said that we don't NEED to paint this year, but it is definitely showing signs of wear and would definitely need it in two years. We are positive in two years we will be moving, thus the need for a nice paint job! He also said that if we waited even another year to paint, it would require more labor because the areas that are already beginning to peel away would be worse. More labor, more money. Likely an additional $300-400.

We are scheduled to get one more estimate tomorrow. Once we compare, we will decide and get it scheduled. Before this man arrived, I was starting to think we should just wait to paint. However, I think it is in our best interest to stay ahead of the problems that are developing.

Good Purchase?

April 19th, 2010 at 08:02 am

Our van needed an alignment because it was pulling to one side and three out of four tires were showing wear on the sides. I was notified of this about a month ago at the Honda dealership. At the time, I declined the work.

We decided to take the van to another auto store for the alignment since it would be less expensive than the quote from the dealership. We bought a lifetime alignment for double their normal charge. Out of pocket cost: $151.

I would have spent just a little more at the dealership for the tire rotation and alignment. That would have been a one time charge.

Do you think it was a good idea to get the lifetime alignment service? It is a national chain. We expect to have the van for quite some time.