Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

My unsolicted opinion on the time/sapce continuum.

Not really. But after being a stay at home momma for over a year now, I definitely have some things to say about prioritization, and I've been wanting to share. Please feel free to weigh in! What I wanted to talk about today is deciding how to pick out money saving tasks that you want to commit to doing, based on how much time you have to set aside for those tasks. What I mean is that there are so many things you can do to save money in your day to day life, but you gotta decide which ones are worth your time investment, AND that you enjoy doing enough that you won't drive yourself freaking crazy trying to keep up with them. An example;
  • I love to make bread, truly love it, especially in the colder months. And I will NEVER make our sandwich bread. I have a lot of reasons for this; although I use some whole wheat flour (pastry flour is the best) in several of the breads I make, I have yet to make 100% whole wheat bread that doesn't sit in your belly like a rapidly hardening batch of concrete. Commercial 100% whole wheat however has overcome that issue through some kind of sorcery that they do, so I say, let them do it right and I won't worry about it. Homemade bread just doesn't last on the counter like commercial, so I would have to make it every few days, and then figure out what to do with the stale stuff, cause we just don't burn through it that fast (and I just don't need that many bread crumbs). Commercial bread however, especially if you freeze it until you need it, always stays acceptably fresh (again, sorcery). Finally, if my darling husband were faced with an unsliced loaf of homemade bread when he went scrounging for a sandwich, I'm pretty sure he'd look for some cereal instead. It's a guy thing, I think, and honestly I don't really blame him! I don't think that you should forgo all convenience in the name of frugality, particularly when the savings isn't huge. I can buy sandwich bread for $1/loaf (maybe less if I get lucky at the bakery thrift store), and while I've never figured the cost of a batch of homemade (umm, cause I don't like it anyway, so what do I care), I can't imagine it would be much cheaper.
  • So that's my platform, vote for me! I will continue to make pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, Cuban bread, and refrigerator yeast rolls on a regular basis to satisfy my need for my house to smell like Heaven. But I'm just not messing with sandwich bread!

So, while not every task needs to be examined in such detail, I think it's really important to spend a little time deciding what you want to do, and where you'll take some help from the grocery store. And if you hate doing some frugal task, figure out a way to make it less painful, because you're not likely to stick with something you hate, and then you'll feel all guilty about it. Why waste your life feeling guilty? Go watch Jersey Shore so you can feel better about yourself!

Here's a nice Groupon deal if you're planning a trip to Sioux Falls between now and April. Spezia is a really scrummy Italian restaurant on Louise Street, and you can get a $50 gift certificate there for $25. It expires 4/25/11, and cannot be applied towards gratuity or tax. Spezia has great food, and the prices aren't bad, plus the desserts are really nice. I definitely think you could get a nice meal for 2 for $50! Try the Shrimp Fra Diavolo!
We always used to go to SF in the fall and do some Christmas shopping, but I can't think of any stores there that I would want to go to now, other than World Market of course! So, sadly I'll probably skip this deal. I doubt I can convince my husband to go, unless I promise a meal at Famous Dave's.....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rapid City Swim Center Promotional Spot (and a pretty unflattering picture of me).

Obviously, I'm not affiliated with the Swim Center, but I wanted to tell you guys about some of the stuff they offer. First of all, they have a really nice indoor pool, so if you've never been, I really recommend it! It's always clean, and they work really hard to make sure there aren't any unsupervised kids running around raising cane, so we enjoy going, even with a toddler. There are actually 2 pools in the building, a lap pool and a leisure pool. The leisure pool has a zero entry side (like at the beach, you can just walk in to the water), a really nice play area with a slide and other fun stuff, and also a walking channel. The channel is like a walking path with a current of water, so it's a good workout if you want something low impact.

As far as programs, they have plenty of stuff going on. I started taking junior to Water Moms in Motion when he was 3 months old, and I can assure you that he loved the water from the start. I've never seen a baby there who didn't look totally comfortable, even the little tiny ones. Water Moms in Motion is an aerobics class for pregnant women, or women with new babies, and they offer it on Tues/Thurs at 5:30pm. I haven't gone for quite a while, but it's a good workout and I would definitely recommend it. Another thing we have taken advantage of is swim lessons, and they have another session coming up soon. The next session runs from Nov 6-Dec 21, and online registration starts 10/22. Prices range from $30-$45, and most of the sessions are one day/week. We plan to sign up for Aquatots this time around, and I can assure you they really do teach useful stuff, even to babies/toddlers. Another thing we go to routinely is Family Swim. It's offered on Tues/Thurs/Sun evenings. Finally, we go to Chocolate Splash, which is on Fridays from 11-12pm, and is for kids under 6.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christmas gift idea, for the XY set

So the Groupon deal today in Sioux Falls is for the online retailer Red Envelope, which is very much a gifty kind of site. The deal is that you get a $30 credit at Red Envelope for $15, which is a nice savings. I picked one up so that I can buy this item for my bro for Christmas. I realize this is the smallest possible picture, and would love for you all to guess what the heck it is, but I'll be nice and just tell you; they're called fire wires, which are like flexible skewers for the grill. You can thread food onto them, marinade it in a bowl, and then throw them on the grill, and they'll take up less room and generally be easier to use. Here's the link to Red Envelope, there's plenty of other interesting items!

I'm still standing, promise.

I honor of upcoming Halloween, I had to pick a creepy gravestone for this post. My point is that I'm really not dead, I'm still kicking. So here's the deal. I haven't posted for several days, cause frankly it's been all I could do to get out of bed, feed my son, and maybe take a shower. I have not been feeling well, but I think I'm doing better now, and I want to get our little blog back on track.
One of other my roadblocks has been trying to figure out what I should really be writing about. I don't want to post deals that are inaccessible to you guys, because I want budget living to be convenient and minimally time consuming. I have always tried to make it a point to post local deals that were available either without coupons, or with coupons that were currently available to print from somewhere on the Internet (or maybe in a current store ad, or something else that was still available). But then I got more into posting my grocery store trips, and I realized that they may be frustrating to you if you aren't already at that level of coupon use. But on the flipside, I think it's good to see what's possible by couponing. The other thing about living frugally that I want to emphasize is that it's sooooo not all about coupons. There are so many ways to save money on certain expenses, so that you have freedom to spend your money on the things that are important to you and your family.
So my point in all this rambling is that I'm looking for your input as to what you would like to see me focus on. I'm assuming that my only readers are people I know personally (if you don't actually know me, Hi, isn't the Internet a trip?!), so as I see you guys, will you tell me what you think? In the meantime, I'm going to try out some different topics and see what I feel like makes a good fit.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cheap pumpkin related fun for the whole fam!

There's a Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival going on tomorrow in Rapid, here's the link for the info on the Journal's website. I would love to go see Charlie Brown at the Elks, but I do not think for one second that my child would sit still for that.