Sunday, January 20, 2013

Good advice

Great advice, actually. I don't need to add anything to it. Cheers, everyone! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gloomy weather

Rain. Fog. Rain. Cloudy. Rain. Overcast. Fog. Rain. And tonight -- maybe -- snow.

I haven't seen sunshine since Sunday and I'm about to go out of my mind. I'm so sick of all these shades of grey. I'm cold all the time. My muscles hurt.

I want to move to Costa Rica! Or at least to someplace warm and sunny. :)

Lost in the stacks

Actually this building isn't a library. I'm in the library, looking out the window at a building across the way.
My new budget doesn't have a line item for books. But that's OK. I have a library card! I can get just as "lost" in a library as I can in a bookstore. I occasionally like to wander the stacks on the second floor of the Morrison branch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. I know. I'm such a geek.

One of my earliest library memories involves going to Saturday morning story time at the library in the town where I grew up. The librarian read The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. (Isn't it funny how the brain remembers certain things? LOL! I was probably only about five years old then!) And I became hooked on the library!

Our local library had a bookmobile, which was especially nice for those of us who lived outside the city limits. Two very friendly "lady librarians" drove it all over the county. Every third Monday at about 4:45pm, they'd pull into the dirt parking lot of the little store down at the crossroads, sounding their funny "bookmobile horn" which could be heard for miles away. (Some people grew up with ice cream truck sounds. I grew up with the bookmobile sound.)

I think I read every Nancy Drew mystery that had been published up until that time, along with all the Little House on the Prairie books and most of Andre Norton's Witch World series. Hmm, even then I was a rather eclectic reader, I suppose.

These days, libraries still have books, but they also offer lots of other stuff, too. My library has a large DVD and music CD selection, and a ton of other resources. I can even borrow eBooks for my Kindle from my library. How cool is that? And through my library I have access to Freegal Music, where I can download three songs a week FOR FREE!!! To keep!!!

I love my library so much, I've applied to be a volunteer with this year's book sale fundraiser. Hopefully, that will work out. Who knows. maybe I'll eventually become a regular volunteer. I'll never be a bookmobile driver, but then again, with me you just never know.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A week of (almost) no spending

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm trying to cut spending this year. My reasons for doing this are many. But here's one: all the recent fiscal cliff stuff got me to thinking about my life priorities. Beyond the spiritual and family stuff, the thing that gives me the most pleasure in life is travel. Now, maybe that sounds silly to some of you. But hey. That's how it is. And I've decided that it's more important to be able to travel once or twice a year than it is to have a new car or fancy house or expensive clothes. So there.

This week, my personal spending was exactly $1.99 -- that's right: one dollar and ninety-nine cents. There was an e-book on sale via a 'daily deal' that my local library didn't have and I wanted to read it very badly. So I went for it. Of course, I immediately felt guilty. Oh, well. At least I got the e-book on sale. 

Although my new-found frugality is mainly directed at my personal spending, I'm trying to reduce household expenses, also. So far, there are three things I've done:
  • Turned the thermostat down, and started wearing sweaters in the house if I'm cold! Not sure this one will matter that much in the short-term, because I've got it set so that our electricity bill is the same amount every month. But maybe when our contract comes up for renewal in June, we'll get a lower monthly price (or stay the same) for next year.
  • Meal planning! Last Sunday, I put together a plan for this week's meals, and when I did the grocery shopping, I only bought stuff I needed for those meals. I probably saved about $30 on this week's groceries.
  • S fixed the toilet! That might sound like a strange one, but I'd noticed that our water bill had been a little higher than usual, and that one of the toilets was 'running' and making strange noises. While I'm not certain of a correlation, it seemed likely. Guess I'll know when we get the water bill next month.
That's this week's report! I've already got my meal plan for next week made out (and purchased the food). My 'resolution' for next week is to keep up the good work . . . and to take my lunch to work everyday. That in itself saves quite a bit, as it's impossible to get a 'healthy' lunch out for less than $15-20 anymore -- at least in the part of town where I work.

Have a good week! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello, 2013

Here we are in a brand new year! We're enjoying our holiday, but also thinking about the year ahead and what it holds. There are lots of things we can't control, e.g., whether or not we jump off a fiscal cliff. But there are a few things we do have some control over. This is why some of us make new year's resolutions.

Last year, my big 'resolution' was to lose weight, and I did. I plan to continue that this year, but I also want to work on something else: becoming more intentional about where my money goes! So heads up, everyone: my days of wild shopping sprees and thoughtless spending are over! If you remember how focused I was on losing weight last year, well, I'm going to be the same this year regarding money. Mariandy is now officially a tightwad. I'm probably going to be blogging about it, too. Consider yourself warned! :)