Friday, May 29, 2009

The Best Things in Life...

really are free (or close to it!) Like many of you, we have been watching our finances more carefully over the past year. Until Mark's practice is running at full capacity (we're getting closer every month!) we're trying to be very picky about what we decide to spend our money on. Now, as most of you know, I've always been a pretty frugal girl. Since I have the privilege of staying home with our kids I consider it part of my job to make what money we have go as far as possible. But since moving into our new house I've seen a bit of a shift in my attitude. I find myself with a fair amount of free time now that all the kids are in school. A few years ago I would have spent almost all of that time out shopping. I love to shop and I love to look for bargains. But I've realized that we have enough stuff. Even if it's a great deal on the clearance racks at Target, it's probably not something I really need. I find myself enjoying my time at home so much more (and true, that is probably because I have peace and quiet for 4 hours a day!) and I don't always need to be out spending money to enjoy my life. The following are a few free (or close to it) things that make me happy:

1. I am in love with our local library. I am there at least once a week. The system is so easy to use up here and I can find almost any book or DVD (including most TV series) and put it on hold from my home computer. As you know I'm a pretty avid reader but I can never really justify paying for a book that I'll probably only read once.

2. The exception to that rule has been thrift stores. I have found such great deals there lately, it really is fun! When I found a brand new copy of Austenland at the DI I almost let out a little scream of joy (the wait list at the library was quite long for it). I've found almost all of Dallin's summer shorts there, as well as like-new Sunday shirts from Land's End and Polo (some for only a dollar!). If you haven't shopped your local thrift stores lately I encourage you to do it. Once you get over the initial smell and a few weird shoppers the bargains are everywhere!

3. We are spending so much more time outdoors now that the weather is beautiful. We all love to go on bike rides or walks around the neighborhood. Our garden is starting to come up and that has been a really fun family project:
Look at that row of corn!

4. Our two free kitties have brought so much joy to us this past week! We named the orange one Ginger (because as soon as Mallory saw her she said ,"Can we name her Ginger?" and Mallory's such a good kid she usually gets what she wants) and the more mottled one is Hazel (a name Kenzie came up with out of the blue but it really fits her and it's cool since our kids go to Lake Hazel Elementary and Lake Hazel Middle School.)Is that the cutest face you've ever seen? I have to admit that Hazel is my favorite because she loves to snuggle in my arms and she looks me right in the eye with that face and I can hardly stand it.

5. I swore I'd never post one of these pictures after reading this hilarious post, but I just couldn't resist:

Yep, got all that for free at Albertson's this week. The couponing hasn't been as good up here as it was in Phoenix, but after 3 or 4 years I'm still really enjoying it (although it is becoming more of challenge now that everyone I see is using coupons. Empty store shelves=grrrr!) I was really touched this week by a complete stranger in town that was offering some extra Albie's double coupons. When I went to pick them up she had left a huge stack of coupons inserts (like 20-30 of them!) for me. What a sweet gesture.

6. I spend way too much time on the computer, but reading blogs and Facebook has brought me a lot of happiness this past year. It's never easy to move away from friends and family, but thanks to the internet I still feel connected to everyone.

7. And last, but not least, our McDonald's has 99 cent drinks all through the summer, which means I can get my Diet Dr. Pepper fix without having to leave my car. Gotta love that bargain!
So what free things are making you happy these days? I'm always looking for new ideas!


The Yardley's said...

umm, excuse me? your mcdonalds has diet dr pepper??? this is the first time ive been jealous of someone living in idaho. im still waiting for our mc donalds to have their summer special on drinks.

Kimberlee said...

love love love it!!! You know I LOVE Savers...most of Kenzee's and Amelia's fancy fancy dresses come from there or good will! (remember Kenzee's wedding look a like white dress at the sealing...yep Good Will $9.99)I with ya sister!

The Michiganders said...

Seriously--I had to jump on and let you know that I am so jealous you have Diet Dr. Pepper at Mc Donalds.

Love this post--living in Michigan it is tough to escape the recession. Thanks for the great ideas.