October 26, 2013
Fall and Finances.
It's a beautiful, sunny day here ~ perfect for finishing up our outdoor fall work. Last night, we raked up 4 bags of leaves and dh put the garage in order. I was going to cut the grass but after just 4 rows, the mower quit. Out of gas! And none left in the garage, so dh is off to the gas station this morning to get a bit more so I can finish the task. We also put the lawn furniture away in the garage and emptied my plant pots. Sad to tuck the dead plants into the compost bin. Such great colors this year!
Our dear friend T is coming over after lunch today to help dh put our Christmas lights on the house. It may seem quite early but in this part of the country, we could get snow any day now, and although the first snow often melts, it's risky to expect that we'll have clear, snow less days the closer we get to November. It's nicer to put them up while it's warmer. We have a 2 storey house, so this is definitely a 2 guy job!
The rest of the day, our fall tasks include one more rake, one more cutting of the grass, hanging the lights, putting the angel, the deer and the lamp post out in the yard, vacuum out both cars, finish the laundry, put away all the paperwork I sorted, make soup for tomorrow and dinner for tonight and finally, try to make my first key lime pie. Tonight, after we enjoy our dinner with our family and our dear friend, we're going to see Dracula in the city at our local theatre. We have a few friends in this production and it's our favorite theatre company here, so we're happy to support the show. Not sure if we'll go out with some cast members later but keeping it open.
On to finances. Yesterday, I enjoyed a kid~free, daughter~free, spouse~free morning. I caught up on emails, sorted our mountain of paperwork that had accumulated while I was sick and then started working on our fall budget. I realized that it was just 2 short months until the Christmas season and time to figure out where gifts and celebration funds will be pulled from. Grabbing a blank journal, I created pages for documenting where our money is going and where the extras are coming from. I started with a page for our utilities for the next few months, then a few pages for our mortgage and housing costs, then daily spending, transportation costs and finally, our savings. We use our MasterCard for many purchases but never carry a balance. It is paid in full before the due date each month and to date, we've never incurred interest. We get double Air Miles and it makes life easier when we just have to pay one bill each month but it also doesn't give us a good idea of where the money is going for each category. So now we'll still use our m/c but record in our journal so we have a better idea of our actual spending instead of guessing each month. We need to boost our savings faster than we've been doing.
I've been following Living Rich on the Cheap for a few years now and love her posts on Christmas frugality. Like purchasing decorations at the thrift store. We did this yesterday when we visited our local charity shop and discovered as we browsed that until 3 p.m., all the Christmas ware was 1/2 price. We had already put a few items in our cart and at the time of the announcement, it was about 2:40, so we did another quick gather, added a few more items and then checked out well before the deadline. This was an unadvertised sale, a fun one that they do occasionally, without notice. We spent an entire $11.25. I'll post later the items we bought. As a side note, we had debated whether we should go early in the afternoon or wait until we pick up our grandson at 3 when preschool would be done. We almost waited and then at the last minute, decided to go early. If we had gone after, we wouldn't have known about the sale and still would have been happier with our purchases but this just made it sweeter!
There is a snow warning out, so we're getting ready to snuggle in for winter. My pantry is full, our house is warm and there are plenty of activities we can do inside this winter to keep us busy.
How are your fall preparations coming?
Are you getting ready for Christmas?