Sunday, March 13, 2011

The gas/food balance

Until the past couple  of days, I had forgotten how much the price of gas influenced the price of food.  For example, a 5lb bag of sugar at Food Lion that was 2.99 is now 3.59.  Coconut Oil was 5.49 at Food Lion and now was 6.29.  Cucumbers were .69 and now are 1.29 each.

Plan well, shopping lists, menus and travel.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This is one of those expenses I really have a hard time getting around.  Sometimes, you just need a sitter.  The best things I have done to really cut down cost in this area is to babysit for someone else for free (like a co-op) and then that person keeps your kids for free when you need them.  Another option is family, just don't wear them out. 

The final option is to plan your outing really well.  I pay my sitters by the hour, and I round to the half hour.  So, I plan what can be done in that time to maximize my babysitting dollar.  If I have a MD appointment, I stop by the grocery store, bank, post office, etc on my way to and from the appointment.  I also plan to arrive at my appointment on time, not 15 minutes early, 5 maybe, but not 15 because you end up sitting longer.  While I am waiting I write any lists, take note of any ideas or thoughts, read or knit.  Keep the idle hands busy.  Do as much as possible and be as productive as possible when you are paying someone to sit your kids so that you can get the most out of your dollar and make your minutes count!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The List

I have a list, well, several lists.  There is the 'to do' list, the 'wish' list, the 'grocery' list, etc.  But today I am talking about the 'Yard Sale/Thrift Store' list.  Everyone who yard sales, thrift store shops, or has older relatives always trying to give them things, should have one.  It serves as a great reminder of 'things' you are in the market for, that you don't need right now, you are willing and able to wait, and you want to get the best price for

Here is my current one:

antique kitchen items
manual grain mill
boy's ski bibs
le creuset bakeware
cast iron
wooden spoons
Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan
Fireking batter bowl
homeschool items
guilletine style paper trimmer
handmade USA pottery
7 inch santoku knife
knitting needles
glass kitchen storage
sewing books
knitting books
self-sufficient living books
pullman loaf pan
pottery bread crock
pottery bread pan
clothing steamer
pinking shears
potato and onion bin
ceramic/glass travel mug
tea pitcher
magazine filers
flower pots
serving pieces
organizing items
bolts of fabric
train decor

Now, I do check places like craigslist, ebay and etsy for these item too, and I have found good deals.  But I have had people just give me things because they looked at my list too.......

Friday, March 4, 2011

Half gallon size cartons

I was shopping in the grocery store last night and picked up orange juice (now, just for the record, I don't generally look for ounces first, I look for what country the oranges came from - I try to always choose USA).

Now, as I was looking for the 'USA only oranges' label, I noticed the ounces marking beside it.  Want to know what it said '59 ounces'.  59 ounces is NOT a half gallon, 64 is.

Do you want to know what is very sad - I bet there are a millions of people who would not know that 59 ounces is not a half-gallon.

Case in point, I had a semi-argument with a stock person one day while trying to find a gallon of regular bleach - she insisted that the 96 ounce bottle was a gallon, I tried to reasonably tell her that no, a gallon is 128 ounces, not 96.  She looked at me like I had 3 heads and said something like "Well, these are our gallons."  Really?  Gallons are different based on store now?

Anyhoo - check your ounces and make sure you figure that into your calculations

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Managing Fuel Consumption

Ok, it's time again to look at how we travel and our fuel consumption.  Currently, regular gas is 3.39 a gallon in my town, and I drive a Ford Expedition, which gets about 17 mpg.  So, I am having to rethink some of my going.  Now I was not one for going everywhere all the time, but if I just wanted to go look in at a particular store just to 'see what they had', I would go (most of the time).  But now, I really have to add in how much gas it takes for that trip.

If you have an appointment, or have to pick something up in a neighborhood other than your own, ask yourself 'is there anything in that vicinity that I need or will need soon'.

Can you put off a trip to the library/store one more day?

How badly do I really need an item?  Can I make a substitute?