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Archive for January, 2010

Creative Everyday

I love Leah’s blog, her artwork and her challenge to be creative everyday. I signed up two years ago and didn’t follow through (according to my own harsh standards) though I still followed her. I skipped last year, watching wistfully from the sidelines. This year I signed up again but without the pressure of literally creating a piece of artwork every single day. Instead I thought I’d look back on the week and see what I created.

This week I created:

• a beautiful day for my daughter’s 13th birthday

• a card for her

• flexibility and inner peace through yoga every morning

• cardio health through working out

• progress on a story by showing up everyday even if just for 5 minutes

• a new budget

• yummy healthy meals using what we already had in the freezer and pantry

• a chocolate cake and frosting from scratch

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Adventures in Frugality

This didn’t start out as a new year’s resolution but it became one after we started experiencing some cash flow issues and couldn’t figure out why. So we sat down and went over our expenses from January to January and boy was it eye-opening. We found the leaks. Well, more like huge gaping waterfalls where some of our money was going.

It wasn’t too surprising. Books (of course) and dining out were the two biggies. But in a way it was kind of surprising because we had identified these last year and here we are a year later and still they are causing problems. I finally figured out why. When I identified them last year, I was so horrified by the amounts that I just said, “That’s it. No more books or restaurants. Period.” Well. That’s not realistic. It’s like a really strict diet. You can force yourself to adhere to it for  a short while but then you are bound to rebel. What’s one lunch? One dinner? One happy hour? One book? Or one more? It all adds up to a lot of money going out the window each month. So this time I set a budget for books and restaurants. This way we aren’t denied but we have boundaries. And I am getting to know my library again.

While we are at the low end for most of our basic necessities each month our groceries are at the high end so I’ve been thinking of ways to trim that monthly expense without using coupons. I hate coupons. And they are never for things I would normally buy if I didn’t have a coupon so what’s the point? I came up with two solutions. The first is to extend my time between shopping by three to four days. That will cut out an entire week of groceries each month. To do that means I am scavenging through the freezer and cupboards but the meals are healthy and delicious and food is being used up. Second, eliminate trips to the grocery store to just pick up a couple of things in between shops. It’s never just a couple of things. Ever. And it always adds up to  at least twenty to fifty bucks a pop. If we don’t have it on  hand I’ll make something else.

This week, because we were running low on snacks I rummaged around the baking cupboard and found some Hersey’s cocoa. I ended up making a homemade chocolate cake and frosting from the recipe on the back on the canister. And I used up all the cocoa which had been up there for awhile. My family deems it the best cake ever. And it was a cake for no special occasion which made it even more special.

Stay tuned for more adventures in frugality throughout the year. I am anxious to see how these changes add up… literally.

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