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Discussion Starter #1
So this is how we do things around here.

Dh pays all the major bills and deals with the finances (hey, I have enough to keep me busy). I have a credit card that I use for all purchases household related, consumables (food, cleaning, hba's, etc). I spend, he pays...works out great. - lol.

Anyway, up to this point I rarely had any cash on me (so little in fact that a mugger would be quite disappointed picking me as his target)...
When I need (or want) something I just whip out the charge card.

Now in my defense I am not a compulsive spender. Quite the contrary. I am told I one of the biggest tightass'es that people have ever met (thank you very much- I have worked long and hard for that title). But still somehow I managed to get the CC bill higher each month than I really wanted to (I would like to see big ZERO'S in the new purchase column but that is highly impossible considering we have to eat and I have no cash).

So 2 weeks ago I implemented the envelope system for myself. This one is a little different than a traditional system as I only have one envelope. And everything comes from just that one.

I have another thread going about my project and how it is working out if you might be interested.

But here's the thing about all this. I love opening my envelope and seeing all the cash in it. (I am getting a cheap thrill as they say every time I take a peek). Yea, I admit it - I love cold hard money.. And I am having a hard time spending it.

Now in reality that's a very good thing. Because suddenly I am looking for ways to not spend it. When I need something I am looking for the resources to get it for FREE or find an alternative that costs less.

Case in point:

Needed peat moss for the garden & planters ~ found all the animal poop for FREE that I can use for fertilizer at the local animal rescue
Needed dirt for same ~ animal rescue is giving me piles of decomposed horse manure mixed w/dirt to top off my garden beds -FREE
Garden Seeds ~ seeds are ripe for the picking every time you bring home that veggie or fruit from the grocery store (just read up on what to choose & what to save yourself time & headache by just buying the seed itself in a package)
Planter box liners ~ or in my case FREE plastic crates drug home from the grocery that produce is shipped in (these are long and short unlike milk crates so they are perfect). I was mentioning that I would have to get some plastic (maybe even garbage bags to line them) and one of my co-workers suggested I use the giant bags that the bananas come wrapped in before they are put in their boxes. Fabulous idea!
Making my own homemade applesauce from here on out ~ started asking around and found someone with apple trees that said when the apples come into season take all you want (& he will throw in a few pear trees to boot)
Chili, Taco, Sloppy Joe mixes ~ no I didn't make my own. I can buy a package of store brand for .39 each so that was my method of madness. I have a zillion restaurant size spice jugs here for my Farmers Market mixes and why on earth I am not making my own is beyond me. So out came the empty spice containers and on went the thinking cap.

The above are just a few examples of what I have dealt with in the past week (since it's been garden planning time). But I think you get the idea. When you think about having to buy something - think again. Start using your resources around you and quite possibly whatever you need is right there under your nose instead of on the shelf at your local retail establishment.
 

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You do realize the mixes you mentioned buying all have salt as the main ingredient. They're a big rip-off. Thirty-nine cents is a lot for a little bag of mostly salt. You'll like making your own a lot better. I don't put any salt in mine at all.

Google for most any herb and/or spice mix you could possibly think of and there's probably a recipe out there. Try Emeril's southwest seasoning for a rib or steak rub. Yum!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks!

I justified a cheaper generic .39 as a bargain against the name brands that were selling for $1 or so... Making your own probably costs .10

I will start searching for some good ones....
 

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Even if it costs the same or even more, it'll be a better value because you'll be paying for more expensive ingredients and getting a lot more flavor for your money.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Even if it costs the same or even more, it'll be a better value because you'll be paying for more expensive ingredients and getting a lot more flavor for your money.
That's exactly right...too bad I was too lazy to implement this idea years ago - but I am doing it now!
 

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I've been lax over the years, too. But in my own defense, when I was younger and my kids were home and we really needed to save money on stuff like mixes, there weren't really good resources to find mix recipes. Now with the internet I'm like someone dying of thirst who just stumbled on the shore of Lake Superior! :)

If you haven't been, start buying herbs and spices in bulk, like from a whole foods co-op. Much cheaper and IMO, they seem fresher too.

There's a thread running about making your own mixes. You might want to look at that if you haven't.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've been lax over the years, too. But in my own defense, when I was younger and my kids were home and we really needed to save money on stuff like mixes, there weren't really good resources to find mix recipes. Now with the internet I'm like someone dying of thirst who just stumbled on the shore of Lake Superior! :)

If you haven't been, start buying herbs and spices in bulk, like from a whole foods co-op. Much cheaper and IMO, they seem fresher too.

There's a thread running about making your own mixes. You might want to look at that if you haven't.
I have an outlet to buy spices/herbs from a restaurant supply chain (one of the places that you have to have a business license & resale tax certificate to apply for a membership- then they can still deny you if they feel your business does not qualify). Because of our rice mixes, teas, spice blends that we sell at the farmers markets and a store here in town we where qualified.

So I have giant canisters of probably 20 different kinds in my workshop. So see, I really have no excuse...ugh
 

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See if you have some pretty glass jars laying around. I use a lot of small, tall olive jars. Seeing a 'set' of herb and spice mixes sitting there on the shelf encourages me to mix stuff up. (That and all the salt in the store envelopes and the lack of flavor.)

I don't bother making one packet at a time, either. I might do that the first time, just to make sure the recipe is something we'll like, but after that I multiply the recipe by about ten and mix up a bigger batch. (Be sure to measure the first small batch so you know how much to use from the big batch each time.) I usually put a label on the jar listing the ingredients so I don't have to look it up each time I need to mix a refill batch, and also stating how to use each mix if necessary. (Rubs are self-explanatory, for example.) Then it's so simple to mix stuff up after that. Just measure each ingredient into the storage jar, put on the lid, shake, done. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Have been doing Mystery Shopping jobs the past few weeks for monies and perks...

Today I took the hubby to lunch at the local McDonald's. 2 sandwiches, 2 fries & 2 drinks - total cost ZERO.... (thanks to my new found resources)

Not only was lunch free, but they paid me $17 on top of that for doing it...

Resources ~ not cc's.....
 

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Mystery shop sounds like something I could do how do you get started ?
 

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Mystery shop sounds like something I could do how do you get started ?
Go here-
MSPA | Mystery Shopping Providers Association - Home
Click on Shoppers tab and follow instructions

The MSPA is the industry 'watchdog'. Like the AMA is for the medical field or the PGA is for the golfing world.

Any mystery shopping company that is signed up with the MSPA is a legit shopping company and you don't have to worry about being scammed. (Not that there aren't legit companies that don't belong to the MSPA) but they look out for us shoppers.

You can join for free and then look at their job boards. A word of warning though, a lot of the jobs on the boards at the MSPA have already been taken so what you should do is pick a few individual MS companies and sign up with them directly. Then look at their individual job boards for assignments. Anyone signed up can look at their boards but the best jobs are taken right away and then once filled are removed from the boards. Check daily and if you decide to do any of them- do a great job, follow all instructions exactly and then you will get in good with the company.

Then the companies will start sending you personal emails for jobs in your area and offering them to you first. They also have schedulers and they will start calling you and offering you the best ones. You don't have to do any that you don't want to and you just say no if something doesn't interest you.

We get free fast food, free sit down restaurants, pizzas delivered to our home, free oil changes, I've had free tune ups on my computer, free services to mail items to friends/family...cash paid for evaluations for retail stores, new car shops, phone evaluations on customer service... I am getting ready to do a string of hotel assignments where I am paid $20 cash and my hotel bill paid on each one (up to $300 night) for short evaluations. The list goes on and on....

PM me if you want to dig into this deeper and have any questions or concerns....
 

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Sabrel... I did mystery shopping a few years ago. I had to pay upfront then be reimbursed. Is it still this way? I wouldn't mind getting back into it.
 

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Sabrel... I did mystery shopping a few years ago. I had to pay upfront then be reimbursed. Is it still this way? I wouldn't mind getting back into it.
Yes, that is how it works. When you pick your assignments you know if they need to have a purchase made (usually it is so customer service at the registers can be evaluated). Sometimes it is not much. There are a lot of shops that I do where the amount to spend is between $1-3. (You are told what the reimbursement amount will be ahead of time and you can spend whatever you want but they will only reimburse you up to the set amount -you submit your receipts.)

For example when I do K-mart. I get paid $21 for the shop and I am supposed to buy something for $1. I just buy some candy or something and then when I get paid my check is for $22.

When I do a restaurant or a service job then I pay ahead of time for the food/service and they reimburse the receipt amount plus whatever the scheduled pay amount was.

A lot of times there is no purchase required. I do evaluations where I just go into the company and evaluation whatever the client needs done and then I am paid for the job.

When I do the hotel shops I have to pay for the hotels of course at check-out (but this is double whammy because I put them on a cash-back money earning credit card) then pay it off when the I get my MS check.

It's pretty easy money with loads of perks. You pick your assignments, download the assignment instructions & questionnaire (which will be the same online questionnaire that you fill out when done with the shop), go to the shop, do whatever is assigned. I immediately fill out the questionnaire in the car while my mind is fresh, and then fill out the online one (usually by midnight of the day of the shop or 10am the next morning- depending on the company).

Some of the shopper sites require you to take certification tests before they approve you as a shopper. It's not math & science, it's more reading, comprehension & writing skills. They want to make sure you have a least half a brain (hence, why I can do them- lol) - but the reports you fill out are the reports they give to the companies that hire them, so they want them to be professional and grammatically correct. A lot of times you will also need to give samples of your writing skills prior to approval.

But after all the hoop jumping, it's pretty interesting work.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Dinner tonight was 2 large Papa Johns pizzas courtesy of a mystery shopping job. I don't have to foot the bill, but I have to say that it has been so long since I did things like order pizzas to the house that I am floored by how much they actually cost.

A large 2 topping, original crust pizza was $19.76. I think that is kinda high. And the pizza's themselves? Well, we didn't think they were all that good. DH got a pepperoni/onion and I got a mushroom/onion (no cheese on mine - being the vegan and all)....

If I had paid for these from my own pocket I would have been quite unhappy with my purchase. But always trying to look on the brighter side- they were free, so I am certainly not looking that gift horse in the mouth...(what the heck does that saying even mean>>>>?????)
 

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40 bucks for 2 pizzas? Not even supreme? Only 2 toppings? Dang you can get 2 toppings for $10.99 there. Geesh.

I used to mystery shop for Dominoes on delivery a long time ago. Did that for a long time.
Also did Captain D's. Captain D's sometimes was inside, sometimes outside. Outside was hard cause depending on how they were turned bodily you couldn't see the name tag and sometimes not even their face.
The worst one tho was Ace hardware. Hated that one. Did it twice.
Post office wasn't bad. Post office used to be thru a company called Hot Spot. It was an easy one.
 

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Dinner tonight was 2 large Papa Johns pizzas courtesy of a mystery shopping job.
But always trying to look on the brighter side- they were free, so I am certainly not looking that gift horse in the mouth...(what the heck does that saying even mean>>>>?????)
"Don't be ungrateful when you receive a gift." = meaning

A bit of modern triva for you.
When one goes to a livestock sale with a horse trailer, make sure your trailer door is locked. Because you might get ready to go home, and realize you now have a free (gift) horse in your trailer.
( horse's are not bringing a lot of money in this economy )
 

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"Don't be ungrateful when you receive a gift." = meaning

A bit of modern triva for you.
When one goes to a livestock sale with a horse trailer, make sure your trailer door is locked. Because you might get ready to go home, and realize you now have a free (gift) horse in your trailer.
( horse's are not bringing a lot of money in this economy )
I so would have loved that when I had my horses...!!!! But no one ever gave me a horse...
 

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The expression comes from the practice of looking at a horse's teeth to help determine its age and health. Examining a gift horse's teeth would be sort of like checking for a designer label on a pair of gift jeans or complaining the new Ford you were just given for free wasn't a Mercedes. :) IOW, being ungrateful.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have a 3 hr drive to get to the sisters house on Easter morning. Gas being $4 a gallon and dh refusing to have anything but his big ole' SUV is not a good combo. I can't do anything about either (the gas or DH) and riding my moped (with DH hanging on the back and 2 dozen deviled eggs strapped to the handlebars is really just not feasible)... don't think I didn't consider it though- haha.

So to combat the gas expense I am lining up some mystery shopping jobs that will pay us along the way (well, they don't actually pay along the way) I do them along the way and then they pay afterwards. So far we have DQ that gives DH a burger, fries & sundae and pays ME cold hard cash. (DH is going to get awfully fat- lol)...DQ, then sisters for big meal, then I plan on hitting a few more shops on the way home. Being Easter day and all, our choices are going to probably be limited to just fast food joints. But that's fine by me- it will pay for the gas to get where we are going.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I was telling one of my friends today that I was making homemade applesauce to take to the family Easter dinner on Sunday. She said, "Funny that you mention that - I have 4 gallon bags of peeled, cored & cut up apples in my freezer given to me last summer by another friend. Here- take some....." :bgum: love it!
 
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