Categories
Housing

A New Home

I went to look at another place today.  A mobile home.  Apparently the lady who owns it needs to get it off of her hands and is offering it to me at a price too good to pass up.  The whole deal is screaming at me to “TAKE IT, stupid!”

Should I move there, I will reduce my housing expenses from $250 a month to $100 a month for lot rent.  That would be it, plus utilities.

That would free $150 a month for savings and other things.  It is about fifty miles away from here, so I would have to start over once again, but I would own my own place again!  I have missed owning my own place!  There is even a little fenced in area for the little mutt to run.  It is close to stores, and a short drive from Sam’s Club.

I knew for some reason I was guided to come to this place but I just knew that I would not stay here… 

This will be the answer to some prayers.  A place to call my own.  Yes it means another move and another school, but after this we would be settled for a while.  I would be stupid to let a place like this pass by.  Stupid.

I could save a few dollars here, enough to hire an attorney should my ex decide to start harassing me again.  I would have the money to stand and fight instead of run.  

It is all electric, which means that I would have to get a back up heating and cooking source, but that is no big deal.  I already have a kerosene heater, so if I got a camp stove it would be all good.

What do you think of the place?

Categories
Finances Housing Personal

Fish and things

So far, the shock of losing my job has worn off and life has continued as usual. School is out and talk about the layoffs are dying down.  My sympathies to the other 50 billing agents who were laid off as well.

Fortunately I have been in tougher spots so I know I will survive this one.  Already plans are in motion to decrease my housing expenses even more than I already have.  It just takes time, however.

The little goldfish seemed uncomfortable even with water changes, so today we invested in a filtration unit.  I do not enjoy having the extra electrical outlay, but I won’t have the little critter suffer.  We got one of the filters with the biological filter, which means that there is a living thing helping to filter the water besides the mechanical filtration.  Already little Smudge seems happier.  Perhaps the water wasn’t being agitated enough.  We also got some Aponogeton bulbs and placed in the tank, to provide a more natural environment.  The one plant already in there seems to be doing well, so am hoping for more to grow.

A friend of mine gave me an Eiro energy drink to try, so I drank one today.  They don’t taste as sickeningly sweet as other energy drinks I have tried, and is chock full of healthy ingredients.  You don’t get that sugar buzz, and so far I seem to be a lot less lazy as I have been!  If you are interested in trying a great healthy energy drink, email patwinn7 (at) hotmail dot com and tell her you heard about it from the Computer Lady.  

Also at the store they had a new supply of kerosene lanterns on sale for four dollars each.  Considering how handy they were when we had the bad ice storm I grabbed one before the price goes up.  It is the old fashioned lantern style with the metal base and the bail handle.  I like the glass ones but they are not designed to be portable, and these can be used like flashlights or whatever outside in a safe manner.  During the ice storm we used the two we already have to go between rooms, had one hanging in the bathroom on low, just used them for everything.  In this current world condition one cannot be too prepared, so I grabbed this one to be safe.

I am hoping to locate a portable propane stove and oven to start using.  We have an electric stove here, which is okay but worry about power outages.  Also gas heat will heat water a lot faster and more economical than electric ever can!

We already have a kerosene heater, but plan to invest in another small one.  If we end up moving into a small mobile home, during really cold days a heater on each end of the place should keep it toasty without the super hot spots that one large heater gives off.

When I was a child my father had a small wood stove in our mobile home; while it was warm in the living room, at night ice would form on the walls of my back bedroom.  I had a small electric heater but I hated using that much electric, you know?

The place I’m looking at has an electric furnace, but I personally detest furnaces because they are noisy and expensive to run.  Also during a power outage you are stuck. Much better to start off with an electric-free alternative!

The mini garden outside (actually a repurposed flower bed) is doing well.  The tomato plant is growing at an insane rate, but the two green pepper plants seem to be lagging behind.  I am keeping them dusted after making a shaker for Sevin dust.   Also waiting to see how the peas do this year.. will have them climbing up the sunflowers as an experiment in living trellis.

I would love to come up with an idea for a gypsy-type garden, meaning a small portable garden for frequent movers.  I hate the thought of building up land when I may move in a year or so!  Perhaps one of those gardens that are made with the kiddie pools?

Time to get on with the housework.  The laundry may wait, but my wardrobe will not!

Categories
Personal Writing

Another day another dollar

Today was a good holiday.  Worked for several hours, posted some articles, including a piece of fiction, so I feel as if it were a productive day.

Returned the plastic container to my neighbor and thanked her for the wonderful food it contained, and watched the last part of Extreme Home Makeover at her home.

We treated ourselves to some ice cream, my daughter got us a small bag of chips, and we watched a movie on Hulu.  Life is good.

Trying to think of ways to reduce our expenses and increase our freedom.  Haven’t any answers yet, however. When you have a child things are always more complicated. You have to allow space for them to play and grow, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

The challenge of seeing things and not purchasing them is a challenge.  We are so trained to buy buy buy that it is really disgusting. Even as a child my father thought it best to buy instead of make when he had the money to do it, and he was raised during the first Great Depression!

But everything that we do not buy is a victory and brings us closer to the freedom that we crave.  I do wonder if I will ever see this precious freedom however.

Categories
Finances

Finances and Miscellany

Today was six long hours of back-to-back calls, interspersed with a couple of breaks.  They sent a small list of people home early on in the day, but then it got busy.

I was grateful for the craziness, for it tells me that all is well with my job – and my world. I will work six more hours tomorrow, and then next weekend I am picking up the shifts of a friend of mine who is having surgery.  I hope she does okay.  That will be eight more hours added to my paychecks.

Since moving here from my apartment, at times it seems as if my bills have gone up, but I do believe they have gone down.  My rent included my utilities, and was over $325 every month – sometimes getting as high as $400, but here so far I have barely breached the $300 mark – not including my deposits and moving fees. As such I feel that overall I will save money here, money that I can use to move toward a better, more sustainable life for myself and my daughter.

To keep utilities down, I have promised myself not to use the clothes dryer this month, to instead hang my clothes up to dry instead.  I am testing how it is to hang clothes inside to dry, so have a small clothes line hung in the back storage room and the clothes hung on it.  This experiment will tell me whether or not I really NEED a dryer in my life.  If we can manage by drying them inside, then it will be a simple matter of not replacing the dryer should it die, and then I won’t have to worry about moving to an area that forbids outside clotheslines.  Or I can simply dry my clothes inside to keep people from knowing my business.  An even better reason.My neighbor decided to get a magicjack of her very own.  So far she likes it.  She has it running on Windows vista without a single issue.  I’m glad for her.  I dislike Windows vista personally.  It takes too much machine to do too little stuff.  For instance, this netbook is running my magicjack, a word program, a notepad program, and Google chrome with several pages open.  It is working fine.  If I tried to do that on my vista computer, which has over twice the power of this little machine, it would literally choke and freeze.M

As I frequently say, less is truly more.  I would invest in one of these little machines that run linux, save for the fact that my magicjack needs windows to run.  Well, there is another reason.  I can find these little things running windows for a lower price than I can the ones running Linux.  If I really wanted, I could install Linux myself and save money!

I love these netbooks.  They have a small screen and small keyboard, but both can be easily remedied by hooking up external devices, so I honestly cannot complain.  They are powerful enough for my day-to-day needs, and I do a LOT. They don’t use a lot of electricity, they have an incredible battery life, especially if you get the bigger battery, and they are VERY portable.  Perfect for a wandering Geek like myself.

Well, it is time to fire up the grill and fix some burgers.  I’m thinking of getting a propane stove kit, one with a small oven, where I can use it instead of my electric stove now, and in any home I have in the future (or little cabin, if it comes to that).

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Categories
Finances Frugality

Small Steps to Financial Independence

My gas bill came in today.  I have gotten it down to $15.66.  I’m hoping I can get it a little lower, but don’t think I can lower it much more than that.

We went to the store and to my amazement my daughter did not buy a single toy.  Instead she bought a little candy, and chipped in by buying her burger at McDonald’s.  We got chips and drinks at the store, and got us a sandwich apiece off of the dollar menu for dinner.  Nice, inexpensive meal – and a cheap way to eat out on occasion!

As I walked through the store and looked at all the things they had for sale I reminded myself that all my needs have been provided for, that there was really nothing in the store that I needed, only a couple of things that I wanted.  I picked up a few things, like some tomato plants, a box of borax, some sulfodene medication for the dog, a bag of chips on clearance and a pack of capri-sun for dinner, then it dawned on me:  we really honestly truly don’t eat that many tomatoes, so instead of paying money for the plants,  transplanting them, caring for them, dehydrating the excess why not just buy the couple I want to eat green, or better yet bum a couple off a friend of mine who has several plants in the ground already?

I also reminded myself that I still had a little bit of borax at home, and considering how little I use I could safely let the store keep their box of borax for a little while longer.  So I put the tomato plants and the box of borax back on their shelves, double checked our purchases, and left the store happier because I managed to put things back than I was going there thinking I needed all of these things!

Every time I buy less, every time I reduce our consumption will make the next time easier.  Yes we did not have to eat out, but it cost us just a couple of dollars at the restaurant, and a couple of dollars at the store for additions to the meal that will actually last us for days.  The chips will still be around for snacking next week, though the drinks will be gone with the weekend.  Considering that I could have spent that amount and only had a single meal but instead have a little more makes me feel better, especially since we have drastically reduced the amount we eat out anymore.  We used to eat out once or twice a week depending upon my schedule, but now we may eat out once a week tops.  It has been two weeks or so since last we ate out, so I am content with how well we are doing.

I mean, I want us to save money but I don’t want us to be totally deprived.

I have managed to pick up some hours to make up for the hours lost these last couple weeks.  I am having to give up my weekend, but such is life. You do what is necessary to pay the bills.  Once I saw they were drastically reducing our hours at work I hoarded my last paycheck, so I have enough for rent and stuff next month, but every single hour I can squeeze in at work will keep me from getting in the hole.

Besides that, when they send me home early I try to submit more articles at Associated Content.  Every advance payment, every single page view helps me to pay bills that much better.  My content producer page is here.  Will you please read my articles and leave a comment on them, for good or bad?  Every article you read helps me better support my daughter.  You can subscribe for free as well.  Thank you!

I wish that I had enough articles, enough page views every month that I could just write full time instead of worrying about a day job, but I am thankful that I have made it to clout Level 4 in less than six months! Then I would never have to worry about my schedule or my daughter’s schedule.  But it will come in time.

A long time ago I got a fortune in a cookie.  It says, “Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”  I am making those steps.

Peace.

Categories
Decluttering Minimalism

Downsizing

Good Morning!

I hope all of you slept well.  We closed some windows, and added an extra blanket to our beds, and slept like babies while the temperature dipped into the forties last night!

After reading the book on small houses last night, I am considering the benefits of downsizing even more than I have in the past.  While I do not know if the two of us could live comfortably in a home that small, I do wonder if we could live in less space than we have now.

Years ago, I lived in a 10×50 mobile home with three kids and two dogs.  With all of those children combined with the fact that I wasn’t ready to downsize my posession, we ended up cramped, to say the least.  I own a lot less now than I did back then as far as personal posessions go, but a lot more as far as furniture goes.  

The saddest part?  Most of that furniture doesn’t get used.  It just sits in my living room looking pretty, wasting precious space.  

The truth of the matter is I really didn’t want the couch and loveseat when I purchased them, but I bowed to pressure from a friend to have “nicer furniture.”  

Sometimes it is better to stay off by yourself.

The living room looks much better with the aquarium sitting where the old television was.  The light on the aquarium will become our nightlight in there, meaning our electricity usage won’t go up any.  We are in that room only to travel to the other section of the house, and so keep a light on to see…  

I wonder:  if I put the tv on freecycle and rearrange the livingroom, if I could save some electric by putting my office area in the living room instead of having it in the laundry room?  We keep a light on in the living room regardless, and we are frequently in the office area doing something on the computers, so could we manage to keep some lights out by moving the office area?

Categories
Housing Uncategorized

The Small House Book Has Arrived!

Finally, the day I have been waiting for:  Jay Shafer’s Small House Book  arrived in my mailbox!

I must say, Jay likes his books as small and high-quality as he does his houses!  In the book he gives basic building plans plus a treatise on small house living.  I will describe more when I finish the book.

As I was reading the book. a friend stopped by with a visitor from Hawaii, and she talked about how reasonably priced the Amish are for constructing in this area.  I became amused when she said she didn’t have running water when, after a couple of questions I realised she had a pump pumping her water from a cistern, that she classified “running water” as water from a public utility system!

Ahh, and here I thought I had met another person willing to sacrifice!  Truthfully, I doubt they would have understood the years my “running water” came from a creek, carried in buckets to care for household needs! used

Categories
Uncategorized

Pleasure of a Job Well Done

The lawn is mowed, my neighbors have said hello, so now I can sit and relax a touch before my daughter arrives home from school.

It feels quite warm outside, but the thermostat says that it is only 66 degrees.  I am just glad I have one more chore out of the way for the day.  It feels so good to have something finished and not staring at you waiting to be done, sitting there like a silent accusation.

In my neighborhood two of my closest neighbors are single women, so I don’t feel so alone.  It’s like we all stick together, you know?

Categories
Frugality Simplicity

I Love My Mower!

It is pretty, the grass is high, time to mow.

I don’t have the perfect yard but in order to save money I use a reel mower instead of a gas or an electric one.  It was not only cheaper to purchase, but I don’t have to pay every time I operate it.  If the grass gets too high it doesn’t do so well, so must keep on top of things lawnwise.  Made it really hard with this wet spring we have had, but such is life!

I love my reel mower!  It feels good to be able to listen to music or just think while I’m out there instead of hearing all of that noise!

Peace,

~Annie

Categories
Simplicity

Television, Movies, Family and Stuff

Yesterday ended up being an uneventful day as we lazed around the house and watched movies online.  My daughter enjoys Webkins and Funbrain, while I enjoy seeing if I can locate and watch new releases online.

Found a good one online yesterday, though at times I end up watching whatever when my searches don’t pan out, but sometimes I get lucky.  To watch a current movie we would have to drive almost thirty miles one way and close to forty miles the other way.  So add gas, wear and tear on the car, plus the expense of tickets and treats, and movies are priced right out of range of this frugal soul unless I find something interesting online.

And no, we have no cable here.  I could get cable, but between the garbage they show and the commercials that leave my daughter drooling, it simply is not worth paying money for.  I refuse to spend money on a medium so hell-bent for me to spend even more money.

I guess I should lump certain web sites on there, with their clicky ads, but you can choose to click or no, and that is a huge difference in my opinion.  I don’t mind their being available for me to choose to pay attention to their advertising or not, but resent being forced to watch something when I’m already paying for the priveledge by subscribing to a service.  

Hulu doesn’t bother me, cause I know those ads are how they are able to put the content online.  Pandora and their occasional ads don’t bother me either for the same reason.  

My daughter is in the stage where she thinks she can question every decision that I make, so this morning I had to get firm with her.  Hate it, but such is life.  I don’t answer to anyone in this world, I am not going to answer to a spoiled ten year old!

Our mutt is hyper this morning!  She is a chihuahua crossed with what we guess to be Jack Russell, and while she is adorable to us, she really dislikes strangers!  Guess I ended up with a dog as antisocial as I am, but I love her.  Rescued her from the local shelter.  They said she had been there around a month or so, and she wouldn’t have much to do with anyone because of lacl of socialization.  However, when we sat down on the floor she crawled right up in my daughter’s lap, and so I think it was more an issue that she hadn’t found anyone she wanted to socialize with.

It was chilly last night, and sometime early in the morning one of my neighbors had difficulty getting a vehicle out of someplace it was stuck.  Took them over an hour of revving the engine and spinning the tires to finally escape whatever they were stuck in.  Figure when we get out and about this morning we’ll see the tire marks in a yard somewhere…

Time to get ready for church this morning.  While I love my church family and agree with the doctrines, part of me really hates mingling with the crowd, especially knowing that I can’t really be me while I’m there…  Guess I’ll go early so the kid can visit (she’s a social butterfly) and leave just as soon as it is over.  

Talk to you later!

Categories
Decluttering Freebies Frugality

Getting Started with Freecycle

After a few days lurking on the very quiet local freecycle site, I have decided to wake things up a bit with a couple of offers, just to see what happens…

I’m more accustomed to a local trading post you call into, which is what we had where I used to live, but I have some things to eliminate from my life, so freecycle it is.

I really want to put my old television on there to get rid of it.

I really really do.

Even my daughter wants me to get rid of the monstrosity.. Well, a small monstrosity.. Only a 19 inch, but huge compared to the monitors we have available these days!

Last time we watched it.. I think was when  a friend came over and wanted to watch a movie few weeks ago.. 

I don’t know why this decision bothers me so much!  We don’t use the stupid thing, and we could use the freed up space!

I know!  We could take the tv apart and set it aside, and if we don’t use it in a set amount of time (say a month) we put it on freecycle… I don’t think it is worth much cause it isn’t digital, and maybe it would help someone who actually uses a television…

I hate this.  Why does a logical decision have to be so darned hard? sed0 \ls

Categories
Organization Simplicity

Simplicity Side Effects

I have noticed something as I work toward a more simple, minimal lifestyle.  Something that may sound silly or may make perfect sense.

While simplifying my life and eliminating the dross a couple of things have happened.

One, my house stays cleaner. I guess it is because there isn’t as much to clutter the areas now—to get rearranged or dusty, but it takes less time to clean when I do clean, and I have to clean less. It just doesn’t get as dirty anymore.

Two, My dishes don’t pile up as much. I have posted in this blog about my dishes in the  past, even about failing to keep them washed as I want.  However, by simplifying what dishes and silverware I own I am inspired by necessity to keep things washed up, which means I am washing dishes more frequently and so there is less dishes to pile up waiting to be washed.  This is a big boon to this girl!

Yes, I could get a dishwasher but I don’t want the expense, I don’t want the maintenance, I don’t want the thing in my way, I don’t want another heavy appliance to move—I just don’t want one!  Doesn’t take much water to wash dishes if you use two dishpans and don’t leave the water running!

I get more accomplished. Even though I have stopped using disposables in favor of cloth and started using a clothesline even indoors to dry things. Even though I have gotten rid of my mixer and other “convenience items in favor of a cutting board. Even though I started a frugality blog so as to simplify my thoughts and not bore you, making for additional posts to keep both active—I still have less to do.

I don’t understand it, yet I do.  My life is much more peaceful with less in it. I think back to all of the years I would hunt and hunt for things—now I go to a single wall of shelves in my tiny room and locate it within minutes!

I think back to all of the years I tripped over things in the floor—nothing to trip over now!

I think back to all of the things that have been destroyed accidentally by being stepped on, knocked over or whatever—it just doesn’t happen these days!

I look at this shelf in the kitchen I placed here recently—it was stuffed full and now I may eliminate it from the kitchen entirely soon, for it is almost empty.

Amazingly during this whole process not once have I needed something that I have eliminated from my life! That’s a big one with me—when I was  a kid my father would hold on to almost everything!  He would become frustrated at all of the junk he had piled around and toss some of it—only to need something he tossed a few days later (it never failed).  Then there was the common occurrences of having to re-buy something that he knew he already possessed because he couldn’t find it when he needed it—only to locate the needed item a week or so later while looking for something else!

The last side effect I have noticed is that while my possessions have been reduced the quality has increased. I find myself using the “nice things” that I would never use because I have eliminated the cheap stuff from my life. I have also determined ways to increase the quality of my food without increasing my grocery bill.  Simply buying a small chunk of meat and slicing it myself at home has saved me an amazing amount of money—I purchased 5.5 pounds of beef round in a single section for a little over $13 and sliced it up into thin steaks that normally cost me almost five dollars a pound! It wasn’t hard, didn’t take any special equipment and I froze them on a pizza pan (it was the sheet I kept because it was newest and my baking sheet was in horrible condition) and transferred them to freezer bags for individual use. So now I have the quality of meat that I adore (the thin, versatile steaks) at a price ($2.48/lb) that fits much easier on my budget.

By investing less in junk food I have extra money in my budget for things I prefer, like mung beans from the health food store for sprouting and all-natural sea salt instead of the bleached regular table salt.

I’m even a bit healthier, by eliminating soft drinks from my daily diet in favor of water somehow I manage to wake up earlier without the help of an alarm clock.  Coffee is drank a lot less now, as water is my morning libation of preference.  Somehow I find that I don’t miss it.  This morning I brewed a single cup—only to find I wanted about half of the little amount I brewed!

I am quite pleased with these side effects thus far, and look forward to experiencing even more of this phenomena.