I give up!

Purity, coconut milk and nail polishes

Purity, coconut milk and nail polishes (Photo credit: J. Gimme™)

Really, I just have to give up.  I’ve been trying to be more frugal, not spend money needlessly, buy less expensive products.  But I’m drawing the line on my facial cleanser.  I’m 50 something years old, isn’t that too old to be getting pimples?

See, I have used Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple cleanser for several years and always had great results with it.  But my frugality had me looking elsewhere for effective, gentle cleansers.  Well…okay…yes, I can buy cleansers that cost a lot less.  I can even buy them with coupons.  But when they cause my skin to break out, I have to ask myself if they’re even worth the price I’m paying for them.  And the answer is a resounding “NO!!”, not if they’re not going to do the job.

I hear people say that all cleansers are basically the same, but the Purity is the only one I’ve ever used that doesn’t cause me to have break outs…really.  So…I’m done.  I give up.  I went online and placed an order for the super size bottle (which will last me at least the rest of the year).  And you know what?  I don’t even feel guilty about it.  What I do feel guilty about is buying these less expensive cleansers and then throwing them out halfway through the bottle because they’re causing issues with my skin.

So, that’s it.  The next time I’m trying to be frugal with my facial cleanser, would someone please remind me of this post???

Live below the line, day 5

Easter egg radishes, just harvested

Easter egg radishes, just harvested (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank goodness, this is the last day of this challenge.  I had a rough time today…had a rough day at work…so busy that I didn’t have time to take breaks or lunch…headache from not eating…really, really wanted to stop and get a pizza after work, but talked myself out of it…if I were truly living in extreme poverty, stopping for a pizza wouldn’t even be a possibility…so I did make it thru the final day.

Let’s see, how did I do?


(Once again)…2 slices of toast  10¢,  1 T peanut butter  6¢,  6 oz oj  14¢,  8 oz skim milk 15¢

Total for breakfast…45¢


no lunch…no time…did drink a diet Pepsi tho…so the cost of that was  46¢, so I’ll count that as my lunch

Total for lunch  46¢


grilled cheese sandwich   20¢, radishes (free-someone asked about the radishes really being free, cost of the seeds and all…yes, I did buy seeds a couple of years ago, but let one of the radish plants go to seed last year and saved the seeds…so surely we can consider that to be free now, right?), celery  8¢, pickle chips  14¢, hot tea 4¢

Total for dinner…46¢

Total for the day  $1.37

So…not the healthiest of days today…but I did it.

What did I take away from this challenge?  Well, obviously how difficult it is to eat a healthy, nutritious diet when you have to scrounge for pennies to buy your food.  Also how much planning and preparation would go into being able to eat even semi-well for such a miniscule amount of money.  I definitely have a greater appreciation for my mom and grandmother and all of the time they put into gardening, preserving what they grew or gathered, and cooking.   That’s a lot of work…and they did it year in and year out.  But we always had enough to eat and a much better variety of food than what I spent the past week eating.

I have always thought we need to teach people to be self-sufficient…after this week, I believe that even more.  Now to figure out how to go about doing that…what organizations are already doing this?  And what can I do to help?


No shopping…lots of ice

Winter Storm December 2007

Image via Wikipedia

I live in Indiana…and winter in Indiana can be a little iffy.  The weather forecasters were predicting one of the worst winter storms ever for our area.  Fortunately that didn’t pan out, but it was still bad enough.  I went outside today to clean the snow off my back patio so I could fill the bird feeders.  I swept the snow away, but couldn’t really do much about the more than an inch of ice (well, other than slide around on it).  I did get the bird feeders filled though, so some happy little birdies flying around outside my kitchen window…and one excited cat sitting on the refrigerator dreaming about catching them (don’t worry, the cat never goes outside so the birds are safe from her).

I’ve been off work for a few days.  I’ve been sick, not exactly how I want to be spending any time away from work…I’d much rather feel well enough that I could be catching the deals at CVS or Kroger. About this time last year I got really sick…ended up with pneumonia and it took me a long, long time to feel better.  I thought about getting flu and pneumonia shots this past fall and kept putting it off.  Now I’m beating myself up for not doing it BEFORE I got sick.  I’m just hoping I don’t get sicker than what I’ve felt the past couple days.  I’m so fortunate to have a great boss who just wants me to feel better (he called me today and asked if I needed him to go to the store to get anything for me…I don’t think he understands stockpiling!).  One nice thing about having some time off work (aside from being able to take naps) is that I’ve been able to catch up on a lot of the frugal living/couponing blogs I read.  I’m amazed at how much info is out there…amazed and oh so thankful.  The blogs I’ve been reading have taught me so much about couponing and frugality.  They’ve also inspired me to write more and and give some thought to what I want to do with my own blog.  I’ve got lots of ideas, but it’s all still kind of percolating in my mind right now.  I’m certainly looking forward to taking these next steps, learning more about how to live a more balanced life and sharing what I learn with others.

Trying to plan a Kroger shopping trip…and getting stressed about it

Kroger logo

Image via Wikipedia

This is my first time attempting to plan my Kroger shopping trip around what’s on sale and what I have coupons for…and it’s really stressing me out!  Now I’ve shopped at Kroger for many years. I’m familiar with the layout of my store and the coupon policy, so what’s the big deal, right?  I think I must be putting pressure on myself to get the best deals possible. The crazy thing is, I never worried about that  before so I’m not really sure why I’m letting it get to me now.

I’ve gone through the ad, my paper coupons and the coupons that are loaded on my Kroger card.  I’ve reviewed the deals and matchups that several other bloggers have written about.  I’ve been writing everything down in a little journal…how much of what to buy, what coupons I have, the price before and after coupons.  Am I making this more difficult than it actually is? 

I want to buy things that are really good deals and that are good items for me to stockpile (the Hunt’s tomatoes and Ro-Tel tomatoes are two items that I use a lot, so I want to  buy several cans of each).  I’ve gone through my coupons and have pulled together all the coupons I have on hand for the items I intend to buy.  I’ve also pulled out coupons for things I might buy depending on how well I stay within my budget.  I’m keeping those coupons separate.  I know Kroger sometimes has unadvertised specials and I want to be prepared if I come across a good deal. 

I also started sorting out my coupons today.  I’ve seen some really great ideas about organizing coupons.  I’m afraid my organizational method doesn’t even come close to some of the others, but I decided I had to start somewhere.  I started with what I had on hand (without spending any additional money…isn’t that a big part of why I’m doing this?).  I had a nice large clear plastic file storage box that I got at Michaels for next to nothing a while back.  I started filing my clipped coupons in these really pretty files (I’m pretty sure I bought those at Michaels as well, on clearance).  One good thing about this box is I have plenty of room to grow my coupon collection.  When I went to take a picture of the box and files, the battery on my camera was dead.  It’s recharging right now, so hopefully I’ll have some pictures later.

I’ve read several blogs today previewing the coupon inserts that will be in this Sunday’s newspaper…up to 4 inserts with lots of coupons for items I regularly purchase.  Very cool!  Now, do I really need to buy more than one newspaper as many bloggers suggest?  I’m debating with myself over that one.  A couple women I work with give me their inserts (after they take the coupons they want), but the problem with that  this week is that I’m pretty sure we’ll all be wanting the same coupons.  What to do, what to do?!

I’m definitely heading out to Kroger in the morning.   I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll come away with some bargains without adding any additional stress to my already stressed life.  I need to remember that I’m doing this as a challenge to myself to spend less and live life more fully.  I don’t have to be perfect (thank goodness).  I just have to make the attempt…and I’m doing it!

Obtaining coupons

Wow…I had no idea that there were so many ways a person could get coupons.  I always just thought you found them in the Sunday paper and the occasional magazine.  Blogs have opened a whole new world of couponing to me.  I subscribe to several blogs now and am amazed at how much time people are able to put into them.  There’s so much info…what coupons are out there, where to get coupons, where to get the best deals by using coupons with what’s on sale.  I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed…trying to do the whole baby steps thing…learn as I go.  But it really is a lot of fun!

So I glanced through the Kroger ad online this evening and think I’ve come across a few good deals where I can combine a sale price with a coupon…Kraft singles on sale for $1.99 and I just printed off two coupons for $1 off 1 package..so that’d be just 99 cents..I think that’s pretty good.  And Kraft singles are actually something I buy and eat.

I’m wondering if I’m better off going to two different grocery stores…there’s a Kroger close to where I live and a Marsh a block from where I work.  I don’t usually go to Marsh, but I think I may give it a try on my lunch break one day next week.

I don’t subscribe to the newspaper, but a couple of the women I work with are going to give me the coupon inserts from their papers.  And I was able to print out a $10 off $30 purchase at PetSmart for one of them (I was telling her about using that coupon the other day and she said she’d like to have one if I could find it again). 

So I’m slowly building up my coupon stash.  Can’t wait to see how much I can save on my next trip to the grocery store (likely on Monday or Tuesday).  Who knew saving money could be so much fun?!

Spending $50 A Week On Groceries

When I looked back over what I’d spent last year, I realized I’d been really wasting a lot of money on groceries…and throwing a lot of food out.  So one of my goals for this year is to spend no more than $50 a week on groceries…and that’s probably about half of what I was spending.  And the really sad thing is that I live by myself, so $50 is plenty. 

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs by people who have several kids at home and still don’t spend as much on groceries as I have been spending.  So… time to get a handle on this…save some money…stop wasting food.  When reading a lot of these blogs, I get kind of excited about how much money it’s possible to save by following sales, using coupons and stocking up on good deals.  I’m just starting the whole couponing thing (like yesterday!!), so I’ll blog about that in a future blog.

Right now I’m keeping a grocery list, planning my meals and snacks for home and work, cooking real food and actually taking my grocery list to the store with me…well, except when I stopped after work Friday and my list was at home on the kitchen counter.  And that kind of proved something to me…I ended up spending $63.  The week before (when I took my list with me), I only spent $48.  So…that list will accompany me to the store from now on.

$48 worth of groceries

I think this is a decent haul for the amount of money…but I’m anxious to see how much I can save with coupons.  I think this is going to be a super fun, year long experiment!!

Oh, I made a delicious turkey chili in my pressure cooker…could also do it vegetarian and it’d be just as good.  I’ll be better about taking and posting more pictures for future blogs. 

And I’ll take any advice  on couponing, blogs about living more frugally, etc.  A little side note, I’ve never really had much money, sure haven’t ever been rich, but I did manage to save $12,000 last year…looking to do better this year…I think this is one more way to help me with that goal!  I want to be one of those people who gets more excited about saving money than about spending it!!

Creating balance in a chaotic life

When I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2011 (yes, I’m running a little late with this whole resolutions thing), I realized I’ve spent my entire life in chaos…from the huge swings in my weight and fitness (you know, the whole eating too much or eating too little..the exercising too much or not at all), financial instability (spending too much, saving too little), working too much at a job that doesn’t really fulfill me, laughing too little, living with clutter.

Sooo…I decided to create balance in my life…to leave the chaos at the side of the road as I move forward on my journey.  Sounds easy, right?  Uh…yeah…if that were the case, I wouldn’t have spent 50+ years living in chaos…and that’s exactly what I’ve done.   I’m going to use this blog as a means to finding balance in all aspects of my life.   I’ll blog on a regular basis, focusing each day of the week on a different area.  Kind of looking forward to seeing how much progress I can make by the end of 2011!!

And I hope I’ll be able to learn from my fellow bloggers…what have you done to gain control of your lives?  What’s worked…and what hasn’t?  How have you been able to lose weight, become more fit, spend less money (and save more), live simply and appreciate all the joy life has to offer?

I’m finished with feeling guilty for my past mistakes…it’s time to learn from them and move on.  Like our old buddy Albert said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”  Look at what I’ve done incorrectly (or what I didn’t do at all), accept it and figure out how to achieve the results I’m looking for by taking a different path.  And then just start walking that path, even if I’m not sure where it may lead.  Overcome my fears…and the only way I know to do that is to just continue to do the things I fear.

The topics I’ll be covering on at least a weekly basis are weight loss, fitness, spending less than $50 a week on groceries, saving money,  decluttering my home, experiencing joy and living a simpler life.  I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the positive growth I’m going to experience this year.   So…hold on tight, the ride may be bumpy at times, but it’ll never be boring!