Friday, June 25, 2010

Should I? Could I?

No ground breaking frugal news for you today...except maybe that I got $161.70 in free stuff from the cable company last week! Another reason to always, always keep track of your paperwork and it really does pay to make a phone call or 6. Basically what happened is they kept making the same mistake. Over. And over. And OVER again. I had to explain the situation like 14 times. To 7 different people. Always be polite but firm. If someone can't offer you a solution, ask for their manager. Yes, I was on hold forever. But how long would you stay on hold for $161.70? I was multitasking at the skin off my nose so to speak!

Lots of people have been asking me questions, telling me all about their frugal conquests {which I love by the way...way to go on that water bill Barb!!!} and just generally taking interest in where their money goes. KUDOS TO YOU PEOPLE! It's our own business how we spend our money...but we need to be conscious of what we are doing. With our eyes wide open to the consequences. That's it. For every action there is an equal reaction. So my point this week is the reason I am all about the frugal-ness in my world is so that I will have the extra cash for those things that are important to me. Some might say that it is wasteful of me to spend the money I do on the 2 scrapbooking events I attend every year. But really, compare it to someone who buys coffee everyday. For the sake of easy math let's say they don't drink what I drink {which costs $4.79 and that's why I don't do it all the time! LOL} $3 per day times 5 days a week times 4 weeks a month times 12 months a year. $720. That amount covers most of my "scrap event budget" for the year. So I choose that over the coffee. I can't speak for everyone who does the frugal thing but in our world we live comfortably. I have been working on this for a few years now and don't really feel it as "a pinch" anymore. I just choose carefully where I want my fun money to go! I would rather lounge on a beach in Mexico every 2 years than buy new jeans every month. I'd rather drive a newer vehicle than go out for supper every week. {For a family of 4 that's almost $2000 a year extra at a cheapo restaurant-wow!}. And I would much rather hit every concert that comes to town than unconsciously twenty my money away. Budget binder {write everything down}. Save your receipts. Plan for those credit card purchases. When I buy concert tickets, I take the cash and put it in an envelope. Or any credit card purchase for that matter. Cash goes into an envelope, then when the bill is due it's right there. A fabulous example of how twenty-ing your money away can get you into trouble is when you travel with others. Camp Croppin' was a whale of a good time. Megan puts on one amazing event! Went with some fun gals and for the sake of convenience I put 2 registrations, all gas and hotel on my credit card. There were 4 of us, we drove 6 hours away and we stayed 2 nights so that can amount to a good chunk of change. At the end of the trip I tallied everything up, divided it and everyone paid their share. Now if I would have put it in my wallet and just twentied it away, that credit card total would have been very scary when the bill came. Well, it was already scary actually because the Hubs opened it before I did! LOL His eyes goggled out of his head like the Coyote when the Roadrunner runs right past his trap and he realizes that now HE is going to blow up. :0) Before he even blinked again I handed him the envelope of cash and asked him to deposit it the next day. He smiled {HUGE}, gave me a kiss and sent me out the door to my gym class. Now that situation could have gone a lot different. Could you imagine the stress if I had chosen to spend that money elsewhere and just closed my eyes to the bill coming in a few weeks? Chaos. So in a long winded, round about way my point is that being conscious of how you spend your money means you shouldn't have to live hand to mouth. It saves you grief and argument in the long run. Because life is far too short to be stressing about money right? I'd rather be at the spray park with the kids. Have a lovely summer weekend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Frugal Dayz of Summer

Winding down...and down...and down!~ School is almost done! So what do we have coming down the line in the way of wallet busting activities? PRESENTS. The teacher, the lunch room lady, the Principal, the piano teacher, the coach, the list goes on and on. To gift or not to gift...that is the question. Gifting is a touchy subject...and I look at it like so: To me, a gift is like a tip. I gift for good service, good feelings, good times. If you are totally gelling with your teacher throughout the year, love the interaction between the coach and your kids, had a particularly warm and fuzzy feeling from the piano teacher you may choose to give them a gift at the end of the year. But hear this: It is NOT a requirement. There is nothing stated in the rules that says you must send your teachers on an all expense paid trip to Hawaii. Got it? {Sorry teachers, you know I love you!} There should be no feelings of "Keeping up with the Jones'" here. A gift from your family to a person who is helping to shape your little people should be personal. From the heart. Something that says "Thank-you so much for your valuable time." So here are a few things to stay within your budget but still tell them you care.

-Anything from your oven, complete with a handwritten recipe card is always a nice touch. And if you aren't the baking type, there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling in the professionals. If you are in the Sasaktoon area check out Cupcake Delight {insert shameless plug here} for an amazing way to show your teacher how sweet they are!

-Something from the craft table. A handmade card, mini album of some activities through the year, or a decorated, blank album that they can fill with their own photos would be a delightful, personal gift. If you are crafty, share the craftiness around!

-If you are very familiar with the person you wish to give a gift, a framed photo of your child or whole family may be appropriate. Decorate the frame yourself! But remember to keep it on the small 8x10 glossy of your fam might look fabulous on your coffeetable but might not be as welcomed on the soccer coach's wall.

-Do you know that the person in question is awfully busy and may not have the time to cook? Are you a Martha in the kitchen? Why not put together a freezer meal with a ribbon on it? Make up a lasagna complete with baking instructions and a little card that says thank-you so much for your time, I thought I would save you some by making your family supper. Something along those lines would put a smile on anyone's face.

-Your time can be more precious than a spa day. Offer a few hours to help clean the classroom, sort library books or take down bulletin boards. Saving some time and sharing the workload can be priceless to an overworked teacher looking forward to the first week of summer vacation!

-Group it together. Take charge! Nab the other parents at pick up time and ask them if they are interested in getting a group gift. If one person gives a $5 gift it might not seem like much. But if 25 people get together and each give $5 it can be one heck of a gift certificate. Think outside the box...I mean, a spa day is always nice but times are tight for everyone. Teachers are no exception. WalMart, Superstore, M&M Meats...they all have gift cards. Get everyone to sign the card, throw in a great gift certificate and you have a wonderful thank-you from the class!

-How about a pet you don't have to feed? Have your child paint and decorate a flat rock. It's a sweet little paperweight to remind the person they are cared for. Don't forget the name and date on the bottom.

I am going with a little of everything this year...a basket of all our fave things! Cookies, bread, etc with a few little crafts done by my son. That is for the teacher and her EA in our classroom. For the extended staff I will be putting out a mini cupcake buffet in the staff room with a card that says thank-you to all for their dedication and hard work.

Remember, saying that you appreciate someone doesn't have to break your bank. It's not a contest to see who can bring the biggest bouquet of roses or who can give a card to the most expensive restaurant. The point of a gift at the end of the year is to say "Hey. You spent time helping to shape my child. And I value that. Thank-you so much." So don't feel overwhelmed by it. A card costs a dollar but says so much more.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Techno savvy I am not

Ok, apparently someone has to teach me how to properly pre-post on here because I had last week's Frugal Friday all ready to go and do you see it? Because I don't see it. Floating out in blogland I suppose. SO sorry about that! I have been so busy I haven't even had a minute to check it to make sure it actually posted and then blogger was down. Now it will soon be Friday again so how about we call a do over for last Friday, cut our losses and just have some scrapbooking fun? A couple of things I have been working on lately and I never did give you the Cliffs Notes on Camp Croppin'!

We started out at *almost* the crack of dawn on the Camp Croppin' weekend with a van full of crazy women and Flat Amanda of course. To view her crazy antics click HERE. It all started with our good friend Amanda not being able to attend CC due to chemo. So we printed her out, glued her to a stick and took her on the best trip she never had. LOL It was great fun with lots of laughs and even more ugly crying than one person can handle. Thanks a lot Riley. Speaking of said "ugly cry starter" Barb took the journaling prize for the second year in a row! It was so exciting until they asked her to read one of her enteries and then the flood gates broke open. There is video of it somewhere. I am sure our snot bubbles are on Youtube by now. Fabulous. I was so pleased to follow in Barb's footsteps by taking my second prize in as many years pulling a 3rd overall with this layout:

I really love the details on this one...I glued tiny individual rhinestones to the border of her hat because that's how it is in real life. I loooove fine details like that! The rose in the corner was a technique that Tim Holtz did on his blog for the 12 tags of Christmas but of course it is not a new idea. I used old sacking and crocheted lace and sprayed both that and the rose with multiple layers of Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist. Actaully, there isn't a thing on the layout that made it out glimmer-free! The title letters and hearts are sprayed too. And the journaling spot. It is just so versatile. The whole layout has this soft, feminine shimmer to it that is very much like Amy's personality. She just shines.
It's really nice to do a girly layout every once in a while as I tend to dominate the all boy-all the time category! A simple fireman layout of some friends of ours:
The grey background is really grungy...the photo of course does not do it justice. I used lots of black ink and gobs of Rock Candy crackle paint. It creates wonderful texture. I made the ladder myself by snipping apart those giant metal clippy things that hold together thick stacks of paper. Clippy things of course being the technical term. Found the amazing vintage buttons at a rummage sale.

A bit of sewing on this one...I {heart} my sewing machine! Just a few simple buttons and chipboard stars to add to the Stampin' Up notebook punch because the journaling was really the focus here.
I have SO much going on right about a 100 project pledge? A little exciting scrapbooking news! And an event that is NOT to be missed! Registration opens tomorrow for Sask Scraps. Are you IN?!