Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Plain Jane's Helpful Tips for Surviving a Bad Economy--Tip #1

Looking back at this past year, it was pretty rough. As I mentioned in my previous post, with the economy going as badly as it did, we had to learn new habits and do things differently than we ever had to before in order to keep afloat. This got me thinking--I bet if I thought hard enough and got creative, I could come up with some really great ideas for saving money (or at least not spending too much money) during these hard times.....

Tip #1: Don't Buy Windshield Wiper Fluid!
Here in Idaho, during the winter months your car can get extremely dirty. Melted snow mixed with sand put down on the roadways can coat your car and make you look like you've been out off-roading in the desert.
Yesterday as I was driving home from work the late afternoon sun was glaring onto my windshield and making it hard to see with all of the grime that had built up from the morning drive to work. I pulled on the lever to spray windshield wiper fluid & get the wipers in motion....
All I got was a whining noise and dry wipers smearing the dirt across the windshield.
Oh great....
As I was hurdling along the freeway, trying to squint through the hazy glass, I noticed that the snow had melted and the cars were all kicking up copious amounts of fresh water off their back tires. An idea started forming. I looked around and quickly found the biggest jacked-up 4x4 truck on the freeway and jockeyed for position behind it.
(Now this is where it gets tricky...) To pull this off correctly, you need to get close enough to receive the spray from the donor vehicle in front of you without getting close enough to be considered tailgating or put yourself in danger. As soon as the spray hit my windshield I immediately threw the wiper lever into high gear, greedily swiping the water back & forth across the glass. Success!! A sparkly clean windshield and clear vision!
Obviously this won't work all the time--it can only work when there is rain or melted snow on the freeway or roadways. But in a pinch and with the right conditions, you could cut back on your windshield fluid use by at least half!

You can thank me later...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Can It Really Be Six Months Away?

I took this picture at the end of the evening on Christmas. A boy....his dog.....Christmas tree lights twinkling in the background...makes me a little sad.
I know, strange reaction to such a sweet holiday-spirit type picture. But what makes me a little sad is realizing this is the last time I'll be seeing this Christmas-y scene with my son as a "child". Six months from now he'll be turning 18. That big, magical number that says "that's not your child he's a man." (Or at least considered an "adult". I think it takes more than an age to make a man, although I don't doubt my son will seize the opportunity with gusto and prove himself worthy of the title in no time.)
At this point, we're fretting about grades and panicking about whether that cap & gown we ordered for him will actually be used at the end of May. Not that he's not a bright fact, he's very bright and extremely intelligent. It's just that he picks & chooses what he wants to act intelligently about. Such as a lot of teenagers do. I've recently heard him rattle off information about economics, spending & investing with remarkable knowledge. But ask him the answer to one of his geometry problems and you get a blank stare. He can pick up any music beat after hearing just a few bars, tapping them out on whatever surface is available. But ask him if he turned in his government class assignment and you get a shrug. We opened up his first checking account for him at our credit union as a Christmas gift and I was intrigued to watch him studiously reading over the terms and conditions of the account Christmas morning after opening the box.
If we can just get through these next five months of school okay, then I have no problem seeing him striking out as a new adult. But I can still admit that it will make me a little sad. Because it means he won't be my little boy any more....
Collin showing off his dog, shortly after getting him from the Humane Society.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cleaning House--New Links!

It's been awhile....a lot has been going on. Those of you who are close to me know what we've been dealing with for the past several months. My husband had difficulty finding a job when he first moved out here and although he found one in the spring, the work was on & off and he was laid off a couple of times. Because of the work not being steady, he was ineligible for unemployment. Now this latest time he was laid off for the whole winter. He looked for other work and just recently was hired on at a place that makes Bike Lids. During this whole thing, my own hours at work had been dropped down to 4 days a week and still have not gone back to full time. I know, it sounds like a sob story...but it's our story and it's been a rough year.

So.....I'm cleaning house and getting rid of stuff I no longer need/use. I'll be either listing stuff here in the blog itself or putting them in the new links I have on the right side of the page. (Go ahead...check them out!) If you're local and interested in any of these things, just contact me either here or through the listings and we can see about meeting up somewhere so you can buy them. If you're not local and are interested, please still contact me (again through here or the listings) and we can see about making arrangements of some kind. I have Paypal so you can always pay that way & pay for it to be mailed to you.

I'm not trying to turn my blog into some kind of money maker...I still plan on getting off my mental butt and getting back to posting my stories, updates & thoughts. But in times like these, when we're all doing a little worse for wear, we do what we have to do to get the bills caught up. If I have no use for these things, why not let someone else buy them who can get good use out of them, right? Right.

Thanks for listening.