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Monday, January 20, 2020

Frugal Living - Annual Memberships

I'm not an official finance blogger, but I like to write about what works and what doesn't work.  If it can help someone then great!

Annual Memberships - we started cutting back in March 2019, and we haven't missed the two items cut.

  • We switched back to an old disk software of Microsoft 2013, as long as we can keep this edition working, we won't need an annual membership.  We use it for a few basic household charts:
    • Chore Chart
    • Menu
    • Favorite meal list
    • Bills - we've made our own excel checkbook and monthly budget
  • Executive Costco - got talked into it once by a fast talking manager, never needed it, haven't missed it.
This year I've cut my annual membership to 4-Word Women.  It's a fantastic organization - if you live in a city and can enjoy the events, but I live in a small town and the closest gatherings are in Washington DC.  I have literally never been to a single event as it's 1.5 hour drive, plus meal expenses and they always pick fancy restaurants so the anxiety of dressing for an event, making it on time, and then socializing is just too overwhelming.  I work from home, if it were local coffee house meet ups I'm totally there.  I actually did one coffee shop meet up in Winchester, MD with someone who was trying to build up the chapter, but I never heard from her again.  I haven't read their newsletters in two years so basically I have no reason whatsoever to continue this membership.  

The only memberships we have left are Costco and Amazon Prime.  I've debated these all year and continue to renew, however, they are still under discussion.
  • Costco - we have to drive to Frederick, 30 minutes away over mountains, not an attractive option in the winter, and time consuming.  I plan to try a free pass day at Sams, which is local, to see if I can get similar products.  I'm considering doing Costco quarterly for our favorites and just stocking up.  I really love their credit card, every year our rebate check gets bigger as we put all our expenses on the card and pay it off each month.  They offer 4% back on gas, 3% at restaurants, 3% on travel, 2% for Costco and 1% on all other purchases
  • Amazon - do I really need stuff in 2 days?  I think the days of them being the cheapest are gone, I price compare everything and it's getting harder to find a better deal at Amazon.  I think I only buy from them so I can skip a store run!  I don't watch Prime Video because the offerings are just not that interesting.  I do have their credit card and the cash back almost pays for the annual fee.  This one renews in July so I guess I have some time to evaluate it's value.
Summary - only keep the memberships that are actually providing value to your family!  

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Amaryllis update

January means it's time to take those amaryllis bulbs out of hibernation and replant them!  It's so exciting to have a January planting assignment, it makes spring feel that much closer!!

Just a quick recap on bulb care, in October, I removed all bulbs from their pots and placed them in a box with wood chips.  I left them in a dark corner of the basement where it stays around 70 degrees.  I'd prefer cooler but that's about as cool as I can seem to get it.  The bulbs are supposed to hibernate for 6 weeks, it's easier for me to just re-plant them in January after the busy holiday season. 

My husband set up this pink grow light which we bought from Lowes.  We bought the metal stand from Aldi for $40.00 this week.  The photos are a little weird because of the lighting.

I start out with a little water on day one, slightly more on day 2, try really hard to not get water on the bulb as it's fragile.  Each day I water a little more until the dirt seems more consistently damp.

I need to move the shelves, because they are right across from our heating/air conditioner unit which husband says sucks air from that general area so it might cause the plants to dry out too fast.  For now, I'm just happy to have replanted all 8-10 bulbs!