Penny Pinchers


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A new mission

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I've been given a mission! Richie and Ann, two of my coworkers, would love to purchase organic milk (or even just "middle class milk" says Richie) for their families.  However, both families go through about a gallon a week (or more) and it's difficult to spent over $7 a gallon on milk! Though we'd all love to have endless amounts of money to spend on good food for our families, but alas, it just isn't going to happen. SO my mission is to try to find some more affordable options when it comes to organic milk.

Wish me luck! Stay tuned for updates...

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10 reasons why camping is the Everyman vacation

By Julie Norman
Monday, September 8, 2014

This past week we took a vacation that was half camping and half VRBO condoing.  While we were camping at Cedar Breaks National Monument, I paid close attention to those camping around us and came to the conclusion that camping is the Everyman vacation.  Anyone who is willing can participate in camping. It's a great way to see some beautiful parts of the country for not a lot of money.

1. Campsites are fairly cheap.  They range in price from free to about $18 a night for tent sites.

2. Assuming the weather is good, just about any old tent will do.  Now, if it's super rainy you might start thinking of upgrading to a high quality tent, but still...for most occasions that 15 year old Coleman tent will work just fine.

3. You can bring all the blankets from your house and not even worry about sleeping bags.  We still like sleeping bags, but I'm just saying...and air mattresses or pads can be found for little expense as well.

4. Camp food is whatever you feel like buying!  Spend a little or a lot or somewhere in between.

5. Entertainment is free.  It's called nature.

6. If you're really trying to save money, take your own wood for the campfire (as long as it's not from out of state...some places have issues with that).  At Cedar Breaks you could get a 5 gallon bucket of wood for a suggested donation of $3.

7. Don't have a camp stove? You can always purchase some cheap or old pots and pans from Goodwill and a little grate to go over the fire and cook right on that.  I don't like ash in my food, so I'm not crazy about that idea, but you could do it and even I have!  Although honestly you can find 1 burner camp stoves for as little as $25.

8. (this goes along with #4) You are making all your meals.  That's a ton of savings right there!

9. Camping means doing as little or as much as you like.  We like to bike all day; others like to poke at the fire and read.  BOTH are awesome ideas that are also free.

10.  Camping brings everyone together.  It's not even just that it brings your family together, but you come into contact with all sorts of people.  On our trip we encountered lots of foreign tourists, people with small pop-up trailers from California and people with ginormous RVs.  Everyone can be found camping!

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My Striped Dress

By Julie Norman
Friday, August 29, 2014

Today I'm wearing one of my favorite dresses.  It's a simple long dress with short sleeves.  It's gray with black stripes.  Best of all, it cost me a grand total of $8 at Ross, Dress for Less.  I like Ross.  I have to be in a mood to shop there though because you really have to fish through and search to find good things.  Still, this dress caught my eye, I put it on and just said, "Yep.  This is going home with me." It's comfy yet dressy enough for work and though it was only $8 it's held up all summer long!

What's your favorite bargain store?

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Confessions from a Previous Life, Part #1

By Julie Norman
Monday, August 25, 2014

In a previous life I did NOT in any way shape or form pinch pennies.  I spent money like it was going out of style.  I wasn't super in debt or anything, but I was in a different set of life circumstanes and chose to do quite a bit of unnecessary shopping.  That whole thing about money not buying you happiness? It's true.  Anyway, my point is, there were so many insane ways that I wasted money that I wasn't even aware of until about 2006.  So here we go:

Confession #1:  When the little decorative soap dispensers by the sinks ran out of soap I would throw the WHOLE THING away and buy more!  I wasn't even aware that there was another way!  The dispensers I have now I've had for about 7 years. When they get empty I grab the big giant bottle of hand soap refill that I keep under the kitchen sink and I refill them.  That bottle costs me about $9 once every 6-8 months.  That's way cheaper than buying brand new dispensers pre-filled every time.

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When Quality Matters

By Julie Norman
Thursday, August 21, 2014

It might seem like I'm always looking for the best bargain or the "cheapest" version of something.  That's not entirely true.  There are certain areas in which I'm ok either forgoing something or buying a version of lesser quality, but in some instances I know that buying the highest-quality version I can afford is best.

An example of this is my raincoat.  A raincoat? Yes. For just walking around town having a super high quality rain coat might not seem necessary, and it probably isn't.  But for backpacking having a great high-quality rain coat is absolutely a must!

This is my new Arcteryx rain coat.  It wa actually given to me as a present, so I didn't really have to spend the money on it.  I WOULD HAVE though.  Why is a rain coat so important?  In the backcountry rain means cold and cold can mean hypothermia in a brief amount of time if you get soaked and chilled.  A rain coat should not only keep you dry, it should also keep you from sweating.  It's important to find a high quality rain coat that is also breathable.  Cheaper quality coats get wet quicker, meaning water might soak through.  They also often don't have vents for breathability meaning even though you aren't getting rained on, you're sweating and causing your own condensation within the coat! 

My point is, there are some things in life that are worth the price.  A good tent, a good sleeping bag, a rain coat, cookware...we all have those items that we're willing to pay for.  And honestly, isn't that why we all pinch pennies in the first place? So when we need to purchase a higher-quality item, we can?

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