Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Frugal Check In #3...I think...

Hello everyone!!! I will post about my frugality today, but I didn't keep amazing track of everything because of how hectic last week was. (I do *promise promise promise* to jump back on the frugal band wagon this week and post better from now on). I'm pulling up my bank statement and my cash receipts right now so I don't forget anything...

Honestly, I think I did alright last week because I bought all of the things I needed for our Holiday party the week before. Wahahahahah!!

Yup, just as I suspected. Nothing on my debit card. Heck yes. I will mention that I did in fact buy coffee like 4 times last week, but it was ALL on starbucks gift cards. I know to some, gift cards seem impersonal, but if you want to get me a starbucks gift card I will love you to the moon and back. Jake's sweet little brother and his gf gave us a $50 gift card. That's love right there.

We did buy a couple of last minute gifts last Friday and Saturday. We spent $63 at the craft store and bought gifts for three family members. I know at some point we also went to the corner store and got some iced tea and a coke. That is ~ $3.50. That's it. I did pretty good last week (thanks to my starbucks gift card mostly). I guess I should mention that I had to return something to Fred Meyers and used that money to get the last minute dinner party things that I needed, so that helped also. And on a side note, I got a random $50 in checks in the mail last week. The universe still loves me. :)

Carly- I beat ya this week on spending! You beat me on the difference between random checks and spending though. Total spending: $66.50. Total random checks in the mail: $50. Total gift cards received (not so much random since it's the holidays): $86. Difference (not counting gift cards): -$16.50. Not too shabby my friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Busy busy busy busy!

Hello everyone! Very sorry I haven't updated you on my frugalness among other things. We are much too busy right now for me to sit and do too much on the computer. I will note that I haven't been very frugal at all!! I had to buy Christmas dinner for 15 people and finish up on gifts. I probably spent $300 for last week and another $300 this week. That's my best guess. I am still getting random checks in the mail though. Oh yeah, and we're about to win powerball ; )
I don't normally buy tix, but sis says that it's at like 60 mil right now. If I win, all of my family and good friends can quit their jobs and we can start a commune. More about that later, after I win our 60 mil.

I mostly wanted to post some new pics of my little mister for All to see. I know that my Carly misses him, and everyone should really just take time to bask in his glory.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I am grateful and I am blessed/ Part 1: December

So I've decided that it is very important to acknowledge The Good Things in your life. It's easy to not take the time to focus on the blessing that have been bestowed upon you, and rather, to pay attention to the stress and grief, and Things To Do in your life. I myself do not take time to write down what I'm grateful for. Carly once got me a gratitude journal, and I think I wrote in it once. I'm of the impression now that if you show the Universe that you are happy with the things she has given you, that maybe she'll send more happy things your way ; ) In either direction, if you are taking time to focus on happy things, that is time not spent dwelling on unhappy things, and that is always good. So, let's start! This month, I am grateful for:

*My beautiful son. Awwww. He is so smart and learns new tricks every day! ; ) He likes to pat me on the shoulder when I hold him and he looks up at me with big baby eyes when he nurses. He's too cute. Here is a photo of him painting for the very first time at Emma's 2nd birthday party this last Sunday:

*Random money in the mail. I've decided this is going to happen more often and the universe agrees. So far this month, I've gotten a random $96.30 in the mail (on three different occassions combined). Jake didn't realize you could get random money in the mail. Hee hee. (FYI- people aren't just shoving cash in my mail box- althought that would be pretty awesome. These are random refund checks and the such).

*Jake. I am going to start being nicer to him too, that's how much I am grateful for him. I still need to lose 15 lbs to be prebaby weight, but he's never said anything. He always tells me I'm beautiful. And he takes out the garbage. And he let me open a Yule gift early... it was really great makeup from Benefit. He remembered the things that I was pining over when we were there a couple months before, and he went back and bought them. And he's cute. See:

Be still my heart.

*The perfect Yule tree (I'm having a hard time saying Yule instead of Christmas. I know it's all the same traditions, but it belonged to Yule first dammit. And I'm going to say Yule. Or is it Yuletide? Hm.) Anywho, we got the perfect tree. It is the perfect height and it is the perfect bushiness.<-- Is that even a word?

*The perfect father time ornament for the perfect Yuletide tree. After walking around Fred Meyer in despair, thinking I would never find the perfect tree ornament, there he was in all of his father time glory. Yessss.

*Sarah and Abraham (Trippy, isn't it?) They are fabulous. I would lose my mind without them.

*Coffee. Everyday I am grateful for coffee. Everyday, coffee is there for me. To pick me up when I'm down. To put a smile on my face. Mmmm. I'll have some now.

More next month!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Frugal check in- Week 2

Hello everyone. I was horrible last week : ( Carly is going to blow me out of the water. Well, not as horrible as I could have been, but definately not what I would call frugal I guess. We are hosting Christmas at our house this year, and I want everything to be perfect. I have been trying to get all of the gifts together for everyone and make the house cute and festive. I certainly could have done a lot worse....

Anywho, here's the basic breakdown (not to the cent, I forgot to keep all of my receipts).

Monday: A gal on mothering sent me a gift card for $25 to Sur La Table. Hurray! That's basically money in the bank ; ) Except, I went over a couple,
Monday = $2.13

Tuesday: I bought my dear sweet Carly a gift (this shouldn't count! He he he > : ) I got part of it too though. We now each have super cute twin goddess necklaces! It was of the utmost importance that I buy them, so I don't feel too bad. My Carly deserved a gift. On a much sadder note, Tuesday I bought myself a starbucks. Oh the shame.
Tuesday = $19

Wednesday: $0!!! Heck yes.

Thursday: $0 (I'm on a roll.)

Friday: (Notice the downhill snowball starting on Friday...) Grocery shopping for everyone in my household: $90 (Not too awful for basically 5 people and I haven't really grocery shopped in a couple weeks. Please note also that I have to buy formula about once a week at $20 each or so).
Ordered a movie online/ The Secret $4.95 ( worth the $5! It doesn't matter that I wasn't the most frugal this week because money is on it's way!)
Friday= $95

Saturday: I bought myself Starbucks yet again on Saturday. I am shameless apparently. I did, however, buy a grande instead of a venti. At least there is some kind of conscious effort happening here...
Also Saturday, Jake went to Haggen to pick up more groceries. We needed coffee syrup and things to make banana bread for my sweet Emma's 2nd birthday! I don't know how this happened, but it was $21.50. I had a strong urge Sunday night to go to the thrift store (at least it wasn't the mall?). I bought three pair of fabulous shoes (I can never find three pair of shoes at the mall that I like, much less the thrift store!), and one bread machine (this will save money in the future, right???). $20 there.
Saturday total: $45.51

Sunday: (Please forgive me...) Sunday morning we went to Emma baby's 2nd birthday. All was well during that time and we had fun. We decided afterward to get our Yule/Christmas Tree! How exciting, right? Yes, but pricey. Hmmm. We stopped at the thrift store and got a tree stand and what we thought were strands of lights (all of my lights died last year and I'm not going to twist everyone of those bastards off trying to figure out which one broke it!). That and Jake decided to buy every episode of Starwars on video tape (wha?). You can't stop that boy when he thinks he wants something. I can't complain because he basically lets me have anything I want and doesn't ask for much. So every Starwars movie on vhs it is, even though I doubt they'll get any use. Total at Value Village: $20.31. Then we went and met sis and Abe to get our Christmas tree at Fred Meyer. I fell in love with a really cool Father Time/ Green Man/ Santa Claus type ornament. Ornament was $7. Our part of the tree was $12.5. FM total: $19.50. We get home and remove the lights from the lovely plastic bag that VV puts them in. These are icicle lights. These will not do. Back out to K-mart (what a trip that was! I haven't been to K-mart in at least ten years...). Kmart- we get 450 white lights for $16.99. We also get more bulbs, we did not have enough. 18 bulbs for something like $9. They didn't have a nice mix of the colors I wanted, so my lovely sis mixed and matched a box for me and I was the lookout. ; ) On our way back , I was thirsty for something bad. Had to get Jake something too. That was about $6 or so. So...I need about ten minutes to total up Sunday (hahaha).
Sunday= $72.73 (oh my)

Total spending for the week: $234.37

Frugal? Not so much.

On another note, however, I am also in the process of decluttering my house. During this adventure, I have sold quite a few things on my works 'for sale' page. I think I probably made about $20 last week or so. Not amazing, but better than no money. I am going to post our crappy Subaru Justy later tonight on Craig's List too. We should get about $1100 for it, it's a sought after car (Don't ask me why because I haven't a clue. I bought it on a fluke, not because it's a collector's car- hee hee).

So anyway, not a frugal week. I will try harder next week. : )

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Manifesting a Home....

Ok, so my dad always tells me that you have to manifest the things you want for yourself and that your focus determines your reality. Anyone that knows him is probably laughing right now, because that is basically his catch phrase. : )

I want to move soon. I keep almost jumping the gun, but I know everything will turn out better if we wait a bit. I'm thinking probably April or so. That will be just in time for Eli's first birthday! Anywho, I am now going to begin manifesting my home. If I start now, I think certainly by April it should happen. I would love to buy a house, but that's basically a joke in this area. You never know what might happen though...maybe something will come up? Either way, even if I have to rent, I'm going to find something I LIKE and WANT to live in. I'm tired of moving all the damn time because I can't find a place to be.

Here is a short list (haha) of the things I'd like my home to have/be -(keep in mind that some of these may be a little extreme, but a girl can wish, right???):

1.) They MUST take one cat, and one small dog. I have an Abyssinian cat that I absolutely adore, and he's been with my dad the last couple of years. I want my cat back!
(He looks very much like this guy, but grey. Fyi- if you want a cat- think about an abyssinian. By far the coolest most loyal cat I've ever had. His name is Oscar in case you were wondering.)

2.) 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.

3.) One of the baths should have a clawfoot bathtub, like this one (not a neccessity, but I'm having fun!):

4.) Room for a garden where I can grow red peppers, and herbs, and dahlias, and lots of other things! ( I would also like a smallish blackberry bush existing there already on that note...)

5.) Huge windows so I can have lots of sunshine and happy plants indoors.

6.) Rustic looking hardwood floors (I want them to be kind of older looking with some cool knots in them. I don't wants pefectly polished, fake looking wood floors).

7.) We must have at least one ceiling fan. Not because it's hot (it's not anywhere near hot in my book), but because my child LOVES to stare at ceiling fans. He will watch a ceiling fan for days in sheer awe.

8.) I would really love an awesome tree outside in the yard. We have a cool tree out back right now that I like to look at, and I don't want to lose that when we move.

This is it for now, but I will probably post a part two at some point : )

Monday, December 4, 2006

Frugal Check In #1

Alright- so this wasn't an entire week (remember, I started Wednesday!), but I feel like I did a great job for me!! I started out by removing all of the plastic out of my wallet (including both debit cards) and I also removed my checkbook from my purse (I'm one of those people that thinks if you have checks, you obviously have money. Shame, shame on me for that). I carried only cash, and I feel like I used very little of it. I'm almost positive Carly is going to put me to shame, but regardless I am still pretty proud of myself! Here's the break down:


Coffee creamer (saved me from buying starbucks)
Stamps (An essential really. Although, Carly informs me that if you do online banking, you save $50 a year in stamps).
Total: $10.15

Sunday: (notice no spending on my part between Thurs and Sat. Amazing!)

Starbucks (note: I have no drip coffee pot at my house and was going to die without coffee)
One drip coffee (very cheap- I did not get a venti flavored mocha!!)
Total: $1.47

Walmart (please forgive me- I do hate walmart, but their organic baby formula is half the price as anywhere else. And fyi, I don't formula feed exclusively- and certainly not by choice).

Organic Baby Formula
Free range eggs
Pepperjack cheese
Total: $20.62

Total since Wednesday: $32.34

Now, Carly and I have gone back and forth a few times, because we're not sure whether or not to track or significant others spending (please post a comment if you have a thought on this...)
I think it would be good to make sure that they're not eating up all of the money themselves, but I don't know if there's anyway for me to know how much money Jake is actually spending. I highly doubt he would bring me receipts for everything. From what I know this is Jakes spending:


Smoke shop:
Can of tobacco- this is equal to ten packs of cigarettes (much cheaper than a pack of smokes in the long run, however not as frugal or healthy as not smoking altogether.)
Total: $17.98

Raspberry iced tea
Total: ?? Maybe $3?

That puts Jake's total at $20.98. That puts our combined total at $53.32 in 5 days. That doesn't sound as good :(

Believe it or not, that's actually amazing for us. Especially being that we both had pay days on Friday.

And just to note, so far in the last five days (not counting today, Monday), I have saved between $20 and $34 from not buying Starbucks. That is counting that I bought a drip on Sunday, and I did deduct that amount. Go me.

On another note, Jake would have spent $60 on 10 packs of cigarettes, and spent $17.98, so that saves $42.02. We wont see that extra cash flow until about next week though.

So with coffee and cigarettes this week, we ended up saving a ballpark total of between $62 and $76. Wild!!!!!
My oh my, how vices will suck the money right out of you!

Stay posted next week and we'll see if we can do even better!

(If you have any great frugal ideas that pertain to me, please feel free to post them in comments.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Working on Frugality

My name is Dani, and I am a horrible shopoholic/ spender. It's the one thing I hate most about myself, and it's more embarrassing then you might imagine. I just need to get it out there so I can hold myself accountable. I was speaking with my best friend Carly via text message earlier, and she was telling me about her plan to spend hardly anything in the next few months. This is what I need to do. We've decided to challenge eachother for the least amount of money spent (this will be slightly easier for me now that I've basically finished Christmas shopping > : )

We are going to count every dime that we spend aside from bills and gas. We will count groceries, as they can be downsized.

I will log on and post my spendings from the previous week on Mondays. Next week will only have the spendings from today until Sunday (since I'm just starting this now).

This means- No more Starbucks. No more Christmas shopping (or minimal anyway- I still need to get my brother a couple things). No more Macy's. No more eating out for breakfast and lunch at work.

I am going to be removing my debit cards, credit cards, AND even my checkbook from my purse. I will give myself a limited amount of cash each week. This is a bit scary. Wish me luck!!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And because that last post didn't capture the cuteness that is my baby:

Eat your heart out.
; )

Carly- This is for you!!!

Alright- this is not the greatest picture of my sweet chub, *but* you can kind of see his first tooth. It is impossible to get a picture of this child while he's not moving, so the chances of me getting another photo of his tooth are slim to none. If you look very closely, on the bottom left hand side (his right, your left), you can see a little white speck. HIS FIRST TOOTH!!!! And now, he actually has a second tooth coming in next to that one. TWO TEETH! It's amazing. Not only did I make a human being, but he has teeth. : )

Tarot Card for the Week

Five of Wands!
This card is taken from the Benedetti Tarot.
The card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Five of Wands (Strife): An intense struggle motivated purely by the love of competition. A state of seeming chaos driven by endless small disputes and complications. A hotly contested race, debate, game, or other challenge. A stressful situation that brings out the best in the participants.
This sounds like my life in general these days. Chaotic to say the least. We have a busy household and it seems like there are never ending errands lately (on top of taking care of a teething cherub!). Well hey, at least it'll bring out the best in me, right?

Belief-O-Matic Quiz!

I forget how this happened originally, but I've stumbled across the 'Belief-O-Matic' quiz a few times. I have taken it every time I've come across it, and everytime it is the same. It was actually pretty eye opening to me, and I've forwarded it to many people in the past. If you've never taken this quiz, I highly suggest it!!! You will be asked a series of questions based on your 'religious' or 'spiritual' beliefs, and ranked by which religions fit your descriptions accordingly.

Here are my results:

Your Results:
The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)
2. New Age (87%)
3. Mahayana Buddhism (80%)
4. Unitarian Universalism (80%)
5. Jainism (76%)
6. Hinduism (74%)
7. Liberal Quakers (69%)
8. Theravada Buddhism (66%)
9. New Thought (65%)
10. Sikhism (65%)
11. Scientology (64%)
12. Reform Judaism (59%)
13. Bahá'í Faith (49%)
14. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (49%)
15. Orthodox Quaker (47%)
16. Taoism (45%)
17. Secular Humanism (43%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (41%)
19. Orthodox Judaism (39%)
20. Islam (29%)
21. Seventh Day Adventist (19%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (18%)
23. Nontheist (18%)
24. Jehovah's Witness (16%)
25. Eastern Orthodox (16%)
26. Roman Catholic (16%)
27. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (14%)

I think that's relatively right on, other than the 64% Scientologist. I kinda think they're a cult and they scare me.

Here's what they have to say about neo pagans (me):

Neo-Pagans are a community of faiths bringing ancient Pagan and magickal traditions to the modern age--including mostly Wicca but also Druidism, Asatru, Shamanism, neo-Native American, and more. Neo-Pagan is an umbrella term for various and diverse beliefs with many elements in common. Some Neo-Pagans find no incongruence practicing Neo-Paganism along with adherence to another faith, such as Christianity or Judaism.

Belief in DeitySome believe in a Supreme Being. Many believe in God and Goddess--a duality. Many believe there are countless spirit beings, gods and goddesses, in the cosmos and within all of nature--God is all and within all; all are one God. The Great Mother Earth, or Mother Nature, is highly worshipped. Divinity is immanent and may become manifest within anyone at any time through various methods.

IncarnationsNo human incarnations are worshipped in particular, as all of nature and the universe are considered embodiments of God and Goddess, or of gods and goddesses, worthy of respect, reverence, or worship.

Origin of Universe and LifeGenerally, there is no conflict between observations revealed through science and Neo-Pagan beliefs on origins of the physical universe and of man. Many believe in a supreme intelligence that created a duality of God/Goddess who then created a spirit world of gods and goddesses as well as all of the universe and nature.

After DeathMany believe in reincarnation after some rest and recovery in the "Otherworld." There is generally no concept of hell as a place of punishment, but some believe wrongdoing can trap the soul in state of suffering after death. Some (Wicca) believe the soul joins their dead ancestors who watch over and protect their family. Some believe that life energy continues in some, if unknown, form. Some believe in various spiritual resting places. Many say we don't or can't know what happens after death.

Why Evil?"Evil" is imbalance. Most believe there is no evil but rather that people sometimes make mistakes. Wrongdoing results when we forget we are one with the universal spirit.

SalvationThe concept of "salvation" is essentially irrelevant; rather the belief that people can attain spiritual balance and harmony with each other and nature. The path includes group ceremonies, dances, songs/chants, prayers, meditation, trance, altered states of consciousness, the metaphysical, magic, invoking or evoking deities or spirits, Tantric practices. Intercessors are commonly used: psychics, seers, shamans, tarot, Oui-Ja board. Ethical choices are influenced by a belief that one is rewarded or punished within this or after this lifetime for one's choices and an ethical code to do no harm.

Undeserved SufferingMost do not believe in Satan or any spirit being as the cause of suffering. Some believe in a karma-like principle, that choosing to live a life of wrongdoing and pain will naturally result in suffering in this or later lifetimes. Many view suffering as a result of spiritual imbalance in one's life or on the planet or in the universe. The focus is generally on healing suffering rather than answering definitively why it exists.

Contemporary IssuesAbortion is not condemned, as there is no official doctrine; beliefs about abortion range the full spectrum. Views on divorce, homosexuality, and gender equality are generally very supportive of human differences, equality, and personal choice. Many believe that involvement in community action, especially regarding environmental concerns, is integral to the belief in human interdependence and worship of the Earth Mother.

The link to beliefnet is under my fave links. Feel free to take the quiz and post your results in comments! Who knows- maybe you'll have a revelation.