Shopping lists, savings plans and getting on top of stuff.

January 29, 2015

I stopped by the Dollar tree and picked up a case, stylus/pen combo and a cleaning cloth for my new kindle fire.  The case isn’t exactly what I wanted, but the case has room for a note pad and the cardboard backing adds a bit of protection.  I like how I have everything contained in one bag that is ready to grab and go. Staples has a laptop pad/docking station I want to take a look at to see if it will work with my plan of a few laptops, tablets and building a server plus LAN for the neighborhood idea. I know it is doable I just need to educate myself using civilian stuff and get the parts.  I can add a couple of the 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs on sale from True Value. I think those bulbs have had a very big impact in our overall energy costs after Mom moved in. I’m not saving money but I’m not spending as much as I anticipated.

I stopped by the new Harbor Freight store and it was filled guys shopping.  The store setup looks good and I found a couple of solar lights I might be able to get without busting the bank. I miss having a Big Lot’s store but Harbor Freight isn’t a bad replacement store.

I have restarted my 52 week cash savings plan and $15 dollars is in the envelope for Jan.  along with a few dollars in the “extra” cash savings envelope. While I’m a bit peeved that I’m not doing better at cash savings, paying the small bills ahead has been working quite well overall. Heck I handled a vet bills of almost $400.00 without a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul. My plan is to get cash “rich” in my small way and try and get all my re-occurring bills paid forward at least four-six weeks, by the middle of March.  Cash will be “king” at least for a little while if the SHTF. My planning is trying to build up a bit of cash for at least one month’s worth of expenses and then go for 3 months and then 6 months. Can I do it? I have no idea, but I know if I don’t try I will fail.  The PTBs are starting to get a little freaked out about the global economy. I think March/April time frame there could be a crash. But if we get into summer we should have a few more months to stock up. The next “crash” time historically happens at the end of Sept.- Nov. time frame. My time frames are based on history, not traders or charts,  so if you can do that sort of thing more power to you. I would appreciate a “heads up”  and I won’t call you names if you guess wrong because the “markets” are so manipulated that they resemble a casino at best!

For myself, other than my mortgage and my personal loan for the wood stove (paid off this year) I would stay/get out of debt and stay away from any “paper investments” like stocks and bonds and buy tangible goods that preserve your wealth.

Amber Lager bottled and more garden stuff

June 26, 2014

The Amber lager is all bottled,  I bottled a case using the 12 oz. bottles and bottle caps for the 3rd of July party. I hope my German wheat beer will be ready in time along with the black bellma ale but the timing will be close.  The good neighbors are downsizing the party and I can’t blame them with the cost of everything going up. Things are getting tough all over, one thing that is helping me is I planned ahead. I did a budget based on somehow losing 30% of my buying power either from Government cuts or inflation. While it is not that bad yet, it has really helped me make each pay check go a bit farther.  Plus there is a big mental aspect to it as far as not being surprised and trying to reset your budget priorities at the last minute.  If things go well I’m a bit ahead on savings and paying off debt, if things get ugly I have a bit of a buffer in my monthly budget to adapt to the “new normal”. The water main issue taught me that I need a good cash savings plan and just maintaining the basic payments of the monthly budget was not enough to be  somewhat financially secure.  As we all know “Stuff” happens and usually at the least convenient moment.  I’m not perfect on the “savings plan yet, as there have been some sales that are to good to pass up. But refilling my savings envelopes is my first priority with each paycheck.  I’m getting closer to making cash savings a priority but I’m not there yet!  I’m not beating myself up about the savings plan because doing something new take a little time and practice for me and compared to how I used to save cash I’m doing at least 50% better than I did last year so it is progress!

Speaking of saving cash it would be a lot easier if the stuff I need did not go on sale between my checks!  Lowe’s has the wood mulch on sale till the 30th, four 2 cubic foot bags for only $10.00. Getting the yard and garden healthy and looking good  is one of my priorities this year.  So dip into the savings and get the mulch as the garden and the trees in the yard add to my food supply, the healthier those plants and soil become, the better. I may not be able to purchase those things in the future.  I don’t know if this will help a beginning gardener but I put a little sawdust around my plants in the “edible garden” and it kept me from weeding out a Borage plant I was trying out and the little sign for it disappeared.  One very nice thing about doing the edible gardens in the front yard is the greens are growing slowly compared to the greens that are starting to bolt in the backyard “full sun” beds.

I have a friend at the Grab the Apple Forums that is really smart on gardening though he considers himself a beginning gardener. For the urban gardener he recommends to sit outside and really watch the sun and see if you have some micro-climates based on structures and existing trees and plants.  He sees an urban garden as a better thing than a large field because you can go with pots, go vertical and add in cold frames, plastic and greenhouse since all of your plants are so close and you tend to them daily.  I don’t know if his approach will work for everyone but it is starting to work for me and my garden.  He doesn’t use chemicals but mostly looks at improving the soil and he is in the DFW area of  Texas and he has not “watered” his lawn or garden with a sprinkler since 2012 and his stuff looks as good or better than those that dump chemicals and water on their lawns. Not bad considering the drought that is going on in Texas for the last couple of years.

Update: The pain salve works great on menstrual cramps. I rubbed a bit of the salve on my lower back and it seem to release those cramps in about 5-10 minutes at most.  I don’t think of myself as a wimp and I can tolerate/work through some pain but those cramps would send me to bed and taking  Ibuprofen tablets like they were M&Ms.  I call this a pain salve and it does help with muscle, arthritic and neuralgia but in my experience so far it works best on muscle cramps and spasms.