Purging & Being Frugal

It's rainy and gray and cold outside my window. A typical January day. The dogs have been watching for someone out walking their dog, but that isn't happening much these days. Right now they're curled up in one of their beds next to my desk, keeping one another warm.

They will rally when I go to the living room with my cereal and coffee and things start happening. Like when the mailman heads up toward the porch. That is grounds for lots of loud barking. 

Oftentimes they run into one another running along the back of the couch, which then knocks them both down to the seat cushions. And if they're frenetic enough, they then end up on the floor in a tangle, which seems to surprise them every time.

I did get out yesterday, delicately dodging the ice patches in the driveway on the way to the garage. I had reached my threshold of "three errands = getting the car out." To the bank, to the place just down the road to get my hair cut, then a little farther down to the grocery. 

The photographer comes tomorrow morning, and my one concession was to get my hair cut, on the chance that I can't dissuade him from taking my photo. What woman wants her photo taken after the age of, oh, 35? Actually I never have liked having my photo taken. 

I heard somewhere that many Native Americans were wary of having their photographs taken and often refused. They believed that the process could steal a person's soul and disrespected the spiritual world.

I know I have Indian in my bloodline, so maybe I can use that excuse and have it pass muster.

When you set up house somewhere, it is well worth your while to bank at the closest bank, have someone to cut your hair within blocks of your home, and get your groceries just a few blocks beyond. That's how I get by on so little gas and not putting miles on my car. I doubt I've put 2000 miles on it since moving here, and a lot of that was moving here!

Of course not everyone can do that. But if you can, it helps you to live a more frugal life. So does the not going out until you have at least three errands to run. But I know that's not possible for many folks either. Especially not folks who don't work at home and drive to work, or have children to run about.

I've been there, so I know kid raising means lots of trips to all kinds of events and practices and school and such.

To live a frugal lifestyle takes a concerted effort. I no longer just get in the car and head out to Hobby Lobby, for instance. In fact I don't think I've even been in that place for six months or so. Because I'm not buying things right now. I'm saving as much as possible because I don't yet know where I want my life to take me in the near future. 

Normally in the winter I allow myself some fresh flowers once a month in the winter months. But now with the Bromeliads, I feel less inclined and still don't feel that I'm going without. 

The Bromeliads weren't cheap. They were $17 a piece, and I now have two. But think how much fresh flowers from the store would be. And with the fact that you've got these year round, that makes the argument for real plants even better.

I had planned to force spring bulbs, but somehow managed to forget it again. Maybe next year.

Yesterday someone asked me how to decide what to keep and what to get rid of when you know it's time to take on that task. Plus it's the month of the "urge to purge" syndrome that changing to a new calendar often brings on. 

I told her to make three piles, or three areas. One is the "definitely going to go" pile. That pile will be donated. 

One is the "definitely going to keep." You've decided you just can't part with these things. 

And the last is the "maybe pile." This one is for the things you are still uncertain about. Leave it and look at it as you walk past it for a week or so. I think you can then decide, perhaps grudgingly, what needs to be donated and what goes into the keep category. I'd say try to donate half of this pile or you'll just end up with too much stuff again.

I'm making that Mexican casserole I so love today. Ground beef yesterday was over $5 for just over a pound, because I purchased the 93% lean, and the rest of the stuff was cheap. 

I suppose I'll dust the kitchen a bit and get out the mop and mop those dirty floors in there. With the dogs coming in the back door from the yard, and the yard being a sloppy mess for weeks, I haven't felt inclined to mop. Because the linoleum is immediately dirty again. 

But I guess I'll make a passable effort, and then touch up in the morning. 

It's off to the Keurig coffee making part of the day now. I've been finding some really good deals on K-cups at my local grocery that beat out the Walmart prices I've been getting online lately. 

So if you're in a cold, snowing, ice storm part of the country, hunker down and drink coffee and hot chocolate. And maybe spring will come sooner than expected. I sure hope so.

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  1. One way to save a lot more money is to purchase the reusable k-cup and use regular grind coffee. There's no way I could (or would) pay even the cheapest price for the pre-packaged k-cups.

  2. I strive to live a frugal life. Driving is the hard one though. We live in the country and must drive everywhere. Some weeks are worse than others. Still, I try to combine errands to save on gas.

    You probably already mentioned it, but when is your home going to be in the Country Sampler??

    Lastly, boxes of 80 k-cups are 39.99(in Canada) which is the cheapest I can find anywhere. I get my mom to grab me a box when needed as I do not have a membership. I you live near one you should check out their prices.

    1. Oops....meant "if you live near one you should check out their prices".

  3. Wonderful tips, Brenda. I have been very inclined to stay close to home and spend less lately. I'm not sure if it has been the weather or the need for rest after the bustle of the holidays, but I like it, and I think I will implement it permanently into my life. I am going to order things from Walmart as you do. I love the low prices, but do not enjoy actually shopping there. I need to find a local place for good meat. Surprisingly, our local rural grocery stores don't usually have much to offer that looks quality. I am going to do a little research and see if we have any meat markets close by. Also, I bought a handy little device called a Solo Cup. I can put my own ground coffee in it and it fits in my Keurig. I do think the K-Cups make a better cup of coffee, but I like to use it if someone gifts me with coffee or I run out of K-Cups.

  4. Your day sounds like it's off to a great start and just knowing that you are having someone photograph your adorable, cozy little house tomorrow should be enough to plant a permanent smile on your face! Great frugal financing and simple and sweet, sage advice about sipping on hot chocolate, and waiting for spring! Hope it comes unfashionably early!


  5. I have never been much of a shopper but when we moved to the country shopping tends to be more of an obligation then something I want to do. I would say other then our grocerys 70 % of my shopping is on line....when I shop.

  6. Great tips here about cleaning out. I too like to have a massive clear out at least twice a year and one of them is just before Christmas, as the kids understand that there are others not as well off as them and so have to donate old toys to charity. Santa likes that a lot!
    I loved reading about your dogs. Arent they such fun animals. All with a little personality of their own. I know I would not be without my dog for a second.

  7. I've been on a "decrapifying" jag for the last six months and the urge hasn't gone yet. I finally took a couple of boxes I had "to go through" for months and just sealed them up for charity.
    I hadn't missed what was in them, so I decided to just get rid of their contents all together.

  8. I bet your dogs keep you very entertained! They sound like they are best buddies. It is cold here today too. Rain is coming this weekend and I dread it. I hope that tomorrow's photo shoot goes smoothly. You are on a roll girl!!! You're doing great on keeping the miles low on your car btw. We just bought mine this past summer and it already has a lot more than yours! Of course, since it gets the best gas mileage, we use it more than any other vehicle.

  9. I sure wish I was half as good at being frugal as you are. For 12 years I wasnt allowed to do much with our home; decorate it. Now that I rent a tiny 800 sq foot home, I have been a bit nutty decorating. Mind you though, I go to junk stores, craft stores, thrift stores, flea markets, but still I spend. I have one more room to tackle. Hopefully by summer, some frugleness will take over me.

  10. I really enjoyed reading what you did and thought about today! It seems to me that you enjoy your routine. Your adorable pups are so sweet together!

    My parents were very frugal and disliked clutter. So we only shopped when needed something. Also, taught us to give away or donate an item when we bought something new.

  11. I've been purging, too. I donated 6 bags of stuff (household decor & clothing) to Purple Hearts the other day. And today, I finally brought 3 bags of household decor to a local consignment shop. I'm hoping I can make a little bit of money!

  12. I am hoping to work on a much more frugal lifestyle in regards to driving this year. So many trips back to my old home did not help at all. I also like to use my own Trader Joe's coffee in the reusable cups for my Kerig. Can't wait to hear how the photo shoot goes.

  13. I hope Spring comes early too! We've had a really cold few days here. Hope you are doing well!

  14. Your photos are always so nice! Today, I especially liked the ones that had your pretty blue polka-dotted plates with red roses on them--they are the perfect symbol (to me) of a cozy cottage, just dripping with charm. Thanks for the eye candy!

  15. Hi Brenda
    I knew a women who was mid to late 70s whenI met her, a very plain looking woman. one day someone as taking out pictures and everyone was complaining about how they didn't like how they looked in pictures now that they were older. I LOVED her comment: "Five years from now I will look back at this picture and think how good I looked back then!"
    So if they want to take your picture just let them. I bet 5 years from now you will say the same thing!
    I hope you have a good weekend and the weather clears up. Rhondi xo

  16. I like the three errand idea. I have limited myself to 2 trips out per week. Mostly, it is to pick up my mail since it is not delivered to my home. I get raw milk on Fridays from a local farm, so that is my main errand day.
    I was really temped by a Keurig when they first came out. That is until I priced the K-cups. I purchased a little french press this year and I just love it! It takes up very little space.
    It is beautiful here today. The mountains across the valley are shrouded in a misty veil. I see a flutter here and there of snow. I love days like this!

  17. Can't wait to see the photos. It was Country Sampler right?

  18. I enjoyed reading about the dogs' antics! So funny...and I really like the photos you used today!

  19. Check San Francisco Bay coffee via Amazon for really great K Cup prices. Like $26/80.

  20. Check out San Francisco Bay K-Cups via Amazon for a great price $26/80. Sam's Club brand is also good at $32/780 if you are a plain black coffee gal like myself. :)


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