Tag Archives: life

Another one of my ideas to save on food

Herbs in the garden

Please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die . . .

Edible goodies


And when I am bad, I am very, very bad.

I read personal finance and frugal living blogs all the time.  I champion the “less-is-more!” cause with like-minded friends.  I make my own bread.  I write on this blog. 

But I have a dark side.  There are times when I want to be–even times when I am–a rampant consumer.   Many people have heard of Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” plan.  A lot of people online talk about debt snowflaking.  I want to be out of debt very, very badly.  But I also want a pair of new shoes, some new black pants, that new book out by my favorite author, a new couch for our newly finished basement, and . . .

Clearly, snowballing doesn’t just happen when one is paying down debt.  I think of it this way: I get money–my “snowflakes.”  Many little moneys equal a “snowball.”  I nourish and develop these snowballs until I decide to send them off into the world.  Rolling them down “Hill A” means sending them to various debtors where they continue to pick up speed and more snowflakes in the form of saved interest and lower bills.  Rolling them down “Hill B” means I have a shiny new thing but no more snowball.   I have to start over.

Some weeks I’m really good about staying on Hill A and paying down debt.  This is not one of those weeks. 

On Friday, I got bored and went to Borders.  Borders for librarians is sort of like a liquor store for alcoholics.   On Sunday, I went to an art show.  Have I mentioned that I have a M.A. in Art History?  Art shows are also a particular weakness.  Yesterday was my three-year wedding anniversary–we just had to go out for sushi to celebrate the fact that we still like to be in the same room together.

Today I caught myself fantasizing about buying these so I could essentially wear my slippers everywhere I go.   I also went to Jimmy John’s for lunch.  It’s got to stop!  Tonight I will buckle down, face my worst fears (aka balance the checkbook) and re-commit myself to more fiscally responsible behaviors.

Do you ever find yourself snowballing in the wrong direction?  What are your “self-intervention” strategies?


How I got a yearly People Magazine subscription for $86

My mom, for as long as I have known her (quite some time now), has always read People magazine.  Every Friday either she or my well-trained father will pick the newest edition up from the store.  For years, I’ve been trying to tell her that she would save a lot of dough by just subscribing already since she reads it with such devotion. 

Alas, my mother never listens to me.  So for her birthday this year, the big 5-0, I decided to gift her a subscription in the hopes that she will share the magazine with me a little more readily  because I am a nice daughter. 

However, as anyone who reads it is well aware, People is not cheap.  It’s something like $4 an issue at the newsstand, for 53 issues.  Meaning my mother has been spending about $212 yearly for the magazine.  On their website, they offer the low price of $116.07 for the year.  I love my mother, but I also love my bank account, so I decided to shop around a bit.  Unfortunately, $116.07 seems to be the going rate.  Undeterred, I tried to see about coupons at retailmenot.com — although they came through on my last airfare purchase, they were of no help this time.   Still undeterred, I surfed on over to another great site–Ebates.

Ebates basically works by offering money back on your purchases when you click through to shopping sites on their portal.  In this case, I happily discovered that the store Magazines.com was offering 26% back on Ebates purchases.   This was exciting!  After a quick transaction, my mom now will be receiving People for a year, and I received $30 in my Ebates account (the money back goes to my Paypal account quarterly). 

A caveat, however.  I’ve used Ebates with great success except for one occasion, which of course was my most expensive purchase.  I’m still hoping that their customer service will fix that, but I’m no longer holding my breath.  I use the service for things that I am going to purchase anyway, so when it works, great!  Cash back!  When it doesn’t . . . as in the one major purchase I made . . . well I’m not out anything. 

What are some of your favorite sites for finding good deals online?


Living across the street from a fire station . . .

. . . means that in the three years that Spouse and I have lived in our home, we’ve never lost power.  Never.  This is despite the best that Michigan has thrown at us.  We assume it has something to do with the fire station, but we could be wrong.  Working under that assumption, I say a little “thank you” every time I go by it.  You see, part of my frugal living strategies includes freezing a lot of food.  We purchase meat in bulk from local farmers, I buy flour in bulk whenever I can get my hot little hands on a sale, and leftovers or big meals go right into the freezer to be pulled out on a lazy night sometime in the future.  I’ve become inordinately fond of these food stores . . . I haven’t quite started referring to them as “my precious-es”, but sometimes I come perilously close.  If I were to lose power for a long time, it would be quite detrimental to both my mental state and stomach.  So if someday you find me in my garage dishevelled, sobbing, and with an armful of dripping, smelly food goods . . . you’ll know our luck finally ended.