Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 2016 Expense Report

This is a review of  every penny we have spent during May. If there is a category that you don't see, it is explained here  .

Gas & Electric             $ 151.77          Still heating season

Cable, Int.,&Tel.             141.50

Netflix                              7.99

Guardian                         29.85          Monitored Alarm System

Medical                         378.04           Drs., Dentist, Insur.,&Meds.

Personal Care                  75.66

Restaurants                   108.00

Household Goods            318.81

Auto& Gasoline               123.91

Home Improve.                38.49

Groceries                       727.11

Propane                           19.43

Shipping Charges               9.95

Total Amt. Spent          $ 2130.51

It was not a bad spending month. There isn't much I can do but whittle the natural gas and electric bill down every month. But this bill the heat was on for the entire period because it was so cold. The cable and Netflix is our entertainment. The internet is a necessity or I wouldn't be writing to you. The telephone and monitored alarm system is a necessity for us. The monthly fee for Guardian will be going up next bill. Considering they haven't raised it in six years, I am not complaining.

Our medical was much lower this month but does include the health insurance premium for our advantage plan but not medicare premiums because they are reimbursed to us by Hubby's last employer.  The personal care included 2 haircuts, one for me and one for Hubby and some OTC medicines for my cold . I am growing out my hair which had very short layers and it was getting to be such a mess that I had to get it professionally done. She did a beautiful job on my hair so I may go back to her.

The restaurant bill was for Hubby, me, my son, my sister and my BIL the night we all went out. $ 108.00 including tip is not bad for five adults for food and drink.

Household goods was $ 306.72 for our new gas grill and $ 12.09 for some carpet cleaning solution for my carpet cleaner.

Automotive was $ 75.00 for our yearly AAA premium, $ 11.90 in gasoline for the lawn mower and $ 21.80 for the SUV. The other $ 15.21 was for a premium car wash.

Home improvement was $ 23.00 for a hose stand for the backyard and $ 15.49 for repair materials.

Groceries were high this month but we had very nice meals while we had company here for a few days. We also entertained 4 other times this month. The groceries also included beer and wine for that entertaining.

Propane was our yearly tank fill up for our gas grill. The shipping charges was for a return.

As I have mentioned before, our income varies from month to month depending on a number of factors including investment dividends. So after expenses this month we will be investing $ 5,000. today. That will bring our investment total to $ 24,000. for the year done in 5 months. We are on target to make our goal of investing $ 50,000. this year which makes me absolutely giddy. It will get harder though because we have hefty school taxes coming up in September. I would like to pay them out of current income even though there is plenty of money in the bank to pay them. We will see if I make my total of $ 50,000. doing this. I am aiming for it.

So how did you guys do this month? Did you pay off a chunk of debt? Or did you put a lot of money into savings and investments? I am your best cheer leader every month! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Tomorrow I will post on my plans for June and the intentional spending that will be the challenge of the month.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Enjoying Our Holiday Weekend

We are enjoying our holiday weekend inside today. It's almost 90 degrees outside so inside we are with the A/C going full steam. 

I made it until 6PM last night before we had to turn it on. Heat went off last Friday and A/C on yesterday. UGH! Only one week without high bills. Hopefully when we get through this hot humid weather, we can turn it off again.

But we are enjoying ourselves. I hope you are too!
Steamed clams anyone?

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Memorial Day Feast

Memorial Day weekend is finally here. Memorial Day is a Federal holiday for remembering the men and women who served in the armed forces. Many of us also visit cemeteries to visit and leave flowers on our family member's graves who have passed away.
Almost everyone this weekend will have some kind of cookout(or inside if you don't have a grill). We will enjoy ours on Monday.

There are so many holidays during the year where a lot of money can be spent on the feast. But this is one where, if you so wish, you can entertain a crowd frugally. 

Over the past couple of weeks I have seen hot dogs for $1.00 a lb. or my preference of 3 lbs. of Sahlen's hot dogs for $ 6.99 and hamburger for $ 2.29 a lb. Hamburg and hot dog rolls have been $ .69 each. Ketchups, mustards, and relishes have all been on sale. There may or may not be coupons for those sales too. I just get mine at Aldi's or B.J.'s.

Almost every kind of beer that you can think of has been on sale. If you don't serve beer, you can make a punch with or without alcohol for reasonably cheap. I personally like to make lemonade which is another alternative that isn't costly.

Potato and macaroni salads are inexpensive especially when you can get Hellman's mayonnaise for $2.00 each after coupon. I have stocked enough Hellman's mayonnaise this week for the next year. I checked my stockpile and found that I had two. So I bought four more. None of them expire until the end of July next year. Better yet if a guest asks what they can bring, assign them a salad.

Sweet corn this week was 3 for $1.00 at Top's.

Add a few bags of chips purchased on sale or from Aldi's to your feast.

For dessert, cake or cupcakes are frugal to make from a mix or from scratch. You can also make popsicles for the kids. I always have a bin of pudding or jello boxes that I can make them from. The other thing I do is save leftover fruit juices from cans to make them.

I estimate that I can serve a feast for 10 people for about $40.00. I could do it for under $34.00 if my guests bring salads.

So entertaining for a holiday like this one, the 4th of July, or Labor Day does not have to break the bank. It can be done frugally. You can have a wonderful time while enjoying your company, eat well and know that you haven't broken your budget.

So I wish you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Remember the veterans.  Enjoy your families and friends. Watch your children around water and if you are traveling, have a safe trip. I will be back posting on Tuesday.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Yes, I Do Make Mistakes

After all the years of running our household like a business, I still make mistakes. My intuition and my husband warned me. But I didn't listen.

For two years I have been researching dehydrators. Since I make homemade trail mix a lot, I was hoping that using one would save me on all of the dehydrated fruit that I buy to make it. This is the one that I truly have had my eye on:


However, I couldn't justify the cost and the payback time. We don't usually plant a large garden and this year we have decided not to plant one at all. Instead we are transplanting 5 maple trees that seeded themselves and are doing quite well into our container pots. When they get larger, we will plant them near our side property line. Hubby has a green thumb when it comes to trees.

Over the almost 49 years that we have been married, we have usually never purchased the cheapest item that we are looking for nor the most expensive. We have always bought somewhere in the middle. Sure there have been some exceptions like our French door refrigerator or our HE's( which we got a great deal on used) and our SUV. But most of the time, we buy in the middle. And that has worked out well for us. 

So last week, when I saw a dehydrator that looked like a great bargain from one of the online shopping networks, I pounced on it. It had a company behind it whose products I have loved. It was on a special price that had been reduced by $30. I questioned at the time why it would be reduced by so much, unless they were retiring it and a new model was coming out. So I ended up paying about $40. plus tax and shipping.

Hubby warned me that it might not be such a bargain. But I didn't listen and ordered it anyway. I should have taken his suggestion but I was excited that I would finally have a dehydrator.

Yesterday when it was delivered, I couldn't wait to open it and try it out. I had a large bunch of bananas to try it out on.

Can you imagine my disappointment when I opened the box and found the top cracked? It also was packed very tightly in a box. As it slid out of the box, I immediately saw the crack. I was so disappointed.

But I called the shopping show to see what they would do about it. They had no more, so they couldn't replace it. I was given three options. I could return it via UPS and they would refund my money including my shipping. I could keep it for 60 days to see if they offered it again. Or I could call the company and use the warranty.

Read the last option again. Why would I use the warranty and make the company pay for something that was shipped to me broken? It is clearly not their fault. It is either the fault of the shopping show or UPS or the Post Office since they both handled it. I will go with the shopping show since it was packed very tightly in a box that I believe was pretty flimsy. I believe that using the warranty and making the company replace it is dishonest. It was shipped from one of the shopping show's warehouses.

So I am bringing it to UPS today and returning it with their postage paid label. I have been told that they will refund everything I have paid for it including shipping but not until they receive it. Through experience with my last return, that will be about 2 weeks from now if I return it today. So the only thing I am out is my gas to UPS to return it and the use of my money for about three weeks since it was billed last Saturday. To defray the cost of the gas. I will run other errands on my way to or from UPS.

But I have again learned a lesson. If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The unit which was made in China, in my estimation was cheaply made, and if I had seen it on a store shelf for the same price, I would not have purchased it.

If Hubby isn't happy with the item, don't order it. Everything came together in a way that is almost an omen that I shouldn't have ordered it to begin with.
So a lesson learned again for me. 

Sometimes you have to spend more money to get quality that will last. I know this and have for years. So it remains up in the air as to whether I will get the expensive dehydrator that I mentioned above. I just can't justify the cost for the amount of fruit I would dehydrate. The payback would be forever.  

So the other option is to cut back on the amount of dried fruit that I use. Or I can only use raisins and watch for a great sale when I buy them. This looks like the best option to me.

I know that I will not be buying a cheap dehydrator anytime soon. And this great purchase that I couldn't wait to tell you about, wasn't so great. So lesson learned again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Frugal Things We Have Done In The Past Eight Days

These are the frugal things we have done in the past eight days:

- Purchased a $25. Panera Gift Card from Cardpool .
I paid $ 16.25 after a 15% Discount and a $5.00 credit for signing up. This will be a gift later in the year.

- The week before I got sick, I helped a neighbor out with something. I expected nothing in return. However the neighbor gave us a $25. Pizza Hut gift card as a Thank You this past weekend. So I picked up 2 medium pizzas for our dinner last night and tonight. We have an appointment here at 5PM tonight so heating up the pizza will be easy. I still have $9.90 on the gift card. We hadn't had a Pizza Hut pizza in over 18 years. 

- Hubby mowed our lawn and sprayed some weeds.

- I did two loads of laundry (sheets and towels) with the HE washer and dryer. I hung the sheets and used the dryer for the towels.

- Our heat is finally shut off for the winter. We have had a couple of days close to 80 degrees but we have managed to keep the A/C off. I have kept the house at 70 with judicious use of the energy saving shades and ceiling fans. I would like to keep it off until sometime in June.

- I purchased a large package of boneless chicken breasts at Aldi's today for $ 1.49 a lb. That $ 8.37 will give us 6 meals of chicken breasts for the grill.

- We enjoyed a large bottle of Red Cat wine and a nice jar of apricot preserves that my sister and BIL brought us in a beautiful basket which I will re-purpose for storage in our home. The basket also had a few really absorbent bar mop towels, a package of pumpkin spice K cups, and a gorgeous bracelet for me. Thanks Sis!

- I received a $ 4.00 beer rebate in the mail.

- I earned another $ 5.00 Amazon gift certificate from Bing Rewards . This is my referral link and I will earn points if you sign up under me.

- I returned a flat iron that I purchased recently from Sally Beauty which I decided I didn't need for a full refund of $34.55. I had purchased it to control the very front of the sides of my hair. I have natural waves which do what they want. I decided that bobby pins would do the same thing. I will just pin the sides into curls before I go to bed at night. I paid $ 1.39 including tax for the bobby pins. Sometimes the old ways work better for me.

- We have eaten all of the leftovers in our fridge and most of our produce. It is all part of our no waste policy.

- I returned 2 bags of deposit bottles for a refund of 
$ 1.75 at Fast Cash.

- I received a coupon for a Free 12 pack of Diet Coke using my Coke Rewards. I have to feed Hubby's soda habit so I might as well feed it for free. I have noticed that he is alternating his drinks of soda with drinks of water. So there still is hope that he will give it up.

- I have walked every day since last Friday. When I was in my twenties, a friend (Hi JoAnne!), and I would walk a couple of miles every day after the children got on the school bus. I am trying to get back into that habit. I have only made it to a mile and a half though. But I am a few years older now.

- I cut some old towels up into smaller rags for cleaning.

I also made a purchase that will save me money over the long haul. I have been researching this purchase for a couple of years now. When I saw a deal this past Friday, I pounced on it. But more on that in another post.

Have you done anything frugal the past week or so? If so please share it in the comments.        

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Our Potluck Dinner

When people think of potluck dinners, they think about what kind of dish they can make to bring to one. I have been to many in my lifetime as I am sure all of you have. They are fun and a reasonably cheap night out.

In our household, potluck is a judicious use of our leftovers. You all know that I hate waste. So when I find our leftovers piling up, we have a potluck dinner. Our potluck really gives us another dinner made out of leftovers that other people would think nothing of tossing in the garbage. 

But we eat our leftovers always. When there is enough for another meal, we heat them and serve them. When there are just bits and pieces of meats, potato, rice or vegetables, we put them in a freezer container for soup. When the freezer container gets full, we make a soup.

When veggies or fruits start getting old, we either freeze them or put them in a stew, soup or smoothie.

So when I was planning last night's dinner by looking in the refrigerator, I realized we had too many leftover containers. So we had a potluck meal last night.

Hubby had some pork tenderloin, corn on the cob and the leftover pasta salad.

I had the fried potatoes covered with the chicken fajita leftovers and a slice of pork tenderloin. I heated all of it except the pasta salad in the microwave. Since I needed a vegetable with my meal, I sliced part of a cucumber onto a plate and added some sliced green peppers from the ones I prepared for the week on Saturday.

We both had a small fruit dish of grapes and sliced strawberries for dessert.

So now all of the leftovers are gone and we got an extra meal from them for our money. We still have some fruit but it will be good sliced on cereal or eaten as snacks the rest of the week.

So the next time you ignore your leftovers and feed your garbage disposal or trash can with them, think twice. You have already spent that money so get your money's worth by using them for a potluck meal. Don't throw your hard earned money in the garbage.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Three Homemade Recipes That I Use

Aj asked me for a few homemade recipes so I will give you the soap ones today. I will post the yogurt one the next time I make it.

Right now I am using up a stockpile of dishwasher soap that I got for pennies. But I also have a jar of my homemade, which is pictured, that I usually use:

2 cups of Borax
2 cups of washing soda
2 cups baking soda

Mix well and use 1 tablespoon per load.

Homemade Laundry Detergent:

1 bar of soap grated
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup of oxi clean
Mix all well. I use 2 Tbsp. per load. For years I was afraid to use this in my HE washer for fear it would ruin my very expensive machine. But when the washer got to be 9+ years, I decided it was getting old anyhow. I also decided that it really didn't have any ingredients in it that would hurt the washer. This mixture cleans the clothes really well and I have had no issues with my machine. Some people swear by Ivory soap. Yes that works well but so do other soaps. Since I have 80+ bars of soap, I will use any I have. I also use store bought when I can get it under $ .50 a bottle. That doesn't happen very often. I had a Sam's Club gift card that was a gift so I bought a huge container of All Free and Clear recently. But when that is gone, I will be back to making the homemade. 

Liquid Hand Soap:

1 bar of grated soap dissolved in a gallon of boiling water. This only takes a couple of minutes. Remove it from the heat and stir it about every 5 minutes. Let it cool a little and pour it into your soap containers. It makes a lot so if you don't have a lot of dispensers, pour it into some canning jars or leftover jars from food until you need it. You can add 1 tsp. of essential oil if you want after the soap is dissolved but it isn't necessary.

I have made this many times. But right now, I am using up nearly free Method Hand Soap that I got a buy on.

All of the recipes work really well to clean the dishes, laundry, and your hands. I use them on and off depending on what the price of store bought is. When my store bought is gone, I will be making all homemade since I have so many bars of soap in the house.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Typical Saturday

Since I was playing this week, here is a bonus today. This is a typical Saturday shown through pictures. I will be adding more as the day goes on.

I like to cut up and wash the fruit that we will be using for meals and snacks for the next few days. When it's ready to eat I am not tempted to eat or purchase expensive unhealthy chips, cheetos, etc. Don't get me wrong, I still have a stash of those for the little ones and for Hubby who loves cheetos and we do occasionally have chips with sandwiches or hamburgers. I just don't make a habit of eating those things.

Breakfast is oatmeal with strawberries and a cup of coffee. 

I changed the water and cut the stems again on my flowers so that I can continue to enjoy them.

I took a plastic container from a food product to my neighbor who asked me to save them for her. They are the perfect size for her homemade rubs. She smokes briskets and other meats all of the time. 

I am on the way back into the house which is Home, Sweet, Home. It has been a dreary day so far today. The sun can't make up it's mind as to whether it wants to come out or not.

Deciding what to thaw for breakfast and dinner tomorrow. They are about to be put in the refrigerator. 

After a mile and half walk, I heated my gumbo for lunch. I worked up an appetite.

While I was outside, I took a picture of our Red Bud tree, bees and all, before the blossoms fall off.  

Then I noticed our Coral Bells are pushing up from the ground and that it is time for Hubby to weed again.  

Time to cut up some peppers and onions to use in recipes this week. We love onions in our eggs. 

Now for some leisure time laying in my gravity chair outside refreshing my memory reading this book again. 

We are eating dinner while waiting to watch the Preakness Race.
I made chicken fajitas with peppers and onions. We prefer them on brown rice rather than tortillas. They are delicious!

Tonight we will watch a little TV or a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I hope you all have a great evening and Sunday.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Intentional Spending

My sister and brother-in-law left yesterday. We had such a great time catching up after four years. The few days they were here were wonderful but way too short. They have promised to come back in less than the four years it took this time. We have told them that we can drive to their home anytime. It's only a 4 hour drive but they always want to come here. We must be a good host and hostess.  So I am hoping that it will be less than a year until they come again.

Now to get onto my topic of intentional spending. You all know how we spend as little as possible every month by keeping track of and naming where every dollar goes. We don't budget. We just think about every expense and how to minimize it. Then when we do spend, it is intentional. Hence, we call it intentional spending. It is the total opposite of impulse spending. When we spend money, it has been well thought out before it happens. 

We spend intentionally whether it be on restaurant meals, clothing, electronics or even groceries. We clearly define our wants from our needs in these categories and many others. We don't shop on impulse and buy coffee out every day. We don't impulsively go out to dinner once or twice a week. We don't shop without a purpose. We only purchase clothes when we need them. We have way too many right now so we are not buying any clothes this year.

We don't go to the newest movies on the weekends they open. We have the patience to wait until they are on Netflix or Amazon Prime. There are so many good movies that we have never seen that we can watch at home that the newest movie isn't even important to us. 

We don't buy a lot of snacks or junk food. We would rather spend our money on fruits and vegetables, nuts or nut mixes, popcorn to pop, or cheese and crackers to nibble on. This is intentional both because snack foods are expensive and the ones we prefer are healthier.

We only buy fast food when we really have thought it out and want some that day. This is an infrequent occurrence and we intentionally have not purchased any this month with one exception. My sister wanted to try a Beef on a Weck( a Buffalo Yummy) while she was here so we got take out at Anderson's and she treated.  We, ourselves never really want to buy fast food since it is isn't healthy and doesn't taste that good. My or Hubby's cooking is so much better. So we are seeing how many months we can go without intentionally purchasing it.

However intentionally spending doesn't mean that we don't ever spend on any luxuries. We do and when we do they have been planned well in advance so that it is a pleasure to spend that money. We just don't do it every day because then it wouldn't be a luxury.

Here are two examples that occurred while my sister and brother-in law were here. I planned dinner out on Tuesday evening at one of our favorite local family owned restaurants. It was intentionally planned so that we could enjoy a nice meal and I didn't have to cook the first night they arrived. We could just catch up over a meal that was served to us. We also asked our son to join us since they hadn't seen him in years either. He was planning on coming out to do a repair for us that evening anyhow so everything worked out well. It costs a whole lot more to pay for drinks and dinner for 5 of us than if I had cooked at home but it was an expense that we were more than willing to pay. 

The next night we had a very nice dinner at home. We could have had hamburgers cooked out on the grill. But instead I intentionally planned a very special dinner for all of us. I purchased prime filet mignons which Hubby grilled outside on the new grill which works superbly. We had them with sauteed Baby Bella mushrooms, organic shrimp cocktails, baked potatoes with butter, sour cream and chives from our garden, and corn on the cob. It was all served with a wonderful red wine that my sister and BIL brought. Later in the evening we had blueberry pie. We spared no expense or calories. It was a celebration of their presence with us.

If we impulsed shopped all of the time, we might be more hesitant about taking everyone out to dinner or making a luxury dinner at home. But we don't, so we have the money to intentionally spend on luxuries when we want.

You will see many more examples of how we intentionally spend during the month of June and our thought process behind those expenses.

Now I am off to eat some oatmeal with strawberries for breakfast. I need to drop a pound or two because of all of the calories we have eaten recently. It is a beautiful day for a long walk too. Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

I Am So Excited

I am so excited this morning. My sister and brother-in law are arriving soon. So I am up bright and early enjoying my coffee and wishing it was warmer weather. But we won't let that bother us.

It has been 4 years since we have seen each other. That is not often enough for me to see my baby sister.  

So this is just a reminder that I won't be posting again on financial topics until Friday so that we can enjoy ourselves. You guys have a good week. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Frugal Things We Have Done Over The Past Eleven Days

These are the things that we have done over the past eleven days even though I was not feeling 100%.

- We did not resort to take out for meals. All meals were made at home.

- Hubby trimmed our trees and bushes.

- The handle broke on our pressure washer. Through researching Hubby was able to find the part and order it so that he can repair it.

- Hubby researched and purchased a new gas grill. It was paid for with money I had been saving from rebates and surveys.

- Instead of going out for an expensive meal, we had friends over for drinks and snacks. It was a fun evening catching up after a long winter. Some on sale beer, Captain Morgan, cola, cranberry, nut and chocolate mix, and pretzels made for a frugal good time.

- My son brought Tim Horton's donuts for breakfast on Sunday morning knowing that I am still getting my energy back. Usually I cook.  

- One of our sump pumps(we have a back up) didn't seem to be working. Our son looked at it yesterday morning and determined that the switch is bad. Our son has a  spare switch at home so he will bring it out tomorrow night and repair it for us. Bonus:  He will get to see his Aunt and Uncle too.

- I received an $ 8.00 beer rebate in the mail.

- We did two loads of wash in the HE washer with cold water. Because I was ill, it was easier to use the dryer. However, we made sure not to over dry the clothing. 

- We were down to our last AA battery. We use a lot of AA's in so many things like the grandchildren's toys. I ordered a pack of 100 for  $ .22 each from Amazon.com using reward points to pay for them.

- We played Yahtzee and War(card game) with our son and grandson yesterday which was cheap entertainment.

- I sewed a missing button on Hubby's shirt.

- Our peonies are huge this year and still growing. So Hubby purchased larger cages(like tomato cages) to keep them contained. I will use the other ones for my extra tomato plants this year.

- Hubby sprayed the weeds in the yard and I treated the foundation with bug spray. I also killed an ant nest.

- Hubby hooked up our hose reel in the front and the back of our home and before he turned them on he remembered to turn off the water spigots in the basement. We open the spigots up all the way so that the outside faucets don't freeze during the winter. Our sprinkler system is ready to use although we haven't had to use it with all of the rain we have had. The hoses get used for different cleaning purposes like power washing the house, patio furniture and patios.

- We watched some shows and a movie on Netflix.

Considering all of the down time I had with my cold, I think we did pretty well.

Did any of you do anything frugal in the past week to 10 days or so? Please share it with us.        

Friday, May 13, 2016

Buy, Buy, Buy!

Buy, Buy, Buy! That is a mantra that is all around of us in our daily lives. It's very hard to escape it. There are 20 minutes of commercials in every hour of television watching. Our mailboxes are inundated with catalogs and percent off coupons for dept. stores almost every day. Our newspapers, our use of the internet, everywhere we go there is something or someone telling us to buy.

Even in our supermarkets we can't get away from rampant consumerism. How many times have you gone to grocery shop with a list and come home with impulse purchases that you didn't plan on purchasing? Fess up, I know you have all done it. We have been guilty many times. 

The new restaurant down the street is even calling our name. The local journal is even offering a percent off coupon. How could we possibly resist?

Then there is the good old tradition of hanging out at  the Mall. How many of you go there just to window shop and come home with impulse purchases? We've all done it. I can't remember the last time I went to a Mall except to pick up underwear at J.C. Penneys. And I make sure that I take the outside entrance to get in and out quickly.

Everyone wants your money! Shouldn't you want your money? Yes, you should come first! Pay yourself first! We have all heard this over and over again but most of us don't do it. We would rather give our money to the big corporations week after week and not keep a sliver for ourselves.

In my estimation, there are only four important things we need to spend money on: food, housing, healthcare, and transportation. How much we spend on each of these necessities in life is totally our decision.

Whether we choose to buy a home or rent, how much we spend on groceries, how much we spend on health insurance, and whether we buy a car or take public transportation are some of the biggest choices in life that we will ever make. They are also where the largest dollars we spend will go. So we try to spend wisely. After the spending, it is important to take care of our most expensive purchases.

We all know we shouldn't waste food. We might as well burn our money instead of taking the time to shop for it.  But our landfills are full of food that has been discarded. We can spend a fortune every week on the finest foods or we can eat the basics. Either way our tummies will be full. It's our choice how many dollars we put in those tummies.

We have many choices to buy healthcare. We also have a choice as to how healthy we stay by taking care of our bodies. Over the years the thousand of dollars we spend really adds up especially when you get "older than dirt" as I am.   

A home costs you thousands of dollars to purchase. And if you have a mortgage, you will pay thousands  of dollars on top of the purchase price in interest unless you either pay cash or pay down your mortgage quickly. A home is a huge investment in money and time. But it can pay off if you take extremely good care to maintain it properly. We have owned 4 brand new homes over the years and made huge profits(thousands of dollars) over what we paid and put into them with one exception. Our AZ home that we sold in the crash in 2009, we lost $400. on. That was a cheap price to pay for living there for almost 9 years. Each of our homes sold just about overnight. Even the AZ home which the realtor said would take 9 months to sell in the mortgage crash sold in less than 48 hours for the price we wanted. So take care of this huge investment and it will pay off. We spend a few hours every week maintaining our home and it is a cheap price to pay. 

We buy brand new cars when needed. I know it's supposed to be a bad investment but it has always worked out well for us. We don't buy used because after owning a "lemon", we don't want to buy someone else's problem. But we keep and maintain our cars for 12-15+ years and we get our money's worth out of them. We don't trade them in every couple of years. We keep them well maintained with oil changes and servicing. We keep them immaculately clean both inside and out. We keep rust at bay. When you spend thousand of dollars on a car you want it to last. I am sure many of you have saved thousands of dollars not spending on new cars and that is fine because that is your choice. Either way take really good care of one of your biggest outlays of cash. If you live in a transportation friendly city where you can walk, bike or take taxis or subways where ever you have to go, you will save money. But not everyone lives in cities, hence we need cars.

But with the exception of a minimal wardrobe, there isn't much more that we need. So why are so many companies and family owned conglomerates making so much money from us? 

Why are so many people in thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt in this country? For two reasons and two reasons only, they have no will power and they want what "the Joneses" have.

So is it ever too late to change your thinking and use your will power? Of course not! 

So I want you to ponder on how you can do just that. Forget "the Joneses" because they don't pay your bills or care that you are in debt up to your eyeballs. "The Joneses" most likely are carrying huge debt so that they can show their neighbors how "valuable' they are by what they have. Think about what I just said. The"Joneses" value comes from how much they spend. That is so sad! Your value in life has nothing to do with how much you spend. Your value comes from being a kind and caring person who is good to their family and friends. Those are the kind of people that I value in life. I don't care how many possessions you own or what you spend on them. I surround myself with family and friends who I love and care about. I love them not their possessions.

So as Hubby and I continue on our challenge to spend as little as possible on things, I would love you to join us. Throw consumerism out the window by tossing those print ads that want us to buy, buy, buy, in the recyclable can where they belong. Ignore or turn off those commercials. Don't click on ads to purchase on the internet. Stay out of the malls or any other enticing store.  Ignore "the Joneses"!  Make friends with frugal people who have the same goals to keep their money as you do. Don't ever let your so called "friends" determine how you spend your money. You don't have to go out to bars, restaurants, or the movies to have a good time. Take care of your money, yourselves, and enjoy your friends. You will be richer for all of it.

The Challenge in June that I put out to all of you is to spend as little as possible or nothing at all on any thing except the four necessities that I talked about today. My weakness is food which is one of the four. So I will be working on lowering what we spend on that also. I want you to really think about every purchase you are going to make. Do you really need it? Or it is just a want? Then at the end of June, I think you will be amazed at how much money you didn't spend. On June 30 use that money towards paying off debt, make an investment, bolster your emergency fund, or put it towards one of your goals.

Now don't run off and purchase now because it is only May because that would be cheating! I am watching you :-)

I will be journaling here the entire month of June with my daily thought process on all of this, and our temptations and our intentional spending. Intentional spending is how we spend and you should too!

Sorry that I am so long winded today but this post has been rolling around in my head since I got sick.

Changing the subject, enjoy your weekend and I will be back on Monday. Then my sister and brother-in-law arrive on Tuesday and will be here for a few days. I will not be posting during that time because we want to just enjoy them. We have a lot to catch up on after 4 years. I will return on Friday.