Okay, so I think Tuesdays will be my Frugal Tip day and my catch up day going forward...in keeping with the random musings part of this blog.
Just in case you're following along, to date I've had 20 Egg McMuffins in 2009, most recently this morning during my Monday morning date with Superman. Valiant and I have been working out together for five weeks and are on day one of our sixth week. While we were shooting for 5 days a week, we've had no difficulty hitting our 4 day a week minimum. Buttercup has begun joining us, too, but I think she's in it for the television, not the exercise!
In case you're wondering about the babies I've had prayer request buttons on my blog for: The first two babies, Harper and Brayden have gone home and are doing well. I have removed their buttons from my blog. Click on their names if you'd like an update on their condition. Little baby Veiyah has pulled out of her surgeries (finally!) and stabilized and the second shunt is helping her a lot. The doctors are now making noises about letting her go home early this week. Her mother renamed the blog "Dirty Knees" out of respect for how much time she's asked people to spend on their knees praying for this baby.
Lastly, an new little girl for you to pray for and this one is closer to home. Baby Evelyn is one week old today and is the granddaughter of one of Superman's co-workers. Her parents and the doctors knew she was going to have problems before she was born, but the severity of the problems was even worse than anticipated. Her situation is complicated enough that she was delivered at Stanford Medical Center (even though her family lives in Oregon). Baby Evelyn has severe heart problems/malformation and inadequate lung development. Her young parents are grateful for any prayers you can spare for their family. She doesn't have a button to make it easier for you to check up on her, but you can get to their blog here to get more details and updates. [http://wholehearted4life.blogspot.com/] They've posted some pictures and some really moving posts about the power of their faith...I am humbled by them.
Now, for a change of pace, today's Frugal Tip...
Stop paying for people to containerize for you. What do I mean? Why are you buying a little box of sugar rather than a big bag? Yes, it might be convenient to have the little box, but have you ever seen how much more per pound you are paying for sugar? Flour? Cheese? Meat? If you save a little in every category, it really begins to add up.
Need another example? I go to the local Cash N Carry and buy my pasta in bulk. (No, I don't make it fresh because I am a slacker and that is a different post!) Egg noodles, macaroni noodles, spaghetti, capellini, penne pasta, rotini...it lasts forever and is so much less expensive to buy this way. (And think how green you'll be by eliminating all the excess packaging!)
Do you know those cute little foaming hand soap dispensers from Method? I love them...we have five. Do you use those or something like them? (Lots of manufacturers are making foaming hand soap now.) Are you replacing them when they're empty or are you refilling them? When you refill them, do you buy the "foaming soap refill" or do you buy the regular liquid soap and add your own water (roughly 1:3 - 1/4 container of liquid soap, 3/4 container water)? Did you know you could use regular liquid soap to refill those, too? Well, you can and that way you can stop paying people to add water for you and save a bunch of money to boot. Let me explain: 1 Method foaming soap dispenser is roughly $2.00 at Target. I bought a huge refill bottle of Method regular (non-foaming) liquid soap at Costco for $6.00. I've already had it six months and it is still not empty. I don't have to tell you how quickly those foaming hand soap dispensers need to be refilled, yet we've been using one $6.00 refill bottle for six months and aren't close to being out. (I even add one drop of food coloring to the clear soap to match each bathroom--very sophisticated, I know!) If I had gone out to replace those dispensers (like I used to!), I would have spent closer to $6 - $10/month, which would be $36-$60 in the same period that I spent $6! If I had bought the foaming soap replacement (the one whereby they add the water for me, I would have used probably $4-5/month worth of refill soap. (I think those bags are about $7-8.) While the savings would have been nice over replacing the whole soap dispenser, they don't come close to the savings I reap by adding my own water to the regular liquid soap. Something to think about.
Here is the thing, I know that individually these things might not be a huge amount of money, but combined, they can be a huge line item in your budget. If you buy in bulk and divide it up yourself, you are not paying for the labor or the extra packaging or the extra shipping. If you buy things in concentrate and add your own water, you are not paying someone else to add water for you. So, the next time you head to the store, look that the way things are priced. You might be surprised at how much you are paying for the privilege of having someone else containerize (or add water) for you.
And, if you don't want to do any of it, that is fine, too (because you probably don't run Bobbi Brown lip gloss through your dryer!); just be conscious that you are paying a premium to have someone do it for you.