No Washing Machine

The new apartment I moved to doesn’t have a washer or dryer. I debated buying at least a washer because I could always use the balcony to line dry. (Fortunately, the balcony is on the side of the apartment, away from the ‘public’ area and strategically hidden from the apartment next door by some tall evergreen trees).

I considered my alternatives:

  1. Rent the washer. Well, this certainly is not consistent with my goal to reduce my monthly expenses.
  2. Purchase new- absolutely not considered due to the cost.
  3. Buy used from Craig’s list, etc. I nixed this idea because I get nervous about buying something that either ‘needs work’ or will soon ‘need work’. And then there is the problem of getting the washer from there to here. I would need a truck. And a dolly to get it up to my second floor apartment.
  4. Buying used from an appliance store would provide some assurance that the machine would work and it would also be delivered. However, considering I plan to move in a year, do I really want a washer to add to the moving list?

Do I even need a washing machine? That became the question. Is there something else I could use?

I could go to the laundromat. But I hate going to the laundromat. And that means more money being spent.

Then I remembered the posts I read at annienygma when Annie’s washing machine went kaput.She mulled the options she had.

What options do I have? Hand-washing is one of them. And it is a viable option, at least for me, because I work at home, I pretty much wear the same clothes a few days in a row (except the undies, of course) and I really don’t have a lot of laundry to wash.

I discussed this option with my roomies- my sister and my mom. My sister was pretty much game for anything because she has a goal very similar to mine- downsize, minimize and frugalize.

My mom, who doesn’t even do her own laundry by the way, was aghast at the thought of living without the convenience of a washer. At the age of 94, she has lived through a lot and, while she didn’t experience the beating the laundry on the rocks at the local creek era, she pretty much saw the evolution of the modern day washer and certainly, raising a large family, saw it as a necessity.

However, since she doesn’t do her own laundry, I decided to proceed with my decision to not buy a washer and come up with an alternative.

I would be fine washing my clothes by hand either in the bathroom sink or tub. But my sister wasn’t really keen on that. So, we came up with this option:

The laundry pod the-laundry-podWill let you know how it works!

 

Cash Only

Broke my beautiful budget plan because of poor planning. I budgeted $20 a day for food, fuel, household items and pet food.

But I did not go to the ATM and get $120 in cash on payday like I should have.Instead, I thought I could use  my debit card at the time of purchase and then track my spending with the spending tracker app.

Well, that doesn’t work for me. I blew my budget because I did not plan ahead.

I did not take the meat out of the freezer in time to thaw for dinner so we ended up eating take-out. Twice.

I did not stop at the gas station that offers a discount for paying cash on Tuesdays. So I ended up using my gas credit card to fill the tank.

I put on extra miles for an Easter gathering and to take my mother for appointments. That used an extra tank of gas.

I did not plan ahead for the Easter baskets so I ended up spending more money than I should to fill them.

The cat will need cat food and cat treats. Maybe it would be cheaper just to let her out to catch her own food!

I totally lost track of how much I spent in the last five days. Friday is payday and I WILL take  out the $120 in cash that I budgeted.

Saving on Groceries

I know that the ‘experts’ advise that, to avoid overspending at the grocery store, we should shop weekly or monthly. I tried that and it just doesn’t work for me.

I have spent hours creating a beautiful menu for the week based on what’s on sale at the stores, shopping on a Saturday and buying all that I need for the week.

And I end up wasting so much food! I am talking about fresh vegetables, like lettuce, tomatoes and salad greens.If I buy enough to last the week, I don’t have room in my smaller fridge and we don’t eat it all or it rots before we do eat it.

I have to drive to the store ( I walk the three miles in nice weather) everyday to buy my mother’s daily newspaper (don’t get me started on that!) so I pick up the fresh food for the day when I am there.

I buy only what is on sale in the produce section and enough for the day, sometimes for the next day or two. I stick to my daily budget of $20 or less using the spending tracker.

When the farmer’s market is in full swing, I do go there and buy almost a week’s worth- whatever will fit in my fridge. The produce I buy there is fresher and lasts longer.

I keep our meals simple- the evening meal is usually a type of meat/seafood and a generous serving of vegetables.

It’s been working for me so far.

 

Finally Tracking Daily Spending

Spending TrackerI have a latent rebellious nature that likes to come out and sabotage some of my efforts to improve my life. One thing I have rebelled against is budgets and expense tracking. I hate it and I never do what I should do. And now I am sitting here mired in debt, wondering how the hell am I going to save the money I need to retire in 9 years?

Oh, what I do to myself!

Enough, I say. This weekend I sat down and put all I could on ‘auto-draft’, set up a budget and put an app on my phone to help me track my daily spending.

I am giving my household a $20 daily spending budget which includes groceries, gas and incidentals- actually, every thing that is not a bill.

So far, I am really liking that phone app Spending Tracker.  It’s free and easy.

Maybe this time I will stick with my budget.

 

 

Made Some Changes to Save $1176

To get out of debt I know I need to cut spending wherever I can. This week I made some changes and will save $1176 a year.

I cancelled the Y membership which was costing me $50 a month. I seldom used it and now that the weather is getting nicer, I can walk outside. $600 saved.

My daughter opted out of taking ASL this second semester and that saves the $34 a month cost for the semi-private sign language tutoring. $408 saved.

I moved this site from wordpress.org to wordpress.com. I then changed my Hostgator account from the reseller package to the hatchling package. That saves me about $14 a month. $168 saved.

Total saved = $1176

When the new webmaster takes the soccer site over, I will cancel the Hostgator completely to save another $120 per year.

I realize that one of the many mistakes I have made is signing up for monthly subscriptions- subscriptions like Hostgator, Dropbox, and Netflix. Each one of those can cost just about $10 a month so I think it’s not such a big deal. But really, it all adds up.

I still have the Netflix and will keep it for now.

Other areas I need to look at decrease spending: the cellphone bill and the groceries.

 

Thrift Store Savings

THRIFT STORE RECEIPT
Great finds at the thrift store today!

Continuing the saga on my thrift store finds, here is another great find for me at the thrift store today.

The third thing on my list today were soap holders (soap dishes?) that I needed to hold the new bar soaps I just bought from Wilderness Family Naturals (not an affiliate link, just a shout out for WFN).

I’ve had dry skin for years and am always looking for something to alleviate it. My latest is using coconut oil to shower with. It works well but it is kind of awkward to use.

I saw these soap bars at Wilderness Family Naturals and thought I would give them a try. I didn’t have any soap dishes to hold them. I needed three, one for my mother’s bar, since I bought one for her, and two for me, since I bought the plain bar to use on my hair and the bar with additional coconut cream to use on my skin.

Being without the soap dishes, I used the bubble wrap that the bars came with. Did the trick to tide me over until I could find something else. I figured I would go to the Dollar Store and pick some up. Those things are a $1 a piece, right?

2015-04-01_16.35.23[1]Today was my lucky day! I found three soap dishes for 50¢ each at the thrift store.

I have the two bars of mine you can see there in the picture and the empty one was a soap case for my mom’s bar.

Not as cheap as the bubble wrap 🙂 but certainly cheaper than buying them new.

So, what did I save? Compared to the Dollar Store, I saved $1.50, assuming comparable soap dishes are about $1 each.

Looking at Amazon.com, the two piece soap box sells for $5 (seriously, who would buy it for that outrageous price??).

The soap holder at the top of the photo can be found at a hotel supply site for $1.95 but you have to buy 12 to get that price.

And the last ‘holder’ in the lower right corner isn’t actually a soap holder. It is a loofah-type facial complexion pad that Amazon sells for $6.60 for a set of 4.  But, I figured it would work as a soap holder as it is a place to hold the soap and keep it dry between uses.

Kind of hard to figure out exactly how much I saved in this awesome thrift store find but I sure didn’t pay full price for new!

Always a great feeling, isn’t it?

Ready to hear about one more find?

More Great Finds at the Thrift Store

In addition to finding the candy molds I needed for making keto fat bombs, my trip to the thrift store yielded a couple of more things on my list.

2015-04-01_16.38.35[1]

Ramekins, or something that I can use for ramekins. No one at the store even heard of ramekins. Neither did my 92 year old mother, who was tagging along today.

Anyway, I have been looking for these for a few weeks now. I plan on using them to make some of the great keto-desserts that Maria from Maria Mind Body Health has on her blog and in those amazing keto-cookbooks.

A ramekin (/ˈræmɪkɪn/, /ˈræmkɪn/; also spelled ramequin),[citation needed] is a small glazed ceramic or glass bowl used for cooking and serving various dishes.

Thanks, Wikipedia!

The ramekins I scored cost me 75¢ each and I got four of them. Just went to Amazon again to see what they would cost. Crikey!

There is a set of four Emile Henry (who?) ramekins here for $35.44!

Seriously?

Wanna see what else I got today at the thrift store?