Are landlines obsolete?

old phone

old phone (Photo credit: Albert!)

I’ve had a smart phone for a while now.  It’s handy, it’s convenient, it’s fun to be able to check in on what my friends are up to on facebook and twitter.  I’ve even used it to publish posts on my blog.  But I just couldn’t convince myself to cut the cord…the cord to my landline, that is.  I’ve been mulling it over for quite some time.  I’m paying a little over $40 a month for something that I’m using probably less than once a week.  Is it worth it?  As I’m attempting to simplify my life, I’ve found myself questioning how I’m spending my money.  Could I put that $40+ to better use?

I finally made the decision.  I called AT&T today and cancelled my home service.  Very few questions asked.  The representative I spoke with offered a discount of $6 a month, but that didn’t do a lot for me.  We continued the process and my landline will no longer be functional after midnight.  End of story, right?

Well…not quite.  After I hung up, I kept trying to push my feelings aside, trying not to think about what was bothering me.  Then I told myself to just feel whatever emotions are there swirling around and figure out why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.  I’ve never been all that good at experiencing emotions (heck, that’s what I used food for… I didn’t want to have to feel anything.), so I had to force myself to come back to it a few times.  But I did it.  I sat with it and was surprised at what I was feeling.

I was feeling fear.  Fear that I wouldn’t have a way to get help for myself if something happened to me and my cell phone wasn’t working.  Fear that I would be isolated in an emergency.  Considering I live in town in an apartment complex with over 200 apartments and townhouses, I’m not ever going to really be isolated.  And my little friend Clara has forced me to get to know more of my neighbors.  So the fear is a tad irrational.  But…fear often is, isn’t it?

After working through all of that, I realized there was more to it than plain fear.  Have you ever noticed that nothing’s ever as simple as we think it should be?  I’ve had a landline since before we called them landlines.  Letting go of it brought up feelings of failure.  Weird, huh?  In my mind, I guess I still don’t fully think of cell phones as being “real” phones, and if I don’t have a “real” phone, well then, for some reason I see that as a failure on my part.  Wow!  There’s a lot there for me to work on.  Once I worked that out, the feelings faded.  After all, we all know that cell phones are so much more than the phones we grew up with (unless you’re a college kid as we speak).  They’re these little bitty computers you can put in your pocket.  Try doing that with Grandma’s old rotary wall phone!

The long and winding road to fitness, day 54

shopping list

Image by BruceTurner via Flickr

It was so nice to be able to sleep with the windows open last night.  I was actually cold, in August, in Indiana!  I wore long sleeves when I went out for my walk this morning, probably could have done without that, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  It just looks like fall out there…the air is cleaner and crisper, the sky is bluer, and the leaves are turning (probably has more to do with lack of rain).  Have I mentioned how much I love fall?  Well, I do…it’s my favorite time of the year.

The only exercise I got today was walking this morning for about half an hour…boo for me.  I did eat fairly well, but still didn’t eat as many fruits and veggies as I should have.  I had a veggie pasta dish for lunch…not bad.  Not my favorite meal of all time, but I like it every once in a while.  And no, I still didn’t do anything with that zucchini…maybe tomorrow…tomorrow’s another day, just call me Scarlett.

I did manage to get a little more house work done today.  I cleaned the carpet in another room (my carpet cleaner worked fine today…maybe I really did fix it…yeah, right…if I did, it was totally accidental), washed the kitchen windows, and worked on cleaning out my spare bedroom.  I’ve got so many things to donate.  I think that’s going to the top of tomorrow’s to-do list.  I’m being brutal, getting rid of things that I haven’t used in a while (well, not the yarn, fabric, cross stitch supplies, or gardening supplies).  So far I’ve got a couple of boxes to donate to the bingo ladies here at the complex where I live.  I’ll probably end up with several boxes to take to Goodwill.  You know, I’m really being careful with my purchases…not buying things on impulse or just because they’re on sale, but I still have so much stuff.  I go through my stuff about once a year and get rid of a lot, so how do I end up with even more stuff?  It’s crazy.  Not to mention, a waste of money and time.  I’m just going to be even more cautious when it comes to buying things…do I need it or do I just want it?  Is it something that I will actually use or will it just sit around gathering dust until I give it away?  Am I buying it because I went in with the intent to buy it or am I wanting to buy it just because I saw it at a good price (and really, how good a price is it if you’re not really going to use it?)  Less stuff=more money saved, is that true or what?

Are you guilty of making impulse purchases?  What do you do with them when you realize you’re not really going to use them?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 53

This was another very pleasant day.  I was able to get outside early and take a long walk, stopping to take a few pictures of the early morning sky as I walked along.

There’s just something about being out early enough to see a beautiful sunrise that makes the rest of your day better.

In addition to walking for about an hour, I also danced for 15 minutes this afternoon.  I haven’t done any strength training yet today, but I’m going to do a few lower body exercises before I go to bed.

My eating was pretty good today.  I did forget to eat lunch though…that doesn’t happen often.  I got involved in cleaning and then sat down to read for a few minutes.  When I realized my stomach was growling, I looked at the clock and saw that it was almost 4 o’clock… 

I got some house work done today, vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the living room carpet.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to replace my old steam carpet cleaner…it’s just not working like it should any more.  It’s just a small Bissell one, about the size of an upright vacuum cleaner and I’ve had it for over five years…I tried to kind of take it apart and see if there was anything I could see that might be causing problems…like I would know if something was out-of-place inside it, even if I did see it.  I have to admit, that is one thing I miss about not having a guy around the house, a mechanically inclined guy…one who can fix things for me.  Being an independent woman, I should be able to fix things myself, but I have no idea how to go about it…never had a dad around to teach me these things so…I usually end up just buying new…not very frugal of me, is it?

I know I said I was going to do something with my abundance of zucchini, but I didn’t..maybe tomorrow.  And I missed a call from a dear friend today.  I have a bad habit of not checking my messages…sorry, Margaret.  It would have been fun to get together with you and Hannah today.

I want to know what you do when something around the house needs fixing…are you one of those women who can roll up her sleeves and tackle repair jobs? 

I was trying to be offended


Image by Around the way girl Coco via Flickr

Really, I was.  That may sound strange, so let me explain.  I had finished my appointment with the eye doctor and was walking back through the local mall.  When I walked by one of the kiosks, the young lady there walked over to me and handed me a free sample of the product she was trying to sell.  Then she said, ” Oh, are those your nails?”  I told her they were (I’ve always had very strong, quick-growing nails), then she kind of pulled me over to the kiosk and said she wanted to show me something. (Like she doesn’t say that to everyone, right?)   She used this buffer to buff out the ridges in my nails (seriously, where did those things come from? I didn’t have ridges in my nails a couple of years ago.)  Then she used the same little doo dad to put some kind of shine on my nails.  They really did look nice.  Of course, she was wanting to sell me the entire set of products..and at $50 for the set, I wasn’t willing to do it.    She continued her sales pitch even after I told her I wasn’t going to buy the product.

She was so sweet and funny, that I couldn’t really get mad at her.  I tried…I really did.  I wanted to be offended that she wouldn’t take no for an answer.  But I just couldn’t take offense.  I told her that her sales persona was very effective, but that I just didn’t want to spend the money even though I liked the product.  She gave me a quick hug and thanked me for stopping by.  I’m not one who enjoys hugs from strangers, but even that didn’t offend me.  I think this girl has a very strong future in sales.

Okay, I know my hands aren’t anywhere near as pretty as the hands in the other picture, but my nails aren’t bad.  Hmm…think I’m going to have to use my hand lotion a little more faithfully.

Volunteer plants in the garden

I always enjoy seeing what plants just manage to come up on their own.  Every year I have a few that somehow manage to self sow and most of them turn out to be stronger and more prolific than the plants I spend my hard-earned money on.  The other day I noticed several had popped up.

It never surprises me to see the sunflowers come up on their own.  Those crazy little birds scatter more seed than they eat, I do believe.

The cilantro has already flowered and gone to seed.  I always make sure to save the seeds for future plantings (anyone need some cilantro seeds?).

Ahh….but this is what I’m most excited about.  I noticed a couple of decent sized tomato plants coming up…I just hope one of them is a grape tomato plant.  I had one come up on its own last year and it ended up growing to over six feet in height and was simply loaded with tons of sweet little tomatoes…yum!!

One of the fun things about the volunteer tomato plants is that you don’t really know what you have until closer to harvest time, but I like surprises…most of the time…don’t you?

Kroger 6/7/11…not my best trip

Kroger - 1938 West Gray

Image via Wikipedia

I stopped at Kroger last night after work.  See, I really do understand that that’s not the best time for me to go shopping if I’m planning to save money.  When I stop after work, I’m tired and half brain-dead, my trip isn’t planned as well as it could be, and I just want to go home.  So why do I do it?  Well, when I have just one day off, I don’t like to have to go out and be among people (because, well, because I’m around people all day, every day at work and I like a little time alone when I can get it).  Knowing all of that, I still made the decision to shop after work.  I guess that says something about what I value more…a day to myself over saving a few extra dollars.  And I’ve decided that’s okay once or twice a month.

So, having made that decision, my shopping trip was just so-so.  I spent $78 ($28 over my $50 goal), and managed to save $35.  When I think about it, I was always spending at least $100 a week at Kroger before couponing, so saving $35 is still pretty darn good.  I had a list, but didn’t really stick with it.  Bought a few extras…like a book…gotta get a Kindle…  I did score a few freebies on this trip…

Got the Cottonelle wipes and the Breakstone cottage cheese with coupons for free product.  I was able to get the Lean Pockets free with 2 B1G1 coupons.  I don’t eat a lot of the Lean Pockets, but they’re nice to have in the freezer for those mornings when nothing’s going right and I need something quick to take for lunch.

So…what do you think?  Are there times when you make the decision to spend a little extra in exchange for some free time?  Do you feel guilty when you know you didn’t do as good a job as you know you could have?  I guess these are all things we have to decide for ourselves, no real right or wrong..just what’s right for you today…happy shopping!!

Early summer gardening

I grew up gardening…the only difference is now I do it out of choice, not because I’m being forced to do it.  Okay, that’s not really the only difference…we had a huge garden when I was a kid.  Now I do most of my gardening in pots on my patio, with only a small space for a bed in the yard.  I also lean more toward organic gardening now.  Back in the day, when I was a kid, my grandmother used who knows what to keep bugs away…I honestly don’t remember what it was, just some kind of powder that she sprinkled on her plants.  Now I shudder to think that we ate the fruits and veggies that had been sprinkled with poison…

You can see that I’ve just watered the plants on my patio.

Little sausage tomatoes (an heirloom variety) setting on…good for paste, but I usually use them for salsa…not as watery as slicing tomatoes.

Cucumbers…I love to eat these fresh from the garden.  Like all produce, what you grow in your back yard is so much tastier than what you can buy at the store.

Radishes, ready to pull.  I’ve read that people actually cook radishes, but I’ve never tried that…raw is good!

Cubanelle pepper plant…have to have fresh peppers for homemade salsa…I have several other smaller pepper plants that I have yet to pot in their permanent home…probably ought to be doing that, it is June.

What are you growing this summer?

Shopping trips 5/15-21


Image via Wikipedia

I have to admit, I didn’t do a lot of shopping this week.  There wasn’t much that I needed and the sales weren’t particularly appealing to me.  I did run in to PetSmart yesterday because I needed cat food and litter.  I had very few coupons (one for the Tasty Treasures Friskies canned food…my cats really, really like this food).  I ended up spending about $26 for two weeks worth of food and litter.  I swear, those cats don’t have a clue as to how good they actually have it!  I’m going to have to search to come up with a bunch of coupons for my next trip to PetSmart…..maybe they’ll have one of those $5 off your entire purchase coupons soon…keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

I didn’t go to CVS at all this week.  I really didn’t see anything in the ad that I needed and I was so tired after work each day that I just wanted to go home.  I’m pretty well stocked up on health and beauty supplies as well as cleaning supplies, so unless a great bargain presents itself, I’ll likely just skip the trip…well, unless I have expiring ECBs…I’m sure I can always come up with something to use them on…saw a couple of deals that I’m interested in for the ad that starts tomorrow, so I’ll just have to check out those ECBS.

I did drag myself to Kroger this morning.  I didn’t buy groceries at all last week, so I was in dire need of bread (I made waffles the other day so I’d have something to spread my peanut butter on before work for the latter part of the week), milk and produce.  I did buy one transaction of the frozen foods mega-deal (fish, veggies, veggie burgers, a free box of the Stouffers farmstyle meal for one, a free box of Magnum ice cream bars as well as another box that I had a $2 coupon for).  My freezer is fully stocked, so I won’t be doing that transaction again any time soon. 

I bought a lot of fresh produce…had intended to go to the farmers market, but was in quite a bit of pain this morning, so settled for getting everything at Kroger.  Mmm…fresh cherries, strawberries, blackberries…I love fresh fruit when you can find something that tastes good other than apples, oranges and bananas. 

I also bought another heirloom tomato plant and a Cubanelle pepper plant…hope to get both of those planted tomorrow.  This little Kroger store in my neighborhood has a lot of locally grown heirloom plants for sale.  It seems like they do a much better job with that than the other, larger stores in town.

I ended up spending $77 today, saving $54.  Not my best trip, but not too bad considering this was two weeks worth of groceries along with the plants, a book (I know, I know…I just couldn’t resist the new paperback by one of my favorite authors), and 2 packages of Angel Soft TP…oh, and the 4 6-packs of diet Pepsi.  One of these days I’m going to kick that habit for good, just not today.  But at least I got the shopping done for the next week or so, and bought a lot of healthy food to last me a while.  Now to figure out what to cook to take to work next week.  Oh well, I’ll worry about that tomorrow!

CVS, Friday the 13th was a good shopping day

A CVS/pharmacy in New York City that is open 24/7

Image via Wikipedia

Ran into CVS early this morning.  I wanted to get the Ziploc bags since I just used my last one yesterday.  I also had my $5 off of a $25 purchase coupon that I wanted to take advantage of.   Yesterday, I received my John Frieda hair color coupon (good for a free box, and that stuff is kind of expensive…it was on sale for $12.49 and I paid nothing for it, except tax).  So I knew I was going to be able to hit the $25 threshold easily, and I did.  My order would have been $38.75.  I ended up paying $3.22 after coupons and ECBs…and came away with another $4 in ECBs for a future purchase.

So, not bad for 2 boxes of Ziploc freezer bags, 2 boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags, a box of hair color, 2 bags of Cheetos (I left one at work), and a bottle of iced tea (drank that at work).  Who says Friday the 13th brings bad luck?  They obviously weren’t shopping at CVS today!

Today’s Kroger shopping trip, 5/7

Kroger logo

Image via Wikipedia

My early morning shopping trip at Kroger turned out to be another good one.  I had my list, my coupons, my plan for the mega sale, and what to substitute if they were out of stock on my first choices.  I was fortunate to find everything on my list in stock, so didn’t have to change my plans.  It’s always nice when it works out that way.

I was able to take advantage of the mega sale savings (buy 10 of certain items, get $5 off) twice.  In doing so, I was able to purchase several items to donate to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive next Saturday.  I’m really excited that I already have 40 items to donate.  My goal is to donate 50 items, so I’m getting closer.

I was able to snag a few freebies today too.  Notice the 8 boxes of pasta that will go to the food drive.  I still need to buy some pasta sauce and/or some condensed soup for pasta dishes.  The Suave mousse was from a free facebook coupon.  I think I’m probably set on mousse for a while now.  The Boulder chips were also all free with coupons.  The raisin bran cereal wasn’t quite free, but it was only 24 cents which I thought was a pretty good deal.

I also bought an Amish paste tomato plant this morning.  They really had some nice looking plants, but I was able to exercise a little control and only bought the one plant.  I’ve already got several tomato and pepper plants growing that I started from seed.  My neighbor is giving me a few as well, so I can probably get by with what I have…well, unless I come across something that sounds too interesting to resist.

I ended up spending $58, $8 over my budget.  Still not too bad considering I ended up buying powdered milk at right around $10.  I use it in my cooking and sometimes in my tea or coffee.  I imagine I won’t have to buy it again for the rest of the year tho, so I’m okay with that.  My savings ended up being exactly 50%…not bad, not bad at all.  It sure beats the $100-$120 a week that I was spending!