29 April 2009
I'll be back to the frugal monster once I get our house steralized and all of the germs have been banished!
(I will share with you though, that I went to the grocery store yesterday and my total came to around $79. My total savings was: $153!! More on this later!)
The Frugal Monster
23 April 2009
22 April 2009
17 April 2009
There are lots of great deals to be had at yard sales and garage sales. They can be a Frugal Monster's dream, or nightmare. They can be a dream come true when you find that perfect score that you've been waiting for. They can also turn into the world's worst nightmare when you don't know how to pass up that great deal. Here are some tips that I've learned from my many years of scouring yard sales:
- Its not a great deal if you don't need it (or love it). Only buy things you will use or that you need. Now, the one exception is if you resell things on ebay. But you have to know your prices in order for this to work. If you buy something at a yard sale for $3, but it will only sell on ebay for $3.50, is it really worth the time and effort?
- If you collect things (I collect fabric and vintage pyrex) you must know when enough is enough. I'm struggling with this right now with my fabric stash. If I find a great deal its really, really hard for me to pass it up. But I am drowning in my fabric now so I must work through some of it before I can add any more.
- Make a list of things you need. At the beginning of every yard sale season I make a list (either a mental list or an actual pen/paper list) of things I want to keep an eye out for that year. This year I'm looking for a few more crockpots in various sizes (easy to find at yard sales) and some supplies to get started in soap making. I'm also looking for a sturdy book case and dresser that I can refinish. My husband usually works on weekends and he will often arm me with a list of tools or other various "manly" items to look for.
- Check craigslist on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings and list out the sales you'd like to check out. List them in the order you'd like to go. I try to do a circle hitting ones close to my house, going further out into town and then circling back towards home from the other direction. I also keep an eye out for signs on the way, as a lot of people don't post on craigslist, but rely solely on signs.
- Take cash. Decide your budget for the day and only take that much cash. This will help keep your spending in check.
- Don't be afraid to barter. Most people expect it. I'll admit that its outside of my comfort zone and I tend to do it more often if I'm purchasing multiple items. If I have 3 or 4 things in my hand that total $5.00, I'll usually ask them if they'd accept $4 for the lot. I only rarely have people come back and ask for more. Usually they just say "sure" and they're glad to get rid of the stuff.
- I am in love with vintage, mid century stuff. So I have found that church rummage sales, estate sales and other networking groups (Eagles, Lion's Club, etc....) sales tend to be jack pots for me.
- If you plan to make a day of it, pack a snack and some water. You can't focus and you lose interest if you start to get hungry. Most yard sales will sell bottles of water for $1.00. I can get several yards of fabric for that!!!!
- If you are yard saleing with children (and they are old enough) give them a budget for the day also. I give my kids plastic baggie's and they throw some change from their piggy banks in them. In the past they have found treasures that they "had to have" but neither had enough money. They pooled their change together and both were happy. It teaches them valuable budgeting skills.
That's my basic list of things to keep in mind while yard saleing. Come back and let me know if you find any great scores this season ~ I'd love to hear about them!
~The Frugal Monster
11 April 2009
A crockpot ~ these are a dime a dozen during yard sale season. I currently have one that I purchased two years ago for $5. My other one finally pooped out so I'm on the hunt again this year. My ultimate goal is to have a 2 qt. A 4 qt and a 6 qt. I also have an 18 qt roasting oven/slow cooker that I got for Christmas this year. I haven't used it yet, but I'm excited to try that one out.
A food scale. Again, these are hot yard sale items and come in handy when you buy in bulk and want to divide food up for the freezer.
Various sizes of pyrex/freezer dishes. When you freeze a casserole in a dish, once its frozen you can pop the food out of the dish and use the Food Saver to keep it in the freezer. Thus freeing up your dishes. When you remove the casserole and the Food Saver bag, just set the frozen meal back into the dish to thaw.
Extra Large Mixing bowl (or two)...again, when you buy and cook in bulk having room to mix things comes in handy.
That's about it for now. Stay tuned as I plan to share some recipes later this weekend. Yum.....
08 April 2009
04 April 2009
- Mortgage ~
- HELOC ~
- Gas ~
- Electric ~
- Water & Sewage ~
- Van Pymnt ~
- Groceries ~
Now, take all of your other bills (phone, internet, cell phone, cable TV, gasoline, credit card, etc, etc, etc....) and list them in order of priority. This is a personal thing and everyone's priorities are different. For instance, our cell bill would probably cause some of you to have a coronary, but its a necessity for us because of my husband's travel schedule. Some may chose to put cable TV next on their list, we don't even subscribe. No one will judge you. You just need to decide what's most important to you and your family.
Now, list the rest of your bills and then start filling in the blanks. Go down the list in order. The first several should be fairly consistent and easy to predict. In the beginning you'll have to guestimate on some of the other bills, but they'll get easier over time, too. Add up all of your bills and then subtract that from your monthly income. The difference is what you put into savings. ON PAYDAY. No questions asked. You transfer it over the day your paycheck hits or the day you cash it. If your number is zero ~ then you need to look over that list of priorities again and see if you can cut back or cut some out entirely.
Because you have now transferred your "cushion" into savings, you will have to track your spending to make sure you don't go over budget. If you go over in a certain catagory, you find another catagory you can borrow from. Once that money is in savings, you don't touch it. If you have to take a few catagories out of your budget, that's ok. Its probably only temporary. You'll get back to it. Right now we're just trying to build a bit of a savings for a rainy day.
Can't find places to cut back or cut out? That's ok for now. Because we'll be covering all of the little random money suckers later. Its not as hard to get them under control as you may think. If you have some money suckers that you'd like specific help with, leave me a comment and I'll be sure to cover those as well.
~ The Frugal Monster