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The Difference A Goal Can Make

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These past few months I’ve done pretty well pinching pennies but not as well as I would like. I’ve also not done as well as I would like in the ebook writing department.

I’ve been playing it off as a seasonal thing but since last night I feel a change.

I feel liberated.

I feel inspired.

Now that I know my next step I have a reason to do what I do.

Hell, I have a reason now to do it even better.

This morning I woke up with a grin on my face, took the puppies out, started a cup of coffee then sat down at the computer. Instead of looking at this machine as a device I’ll eventually upgrade, I now see it as a priceless item I want to keep running for as long as possible. The longer I use this laptop, the less I spend on computers. The less I spend on computers, the more money I have toward my future home.

I like the sound of that.

I also started an expense sheet. I plan to write down every darn penny I save excluding food because that is covered by SNAP right now. I want to see how much I’m spending to determine what I can save. I’ve never taken an expense sheet seriously but if I’m going to accomplish my goal in a reasonable amount of time I need to have the hard numbers available.

I am not sure how I will broach the subject with Katie but we will need to talk about spending and saving money. The more we save, the faster we can own our OWN home. Fortunately she doesn’t ask for too much but I don’t want her to resent this project.

A Favor

Will you please send me your favorite money-saving tips and suggestions? Email them to me at annie at annienygma dot com or leave them in the comments on this page. I want to collect as many as I can to learn from. I plan to go somewhat extreme so don’t forget the wacky ones. Let me know in your emails if I can share them – perhaps we can create a weekly post filled with money-saving tips and tricks?

Thank you for being there for me as I muddle through life and figure out who I am and what I’m doing. I would be so lost without you. I love you guys!

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  1. Jen wrote:

    I can’t imagine being able to give you a tip that you don’t know already, but good luck!

    I am a single mom who will probably have to go on SNAP sometime soon because I am barely scraping by with no child support and I would love a post on how that’s all working out for you. Do you find that it buys you a luxurious amount of food compared to what you were eating before?

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  2. Sunny wrote:

    It sound great! I agree, goal can make a difference. To catch up on things, I make myself a to do list and I try to follow it. But most of the time, I have too much add on there…

    I also have a paper notebook in which I write everything I do during the day for work, online earnings etc. It help to keep me motivated.

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink
  3. I’m learning to like goals. When you have a “black or white” way of thinking like I do, it can be hard not to think you’ve failed if you don’t make your goals. But I think without goals I wouldn’t move forward in my life.

    For saving, having a friend take a look at your expenses can provide a fresh perspective on where to cut. If you’re okay with your friends seeing your finances.

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  4. Is Katie on the free lunch program? Of not, sign her up. It will help stretch your SNAP benefits. In our district the kids get free breakfast and lunch which really helps a lot.

    Your enthusiasm is contagious. I hope to hear more about this venture of yours as I am in the same boat as you are. 2 sites I’d like to share with you are and The latter has great deals on foreclosures.

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink
  5. Linda Sand wrote:

    I stopped using shampoo and body soap. I just climb in the shower and scrub with a plain washcloth. I’ve been doing this since Jan 20th and I feel, look, and smell just fine. If you want to see photos check out my blog at It’s been almost three months now and my hair is down to the bottom of my collar but this way of washing still works.

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink
  6. Annie wrote:

    Dear Linda,
    What a wonderful idea! I’ve used baking soda to wash my hair but had not seriously considered using no products at all. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  7. Annie wrote:

    Dear Heidi,
    She isn’t currently on the free lunch program here. Normally we fix her lunch. The school year is almost over (to where the year would be over before she would be fully approved) so I plan to apply for her next year.

    Thank you so much for the websites! I do so appreciate them! You rock!

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
  8. Annie wrote:

    Dear Joanna,
    Every time I let someone look at my expenses they say I don’t spend eem>enough. :( They just don’t get what I’m doing here and I’ve even been accused to depriving Katie (among other things). I plan to start writing down what I spend in hopes that I can find some areas to trim and I may share that list on here to ask for advice. Thanks!

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  9. Annie wrote:

    Jen, use it if you need it. I’ve worked hard to stay off of them for years but for now I’m enjoying the abundance.

    Also, since we all think a little differently I feel that we can help each other by sharing encouragement and ideas. We can do anything once we put our minds to it and friendship makes all of us unstoppable.

    Friday, April 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink
  10. WearItOut wrote:

    We’re saving for an early retirement so here are our main money saving efforts that work well:
    1. Cook in bulk and freeze in containers. Supermarkets sometimes sell off fresh produce in boxes for about $2-3 a box in our area: mixed veggies are our favorites.
    2. Make your own cleaning products (got this idea from your website).
    3. Buy only if it is on sale.
    4. Buy it used or borrow it.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink
  11. Annie wrote:

    Thank you for your tips WearItOut! I’m seriously thinking of making up some “tv dinner”- type meals to freeze for later use. Have you tried that or do you just freeze in meal-size portions?

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  12. Diane Crane wrote:

    We are continuing our journey in minimalism by cancelling our cell phones. Does anyone have any suggestions on what pre-paid phones are the best for texting and emergency calls? There are so many to choose from. We don’t want any plan just the phones we can pay for minutes. Thanks for any help.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  13. Annie wrote:

    Dear Diane,
    It depends upon what service works best in your area. I used AT&T as a prepay plan. They have a per-minute rate as well as a daily-unlimited rate. The other major carriers have similar options. Visit a local Radio Shack to ask about what prepay plans work best in your area to check out prices. It is better to pay a little more for a service that has good coverage than a cut rate price for poor service. Nothing is more upsetting than to actually NEED the phone and be out of the service area. :( Hope this helps!

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  14. Diane Crane wrote:

    I just got this new updated laundry soap. Here is the recipe.
    1 box of borax
    1 large box of baking soda
    1 large box of washing soda
    3 bars of Fels naptha soap, grated and mixed in a food processor with some borax to make it mix in better.
    5and 1/2 cups of Oxyclean.
    Mix all in a bucket and use 1-2 tablespoons as needed depending on the size of load and dirt.I have used it and it is wonderful and don’t have to mix up the liquid kind. I hope this saves alot of money. I am told it only cost pennies to make.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  15. Diane Crane wrote:

    this suggestion is for Jen and anyone else who needs help. Please consider using the local food pantry and church food cupboard and clothing cupboard. I help in ours and are so happy to be able to help anyone who enters. No one is judged and no questions are asked about income or anything so please look into your area for these options. There are many people who would love to help single moms if they just knew there was a need. I live in Michigan and are many people who are struggling to make it. Our church puts this expense in their yearly budget to assist people. I hope this helps.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink
  16. Annie wrote:

    That is a wonderful thing that your church does Diane. Please send them my heartfelt thanks for their wonderful generousity and I hope people will reach out when they need help.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink
  17. Annie wrote:

    Thank you for the recipe Diane! That looks to make a HUGE batch of laundry soap too!

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink
  18. Christy wrote:

    I believe you said that you had recently acquired a copy of “The Tightwad Gazette”by Amy Dacyczyn. Read it, read it and reread it! It is such a wealth of information on saving money and cutting costs. Good luck on purchasing a home. That is a goal that my family and I are working on right now too.

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  19. Annie wrote:

    I love that book Christy! I devoured it and have kept it to refer back to. Thanks!

    Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
  20. Ok, you might think that this one is lame but…can you place a few recycling receptacles in businesses? You can probably order free recycling “starter kits” online, I know here in Ca we can, that contain a sign to post and a durable bin with a cutout in the lid. Get a few of them. Then network and find a few places you can set them up with the promise of collection regularly so that they don’t have to worry about it getting out of hand. Maybe you know a hairdresser that will let you put one in their shop, or someone who works at an auto repair, or a teacher who could put one in the teacher lounge or near a vending machine, in front of the 7-eleven, you get the idea. Just make sure they are places where it’s not a pain or too far out of your way to collect them…Even if it only brought in $10 a week, it adds up.

    Here is the link to our CA program just to give you an idea…

    We ordered a kit 2 years ago and my kids use the bin for our own recycling. I just ordered another one that I plan on looking for a business to set it up at…

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  21. As a side note…why do my comments need moderating every time? Before it was only my first comment that was moderated, after that first one all of my comments posted straight away..but now, no. They go to you there something weird about my profile that is flagging my comments?

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  22. Ok, weird. That one posted right away, but the one just before went to moderation…OH! is it because it contained a link? so maybe it looked spammy?

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  23. Annie wrote:

    I think it is the links. I have it set to moderation for links right now because I keep getting hit with so much link spam. Sorry!

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink
  24. Annie wrote:

    Dear Heidi,
    That is an excellent idea about recycling bins but I would be treading on the toes of Mr. A and Mr. Thrift who both recycle heavily in this area. They are on limited incomes and need every penny to make ends meet and I don’t want to risk taking any of their income, you know? As it is I save any metal I can for them to help them out.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  25. That makes sense…the links and the recycling… ;-) Hmm, I’ll keep thinking…

    Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink
  26. Annie wrote:

    Dear Heidi,
    I adjusted the link settings for you. Hopefully you should have no further problems commenting but if you do please let me know ok?

    Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  27. Deborah wrote:

    Do you have a garden? I grow some of my own vegies …not all as I work full time. In terms of saving money I’ve decided to concentrate more energy on growing some bulk crops like potatoes and sweetcorn…they don’t take much effort to grow (not in NZ anyway). Also check out if there are any fruit trees in your neighbourhood where no one is picking up the fruit. Good luck Annie, it’s a vey good time to be thinking of buying a house!

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  28. Annie wrote:

    Thank you Deborah! I have planted a small garden and am curious to see how well it does here. I also have a walnut tree in my back yard which is great. I’ll have to look to find some fruit trees. Thanks!

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

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