Your Buried Treasure

The words “Buried Treasure” make you think of precious metals underground, but sometimes they are just buried. Treasure can be defined as: wealth, rich materials or valuable things.

Last week I found a treasure that was not made of rich materials or expensive. In fact, it was free…it came with the item it was designed with which to be used.

That is what made it so valuable. I could not purchase another one. What I was using as a substitute did not do the job completely.

Where did I find this treasure?

In my storage room.

I was actually looking for a curtain rod, when I picked up a basket and saw it inside. The funny thing is I had been looking for it for months. I don’t know how I possibly overlooked it!

During my many years of being housebound, I spent fifteen minutes a day doing what flylady.net refers to as decluttering. I went through every room, closet, shelf, and drawer pulling out items to give away and throw away. When I finished the final room, I thought that was it. I no longer needed to declutter.

Unfortunately, life is in a constant change. Our granddaughter was born and I accumulated many items just for her use. Those items and toys were taken to the storage room and stacked.

She has outgrown the bouncy chair, pack and play, high chair, and baby gates. At the ripe old age of four the only item she still needs is a car seat.

When we purchased the car seat, it came with a plastic zip on cover. I folded it up and put it in a basket in the storage room.

When we bought a new van, my husband brought the car seat in the house. I set it in the entry way and looked vainly for the plastic cover to protect it from dust. I used an extra-large space bag, but it only partially covered it.

Yes, my buried treasure was the plastic, car seat cover. I have to protect that car seat because I plan on using it for many more grandchildren.

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the store, picked up an item and found I already had one. I’m looking at a scarf right now that I should return because I found an identical one in my closet!

The point is, we waste so much money because we let things pile up and things get buried. Decluttering is a job that is never finished. I need to put it back in my daily routine.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Only this cover fits the car seat.

Logo Contest!

Last week I was reading a post from “blogging101” and realized I have never made a logo for my blog. I am not artistic and I decided to have a contest and let the artists in the blogging community help me out.

I want a fish, facing left, with the word “frugal” inside. Or the word “frugal” in the shape of a fish.

Any takers?

Oh…the prize?

I will give you credit under the logo.

I doubt I will have many responses because we want money, not credit!

Yet, that is exactly what many stores do. When you return an item, they give you credit to be used only at their store. They are keeping our money and we let them get away with it!

Sometimes, they just say you cannot return an item…even when that is not the store policy!

My point is…we need to check the return policy at any store before we make a purchase.

After all, it’s our money!

 

Twitter – @frugalfishorg

Facebook – Frugal Fish

 

Deadline for First Goal

Today is the first deadline for the goals I set on February 3rd, see “Facing My Giants” http://wp.me/pKNzn-Fc.

2015 Goals for frugalfish.com

1. Gain 20% more followers by March 31st.

2. Increase daily hits 30% by end of 2015.

3. Gain 6 new twitter followers by May 30th. (@frugalfishorg)

I realize the day is young, but I think I may have overshot that first goal. My goal was for 829 followers, but I haven’t reached it yet.

I am doing better on the other goals. I am halfway there on both of them!

Our finances work a lot like my goals. We may be disappointed in one area, such as an increase in salary, but pleased in another, i.e. debt reduction. The important thing is to keep going.

For over a decade we added $15.00 to the principal on our mortgage and we were able to pay it off before our 50th birthdays. Every little bit counts.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.

 

Facing My Giants

Sunday we had a winter storm and church was canceled. I had a free morning!

I started my day as usual, by reading my Bible. I read the account of David killing Goliath and decided it was time to face my giant.

I’ve been hiding out from this giant for a month and it just wasn’t going away. It was adjusting our family spending plan to fit our “new” income of…unemployment, see “My Husband Lost His Job, http://wp.me/pKNzn-DT.

I had the percentages of my spending plan memorized: Give 10%, Save 10%, Housing 30%, Food 12%, Auto 15%, and split the rest fairly evenly. (We have to allocate more to medical expenses than the average family.)

In the time it took my husband to clear our drive, and the neighbors drive, I had adjusted the numbers. Since he has been the one paying bills, I went over the figures with him when he came inside. We had to raise some numbers and trim others, but in less than an hour, we had a plan.

I should have done it last week when I learned the amount of our new health insurance premium, but I procrastinated.

Today, I faced another giant…goals for this blog. It is also something I have been avoiding! But I started taking “Blogging 201” and that was today’s assignment. For bonus points, we were to write a post and list our goals.

2015 Goals for frugalfish.com

1. Gain 20% more followers by March 31st.

2. Increase daily hits 30% by end of 2015.

3. Gain 6 new twitter followers by May 30th.

I recorded the goals on my editorial calendar and will report my progress.

I encourage you to face your “giants.” It won’t take as long as you think and will not be as painful as you expect.

A blank piece of paper to write my 2015 goals on.

A blank piece of paper on which to write my 2015 goals.

My Husband Lost His Job

When I signed up for “Blogging 101,” I knew it would be difficult. I had no idea how heartrending the first assignment would be. We are to write who we are and why we are blogging.

I went back to my “About” page, http://wp.me/PKNzn-2, in this blog and made adjustments. I was able to add two more goals met: paying off the house and paying cash to replace our van. But I had to add, that after working for 30 years at a Lumberyard, my husband was laid off last Friday. The Lumberyard is for sale and his former boss is hoping the new owner will rehire him, but there are no guarantees.

Why am I blogging? My friends asked me to write down the little things I do to make things last longer, organizing my home, decorating my home and doing it without spending money. I worked as a bookkeeper for a church for almost 25 years and I learned how to stretch a dollar just to survive!

That is still my goal – to survive during this time that we both are unemployed and our youngest finishes up college. Odd, the only one in this house that is gainfully employed is our son!

I would like to connect with others who are surviving without running up a large credit card bill; those who live beneath their means. Unfortunately, today I am not even sure what our “means” will be.

I do know it is a new year and we have a totally blank page with which to work.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.

 

 

 

Decide Today

Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

The same could be said about taxes…especially around April 15th!

The only time we can do anything about it is on Election Day.

Today is the day!

Don’t forget to Vote!

Cash…and 2 Forks

We went away for the weekend to: visit a cousin who had open heart surgery, attend a family reunion, and celebrate our 32nd Wedding Anniversary.

After eating the ‘4 Meat Dinner for Two’ at “Jethro’s BBQ” and the breakfast buffet at “The Machine Shed,” Mr. Frugalfish said we needed to slow down on the amount of food and the cost.

Then he took me to “Joe’s Crab Shack” and ordered the lobster/crab bucket and a piece of 6 layer chocolate cake!

How was that slowing down?

TWO FORKS!!!

There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.

  • Cheap is eating at McDonald’s on your vacation.
  • Frugal is paying cash…and 2 forks!
'4 Meat Dinner for 2' at Jethro's BBQ, Altoona, IA.

‘4 Meat Dinner for 2’ at Jethro’s BBQ, Altoona, IA.

FAITHFUL AND TRUE PAID OFF

You may only hear it here, but it pays to stay with the same company. We have had State Farm Insurance for over 30 years and when I became disabled, they bent over backwards to help me.

I know some will switch to another company for a lower rate, but I found if I kept my agent up to date on my current needs, I was able to get discounts and my rate was actually lower than the teaser rates offered by other companies.

That being said, we have had the same cell phone carrier, U.S. Cellular, since 1997. We live in a rural area and they offer the best coverage for this area.

As our children started working, we would add a line…that they would pay for…to our plan. When they moved on…they split off of our plan and would benefit from a great rate.

It was time for our last one to split off of our plan. He picked the phone he wanted and the plan he could live with. He was assigned a new number.

When we called to cancel his former number the salesman was very accommodating. Our contract had not expired and we wanted a cheaper plan. We even looked at a getting track phone.

Our carrier saw that we had been faithful customers since 1997 and that we were not using many of the minutes for which we were paying. Our son didn’t call, but did all of his communicating by text. My husband did not use many minutes either.

They made him an offer he could not refuse: 1) Canceled the contract, 2) signed him up for a plan that was almost 30% cheaper and included data, and 3) gave him a free Galaxy 4.

I have to admit when he brought it home I was jealous. (Remember, I do not have a cell phone, but I rarely leave the house and I don’t need a cell phone.)

It was not a great loss to the phone company because the Galaxy 5 is due to be released any day. We don’t even try to keep up with the latest technology because it is obsolete a few days after it is released. We get what we need and this time we were rewarded because we were faithful and true!

My husband's new free phone.

My husband’s new free phone.

GET YOUR APPRAISAL NOW

When I was a little girl, my father would sing and play the guitar to lull me and my three siblings to sleep. When he passed away a few years ago, my siblings said they would like to inherit his guitar.

Later, I told my husband I would rather inherit Dad’s mandolin. I’ve tried playing the guitar but they are just too large and bulky for me.

I am proud of what my husband did next.

  1. He approached my mother to see if my siblings had expressed interest in the mandolin.
  2. He had her appraise it.
  3. He paid the full appraisal price for it.
  4. He hid it behind the couch because he couldn’t figure out how to wrap it.

I was in shock when I opened the case and saw the pink towel. That was how I knew it was my dad’s mandolin.

Buying my dad’s mandolin was a priceless, sentimental gift. I appreciated that he also paid full value for it to mom.

If there is a sentimental gift you would like to give, get the appraisal right away.

The mandolin I found under the Christmas tree last year.

Good Housekeeping Editor’s Words of Wisdom

“Using less, using what you have, making do: It’s as much about attitude as action.” Good Housekeeping Editor-in-Chief, Rosemary Ellis. August, 2013 Issue.

The actions of “using less,” “using what I have” and “making do” is something I am familiar with; but the importance of my attitude while I am doing it cannot be understated.

I am not depriving myself, I am choosing to save my money for a need higher on my priority list.

I am glad someone else is getting it, too.