A Functioning Mutant is a Delegating Mutant

Image

I have vented a lot on here about my lack of organization, the stress with the house, and so on and so forth. A lot of you have chimed in with amazing ideas and suggestions and encouragement (as usual, because I have the best readers on the internets EVA).

So, I have been tweaking things around here. Little things. And some of it, is actually working. Stuff like…

Child Labor

I force myself to delegate more and more household chores– especially to Eldest who is beyond old enough to start carrying around a bigger load of responsibility. But also to Daughter and Baby. What have I had the kids do? Well on top of the usual things they already do I have had Eldest empty out the dishwasher with the assistance of Baby and/or Daughter. I’ve also had him load it if anything happened to be in the sink while the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. Daughter is now fully responsible for feeding the cat. I made two changes to make sure she could do this easily. 1) I put a plastic cup in the giant bag of cat food so she could just scoop out the food instead of carry and pour it out. 2) I switched the wet food to this stuff by Meow Mix called Pate Toppers. Why? Because the containers are plastic with foil lids that peel right off. Much easier to do, and safer, than the metal cans. Also, the plastic is recyclable. I have them help me fold laundry, especially socks which I hate doing. I aim to clean while they are present and then delegate appropriate tasks. Wiping down surfaces with a Clorox wipe for instance. Cleaning the place mats. Running the vacuum cleaner. Emptying the bathroom trash cans. I have also employed them more often in meal prep– especially breakfast and occasionally lunch and seldomly in dinner or dessert. Eldest is especially good at this one but Daughter is as well. Baby is good at setting the kids table settings and getting cups of water for everyone.

Google Calendar

Where have you been all my life? I have toyed with Google Calendar before but recently I have made it a point to really abuse it and have gone so far as to set it up properly with settings I prefer (Pop Up Reminders FTW) and even shared it with Stallion and set Stallion up with one so I could better track his work schedule which always changes and is a nightmare to keep track of mentally. I still keep a paper calendar in my purse because entering things in my phone is a pain in the booty-bum and my Nexus 7 has a knack for not being in my purse, not having a charged battery, and/or not being in a wireless hotspot when I need to enter a reminder. I also like that I can email events to people as I’m entering them. So, for instance when I updated my calendar to show Eldest’s upcoming Track and Field meet, I also had it dash a quick email to MutantWino, MutantPirate, and MutantDad since they have all shown interest in attending his meets and have even made it to one already.

Prep

I have been working really hard on getting things taken care of ahead of time. I prep lunches the night before, except mine and I don’t know why I do that. I make sure the uniforms are prepped. I put everything that needs to go out the door with us the next day clustered together on the dining table (one day when I’m financially stable, I will be doing some work on my entry so that it is an awesome Home Base area thing). And when I add reminders to my Google calendars, I try and set the time for evening hours– earlier if it’s something the kids need to do and later if it’s something I need to do. I am also prepping food-wise as much as possible. I haven’t really done another formal meal plan but I want to. And I do try and at least somewhat think about what I have food-wise and what to make with it when. On Sunday, I hard-boiled ten eggs and put them in a tray in the fridge so we’d have access to them all week. It’s been a great extra to throw into lunch boxes and my kids LOVE them. It’s easy to do and so this is something I will do more regularly. I have also started purchasing more snack food. I know it’s more expensive to buy the little bags of cookies individually packaged but I am just not going to package them myself. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Grilling

About a month or so ago, my family had another Grand Round of Shuffling Objects. My aunt and uncle were downsizing, Mutant Pirate bought his first home, and Mutant Wino is settling down with a fiancee into a house they will be purchasing from her mother soon so he is expanding. Anyways, things were shuffled around and I ended up with my parents gas grill. I have never grilled anything on a BBQ in my life and now I’m wondering what the hell took me so long (besides cash flow to actually purchase one of course). Almost every single thing I have put on that grill has turned out heavenly (except for the one time I wanted to char the Tandoori chicken I had cooked in the crock pot and then forgot about- doh!) and there are no pats and pans to clean and there is no cooked food smell in the house and I don’t even lose my appetite after cooking! It’s the best thing ever!!! I have made burgers, steaks, fish, even pasta on the thing. It’s fast and it’s easy and it gives me a reason to be outside of the house where I can’t hear the screaming of the children.

Stopped Caring

About the money that is. Sort of. I have been driving myself absolutely crazy trying to keep everything afloat financially. Counting pennies to make sure I have enough to pay this, that, and the other. Hounding Child Support Enforcement. And so on and so forth and then I just STOPPED. I gave up. On everything. I gave up on paying off my debts. I gave up on tracking my spending. I gave up on the idea of ever seeing child support again. I even gave up on the idea of paying every single bill on time. Yup. Just. Stopped. Caring. I recognize this is not a healthy way to live. I know that I cannot and will not sustain this for a long period of time. And I also know the way I was living before was just as unhealthy and just as unsustainable and finally everything cracked and fell apart. Credit cards are loaded up again. I’ve had some late bills I completely forgot about or flat out didn’t have money for. I had a bounced check. I even had one of my accounts cleaned out by credit card fraud. Someone got access to a nasty adult website at the cost of $90 of my precious money. I just felt like the more I kept fighting the money thing, the more ferocious it got. It was like a hydra. Cut off one head and eight more grow back in its place. So I stopped cutting and settled for lamely poking and some lazy dodging. Funny enough, a random child support check for $100 showed up (two days before my $90 was stolen so there you go). Does it mean things will be turning around soon? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care? Not yet, no.

I believe that each of us has limits and that includes limits on the number of things we can consciously dedicated time and energy to. Because life shifts constantly, these things need constant re-evaluation and re-prioritization. Right now, my focus is on 1) Organization, 2) School, and 3) Relationship Strengthening (romantic, family, kids, friends, and with myself). And that is all I can handle in a serious, dedicated, and consistent manner. It’s not that everything else gets thrown to the curb, it’s just that everything else gets handled as well as it can with whatever energy and other resources I may have left after dealing with 1, 2, and 3. As one of those becomes easier to handle and needs less and less of my attention, other priorities can ease up and absorb me some more. But right now, these are three biggies and they win, period end of story.

So, that’s where I am. And that’s where I am going. Thanks again for your suggestions. I have been trying them out here and there and it’s been nice knowing I have such a great team of cheerleading readers. But I’m curious– what do you think of limits as far as priorities go? Do you shift things around constantly or do you stay focused on pretty much the same things all the time? If so, do you find you need to shake things up now and then? Do you know what your limits are? What are you focusing on big time right now?

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Blegh: When Single Moms Get Sick

Sick days

Sick Days by Half.Jak on Flickr

About two weeks ago, Daughter woke up at 5 in the morning and vomited all over the place. And so began a crazy day of her body emptying itself out courtesy of vomit and diarrhea that was on and off several days. It was a nightmare of a stomach virus and it had run rampant through the kids’ school even landing a couple kids in the hospital with severe dehydration.

It sucked Daughter pretty dry too, rendering her already tiny skinny little body into an even tinier and skinnier little body. I fought with her to keep her hydrated getting Gatorade into her in sips and when she tired of that, counting on ice chips. Food was iffy. But slowly she got better and ate more and drank more and now, she’s totally fine.

Last Thursday, I was sitting on the train on the way to work reading 1984 when suddenly I felt very very wrong. I was hot and sweaty and clammy and cold all at the same time. I yanked off my sweater and put the book away. I wondered why I was suddenly motion sick. I’ve read on the train lots of times. I focused on looking out the window and not puking. I felt pale and shaken when I got to work and right away told my co-worker what had happened and that I’d be in my office with my head down to see if it would pass.

A couple of hours later it was my turn to run to the bathroom and after that go home. I pretty much spent the entire weekend lying down either on the sofa or the bed. The only exceptions would of course be the runs to the bathroom. Especially Saturday. Oh Saturday you sucked so bad.

I actually fared better than my daughter in that I was not treated to the combo of body-empyting strategies she was. My body chose one and ran with it. Needless to say, I’m still a bit blegh. I’m eating bread and jello and drinking Gatorade. I’m sometimes hungry but often not. And honestly I’m scared to eat.

Getting sick sucks for everyone. For a single mom, it’s just beyond aggravating.

This weekend, the kids were with their father. And although I was relieved I didn’t have that worry to contend with, I was constantly agonizing about all of the things I usually get done those weekends of mine. Those are the weekends I stock up on groceries. Those are the weekends I do laundry. Those are the weekends I do some sort of major clean up project. And there’s the stuff I do every weekend too.

And here I was laying down.

Today I’ve come into work and there is so much work-related stuff to do. I just sat and plugged away and the hours flew by. I forced myself to take a break, this is it, and I really have to get back to it.

But I’m stressing because of all the time I lost this weekend and what a hectic couple of weeks I have coming up. This was the weekend I was going to study pretty in-depth for my first pre-calculus test on the 14th. I barely remembered to pay bills. I have to do groceries again and have no idea when that opportunity will come. The laundry. Oh my god the laundry. I wanted to get my taxes going. The house is a trashed mess, pretty much in the same chaotic state as Thursday when the kids came home. I’ve got to withdraw the money for the rent. And there’s other stuff that was so clear a few days ago and is now hazy and lurking in the shadows brought on by this illness.

Just when you feel you’re getting things on a schedule, a routine is emerging, and things are clicking you get swiped and too easily things get derailed. The same thing happens at work. I was gone for two days and I have come back today to towers of things that need to get done two weeks ago.

Hi my name is Sisyphus and this is my rock and that’s the mountain I need to get it up.

Post-Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas Nesting

Home is where the Heart is
Home is where the heart is” by Linda Yvonne on Flickr

It’s a weird time of year for me. Exhausting and exciting. Tiring and titillating. Wearisome and whimsical.

Lately, the condition of my home has really been rubbing me wrong. Every room in the house has a mess in it of varying size and degree. Some parts of the house don’t smell great. Walking through the house is somewhat of an adventure as you’re likely to either run into or step on something if not do both.

Cleaning out for the garage sale was a big help but it wasn’t the complete answer. So I’ve kept at it.

Sometimes, it’s been a very frustrating thing for me. When you have children especially, housekeeping is truly a Sisyphean task. And there have been moments where this sort of realization has smashed into me and left me frustrated and even depressed.

It’s something like I’m moving the fifth load of laundry into the dryer and am suddenly horribly coldly aware I’ve done this four times in one weekend already and I will likely do it again in another day or two. Horrible. Why. Am. I. Doing. This.

And yet there are moments of redemption too. Brief ones. But you have to clutch to those because the other ones will drive you mad.

Moments like this past weekend where I was busting my ass to get my kitchen beautiful again. I mean, I went to bed at 3 in the morning on Sunday, from cleaning the house ok? It’s still not done, not even close, but that’s not the point of the story.

The point is I was working on the kitchen and I was taking things down from the window sill to wipe it down and at first I thought, Why am I even bothering with the window sill? No one cares about the window sill. And then I suddenly sort of changed moods and switched gears. Suddenly I was doing something to give my loved ones a nice home, one similar to what I had growing up.

And that felt good. And that felt like a good motivator. And I rode it till 3 in the morning. And I’m still riding it because I know it’ll (most likely) eventually evaporate.

But I think to counter the eventual feel good vibe evaporation (quite the scientific term, believe you me) I need to ride it long enough to devise a system. Or maybe not even devise but re-implement.

Like (practically) every good female on the internet, I have been seduced by the FLYlady. I’ve toyed with her process and have had varying degrees of success. Mostly I have two big problems with it– it’s not compatible for a single full time working mother of three children and I really just can’t ever finally love housework. I know she says it’s about finally loving yourself but I beg to differ. I just won’t go into it all right now.

The thing is, whether I like her or not, whether I have the time and patience to put her system into effect completely at my house or not, there is one basic part of FLYlady’s system that works– routine maintenance.

My mom is a domestic diva. She is of the old school lineage that truly takes pride in a home’s appearance. I remember the house always being clean, or at least smelling that way. To this day, when my mom brings something she’s laundered at her house, it always smells a million times better than my laundry and it lasts way longer too. My mom has told me, in a million ways, that essentially FLYlady is right. Cleaning your house is something that has to be done every single day. Like brushing your teeth.

You know how you wouldn’t leave your house in the morning without brushing your teeth? My mom believes you shouldn’t go to bed at night without cleaning something in your house, preferably a lot of somethings.

Even though it’s still hard for me to admit it, Mom’s right. And that’s where the program comes into place. I actually had a house I was proud of a while ago. Which is funny because it was also the time I had a body I was proud of and lots of people out there would say it’s not a coincidence.

And the crazy part is this actually happened during a time in my life where I was a single mom.

I’m unhappy with my home and my body these days. They both feel dumpy and frumpy and neglected. But this post isn’t about my body, it’s about the house. So I’m going to start making up my lists of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. And I’m just going to keep riding the wave into a more standard program of routine maintenance. It worked so well for me once before, I know it can work again. And the kids are older and can join in more ways than they were able  to two years ago.

So that’s where my mind’s been these days. With my home and putting some heart into it. What about you?

By the way, random question but when should I open up Tinsel my Christmas Pig?

Heading into August’s final stretch

I will defeat you She-Ra!

Well, it’s the last week of August and the last week to work on the goals I set up when the month started. I figure I’ll refresh us with some of these, update you on where I’m at, and lay out my plan for the last week.

Financial

As I’d mentioned in a previous post, the bulk of Eldest’s birthday party expenses were associated with a reptile show that was a no-show. This left me with $250 which ended up being absolutely necessary to carry me over the gap between when I would’ve normally gotten child support and when I actually did get child support. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I’d challenged myself to hit 8 No Spend Days this month. Well, I’ve got 7 so far! I am pretty happy about this I have to say. I look forward to challenging myself again next month with a couple more days perhaps. It really helps to plan ahead, let me tell you. It also helps to just stay home and relax. Amazing how affordable that is!

I really do like the two account system although, I do confess things got a bit tight and I had to switch to the bill account until the child support dust settled, but that lasted only a few days and I’m back to the initial set-up: Credit Union for spending and ING for bills.

As regular readers know, the Income Deduction Order is working. The first amount was cut from his paycheck Friday, August 12 and I deposited the check yesterday. There was a gap in income then from when he normally would’ve paid me something (that same Friday) to yesterday. But, the gap was worth it because I know I got more this way than had he been able to choose the amount given to me. I need to set up for direct deposit. I have the form all filled out in an envelope, stamped, and ready for the mailbox on the way out. I doubt it’ll go into effect before they cut the next check but hey, I’m working on it!

Since I did get some money from the deduction, I’ve arranged for $575 to go into the different savings accounts and I’ve set aside $59 to pay off one of my low-balance credit cards next week when the funds transfer. YAY!

Personal

It looks like working out is going to be a September thing. My friend bought a Groupon for six classes at a circus arts school. They’re letting her split it so she and I can go together. She’s eyeballing something called high-flying yoga. Not to be outdone, I found a Groupon for pole dancing classes at a studio by my house. She went and bought that one too. It was only $29 and they have all kinds of hilarious classes—even some that have nothing to do with a pole or disrobing or laps. The best part of both of these options is they have very flexible schedules. The pole fitness studio is even open until 9:30 on weeknights!

As I predicted, with school starting for the kids this past Monday prepping the night before has become a must-do. And it’s paid off. I don’t know why I know this consciously and yet struggle to do it. I know this is common after all it’s why people smoke cigarettes or eat a box of Swiss Cake Rolls in one sitting (god I love those).

Following the success of our first family meeting, I’m going to schedule another one the first Monday of September which is Labor Day. I think it’ll be good to check in with the kids and how their new school routines are working. We’ll also most likely have to discuss extracurricular activities. This is something my mother and brother have traditionally helped with financially. I never asked, they just really wanted to do it for my kids. But this year, I’d like to contribute financially to this. Eldest has already expressed a desire to try out for the Primary basketball team and Daughter has told me she really wants to do ballet again this year.

So the girlfriend outing didn’t happen this month and it’s not likely. But I guess I’ll be compensating with the pole dancing and trapeze-flying in the next few weeks.

As far as books, most of you voted for Bossypants as my next read and it will be—after Posionwood Bible because that’s due at the library first and I can’t renew it. I’ve been reading it on the train every day and already love it.

As you know, things have gotten pretty exciting at this blog this month what with all of the mentions everywhere and most recently the nomination at my local news site (which is hilarious considering I’d said I wouldn’t ask for votes and I promise you, I’m really trying not to). As a matter of fact, I may even break a previous record for traffic to this blog in one month. The funny thing is that particular month was a freak month for me and was completely due to the Facebook child abuse campaign that asked everyone to change their profile picture to their favorite childhood cartoon character. People came flocking to this blog for She-Ra pictures. They still do! It was by far my highest spike in traffic and this month, I might match it or beat it without a freak Facebook campaign skewing the results.

I should mention I’ve begun crocheting the Alaskan Nights afghan for my mother. I promised this her blanket last Christmas. It’s so beautiful but I’ve already worked myself into a mess. I only copied part of the pattern apparently and returned the book. And I am getting confused without a photo to guide me. So far, I like what I see but I’m in a weird part of it right now and not really sure if I’m doing it right or what.

I have to say, I am really liking the fact I’ve been on top of the goals I set out for myself this month. I worry that maybe I’m boring you guys but you have to know, this has been tremendously helpful to me in staying on track and staying focused. Not to mention, I actually get to prove to myself that I’m accomplishing things and not just meandering mindlessly day to day.

What about you? Are you looking at closing August smoothly or are you kind of freaking out a bit? Do you create and track goals or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?

Many Different Thoughts & 18/52: Wet

It’s been raining pretty aggressively here all night and all day. I think it’s beautiful when it’s so gray, misty, and muted outside. I’d rather be in bed but then again, I don’t have a window with this view in bed so you win some you lose some.

Did you notice the figurines? My daughter was here with me last Thursday and apparently she thought the little guys would much rather look out the window and enjoy that view than stare at my back all day. Smart girl.

Do you know what this is?

Pardon my French but there’s just no other way to describe that. She’s standing still in this shot because it’s the only way I could get any sort of clear shot. The rest of time I saw her she was out there pounding away at the pavement.

She’s not even tuned into a music player and I know there was not a single break in the rain this morning so this girl laced up and went out there in the pouring rain because she can and because she wanted to and because I needed to see something awesome like that this morning.

Don’t get me wrong, part of me wanted to hate her with her perfect body and blonde hair and youthful carefree life that allows for running in the rain but that was such a tiny part and it stood no chance against just how awesome I think she is really.

You know how the phrase, “You go, girl” got way overdone? Well this is the kind of situation that no other phrase more adequately describes. Girl power, indeed.

I’m trying a couple of things this month. I’m not necessarily challenging myself because I feel sort of beat up and need a break but my brain doesn’t do well when it has nothing to toy with.

I’m talking to my kids in Spanish all month. I didn’t make an announcement to them, I just stopped talking in English on Monday. I’m trying to make it exclusively in Spanish but it is really hard to do and sometimes completely ineffective.

Eldest has turned into a surprisingly accurate translator for Daughter who’s decided she doesn’t understand a lick of Spanish and believes the best approach to my current language of choice is a completely blank dumbfounded stare more suited to a thirteen year old who’s just heard you admit you have no clue who this Justin Bieber person is they keep going on about.

It seems Baby understands as much Spanish as English so that’s working ok. I figured I won’t press them to speak back to me in Spanish. What I’m hoping is that I can keep this going and that at the very least they absorb Spanish vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.

The next step would be that they sometimes respond to my Spanish with their own Spanish as an experiment (Do I have this right?) and then after that they respond to my Spanish with Spanish naturally.

Besides, I need to keep practicing my Spanish. My job requires a pretty high level of fluency and I don’t feel as comfortable as I’d like with my conversational Spanish.

Financially, I’m trying something else too. I’m sort of toying with a weekly budget but this is already turning into a challenge and I don’t know that I have the mental energy to stick to it.

I thought I had it pretty figured out this week until my son came home last night and informed me he needs a mouth guard and cup for his Karate tournament Saturday. The same tournament that had a $50 registration fee I just paid because it was budgeted for.

So, I’m not really sure it’s worth it to me to make the switch from what I had going and really the problem with the budget system I have in place isn’t my budget skills it’s the unpredictable income stream.

This month with the tax refund, it should be a bit more stable. Besides, that court-ordered income deduction will go into effect this month. It will, I know it. I believe in the system.

Oh, I had my annual check-up with my doctor yesterday. She’s changed my birth control to a more inexpensive option. I’m happy to be paying $45 less a month but not thrilled I’ll be back on daily pills. She’s urging me to explore the possibility of an IUD. She thinks I’m an excellent candidate for it if the insurance covers it at a reasonable rate.

Other than that, the doctor thinks everything’s good. She says, even though I disagree, my weight is perfectly fine where it is. She does want me to drink more water and milk. She let me know women store calcium until the age of 35 so I’ve got a few years left and she wants me to make the most of them. She’s asked me to aim for about 1500mg of calcium a day.

I took a deep breath with the craft projects I’m working on and decided to stop stressing the stupid deadline and just enjoy working on them. I haven’t picked up the knitting one since I started the crochet one, but I’ll be getting back to it soon enough.

Tomorrow I’ll have to take a break to go and do a merchandising job. I signed up with a company to do merchandising and mystery shops. I like it because the jobs are quick and relatively easy. They get me out of the house and out of my routines. I try and do them when I don’t have the kids but this one was way too good to pass up and gives me the opportunity to earn up to $30 every two weeks to the end of June. They cut my first check for last month for $40 and they’re still pending a couple of assignments.

It might sound really small and meaningless to you but it’s $40 I didn’t have before. The more work I take on for them, the more often they call me for assignments with bonuses on them and such things. If I averaged $40 a month from them, that’s almost $500 at the end of the year which would be a nice thing to throw at debt, don’t you think?

Oh, there’s one more financial change I’m making this month but this one has to wait until the very end to happen. On payday, I’m going to open one more account with ING. This will be my Wants fund and 5% of any money I’ve managed to save up will go into that account. The rest will be used as a debt snowball as I am confident the child support issue will at least stabilize this month, one way or another.

Ideally, the court-ordered income deduction goes into effect but at the very least, he’ll pay what he paid last month. Although it’s not the full amount, it’s more than I’ve gotten for many months now and it helps cover the essentials.

I figure if I reward myself with 5% of my savings, it could motivate me to keep expenses low and put off the little things for something larger. Plus it gives me an outlet to enjoy the money. I can use that Wants fund for anything from haircuts to a family trip to books to new clothes to a really nice birthday dinner. Last month, it would’ve only been $4.55 but I’ve had some months with great success, especially when I was receiving child support and not having the burden of kiddie expenses on me and me alone. It would’ve been nice to have a piece of my hard work for something “indulgent”. And budgeting, saving money, and tracking expenses is hard work.

By the way, here’s some cute Budgeting humor from last Sunday’s paper. I love the comics section and always want to share at least one piece with everyone I know.

One more thing I’m doing this month is taking on household projects in very small bites. I’m telling you, I feel sort of bowled over with a bit of depression and you can tell when you walk into my house. This is always a problem for me because the worse it gets, the less happy I get and the less happy I get, the less I want to do anything which leads to a further decay of things. So last night I told myself I’d clear the dining table and nothing else but the dining table. It took me a while and I had to sit every now and then or take a drink break or something but I did it. And I made sure everything I cleared was put away, not just moved to another place.

This approach works very well for me when I’m in this state. It gives me small rewards and small challenges. It forces my focus on one thing and stops my mind from going everywhere else. Plus the actual task of sorting, trashing, filing, etc keeps my mind preoccupied and that means it doesn’t sit there and talk trash at me.

If you’re having problems like this, I strongly suggest you try this approach. For more benefit, choose a pretty small thing in an area you see a lot through the course of your day. Say, the end table in the living room or a particular chair or one side counter or something like that. I think this is why FlyLady loves the kitchen sink so much.

My problem is the kitchen sink gets disgusting fast and that’s really hard for me to overcome so I have to work my way over to it before I’m ready. Not sure I’m ready but my kitchen is starting to smell yucky and that turns my smile upside down.

When my Mother’s Day presents are all done, do you know what I’m going to do?

This.

And not necessarily in that order.

The latest reason I love couponing

Went to Publix last night to take advantage of the last day of last week’s sale (here Publix sales run Thursday to Wednesday unlike everywhere else because that’s how we do it down here). I paid $46.17 for $85.84 worth of stuff. Here’s how it broke down across the three categories I made purchases in (pre-tax because otherwise I get befuddled):

Food (Almond milk, sour cream, feta cheese, chuck patties, pita bread)

Cost: $21.34 Coupons & Sales: $4.18 Savings of 20%

Personal Care– Kids (Diapers, Wipes, Diaper Cream, Body Wash)

Cost: $46.46 Coupons & Sales: $20.99 Savings of 45%

Personal Care– Mine (Toothpaste, toothbrushes, facial tissues)

Cost: $9.89 Coupons & Sales: $9.45 Savings of 96%

Overall on my bill (with tax), I saved 46%. My receipt further explains I took advantage of $17.99 in store coupons (21%), $11.15 in vendor coupons (13%), and $10.53 in special prices (12%). I want to emphasize, these savings are in Florida which does not double coupons. If they did, my savings would have been even higher. Regardless, this trip goes to strengthen my assertion that coupon savings’ strength lies outside of Food especially if you’re not into really junky food and is still very much worth the time and effort (which incidentally is not much). This is especially important for those who place high value on high-quality foods (which in all honesty is not me, I’d say I’m in the moderate camp) because it’s the perfect example of the savvy money mentality to save where you can to splurge where you want.

P.S. When you do your shopping, and your bags are loaded, and you’ve paid, take your cart to an out of the way place by the exit (don’t block any passages) and look through your receipt carefully. Two weeks ago at Publix, the eggs were on sale ($2) but rang up at regular price ($2.59). I probably wouldn’t have done anything except I’d bought three dozen eggs for the baking marathon I went on. I went back to have it adusted and the lady gave me back the full value of the three dozen eggs. Why? To my surprise, their policy is if they charge you wrong, they refund the full amount of the item. So what I thought would be a savings of $1.77 (the difference in price) turned into a savings of $7.77. This week, I ignored my own advice and have overpaid in two separate instances and didn’t catch it until days later when I was entering my data in my price book. I lost $4.09. Oh and I forgot to use a coupon because I was on the phone at checkout losing another $1.25. My total loss for negligence this week? $5.34. Lesson learned? It’s important to be vigilant with your money, even in the little things because they add up fast and no one is going to watch out for your money any better than you are. 

Monday- Week Begin

I had a lovely and delicious weekend, I really did. On Friday I made some ice cream with Thin Mints (good but too much vanilla) when I got home from work. And then that night, I drank two glasses of wine (which I never do) and fell asleep on the couch with the kids strewn across and next to me in random positions while they watched Castle in the Sky (we are huge Miyazaki fans). I just knew the moment I settled into the couch and they climbed on me I didn’t stand a chance. I leaned over and was asleep before I hit the sofa. I was woken up with the usual “Mom the movie’s over can we watch another one!?” It being almost eleven I shoved all of us into bed instead.

Saturday morning I went to the Farmer’s Market which was celebrating the last day of the 2011 season. I met up with a friend, his girlfriend, her son, and their wee baby. We wandered, shopped fruits and veggies, Eldest bought a cactus (he loves them), and then wandered around the area checking out the restaurants and stores. I took her son home with me as he and Eldest get along fabulously and we played outside the rest of the day. I think their favorite part of the day was when I filled the plastic pool and slipped it under the slide. Oh yeah baby, summer’s here! I finished sewing up my little doll (wait until you see her I’m in love with her) when his mom and my friend came back to pick him up and we chatted while they played some more. It was just idyllic and I have a really pretty (but itchy) tan to show for it.

Yesterday we were slow to wake up and I made a big breakfast featuring chocolate chip pancakes and bacon pancakes (and chocolate chip bacon pancakes for Eldest, weirdo) and scrambled eggs. I made myself start cleaning and picking up and doing laundry but my back got mad at me and started hurting really bad so I had to shift a bit to doing things like folding laundry sitting down. I also made some vanilla blackberry ice cream (again too much vanilla, not enough blackberries). Oh and a friend came by for a quick visit. She was in town for Ultra Music Festival and wanted to see me quickly before she headed off for the last day of shows. I always love out-of-towners enjoying my town. It was such a nice weekend, I really didn’t want it to end and resisted sleep a bit too much so I’m quite sleepy and lethargic today despite one cup of coffee and one chai latte. But I’m overall calm and content today in a very Comme Ci, Comme Ça sort of mood about the house and the finances and all of it.

Of course, financially speaking, this is super dangerous. My restrictions on spending tend to come undone and I’m generally very open to temptation when I’m like this because I feel very generous. Does that make sense to anyone? I don’t really want to spend on myself, just everyone else. Ok fine maybe a little on myself. I blame spring. The change in weather just makes me want to shake out the old stuff and bring in the new stuff. I also feel very confident in the future and am far more susceptible to the thinking that tomorrow will bring enough money and more security so why worry today? It’s hard to shift the mentality (maybe even impossible for some of us). Also hard to do is shake off this weekend sleepiness. Mondays should be half-days.