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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

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I’m getting into the Christmas spirit now. I wrapped up a few gifts that will be mailed in early December. If I get a jump start on things like wrapping and card writing in November, I’ll have time for other things that bring joy during this season.

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I really like to pay attention to how I spend money and I encourage you to do the same.  I could spend a lot on decorating the home, if I were not careful. Over the years, I’ve begun to acquire a few furniture pieces through  consignment or second hand. For me, furniture consignment/ second hand shopping keeps the cost of upgrading down and therefore savings up. Read on to learn about a few successful purchases I have made.

While browsing around a furniture consignment store a few years ago  my husband and I found a brand new  ‘Snuggler’.  It was the perfect replacement for our existing well used love seat.  We located the same piece in the manufacturers store for much more. We saved about 1600.00.

With fewer of us around the table,  I began looking for a something smaller.  I found the perfect glass top bistro type table online for $20.00.  Were I to purchase this new, I would have paid over 100.00.

 If you are not furniture consignment/second hand shopping, I urge you to consider this. You will be amazed at the quality you can find at a good price. If you’re successful you’ll be able to keep your hard earned money for something else like: retirement savings; child’s education; or a vacation. A word of caution – you need to plan and have patience.

P.S. Consignment stores are a good place to find art and accessories for the home.

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One component of budgeting that has worked really well for us  is the envelop system.  As our lives change  – our envelops change.  At present, the envelops include: groceries, gas, recreation, gifts, and vacation home. These are areas where we could easily overspend if we were not paying with cash. We’ve had other envelops but with life changes; online banking; and pre approved bank withdrawals we’ve cut back on the quantity of envelops. Here is how we use envelops: At the beginning of the month, after we review our budget, we put the allocated cash amounts into envelops. We spend only what is in the envelop. This keeps us from overindulging and we make better decisions about using our money.   No matter how much money is available (or not) we stick to our budget and this system.  It has allowed us to build savings and better use money – for over 20 years now.

Other envelop categories we have used over the years have included: dog expenses; school fees; recreation; hair cuts; etc.

When our girls each turned 12 years old, we put them on this system to teach them how to use money.  We gave them a monthly allowance and set them up with envelops. The categories were recreation, saving, charity, & clothing.  They put 10 % each into savings and charity. The other amounts depended on the circumstances. We allowed them to ‘rob’ from any envelop but not savings or charity. For example, if they needed extra clothing they were permitted to take from recreation. Once our girls started to earn their own money, they each wandered from this system. They’re now returning to it as they mature and have more financial responsibilities.

This system is so easy to use, I hope you give it a try. Linda

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As women, it is a good idea to evaluate our fashion needs now and then. As I look around at the various styles, I am sometimes not sure what is age appropriate. I want to look stylish but I do not want to dress too young or too old.    I came across the book  ‘Style Evolution – How to Create Ageless Personal Style in your 40s and Beyond’ in the public library. Note that this book is for women 40 and over. The author covers how to dress for different body types. She also addresses trends and ageless fashions. For instance, the leopard animal print is ageless, but you  need to know how to wear it for your age group. I also like that she includes a brand analysis. If you are confused about fashion or just want to be sure you are dressing appropriately, I highly recommend this book. You will not be sorry.

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Hello Ladies, this morning I was thinking about how important it is to learn to get by on less. There will be periods when we have a smaller amount of cash available. I am referring to times when we are experiencing cut backs – possibly due to loss of income, unforeseen expenses or nearing retirement.  Please do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the situation but do your best to be content.  If you are married, do not let this come between you and your husband.  Use the resources you have wisely.  Taking care of your family, yourself and your home can be done on less with a little creativity. Entertainment can become very inexpensive also.  The possibilities for reducing really are endless. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful. (more…)

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For many years I have benefited from menu planning.  I save time, money and I waste little food.  I started planning menus about 20 years ago when my girls were very young.  Menu planning is quite simple & if you write down your menus you can reuse them. I base my menus mainly on what is available in my pantry and deep freeze. I tend to buy items on sale and then use when I plan my menu. My local grocery store offers 10% off the first Tuesday of the month. I do my larger shop at this time. When life was fuller, I planned breakfast, lunch and supper meals. Now, I plan main meals only when I am at home. When I travel and have a kitchen available, I include three meals on my menu.

Here is a main meal  sample menu:    (more…)

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Hello Ladies, I hope you are having a wonderful day.  While shopping, I often see nifty utensils and such in the kitchen area. I am referring to items like: decorative stir sticks; attractive coasters; brightly colored pots, measuring cups & peelers; silicone tea infusers; colored popcorn; etc.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  Some items are retro looking. I often think ‘this is nice- but is it practical?’ Last week I was speaking on the phone with my daughter, Lindsey. She was so cheery. She said she was feeling so happy because she was cooking using her neon spatulas. For her, colored spatulas just make the experience fun.  Now, I understand one purpose for these clever items – enjoyment. I’ve decided they make great gifts. Color appears  to enhance the cooking/serving/hosting experience. If you are not already using something like this, I hope you give it a try. Come to think of it, my favorite roaster is red, my favorite casserole dish is green and I do like my colored spatulas.  Thanks for reading my blog today. Have a great week. Linda.

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