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Fast Food Blech!

January 8th, 2012 at 11:01 am

A week or so before Christmas one of the rig hands brought me a hamburger from Sonic. Even before I opened the bag I could smell the burger. It was a very nice gesture and I didn't want to waste the food. I could only eat a couple of bites before I started to feel ill. I guess I'm so used to only eating home cooked meals that the smell and the taste just turned my stomach. I ended up giving the burger and tater tots to my dogs.

I used to love to eat fast food and spent quite a bit of money doing so. Maybe it's something you get used to and don't even realize how disgusting it really is, or maybe I've changed over time. (I do still like the fast food chain Chick Fil A) I don't crave it and it's not something I think about when I leave the gate. Even if I'm starving I don't have thoughts of stopping and picking up a burger or any fast food. I have thoughts of getting home and eating something, thinking of what I can make myself in a hurry.

I'm sure financially it has saved me a fortune not including health costs and benefits.

I do enjoy eating at some restaurants ocassionally but I much prefer to eat at home where I know what is in the food and how it was prepared as far as cleaniless etc.

Shopping Therapy of Sorts

January 7th, 2012 at 06:45 pm

For the most part I'm not really a shopper anymore. I don't look forward to fighting the crowds and standing in line to check out. I guess my favorite shopping is probably grocery shopping, most likely because I like to cook.

I do have times though when I think I'd like to buy new clothes or a new gadget etc. I will go to the store, get a basket and walk through the store looking and placing items in my basket keeping a running total in my head. (This is how I grocery shop also). By the time I get to the other side or end of the store I've talked myself out of buying whatever it is that is in my basket so I will walk back placing items back where I got them. Sometimes I have many things in my basket and this shopping trip takes awhile. By the time I'm finished I might buy a thing or two but there are times I'll leave empty handed. I've only started doing this the last three years or so, it's odd I know but it satisfies the occasional need to shop even though I might not buy anything.

Gas Prices

January 7th, 2012 at 09:20 am

Are just all over the place here within 90 miles of my home and San Antonio Texas. Even in San Antonio you could go from $3.09 all the way to $3.25 a gallon for regular unleaded. When I pulled into my home town the other day regular unleaded was $3.17 so I filled up then. On my way back out it had already risen to $3.25! I'm hoping to only have to use gas once or twice a month. I spend an outrageous amount on fuel some months, depending on whether I can get out of here or not and I drive a gas guzzling truck. This is an area I really need to concentrate on.

Home Made Bread Success

January 4th, 2012 at 10:12 am

I made a loaf of wheat bread yesterday and it came out pretty good. I added 3/4 cups of oatmeal which wasn't called for. The bread is nice and moist and not too dense as in the past. I'll make it again without the oatmeal and see what it is like. It made excellent toast.

I'm not sure if there is any savings in making your own bread but I'm sure it has to be better for you than all the preservatives that are in the store bought.

I found a recipe for bread bowls which sounds good, you can put anything from pasta to soups in them, I might try that one of these days.

NSD and Groceries

January 3rd, 2012 at 05:49 am

Jan 1st was a no spend day, even though I was not working the gate.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and spent $96.00. That total includes a tube of super glue for my son which cost right at 3.00. When I got to the gate I realized that I forgot to get vegetable oil. Hopefully I can make it without it. I don't see being able to leave the gate for another month or so and if I ask someone to bring it they won't accept the money for it. I do have some left, I'll have to use it sparingly.

I bought the larger packs of meat and seperated them into smaller 1 to 2 portion sizes. I used to this when my children were at home. I think it saves money. I even used to make my own laundry soap back then.

I plan to make a loaf of bread in a bit and maybe even some yeast rolls. I hope they turn out well if I watch the temp on the milk.

Have a great day everyone!

New Grocery Challenge/No Convenience Foods

January 1st, 2012 at 02:08 pm

I set my monthly grocery budget at $100.00 per month, I normally spend twice that if not more.

I know I will have to cut out soda and I'm thinking that will count for alot of other things too. I have a bread machine which I use for tortilla dough and I have made yeast roll dough and cooked the bread in the oven of my camper/trailer. Sometimes it comes out pretty good and sometimes not. It's probably something I'm doing, I never was good at baking, especially bread. Even in my bread machine the bread doesn't come out quite right. I'm hoping that I can start making my own again and I'd be interested in any recipes that have been successful for any of you SA members.

I do have a SO that eats over so this challenge will be....challenging! Hope he won't mind lots of beans this year! j/k I think I can find low cost and interesting meals, we'll see!

New Year Traditions Black Eyed Peas

January 1st, 2012 at 12:56 pm

We always have black eyed peas for New Years lunch, supposedly it brings good luck in the new year. Are there any traditions or superstitions where you live?

Here's to a GREAT 2012!

January 1st, 2012 at 11:35 am

Bills for January paid already, now just to get the rest where it's budgeted to, so far off to a great start. I'm off for a couple of more days and then will have to get back to the gate.

Got great news that so far it looks like the gate I'm on will stay active into the summer months.

Hope everyone has gotten off to a great start this year! Happy New Year!

2012 Budget $1000 per Month

December 28th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

If I can manage to keep a gate all year this coming year I'll bring in $42,000. That is with no taxes with-held. I'm hoping this gate won't end until at least April when it's peak season and there are many other gates available. I've based my 2012 budget on $37,000 just in case I'm out of work for a month and half or so.

Monthly Expenses:
Phone: 150.00
Satellite: 65.00
Groceries: 100.00
Toiletries: 5.00
Gas: 75.00
Auto: 70.00
Pets: 50.00
Medical: 60.00
Son/College: 100.00
Gifts: 25.00
Misc. 50.00
Gate Help: 250.00

My phone bill is high as I pay my son's phone bill of $50.00 per month as long as he stays in school and I pay $20.00 a month to have internet/personal hot spot on my iphone through ATT so I can connect my laptop to it. I just got sattelite television a couple of months ago and will keep it as it's not nice to be totally disconnected from the outside world when you are in the middle of nowhere for days on end.

Auto, pets, and medical are based on my expenses for 2011, hopefully the dogs will only have to go to the vet for their yearly shots and checkup but I've added some extra as you never know when something like a snake bite etc. could happen especially being out in the country like we are 90% of the time.
Auto counts yearly tags/inspection, oil changes and some for just in case. In 2011 the mice/rats chewed the wiring in my truck and I had to pay for that and the brakes needed a bit of work. This amount also includes yearly registration/tags on my travel trailer.
Medical includes quarterly checkup, prescriptions and testing. I have no insurance, thankfully I've had no major medical problems and hopefully this continues.

I have cut my grocery budget in half for 2012. I tend to over buy and waste things especially produce. I have cut out soda and junk food, I don't eat it much anyway and end up throwing chips, cookies etc out after only eating a few.

I've alloted $250 for someone to come sit at my gate two times a month. I don't know how this will work out, I might need more than that or I might not, we'll see.

Gifts I plan on buying and giving used this year, I think that amount should be plenty, I will adjust it or pull from Misc if not.

Misc is for any entertainment, eating out, clothing, books dvd's and everything else.

Now the question is whether I can do this or not. I think I can if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise!!

One Of The Best Christmases Ever

December 27th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Was when my youngest child was 12 years old. He is 20 now so that was about eight years ago.

I'm not very good at telling stories, I'll do the best I can.

It started the week before Thanksgiving that year when I'd locked the keys inside my truck and didn't have a spare set. My purse was locked inside the truck. I called the locksmith and was waiting for him to show up and told my son "this is going to cost $35 dollars and that's exactly the amount of money I have in my wallet!". The locksmith came, unlocked the truck and I payed him. I didn't think anything else of it.

A few days later, around six oclock or so while my son and I were having dinner the doorbell rang. It was the mother and father of my daughters best friend. The mother was a teacher at the school that my son attended and the father is a pastor at a charismatic church. They had a HUGE box of food. We are talking like over a weeks worth of food. Apparently the teacher had asked at school if there were any families that didn't have money for Thanksgiving dinner. My son raised his hand and told them that we didn't because we had spent it on the locksmith. When I told him that the 35 dollars I had was all that was in my wallet he thought that I had NO other money. After trying to get them to take the food back and trying to explain that there had been a misunderstanding and after alot of embarassment they persuaded me to keep the box of food. Just to name a few items that were in the box was a turkey, boxed stuffing, bottled juice, rice, canned goods, beans and lots of other stuff. We always went to my folks house for Thanksgiving and Christmas so we didn't even cook. Our cupboards were overflowing after putting the groceries away. My son couldn't apologize enough, he really thought we had no money for anything.

In December I found out that a young girl that worked at one of my stores had been living in her car with her three year old as she could not afford to rent a place on her own only making minimum wage. To make a long story short I found someone at one of the stores who agreed to take them in as room mates. I would pick up my son everyday from school and take him back to the stores with me until I got off work. He overheard us talking about Christmas and how she did not have money for Christmas dinner or presents for her daughter. On the way home that evening he suggested that we use the money that we would have spent on each other for gifts to buy the young girl and her daughter presents. (I'd already thought of this but didn't quite know how to approach him about it) It ended up that we did exactly that and gave her all of the food that we'd recieved at Thanksgiving also. My son had such fun picking out gifts for the little girl and he ended up buying her a 3 foot stocking and stuffing it full of coloring books, socks, crayons and many other items. I've never seen anyone as grateful as the young girl was and my son and even myself learned a great lesson that year. As it turned out with the other gifts we received you really couldn't even tell that we did not buy each other anything. We recieved many gifts from everyone else.

My son still is a very generous and loving person. I'm very proud of him.

I did learn one other lesson....to watch what I say around kids!

Merry Christmas Friends!!

December 25th, 2011 at 08:01 am

Merry Christmas may you all have a blessed day!!