A Factory Working, College Grad Getting Out of Debt

Posts tagged “rainy day goal

Rainy Day Goal #6 – Simple Landscaping/Tree Upkeep

Did I mention that I spent a summer as a landscaper? No?  Well, I did and I am now the handy dandy person with it comes to this stuff around the house.  I got pretty fed up with the way my trees were sagging one day that I bought some cheap shears and limb cutters and went a hacking.  It was a pretty liberating experience, and since then, I’ve made it a point to prune the six trees on our lot 2-3 times a year to make them look goooood.  Not only that, but I’m saving us major money by doing it myself. I mean come on, why not use the previous experience and training that I acquired on that hardworking, back breaking (not to mention the worst sunburn I EVER had) summer and use it to my advantage? My mother has noticed all my hard work too over the years, as I now am sporting some nifty new gear.  Check out the new tools my Mommy bought for me!

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These babies got to see some massive amounts of usage last weekend when my guy and I went out with a ladder and began pruning the trees.  By the time it was all said and done, I had nearly a tree’s worth of limbs ready to be picked up by the composting department from the city!  Now don’t get me wrong, I still have bushes to trim and a few more pesky baby limbs to prune, but that should all be done sometime today.  I pretty excited to go back out and hack the stuff up and make it look all pretty.  All of the stuff below was what happened in less than two hours when I convinced my guy to help me by keeping a ladder steady and taking turns being on it.

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Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow

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Even Though It’s Spring, I Still Have Cabin Fever

It’s been spring for almost a month, and for once, I am unhappy to say that we are getting the rain we need.  Don’t get me wrong, when the water table is under 30 feet and your area has been in drought mode for two plus years, we definitely need the rain.  Unfortunately, it just doesn’t stop.

Every day this month, it’s rained at least once.  And in the last two weeks, it rains in the morning or middle of the night, and then it rains in the afternoon.  I love rainy days, again, I feel I have to defend them, as I love getting things done that I normally couldn’t on a rainy day compared to a normal one.  However, since I’ve been unemployed, I usually can get a lot done nowadays.

And sometimes you just need to have a day where you just do chores.  Yes, I said chores.. and when I mean chores, I mean landscaping including mowing the lawn.  Because it has been doing nothing but raining, my grass has been doing nothing but growing.  Yesterday my guy and I had a short interval of time where I was able to convince him to help me get some of the yard mowed.  We got 2/3 of the back yard (this does not include the rest of our yard) before my brother came out and informed us of the storms coming and the tornado watch that had just been placed until 1am the next morning.  As we were not in the mood to get electrocuted, and we were already having a hard time with the soggy ground and tall grass with the mower, we decided to give it a rest.

I still have a lot of lawn to mow though… I have five trees and seven bushes to prune (I spent a summer being a landscaper, so I got this).  However, I’m not looking forward to it.

 

What do you do on your rainy days?  Are you having as much frustration with the weather as I am?

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow


Rainy Day Goal #3 – Homemade Arnold Palmer Half & Half Tea

It’s been awhile since I had a Rainy Day Goal post, and I wanted to show you a neat way of saving money this time.  While I was working, I became addicted to Arnold Palmer’s Half & Half Pink Lemonade tea (what a mouth full, I know).  As a result of my unemployment, I was craving it almost to a fault.  Almost every day that I worked for the last two months of my employment at the convenience store, I would either have one 23 oz can at work, or would take one with me on my way home after a rather long day.  If I was going to be off for a few days, I would stock up appropriately, so you can guess how I was missing my Arnold Palmer by day three of no job.

 

My sweet, sweet addiction..

 

My local grocery store had it on sale a couple of times during the months of November and December, and I would end up pleading for someone to pick it up on their way home from work.  Yes, I was wanting my Arnold Palmer so much that I would become stingy on my gas budget and instead would funnel $5 or so a week into buying that tea.

Thankfully, I found a solution.  One night, while my dear friend was making her iced tea, we contemplated on the idea of making a version of my Arnold Palmer.  We had quite a few Country Time Pink Lemonade in our pantry because we all have a Pink Lemonade craving during the summer and always had a pitcher of it handy.  Whenever my local grocery store had it on sale for 10/$10, we would each raid the shelves and buy about 50 at a time.  So with the help of our ice tea maker, we started experimenting.  This the recipe that I ended up enjoying, and even though it’s not as mild as the actual Arnold Palmer, I prefer the more sour kick that my tea/pink lemonade has.

 

Arnold Palmer Half & Half Pink Lemonade (with a kick)

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Ice
  • 6 Lipton Tea Bags
  • 1 Lid full of Country Time Pink Lemonade

Directions:

  1. You will obviously want to follow the directions of your ice tea maker.  If you don’t have one, consider investing in one.  They are only about $30 – $50 and with the mileage ours has… it’s totally worth it both economically and ecologically instead of buying tea from the gallon.  This is the one we currently own and I completely recommend it.
  2. Usually your ice tea maker requires about half the pitcher of water, dump it into the water reservoir and then fill the pitcher with ice.  Our refrigerator’s settings on high, so I usually reduce the ice by about a fourth.
  3. Dump the lid full of country time on top of the ice so that when the hot water/tea comes from the machine, a lot of it will already be mixed.
  4. I have 6 tea bags, but if you prefer your tea being stronger or lighter, that’s up to you.
  5. NO SUGAR.  This will just sweeten the heck out of this stuff and the country time already has enough of it.  I also like the sour kick anyway.
  6. Let the machine do its work.
  7. After the tea is brewed, stir the remaining lemonade with a spoon.

 

Simple as that.   Really, really easy.  And it’s saving us lots and lots of money, as instead of paying $1 per can, I’m paying more like $.30 for an entire pitcher.

 

Hope you enjoy 🙂

Count those Raindrops!

-DecMeadow

 


Approaching a Milestone with a Possible Budget

Well, my man and I are approaching our two year anniversary on Sunday and it’s pretty clear the bond isn’t going to break.  We’re stuck with each other, and love it.  With kids today getting married young and even my own peers are starting to say the “I Do’s” to each other (I think I know of three weddings just this month of fellow compatriots?) people are wondering: When are we going to tie the knot?

And the answer to that is: not anytime soon.   My guy is still in college and will be graduating this May.  When we first talked about futurey things, we definitely agreed that both of us would be graduated before the question was ever asked.  And after he graduates?  Well, I want to work on some of this debt first.  I’m doing a pretty smashing job so far in my opinion honestly, and I’d like to see it continue that way for some time to come.

We did set out a budget for the nuptials whenever they occur however.  He and I are very picky, and aren’t into following all the shenanigans of wedding necessities that for some reason the industry insists one must have to have a “successful wedding.”  To be honest, if he and I went to a Justice of the Peace, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.  Don’t get me wrong, looking at wedding things is certainly a past time of mine, but there is so much of the frill and the tulle that I can live without thank you very much.  Instead, I’d rather do things my way.  And that includes a budget.

A couple of months back when I started this blog, my guy and I sat down and truly discussed this possible wedding budget and if it were doable or not.  We think it certainly is, and are willing to cut the frill and satin out to get there.  What’s the magical number you might ask?  Well… $6000 for the wedding.  $4000 or less on the honeymoon (the part where we can honestly want to splurge).

I know there are so many people out there who want all that extra to make their very special day very special, and I don’t mind it.  It’s your day.  Do what makes you happy.   And for me, having a down payment on some property and possible blueprints for a home are my main concern truth be told.  So that means we’ll be living with our parents for a little while longer as I work down the debt and he works on saving and we both work on finding decent careers.

The Breakdown:

Photographer: $2000  This is the part where I refuse to budge on quality. I want photos of my day clear and artistic with a whimsical feel in spots and serious and gorgeous in others.  Finding that special photographer means being willing to pay for it.

Food: $325  We’re definitely going cheap, and he and I are already thinking something really simple and fun for this.

Cake: $150 Why do you need layers to a cake?  Seriously… a sheet cake does the trick in feeding all those hungry mouths.  A simple two tier is all you need for the pictures and the 1 year anniversary luck.

Venue/Preacher: $300  We already know a few places that we can reserve for under $100 total.  We’re stoked and ready.

Tuxes: $500  Rentals of course, but my guy also insists on helping his groomsmen and my man of honor (yes? you read that right… what of it?) with supplementing their budgets so that they’re not breaking the bank either.  It’s expensive to be a part of your best friend’s wedding!

Dress: $550  My guy scribbled this one down and I couldn’t help but be awed and love him more.  I was seriously considering writing down $250-300 for this and he just upped the game so I could have an awesome dress.  Love you so much for being so great!

Paper: $120  Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You Notes…. SOOOO EASY TO ACCOMPLISH THIS I TELL YOU!

Decorations: $200  It’s going to get Crafty in that house of mine whenever the wedding is set.  Of course that will probably be years from now, but still.  DIY all the way.

Bouquet/Boutonnieres: $100  DIY can work here too ladies and gents, and that’s exactly what I plan on doing 😉

Wedding Rings: $1000  This is the other big spender.  My guy and I like expensive metal.  And we’re certainly wanting to splurge a bit on the most symbolic and memorable part of the ceremony.  I never said I had a cheap sense of taste my friends.

What number did you give for your wedding budget?  Did you do it for less?  Decide that certain things were more necessary than others?  Let me know!  I might have forgot something.

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow.


Making an Address Book/Contact List in Excel

So I have to admit I’m a bit of a pack rat when it comes to things like people’s numbers, addresses, etc.. I had a whole drawer full of slips of paper, napkins, old envelopes that had been written on by people I love or care about.  This was in an attempt to when I would have the time to put them all in an address book..

By hand.

Ha, so you can understand why they have all been sitting in a drawer for a few years as I’ve been collecting my contacts and networking with people from college and previous employers.  Needless to say, this huge cleaning urge sprung and I had the brilliant idea of putting them all on the computer.  All those pieces of paper are gone and instead on my hard drive, a flash drive, and another back up disc that I have conveniently in case something would happen to any/all of them.  I know there are a lot of people who put these on their smart phones, but I have a tendency of being clumsy and I’m not sure how much longer my battle-worn Samsung phone can take it much longer.  I plan on transferring all of my contacts from my phone to my Excel Address book here soon.

So here’s how I made my simple address book in excel.

1. Open up your excel file.  On the bottom of the screen you will see tabs labelled Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, etc.. Right click on each one and label them according to how you group your contacts.  For instance, I am part of a gaming clan, have family and friends, and have business contacts.  So I labelled mine accordingly and have Personal, DOS, & Business as my books.  If I feel the need to expand and make more tabs, that won’t be too much of a problem because Excel allows you to have more than just 3 tabs in a single file.

2. On the top of the first row, label your columns A-H from left to right: Name, Address, City, State, ZIP Code, Phone, Fax, & Email.  I also added an additional column for Cell Phone numbers because you know… we’re in the 21st century.  Fax is sadly so antiquated now, but I still include it for my business contacts.  As I said before, don’t be afraid to adapt this for your own purposes.

3. Highlight your columns, center and bold them so that they are easier to see when you are looking for a contact.

3. Format your ZIP Code and Phone/Cell Phone.  This can be done by right clicking on the letters above your columns (A-H remember?) and then selecting Format Cells.  From there you select Special in the left hand column and then select either ZIP Code/ZIP Code + 4 (although the +4 will just skew your ZIP codes that you only have the first five, so I just go with the regular/simple ZIP) or Phone Number.  Easy as pie.  Mmmm… pie.

4. Now here’s the hard and tedious part.  Start entering your contacts.  This can take some time, so if you need to walk away for a minute, feel free.  My pile slowly dwindled as I had my handy-dandy wastebasket next to me as I went along, but there were a couple of times that I needed to walk away and let my eyes uncross.

5. Make sure you save your document as you go!  Freak accidents always happen and sometimes Microsoft Office doesn’t save EVERY last piece of your document that you’ve been working on for hours.  It happens!  I can only lament on some of the instances where I was almost finished with a paper or presentation and something odd happened to my computer and I lost almost everything.  So SAVE!

 

I might update this little thing later and make it more crazy awesome as the time goes, but right now it’s suiting its purpose just fine, and that my friends was cleaning out my desk drawers so actual desky things can go in them, like my obsession with office supplies.

Count those Raindrops!

DecMeadow


Surgery & Rainy Day Goal Updates

Again, thanks for being cool this week and understanding there’s been a few things on my mind.  The surgery went well on Wednesday.  We arrived at 5:30 am; went through some prep and last minute paperwork.  She was hooked up to an IV and being readied for her anesthesia when the surgeon came in and asked her a few more questions.

The left knee is the one that was operated upon because it had been causing her more pain.  Originally it had been the right, but because she blew it out in April, there wasn’t much they could do.  It’s been put off for almost a year and finally one was “fixed” on Wednesday.

The surgery went so well that it was only about an hour after they had taken her to the OR that she was back out.  Couple of tears were repaired and few other minute details were taken care of and voila!  Her knee should be good as new in about six weeks.  It just has to heal at this point.

Now that the numbing agent that they administered while in surgery is gone however, she is feeling a lot more pain.  My mother has a high tolerance of pain (which I thankfully inherited), but the fact that she is having trouble walking at the moment is a bit upsetting.  Understandable, yes… but most certainly upsetting.  I can only hope that it truly worth it and it heals properly so she can get the other done next year.

Best thing about this though is that because of her surgeries being pushed back, she will have both Thanksgiving and Christmas off by default because of the necessary six-eight week medical leave her surgeon insists her having.

Since I rattled on about that, here’s a few other things.  The cabinets are looking and feeling good with their first sanding finished.  I’ll be able to move to the finer sandpaper tomorrow and finish the sanding.

The organization of my room is still slowly being worked out and thankfully my man has been a great helper in that!  Thank you dear!

With the warmer weather expected this weekend, we anticipate the Christmas decorations/tree to be started and (hopefully) finished.

Pictures and full updates on the processes to come!

Count those raindrops!

DecMeadow


Rainy Day Goal #2 – Surgery Prep

I’m going to apologize for the quick posts that will appear this week.  I have a lot of things to do outside of my blog because of a few things you will soon learn.  Thanks for showing up and reading them even so!  I love seeing the reader stats knowing that there are others out there that may be learning or feeling the same hardships that I am currently.  A comment goes a long way too!  They have all been putting a smile on my face, and I hope to become more personal on acknowledging you all this week (hopefully).

My mother is having knee surgery on Wednesday and will be out for six weeks from work because of it.  As a result, she and the rest of us have been working diligently to try and get things in order before she has it in order to make everyone’s lives easier during this holiday season.  Furniture is being moved, rooms are being cleaned, etc…

So the goal is to get as much of this done as possible before Wednesday and make it easier for my mother to get around/appreciate her surroundings without worrying about household chores (that she shouldn’t obviously be doing because of the strain it will put on her knee) in the meantime.

 

Again, I know it’s short, but I have a few extra projects I have in mind that I will let you know about during this surgery prep.  The goal is to have a couple of cabinets that have been in the garage for years to be sanded and painted this week as well as the Christmas tree up and decorated.  I’ll have more lengthy goal posts for those (plus pictures), so be prepared!

Count those Raindrops!

DecMeadow