Cutting Cable and the Internet

TV surfing and compute surfing are pretty hard to come by when doing without cable or the internet at home. When the car breaks down it is hard to go to the library or a restaurant with TV.  The Paw Paw library, WMU library and even Fed Ex in Kalamazoo have computers that can be used without actually buying one.  I used to go to McDonald’s to watch TV but their TV doesn’t work too much or even all the time anymore.  Sports bars have tv for special events such as the Rose Bowl or even the Super Bowl. A friend of mine catapults me into the 21st century by hooking me up with a smart phone.  I am getting better at using the phone but I still have trouble sometimes using the phone.

I tried to totally do without TV but find it is hard to get rid of a TV.  I got rid of all my DVDs to Goodwill and the last of my notebook computer went there too. Goodwill wouldn’t take my TV as they were burnt too much by people who said their TVs worked but didn’t.  Community Thrift would take my TV for $20.  The Salvation Army only took Flat screen TVs. I am going to try 1-800-Got – Junk to see if they will take my TV.  If not I guess I will keep my TV and use it for the video making process of YouTube and Blogging.

Not only does not having cable and the internet save money it also saves time to do other things.  I have to be careful though that the money and time I do save doesn’t get replaced with equally frivolous time and money wasters such as procrastinating, using credit cards, and/or sleeping. Since I have time on my hands there are times I just want to sit there and do nothing.  I won’t even stick to my to do list.  Why do I do that?  I am not sure.  I guess because it feels good temporarily but when I find I have wasted a whole day doing nothing I realize what a bad thing I must have done. The credit card time rates and fees kind of build up on me and I have to keep using time up one way or another.  I am battling time, attacking time and paying off time until I can relax and not have anything more to do on my to do list.  Of course, that never happens.  The ironic thing about my to do list is that these are things I want to do.  I want to play piano, guitar and have music in my life. I want to write in my blog.  I want to exercise, pray and read the bible.

Cleaning up is another thing. Organizing and purging are things I have to keep up with or everything falls apart and becomes a mess. Things like time and my credit I have to keep up with cleaning for my mental health. Although I don’t like the process of cleaning up, once it is done, I feel good about it. I will feel good about paying off my debt, being able to invest, and saving for the future.  Something always happens though to get me back into debt. I have to be careful about that. They say if you don’t decide where your money is going to go, someone else will decide for you. Money and time have to go somewhere even if it is spent uselessly.

I tend to use TV and internet in moderation. I would go wild spending money on the internet. There was always something to buy. It was so easy too. Just sit there, find what you want and then buy it! It seemed to come through the mail quick and painless too. That was something that had to stop just like eating out all the time. I would go to the restaurant and just put it on the credit card. No pain and no shame. Sometimes the tip and drink would cost half as much as the meal.  And 10% for a tip is not enough anymore. It took me a long time to get used to 20%.  Now they want 25% to 30%.  Isn’t it convenient they do the entire math for you? They will tell you how much you should tip. I remember when a glass of pop was just 50 cents. Then they want a can of pop for a whole dollar. Now it is up to $2 to $3. The trick is you get free refills.  You can still get a 2 liter of pop for a buck and the cheapy pop for 60 cents or so plus deposit. There really isn’t a way to drink $3 worth of pop in one sitting in a restaurant and I don’t care how many refills they let you get. I guess the house always wins. I try not to eat out as much. I try not to put it on the credit card and get water when I can instead of pop. I also try to go where you don’t have to tip either.

I still like to watch the news and the weather. I don’t sit there waiting for the next good show to come on. I don’t sit there wasting my time reading the newspaper or a magazine. I could look on the internet for news but I don’t do that too much either.



More gas for the buck!

When I as working, and didn’t know any better, I used to fill up my tank every two weeks. Usually on a Friday at the most expensive time of the day, I would get gas. People at work would write on the bulletin boards about protesting the high gas prices and some little things we should do about it. Such as riding our bikes to work ( are you kidding?)don’t mow the lawn on certain days and other things that I didn’t pay attention to at all. Now that I am on my own again and living without a job I care to know how to save money on gas this time.  Living on a budget makes every little bit count.

There are some things I do wonder if they pay for themselves when trying to save money on gas. Such as changing the air filter when needed, getting an engine tune-up, and making sure the gas cap seals properly. Other things such as getting the liquids changed properly and keeping the tires properly inflated as if all these things here and there help for better gas mileage. Proper maintenance of the car is crucial but there are even some things that can be done for free that put more gas in the car.

Remember when I put gas in my car on Friday?  That’s bad and the most expensive day of the week to put gas in a car. Granted I got paid on Friday but I should have saved up until Monday to get my gas. The beginning of the week is supposed to be the cheapest time to get gas. There can be up to a 20 cent difference between Monday and Friday price in gas.

Also, the afternoon is the hottest time to get gas and when the gas is expanded the most making it for less gas to get into the tank. The early morning or at night when the day is coldest is when gas should be pumped.  That way the gas is condensed and more can go into the tank.

Like stock I never know when gas prices are going to be up or down during the next week or so.  Therefore, like dollar cost averaging, I am thinking of just putting $10 or so of gas in on Mondays.  This gives me enough time to get have gas for where I need to go but if the gas should shoot down next Monday I would be able to take advantage of that.

Another thing wrong I did when filling up the tank is that I would squeeze the handle on the pump all the way until the gas stopped going in my tank. What I should have done and do now is to only squeeze the lever half way. I can even get away with only squeezing the lever one tenth or even one fourth of the way. The more you squeeze the lever the more vapor from the gas gets into your tank causing less gas to be in your tank for the buck. The less condensed and the less vapor in the gas the more gas you will get in your tank for the buck.

Happy gas on Monday morning!

P.S. Make sure your tank lid is on and properly tighten so gas doesn’t evaporate out of your gas tank. That is after you put gas in your car of course! Make sure the cap clicks at least three times when tightening the cap.  A cap not properly tighten can also make the check engine light go on so be sure to check that out if ever your check engine light should go on before making any costly repairs after the fact.

Stop wasting time and money!

For the first time in my life I would like to do something about procrastinating. Not only is it a time waster, but also a money waster too. Putting things off I usually end up just sitting there doing nothing.  From now on I am going to recognize when I am procrastinating and try to do something about it. When I find myself just sitting there doing nothing, I will say to myself, “you know, you are procrastinating.  What better thing can I be doing with my time?”  If I have only 15 to 20 minutes before going somewhere I will try to find something to do within my 15 to 20 minute time allotted. Lots of things, even if I don’t finish what I started, at least I have started it without that much less to do when I get back. I could organize the dishes to get set on before going on to something else.  That’s almost half the battle to at least get started. Groom myself just a little more than I have.  Say, pluck my eyebrows or even clean my glasses. I could take out the garbage or even water the plants.  Little things add up to a lot.

There are worse things than procrastinating like getting too much sleep or watching too much TV. Sometimes I have to sit down and ask myself if what I am doing worthwhile? Could I be doing something better with my time? Why make a to do list if I am not going to do anything on the list and just throw it away? Just sitting on the couch doing nothing but wasting time. Things have to get done.  The dishes pile up, food needs to be prepped, clothes need to be washed and hung to dry. Even taking a shower is supposed to be done every day.  Mail needs to be opened, sorted and taken care of whether in the trash or just bills to be paid. The car broke down.  What do I do now? That takes time to get fixed. The phone rings. People come over to visit.  All to be reminded that I have things to do but aren’t getting done.

I want to make time to write. I want to make time for music such as the guitar and the piano.  I need time to organize and clean.  I need to save money. The garbage disposer doesn’t work. I have to clean the place up to get that fixed or I will be written up for inspection. I have to wash dishes a certain way to accommodate the garbage disposal being broke. It’s Christmas and haven’t gotten the place cleaned up. Now it’s New Year’s and the place is sort of presentable. I keep reading on how to clean, I should just clean!  I need to make good use of my time. To quit procrastinating and just do it. That’s what my Mom has always said all along. I just never really realized the importance of it until now. I have 10 or 15 minutes here and there. If not I could make 10 or 15 minutes here and there by being just a little late to go to a friend’s house.  Go to the bank a little later or even the library. Sometimes I have two to three hours in the morning.  I should just put the dishes away, sweep and mop the floor, Vacuum.  Get some aural comprehension in if only for a little while.

Not being able to say No or I need more time to do other things is just as bad as procrastinating. Sure everyone else says no. Everyone else says they need more time to do other things.  Why not me? Maybe I am a bit of a push over. I should make time to make myself look nice and presentable to the public. Just because a telephone solicitor calls doesn’t mean I have to take the time to talk to them. Donations and get rich quick money making schemes need a big, fat no.  I don’t think I have ever been helped by a telephone solicitor.

I have got to keep improving on my to do list. I have got to keep improving on my goals and time management skills. I have got to keep on improving in general. I guess I have to keep studying myself and see what works and what doesn’t work. How can I do better than what I did the last time? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Not to think, ok I have a whole day to play with and then not get anything done. Like mom has always said get all your work done and then you can play around. It took me this long to figure it out but maybe I will do it this time.

How does procrastinating waste time and money? Let me count the ways. I had a sack of potatoes that I should have prepped and cooked right away. I should have ate them right away too, but I didn’t. Weeks went by. Then months. My potatoes have turned soft, gooey and slimy. They left a big puddle of gook where I left them in the box and some gook spilled onto the floor.  Not only did I have to throw out the potatoes but everything else that was in the box like oatmeal and flaxseed bags. I still have to clean the gook the potatoes left on the floor. Now whenever I get potatoes or fresh produce for that matter I deal with them right away or the best I can. Sometimes I just get too much and can’t eat it all.

Another time I bought tweezers too soon. I thought I cleaned the bathroom to find a pair of tweezers. The one I found on the floor had been trampled on and bent out of shape. So, I decided to go to Walmart and get me another pair of tweezers. I thought I was smart by shopping around. I narrowed down my choices between two tweezers. One was $7 and the other was $1.93. So, naturally I picked the $1.93 one. A couple days later I decide to clean out my medicine cabinet in my bathroom. I found another pair of tweezers. I didn’t even have to go out and buy a pair at Walmart if I would have just kept looking, cleaning and organizing.

I think for my new year’s resolution I am not going to procrastinate, to always do something important with my time. I am going to prioritize, organize so I know where everything is at with a place for everything and everything in its place. I will make more time for me instead of just letting myself go.

Mr. Stacky – Apartment container garden

Mr. Stacky – Growing Veggies in own Apartment


I got a Mr. Stacky for Christmas from my sister in Ohio. Mr. Stacky is the perfect thing for growing a garden in an Apartment. It has four pots that stack on top of each other for a total of twenty pots.  I have a great big apartment window for growing plants all year round.  I just have to wait until the spring when everything is in season to get my potting soil, fertilizer and seeds.

I looked on youtube to see how to germinate seeds.  Germinating seeds seem easy enough.  Just soak the seeds a little bit and put on a wet paper towel.  Once done with that, put the seeds and towel in a container.  Some seeds take three days to germinate while others could take up to three weeks.  I guess check up on them every so often to see what is happening with the seeds.  I think even the package the seeds come in could also have instructions on how to germinate the seeds. Another tip I learned on youtube is to tell which one of the seeds will germinate and which ones won’t.  Put the seeds in a glass of water.  The ones that sink to the bottom will germinate while the ones floating on top will not germinate.

For growing plants in a container, they say it is necessary to have potting soil as the plant will grab as much nutrients that it can.  I have been shopping around on the internet and find that black gold has the potting soil, fertilizer and plenty of other stuff needed to grow plants in containers.  It seems to be the best bet.  I don’t have room to make my own compost in my apartment.  It seems to be a smelly process anyway.  For not too much more black gold potting soil also has compost in it.  My friend says she has some dirt but if it is not potting soil I think I will just stick with the black gold potting soil.

Mr. Stacky has a nice water irrigation system.  You just water the top and everything is supposed to drip down to the bottom.  Since there are holes at the bottom of the pots, there is supposed to be no need to put rocks and sand to break up the water so the roots of the plant don’t get waterlogged.

Beans I hear are the easiest to grow so they are definitely in on my to grow list. Pioneers used to grow beans out on the prairie land.  If they can grow beans under those harsh conditions then I say so can I under much better conditions.  Strawberries seem easy to grow but I am not sure about the availability of the seeds.  I guess I will have to wait until spring to see what seeds are available.  Maybe I will grow some carrots and lettuce.

My Mr. Stacky will be nice.  I won’t have to depend on the food pantry or the farmer’s market so much. My friend likes to go to the farmer’s market to get zucchini, squash, chard, and kale.  She likes to chop them up with her eggs for breakfast and make soup for dinner with those vegetables. Maybe I will try to grow those in my Mr. Stacky along with green pepper and cucumbers.

I personally eat out of cans. I will have a can of vegetables, can of fruits and a can of protein such as tuna, chicken or pork. Sometimes I will have a can of soup.  I will make just enough to fill a plate.  If I am lucky I will have grape juice or milk to drink but often times I will have tea or water. I have two bags of frozen fish I have to cook up which should last me a while.  I also have a bag of beef stew. That should be good.

For lunch I brown bag it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  If I don’t have an apple, banana, or orange I will open up a can of fruit and put in a container.  Sometimes the food pantry will give me bags of chips, yogurt and cups of juice.  Sometimes I even get cookies and crackers, so I pack those in for lunch.

When I make tea, I use a pot with a special tea holder which I found at a rummage sale for a buck.  I put about six bags of tea in the container and fill the container up with water.  I let it soak for about four hours or until it is the brown color that I like.  One time I thought I have given away my tea pot.  I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find it.  So, I used a big bowl, filled it with water and put my tea bags in the bowl.  I let it sit for a while and poured the contents in the tea jug that I put lemon juice and vinegar in with the tea. After a week, I found my tea pot. It was where I would loose it on the top shelf above the kitchen sink. I have been using my tea maker ever since and I am glad I don’t have to use a bowl to make my tea. I don’t put sugar in my tea. I try not to put to much vinegar in, maybe just a couple of swigs. I try not to put too much lemon juice as it is kind of expensive.

I bought my friend a chopper for her birthday.  It is the equivalent of 24 knives or so it says. It dices, slices, chops, puree.  It makes cole slaw, soups and chops meats and nuts. I got the chopper at Wal-mart. She is always cutting up vegetables.  I hope this will be a little more quick of a process for her and maybe even a little professional. She will be skeptical to use the chopper like she was with the oven crisper I gave her, but I think it will be one of those things she will wonder how she ever did without the chopper.

One thing that would save money and time on food is knowing what you have, cleaning out what you don’t want and organizing. In my cupboard I have cans of vegetables on the top of the cupboard, cans of protein in the middle of the cupboard and cans of fruit on the bottom of the cupboard. That way, I just pick out the cans I need to open then eat and put the rest in the refrigerator. If I am running low, I will be able to see it by the groups that I have made.  The frige needs cleaning out now and then as the left overs tend to grow. Putting like with like and in order helps to know what have and don’t have and maybe even need. No surprises.  The freezer is the same with the frige.

Things that also seem to grow in the kitchen are cookbooks, pots, pans and the like. How many do you actually use?  Can you do without?  I gave away 10 of my cookbooks and kept 2 or 3 just in case I start cooking again. I gave away my Mom’s blender and mixer since I don’t seem to use those either. I am even finding that I am living without a microwave since it died on me a couple of months ago.  I also looked through my plates, cups and bowls. I purged on them also.  I have just enough room for what I need.

Sharing meals with friends is nice as it cuts down on the use of food.  Also makes buying in bulk easier.  Coupons are even easier to use with two people.  They might have buy one get one free or two meals for $5. Fresh produce has to be hurried up and used before they go bad. Subway has specials on footlong subs that could be split between two people and Little Caesars has pizza for a group of people. Specials are good for the budget too.  Look out for them!

Churches have free meals they offer.  Some do it weekly while others do it monthly.  There is the community Thanksgiving dinner and of course soup kitchens and the food pantries.  Some people are lucky enough to get food stamps.

Remember 24 hr rule to save money

  1. To prevent impulse buys and to truly separate the wants from the needs let the purchase wait 24 hrs. You might find something cheaper, decide you don’t need the item, or the item is of better quality someplace else. Some people wait 30 days to even 3 or 4 months before buying the item they want to purchase. Sometimes the price goes up, stays the same but maybe even go down. Especially if you wait for a special holiday like black Thursday, Christmas or in season such as winter or summer. Sometimes if it is out of season or even after the holidays. Eventually it should go on sale but be sure to compare prices and do some research to be sure that you know what you are getting.
  2. Prices for items we want to buy fluctuate like the stock market only sometimes not as bad. Someone in the know said that everything eventually goes on sale. Keep an eye out for coupons, coupon codes and rebates while you are waiting to buy the item. Sometimes if some thought goes into the process you can substitute what you want with what you already have. Maybe a cute luggage bag is available for emergencies and you might already have a small piece of luggage for emergencies but have never thought of the bag that way. Also you might find the same item at a 50% off Saturday at Goodwill, garage sale or even a church rummage sale.

Talk about Money

  1. Before going out, have a conversation with yourself, or the people you are going out with, about the money being spent. You’d be surprised about the people in the same financial boat you as you. Even if they are not they might be relieved to know that this doesn’t have to be a big spenders night on the town. If you talk about it out enough or brainstorm it out enough, a cheaper, more inexpensive night out or even a free night out could be obtained.
  2. Talk to people to see how they are saving money. Maybe they know of good books they can share or just might have some outright useful tips they can share. Everybody does everything differently and some people might have better ways than other on how to save or even spend money.  They might even know of a few good blogs on the internet or even online classes. They might have some favorite financial advisors on youtube.
  3. When talking about money, usually find out pretty quick what works and what doesn’t work. People will tell you from their own experiences and you could tell them from your own experiences what worked for you.
  4. Not only talking to other people about money but to other businesses too. They might have some specials or good deals they can share with you.  If you are a student or a senior they might have discounts.  Ask if certain days are better than others.  This way you can keep that in mind when going out the next time. Ask when their happy hour starts and stops.

Triggers that trigger spending

Know your triggers

  1. Know your triggers – know what starts you off on a spending spree or just what gets you to spend your money. My triggers are restaurant coupons. Even if it is just Burger King or Mcdonald’s, I know no coupon can be cheaper than eating at home. Those coupons are usually more than the food I would get anyway. So, I lose by spending more money than I have to and the restaurant loses by taking less. Maybe we are just both break eveners?
  2. I also have to watch the way I go out. No matter how cheap the store, I know I can get a good shirt for 25 cents or even less at a garage sale or a church rummage sale. I try to go to things that are free or won’t cost too much money. I would like also to get a return on my investment of going out.
  3. Brown bagging my lunch and bringing my own water bottle eases the trigger of buying at the café or even getting a can of pop. Sometimes I need two or three cans of pop that would ease my thirst of just bringing a water bottle.
  4. With Halloween coming up I managed to find a clown’s wig, bottle of beer costume and some clown make up with a clown nose for 3 bucks. I saw some clown masks I thought I could get for saving money on make-up but I would have to wear the same masks year after year. The make up costs a dollar less than the masks and I can alter my make-up differently year after year. It is a little more for the make-up but I would get a variety for not too much more. I am on the lookout for crazy socks and maybe some clown gloves. Happy Halloween! Try not to spend too much money on a holiday that comes one day a year.