Archive for the ‘driving’ category

Saving Over $120 a Month- And Counting!

September 10, 2008

     The economy has been on the minds of many Americans lately.  Either it comes up in campaign speeches and television ads or it hits closer to home with many families feeling the pinch.  Because I am one of those feeling the pinch, I got to thinking about what I have been doing to compensate for the change in lifestyle for our family.  And, then I started wondering what others are doing to help during this time of economic struggle.  Maybe someone else has done something that I can do to save a few dollars here or there.  And, maybe something I’ve done could help someone else.  So, here are my ideas.  Please share yours, too.  And, hopefully, together we’ll all get through it!

     I took a look at every bill I pay each month.  There were some things I really didn’t need- one organization I paid fees for that I had never used.  So, that got cancelled and saved $10 a month.  Then, netflix had to go.  Thank goodness we have a wonderful library that has anything i ever wanted!  That was another $10 a month.  Yesterday, I found a car insurance company that was $30 less a month for the same coverage I had before.  So, yes, I must say, I switched to Geico! 

     In April, I got a new car.  Although that sounds like spending instead of saving, I actually broke even.  Because I drive so much, gas and my new car payment is actually the same- or less- than what I was paying in gas every month.  So, I got a better car that will eventually save me a ton of money!  When I have an errand to run close by, I really try to walk or ride my bike.  Of course, as it gets colder that will change because I hate being outside in cold weather!  But, for now, it gives me some exercise and saves on gas.

     Lately, I have been making a huge effort to make a menu and shopping list for the week.  This saves me money and also keeps me from having to think at the end of the day!  The hardest thing to do for dinner at night is decide what to make.  So, this works well in several ways.  I’ve been able to stay under our $30 a week budget and make some tasty, well balanced meals! 

     We don’t go out to eat now.  We joined the $5 club at the theatre.  But, we very rarely go.  There’s always fun things to on weekends during the summer that are free.  When winter comes, we’ll probably have to work a little harder to find things.  But, I know they’re out there.  So, I cut out our $18 a week entertainment budget.

     On the homeschool front, I’ve had some luck- I call it God!  A friend has a daughter about the same age as my ds.  So, we’ve combined some classes, shared some curriculum, and been able to save money.  I also have some other people in my homeschool group that I am swapping curriculum back and forth with.  I think this is a great thing for homeschoolers to do- either as part of a homeschool group project or just as individual homeschoolers that know each other.  It can get expensive and most people use it and then it sits on a shelf or in a box and collects dust.  I’d rather see someone else get some use out of it.

     On the good side, evaluating how we spend our money has made me become much more aware of where it’s all going.  I have always thought of us as very frugal.  But, now that we are forced to live on my income alone- and are still eating with a roof over our head- I see that we could really save a lot of money away when my husband does find a job.  So, hopefully, this will all be good for us in the long run.

     I’m sure there are other things.  But, those are the main ones off the top of my head.  What have you done?  What are you planning to do?  How has the economy effected you?  Let me know your thoughts!

Goal Update

February 12, 2008

     Here’s a quick update on last week’s goals for those of you who have told me you are holding me accountable.  I was pretty good at the dinner at the table thing.  4 nights last week, we ate at the table.  That exceeded my at least 3 daysgoal.  On the other hand, excercising 3 days out of the week was not so successful.  I finally got motivated Friday and Saturday, but only got 2 days in.  So, I am still working on it this week.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.

     So, here are this weeks goals-

1) Eat dinner together at least 3 days (I would have made it higher but I was out of town for 2 days so that would not work out)

2) Exercise at least 3 times a week (1 down- I rode my bike when I got home from my trip tonight)

3) No caffeine

4) New this week! No drive-thru’s!  I have been stopping for a quick meal during work way too often lately.  So, wish me luck!

I Need a Vacation!

September 19, 2007

One of the joys I have found on our homeschooling journey is that we can take a wonderful, relaxing vacation and avoid the summer rush!  I love being able to go places and not have a swarm of people and cars everywhere.  Also, the price of gas usually goes down, which really adds up to quite a savings when we are driving a long distance. 

One of the other cool aspects about vacation since we started homeschooling is that we can coordinate our trips with what we are studying.  Last year, we went to the Henry Ford museum (http://www.hfmgv.org/museum/) and Greenfield Village.  Although my son didn’t like my constant questions relating exhibits to his school, he absorbed the information anyway.  And, quite a few times, he commented that an exhibit was something that he remembered studying.  How cool is that?  Before, we rarely knew what he was learning until he was on to the next thing.  So, we never had the chance to bring it to life.  Now, it’s time to make up for lost time!

So, next week we will all be on vacation.  Bringing geography into the trips is easy.  (Except for the fact that I hate stopping when I am on my way somewhere and we will have to stop to pick up information in all of the states we go through!)  We are blessed to live close enough to many great museums to make day trips possible.  So, I am sure that will be on the agenda for the week. 

Next Saturday is National Alpaca Day.  (Of course, you already knew that, I know!)  Although he doesn’t know it, this will be a class in itself.  My son, who works at the alpaca farm, will be there for the day helping with the open house.  This will give him a chance to demonstrate some of his speach skills that are required for 8th grade.  I have talked to the owner of the farm about writing a letter confirming his mastery in some of the skills.  If I told my son this, he would likely be nervous, but without knowing, he will do quite well.  He has taught me everything I know about alpacas! 

So, we are very excited to be visiting family this weekend, spending time together, and learning without even trying!

American Youth

August 30, 2007

I just got back from an overnight trip.  Since I wasn’t driving, it was the first time in forever that I had a chance to spend some quality time reading!  Usually, I have 50 million other things to do and even if I do sit  down to read, I am interrupted either by someone or the thought of something I think I should be doing.  But, yesterday and today, I had a chance to do some guilt- free reading!  It was wonderful!

Awhile back, when I went to vidit my cousin, she gave me a book.  Her friend wrote it and he even came over and wrote in the book for me.  How cool is that?  So, when I got home, I opened “American Youth” and started to read.

I couldn’t put it down at first.  Each page made me turn to the next wondering what would happen next.  And, the great thing about it was that I was quickly through several chapters.  As I said, unfortunately reading for fun doesn’t have a permanent time slot in my schedule.  So, I loved that it was a quick read- not that it wasn’t deep or thought provoking- just simply written to be understood.  So, then, quickly came a twist in the plot that set me back.  I think that’s what made it take so long for me to pick up the book again.  Not that it wasn’t a good book- I just had to digest it- take it in.  You see, it’s about a boy about my son’s age.  And, the reality of it all set me back.  My son is a good kid- really I am blessed.  But, a tragic event can happen to anyone.  And, the after effects- the quick spiral downward from there- was something I am glad I didn’t read about until  I had a chance to digest it all.  In the end, the resolution was good- realistic and not a fairytale. 

I’m glad I had the chance to read it.  I think it’s something, as a mom, that gives me insight into the pressures a boy can face.  And, for a teen, how easily things can spiral down without even noticing they are moving.  So, even though at times I was kind of freaked out as a mom, I was also grateful for an opportunity to peek into the mind of a teenage boy.

So, thankyou Phillip LaMarche for sharing with us all!  And thankyou Annabel for sharing with me!

Driving Survey

July 12, 2007

I heard a story today on a study done on driving. The survey had asked whether men and women drove one-handed or with both hands. Their results said most women drive with both hands and men with one hand. I listened as I was driving with one hand on the wheel. i just got off the phone with my husband who usually drives with either both hands or his knee (knee driving was probably not one of the survey options)

The reason, so they say, is that women consider the car to be separate from them and men consider the car to be a part of them. Who gets paid to think this stuff up? I wonder how much money went into this study? Whoever it was, is overpaid! For one thing, I don’t think it really matters. But, for another thing, they were 100% wrong, according to my survey of 2! And, men aren’t always the brightest bulbs in the box, but, come on! Do you mean to tell me that guys actually think they are a part of the car? Someone has seen the Transformer movie a few too many times!
So, to make my survey more accurate, I’m creating my own survey. Please respond in my comments.
1) What body part, and how many of them, do you drive with?
2) Have you ever considered a vehicle to be an additional body part?
(If yes, how many times did you see the Transformers movie?)
(If no, go to next question)
3) Do you really care how many body parts you, or others are driving with?
4) How much money do you think I should earn by creating this survey?
Thank you for your time!