Saturday, April 27, 2013

Good-bye Winter, Hello Summer!

Growing up in the south has been an interesting part of my life. I love everything about it from tractors on the main road to the hot summer nights sitting on the porch swing. I have always considered it to be a blessing to be “Southern” and also a North Carolinian. By far one of my favorite/not so favorite things about living here is our good “ole” North Carolina weather. (It is what I would call a love/hate relationship.) Having never lived in any other place I can't speak for other areas, but here in NC it often feels as if we skip some of our seasons all together or at times it seems we even repeat them. For instance, we often go straight from winter into summer and sometimes we will go from fall to summer then back to fall again. People around these parts often complain about our weather, when they do we just respond with, “Welcome to North Carolina!”. As I sat here drinking my coffee and eating one of my southern favorites, a Krispy Kreme doughnut, I have been thinking about how our weather has been lately. I bet your saying, “Please not a blog about the weather!”, well I hate to disappoint, but it is. When our resident groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, we were hoping he was wrong, but it turns out, he was right. You see, it's not unusual around here to have some warm, pretty days during the winter, but this year that just didn't happen. That being said, it seemed as if winter would never come to an end, but about two weeks ago it did and we jumped straight into 80 degree days. We hit a hot spell like you wouldn't believe. The days and nights were so warm, you could hardly think and we were using our A/C like crazy. We stayed that way for about a 10 days and then something happened, it turned cold again. In fact it felt as if we had gone to fall and the mornings were brisk and cool. Since then we have turned off our air and turned on the heat (again). Now we are having to use our heat in the mornings and at night and our air during the day.

I'm sure this coming July when the temps. reach 98 degrees and the humidity is 100%, I will be longing for these nice “cool” 60 degree temperatures, but for now, I'm happy to report that it finally feels like spring here in North Carolina.

Remember, I told you it was a love/hate relationship.

That's my “two cents worth”, what's yours?   

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Frugal Lifestyle

I have always considered myself to be a frugal person, in fact over the years members of my own family have described me in some of the following ways: cheap, penny pincher and tight wad.  My own mother has even told me that I "squeeze George Washington so hard that a booger would come out of his nose."  I can only imagine how funny or strange that might sound to some.  You see I was once a single mother, raising a toddler all by myself  while going to college full time and working part time.  I had to make my money go as far as possible and count as much as I could.  During that time I developed some habits that helped me to become a frugal person. 

Now I am happily married and have four children (two here on earth with me and two angels in Heaven waiting for me), but those habits have held strong and I'm still using them today.  I thought  I would share with you the top six habits that I have developed in the hopes that they will help you (my readers) to begin living a frugal lifestyle as well. 

1.  Always look for sales!!
     It is very important to keep your eyes open for sales. Very rarely do I ever buy anything that is not on          
    sale.  By using this habit it will help you to stay focused on what you want and also teach patience as your 
    waiting for the sale to happen. 

2.  Shop Around!!
     Always get a competitors price when buying an item.  It is never wise to be impulsive in shopping, always 
     give yourself time to think about your purchase and time to check the price with another store. 
3.  Price Match!!
     Not all stores will do this for you, but for the stores that do, take advantage of the policy.  It will be worth 
     your time to price match an item at a store closer to you than to waste your time and gas driving to a 
     store across town.  Also, there are many apps out there that will help you to do this, that keeps you from
     having to go through all the weekly sales papers (which I still do).  

4.  Remember, the clearance rack is your friend!!
     Whenever I go shopping I always head straight for the clearance section of the store.  There will always 
     be racks in each clothing section and if you look on the "end caps" (the ends of  the aisle) you can always 
     find good clearance deals. 

5.  Always, I mean always use coupons!!
     Coupons are like cash money, if you are not using them, your losing money. I will be going into more 
     detail on couponing in a later blog. 

6. Don't be afraid of thrift stores!! 
    I have heard people put down shopping at thrift stores, but I can tell you some of the best deals I have 
    ever gotten have been in these types of stores.  Not every one will be great to shop in, but there are some 
    fantastic finds to be found. Just to give you and example: my cousin found a Kate Spade handbag at our 
    local Goodwill for just a few dollars, so shop thrift and get those deals. 

In the last year I have started following two very good blogs,Couponing to Disney and Moola Saving Mom. 
Both of these blogs not only give great couponing advice, but they also give you a heads up on good deals they find online and on special sales they find out about.  I have pasted a link to these blogs at the bottom of this post. 

In this day and age getting a good deal and saving money is very important to me.  I try to live as frugal a lifestyle as possible, by doing this I am able to not only save money, but to also have the extra to do special things with my family.  

That's my "two cent's worth", what's yours? and

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kids Birthday Parties: Just right or too much?

Over the last several months our family, mainly our children, have been invited to several birthday parties. In fact one of our own children has celebrated a birthday within that time.  Over the weekend we attended our grandson's birthday party, there were so many kids and I have to say everyone got along fantastically, even the adults. While I was sitting there watching everyone talking and the kids playing I got to thinking about birthdays, parties, and all the things that happen on this special day.  As I began writing this before bed that same night, I had a stunning thought, "When did the concept of birthday parties start?".  I mean at what point in our earthly culture did people really start celebrating their birthdays?  

So I grabbed my laptop and begin my research at my favorite search engine, Google. After reading several articles, it became clear to me that people just weren't sure about it.  They had all kinds of theories on the subject, but nothing definite on when people began celebrating the "anniversary of their births".  

I mentioned this to my husband and his take on the subject was that years ago poor people did not celebrate birthdays, it was something that only the rich were able to do.   At this point I was reminded of my grandfather who passed away in 2011 at the age of 91.  I remembered that he never even knew when his birthday was, all his mother could remember was that it was in the month of January and it was very cold.  I personally can't imagine growing up without knowing or celebrating my birthday, but I guess if I had been in a family of twenty-four children like him it wouldn't have mattered to me either.  

After all that thinking on birthday parties I have come to three main conclusions: 

1.  They are way to much work and effort!!  It's almost like planning a wedding or some other major event.  You put all that time, effort and energy into giving your kids this over the top, fantastic birthday party and before you know its all over and your completely exhausted.  I always try to get my children involved in the planning of the party,  in helping with the decorations, and getting everything set up. I think this makes them more appreciative of all the work I do. 

2.  Kids get way to much these days!! In fact they get way to much everyday of the year, not just on birthdays.  I'm just as guilty as the next parent, but we do try to limit the amount of new stuff that comes into our house.  For instance, the children get nothing new from October to Christmas, it helps to cut down on the clutter and teaches them to be grateful for what they have. 

3.  This point is for you grandparents.  Why do you buy for the child not celebrating the birthday?  I mean what happened to the concept of birthdays being special?  My grandparents never did this for us and we never felt left out when I siblings got gifts. I for one am glad that I have not falling into that trap (yet). 

Please don't take all this the wrong way, I mean we love celebrating our kids birthdays. Yet, when I am in the mist of planning a big party there are times when I long for the simple.  Perhaps just inviting a bunch of kids to the park for cake and ice cream. We could just let them run and play without having to constantly entertain them. Then I realize that would never happen, we as parents just have to keep out doing ourselves to make each party bigger and better. 

        That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Well, here it goes, my very first blog. Blogging has been something I've thought about for a few months, but just never took the time for. I have no idea how it will go, what will come of it, or if I will even have any followers, but it's time to step out of my comfort zone and do something different.  

After naming my blog I started wondering what does the phrase "my two cents" worth mean and where did it come from? After a quick search of Wikipedia I found what I believe to be a good explanation. 

First, lets look at the origin of the phrase.  According to Wikipedia, the phrase "my two cents worth" takes its origin from card games, in which betting is required, such as pokerTo participate in such games a person must provide an ante, or bet, before playing. This makes the analogy between participating in a game and participating in a conversation. 

Wikipedia also suggests that its origin could be from the early postage cost  in England, being the "twopenny post". Although there are many ideas of how this phrase got started, I am certain we will never truly know. 

Now to look at the meaning of this very familiar phrase.  Again according to Wikipedia the phrase means exactly what I thought, to give your opinion on a matter. 

 For me it is a saying that I have heard all my life. As a young girl growing up in the south, surrounded by elderly family members and the elderly of my community, I came to associate the saying with giving someone your opinion or your way of thinking on a subject.  So basically that's what my blog will be about, my opinion or way of thinking on all kinds of topics.  I don't know how often I will write, daily or weekly, who knows.  I do know that there are a lot of topics out there that I'm interested in or passionate about. There will be times when I want to discuss things or just times when I want to rant. I feel the need to warn you ahead of time that we may not always agree, in fact, I'm sure of that. That being said, I hope that you enjoy my postings, get a good laugh from time to time and learn something new. 

 So that's "my two cents worth", what's yours?