Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Spend Recap...

We are just about to the end of our no spend month.  Honestly, this is the worst year since we started this four years ago.  We still spent much less than normal but it didn't exactly turn out the way I had planned.




We ate out of the pantry alot (again, not as much as I wanted).  We ended up spending about $140 on groceries vs. the $240-$250 we usually spend each month.  So I was happy with that savings.  Our pantry is still fairly full so I plan to continue to try to use up some things during the month of March.

We didn't shop much.  I went to Walmart once at the end of January to buy things I knew we'd need.  And I did buy a much needed lamp at Target for LM's room ($16).  LM also needed some shorts (for hockey/PE) which I was able to get at Sports Authority on sale.  So I feel pretty good about not shopping for shopping's sake.  There were, sadly, no trips to Hobby Lobby or Michaels.  But then, I don't really need anything right now.

We went out of town one weekend for a hockey tournament.  That's when I went to Target.  We were able to use our Marriott rewards points for both nights we were gone so that saved a ton and we grilled out by the pool for dinner.  Considering what we could have spent I thought we did well.  And we budgeted for the trip since we knew we were going a while back.

So, I don't think the month was a bust by any means.  I just know we can do better because we have.  I'd really like to try to do this again in April.  I just need to get the troops on board.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Drive...



We have a large 'winter visitor' population this time of year in Arizona.  Most of them are retirees.  Older retirees.  This morning I was behind two cars with out of state plates going v e r y slow - like 10-15 miles below the speed limit.  I'm no speed racer but on a sunny morning I don't think the speed limit is too much to ask. Anyway, I said to myself, 'you've been driving for 40+ years, can't you put your foot on the gas?' 

And then it hit me that if they were in their 70's (very likely) they would have been driving more like 60 years.  AND, that I have been driving for 30 years.  I know, how is that even possible?  But it is.

Even more startling is that LM will be driving in 6 years.  Again, how is this possible?  She is just a baby (imagine the rolling eyes of a 10 year old at this point).

Time flies.  Yes, it does.  But it doesn't make everyone do the speed limit - which on the road I was speaking of is 35 mph...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Index cards...

I tried to think of some snappy title for this post but the fact is that this is a pretty basic, non-snappy idea. Things have been busy here at September Acres lately.  Really, really busy.  It's just that time of year.  Girl Scout cookies, hockey tournaments, taxes, etc. 

I have always been a user of post-notes.  So cute and colorful. And sticky.  But a little flimsy and not always the best size ( I know they come in lots of sizes but I swear by the 3"X3" ones).  I have a planner that I use but sometimes I just need a quick place to jot something down and then when I have completed the task I can toss it. 

I bought a pack of index cards a while back for LM to use for vocabulary words.  I keep them in the kitchen drawer that houses homework supplies.  One day on a whim (yes, I live on the edge) I took out an index card and listed the things I need to do that day. 

 ~Light bulb moment here~

I love these things!  I love the size - they fit perfect in the console of my car so I can refer to the card any time.  They have lines to keep things neat.  They are a bit more sturdy than a piece of paper but not as permanent as a planner.

I have white ones now.


But they do come in pastels.  Maybe more colors, I haven't checked yet. And they are cheap!



If you ever wanted to keep the cards you could store them in an index card box.  Oh, the possibilities!

What do you do to keep yourself organized on the go?  Are you a list maker?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Fun Gift Idea...


Valentine's Day is coming up soon.  Really soon.  If you're looking for a fun, easy, quick, inexpensive gift idea, look at this one.

All you need is a picture - one of you and your loved one or one of your favorite vacation spot would be fun for Valentine's Day, a foam brush, Mod Podge & canvas (flat or wrapped - I have used both).  Optional supplies included ribbon or decorative tape & glitter spray.

Spread Mod Podge on your canvas with a foam brush then place the picture on top.  Then brush the picture with 2-3 coats of the Mod Podge (let dry between coats).  Once that is totally dry lightly spray the picture with the glitter spray (I used Krylon in silver).  If you are using the wrapped canvas you can finish off the edges with the ribbon or tape (see below).

That's it!  A fun give that's ready to give.  I have given these and people LOVE them.  This is also fun for older kids to do (would be a fun teacher's gift for the end of the year).




I used decorative tape on the edge of this for a little whimsy.  I got this at Michaels on clearance - it is their American Girl brand - I am sure you can find other brands as well.


I didn't use the glitter on this picture but I used it on the snowy picture at top.

There are so many possibilities for this project.  You can do any size photo/canvas.  A collage would be so fun, too.

Linking up to Stacy's Show Me What Ya Got.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

No Spend February...

It's February which means it's no spend time again. It's our fourth year. I personally love it. Coming off the spending frenzy of the end of the year, it's a nice change for me. I am, quite frankly, done shopping. We have no birthdays, anniversaries, etc until June so I like the 'cold turkey' aspect of a no spend month.

What, exactly, does 'no spend' mean @ September Acres?

-No shopping -that means we won't roam the aisles of Target buying stuff we don't need & sometimes don't even want. No trips to Costco. Grocery shopping is okay but limited as we are also eating from the pantry this month.

-No vacations - Easy Peasy as school is in.

-No going out to eat - If we are invited to go out as a treat we will go but otherwise we don't.

-No movies, bowling, etc. - That's pretty easy for us, except I haven't seen "Contraband" yet. Oh well, we'll be able to get it on DVD before you know it. I can wait.

So basically, no unnecessary spending. I think it's good for our bank account (the money we save goes into savings) & it's a good exercise for all of us to realize that we have so much and we should use/play with and enjoy it. I feel like sometimes we just buy, buy, buy and never really sit back and enjoy it.

I'd love to hear if you do this and how your family does it. I'll do a recap at the end of the month to see how we did.