Sunday, March 21, 2010

20 Things Completed This Weekend (That Were Free And/Or Made Us Money)

It is a beautiful sunny weekend here. Warmth and sun make me want to get active. Unlike a few years back, when a warm sunny day would send me on a recreational shopping binge, I now do things differently. Usually these things are both productive and cost little money. Here's what we did this weekend:
  1. Went for a walk around the neighborhood. Actually it's the first time this year I have seen many of our neighbors out in their yards. Usually people around here hibernate from November to March and you rarely ever see them unless they are running to their cars.

  2. Took some photos and listed some of the bigger stuff that is taking up space in the garage on Craigslist.

  3. Semi-organized the garage so that all of the excess stuff we have collected over the winter will be easy to set out at the garage sale we plan to have next month.

  4. Caught up on cooking and baking. Among the simple home-made items I usually make every couple of weeks: yogurt (super simple), granola (ditto), cookies (chocolate chip), chili, soup from the leftover chicken which we ate for dinner on Sunday (now in the freezer), and fried rice (for dinner and the leftovers are packaged for lunch for the next couple of days).

  5. Cleaned out the junk drawer. I thought we were out of batteries but hubby cleaned out the junk drawer and found an extra package in there...saves us money to not have to run out and buy a package of batteries that we didn't need.

  6. Cleaned out our closets. Clothes and shoes that we no longer wear were separated for the garage sale and donation to a local charity.

  7. Mowed the yard. Myself. Even though the temptation to hire it done was there, I figured I could use the exercise and the extra money I would save by doing it myself.

  8. Washed the car. Hubby did this. Usually we spend the $10 it takes to run it through the local car wash, but again, we NEED the exercise, we have the time, it is a nice sunny day, and we have all of the stuff to wash the car so we figured we might as well do it ourself.

  9. Watched the news. The health care thing is all that is on the news this weekend. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  10. Shopped virtually. I do this each Sunday when the store ads come out. I used to go to the store, pick up the advertisement, then shop. Unfortunately, by doing this, I usually ended up buying stuff--much of which I didn't need but couldn't pass up because it was "on sale." Now on Sunday mornings, I sit down at my computer and check out each local store's advertisement. This is a great way to curb impulse shopping and there has to be something that I both really need, and at a really good price, to make me leave my home and go buy it.

  11. Watched a movie on my computer. We do have basic cable but we haven't rented movies or actually gone out to the movies in ages. I was Googling a movie I heard about (the movie is Tim from the 1970s with a very young--and quite hot--Mel Gibson). I saw that someone had posted the movie, in its entirety, on YouTube so I watched it online for free. How cool!

  12. Passed up the opportunity to go to the symphony. A friend called with an extra set of tickets for the symphony--for free. I was so tired from the past week that I thanked her but declined. Now I am kicking myself--what a great, FREE, opportunity. Note to self, always say YES to opportunities.

  13. Cleaned out the fridge. I do this every couple of weeks and it occurred to me that one of my future challenges will be to see how long we can go with eating only what food we have at home and not eating out or restocking at the grocery store. Judging by the amount of stuff I saw in the fridge and the cabinets, we could be eating at home for months!

  14. Pondered the new "cash for clunker appliances" offer. Our state recently started offering a $100 rebate for buying new appliances (refrigerators and washing machines). While buying these items in on our "to do" list, we are putting this off until after we have the garage sale and thus, the cash to pay for the appliances we want.

  15. Did our taxes. Actually I did my taxes, my nephews taxes, and my sister in law's taxes. The more you make, the more you pay. Bummer.

  16. Hosted friends for dinner. Some friends came into town on Friday and invited us out to dinner (cost to them $100+). On Saturday, we invited them IN for dinner. A few years ago we would have felt that their invitation required that we take them out at an even more expensive restaurant than they took us to. No more keeping up with the Joneses. Hubby is a wonderful cook and everyone had some great food (cost to us about $25), some great conversation, and some great memories (from the after dinner poker game we set up).

  17. Researched some vacation packages online. Some family members are holding a mini-reunion in Las Vegas in June. We told them we would be there, with a couple of caveats. First, we need to have the cash to pay for the airline tickets, hotel, and spending money. Second, we have to get a "good deal" on these items. Round trip airline tickets from our location to Vegas were at $255 each as of this weekend which is more than I want to pay. Either the price will come down or we won't go. We like to vacation but only when the price is right.

  18. Got some work done. This is more for psychological peace than financial peace. I have a lot of leeway when it comes to completing work. Often times I put off work that I don't want to do until the last minute which causes undue stress. This morning was quiet with nothing pressing to do so I sat down at my desk and forced myself to write two big reports I was putting off (and surprisingly it went much more easily than I though it would). Now my upcoming week will be very quiet and relaxing.

  19. Arranged to car pool. A few years back it was nothing to hop in my car and go to meetings which were hours away. I put a massive amount of miles on my (leased) car. Dumb. On Friday afternoon, I asked around to see who was going to a meeting on Monday and another on Thursday, and was able to get rides with other people to both meetings.

  20. Found out my sister got engaged. Actually she sent me a picture of her finger. It was a blurry picture and from a phone number I didn't know so I figured someone accidentally sent me a picture of their finger. Odd. But after we chatted and I found out she was getting married--thus the picture of a ring on her finger--and I started rattling off all of the ways we could give her a great wedding at really minimal cost (unlike her huge and expensive first wedding which she was still paying off after the divorce decree had been issued). Surprisingly she was very agreeable and it looks like I will have a great topic for a blog post ('Wonderful weddings for next to nothing') in about eight months.

Overall a wonderful weekend, very productive, and, happily, very inexpensive.

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