Frugal Summer Fun

lady lounging by the pool

Photo by Sunbae Legacy

School’s Out!! Well, school is out for some. My boys and I have been done with school for a bit now. Officially June 20th is the start of summer this year but it seems like the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start since that’s when most of the swimming pools open.

Confession time: Fall is my favorite season, not summer. The older I get, the less I like the heat and the less the heat of summer likes me. I refuse to be a grinch about summer though. Afterall, daylight is around much longer and there’s usually plenty to do that doesn’t cost a fortune and you know I’m all about that. Continue reading

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Stress And How To Combat It

stressed lady

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

It’s been a month since I’ve written my last blog post. It’s been a month since I’ve written much of anything. Life has been a whirlwind of activity the last few months. The desire to write is there but my brain is on overload and nothing is coming out creatively. 

Six months ago I had a calcium score test done and my doctor put me on a low dosage of Lipitor after we got the results. The test results weren’t terrible but weren’t what they should be at my age so combined with some symptoms I’ve had, we decided to try the medicine. Just had follow-up blood work done and my cholesterol is down so that’s good. Continue reading

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My Favorite “Expert” Advice

bicycle next to Follow that dream sign

Photo by Alex Azabache

Reading and writing are two of my very favorite things to do. Doesn’t matter if it’s writing on my novel, my blog, or even a to-do list. Same thing with reading. 15 years in a book club has really been great for me because I’ve read a lot of great books that I might never have picked up otherwise. 

Self-improvement is also something I’m always striving for. I don’t think we should ever stop learning or trying to move forward with new ideas as we age. That’s why I usually read at least one non-fiction book a month, either a personal finance type book or self-improvement most of the time. I also listen to the Mel Robbins podcast each week. One of my favorite quotes from her is: “Your are not supposed to be the same person you were a year, month, day, or even 5 seconds ago. You are designed to grow.”

As with most things in life, I like to go into things with an open mind and gather the tidbits that I think are good and discard the things I’m not interested in or don’t agree with. Below are some of my favorite tips and quotes from the “experts”. Continue reading

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Sometimes Frugal/Sometimes Not

woman counting money at desk with her laptop

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Frugal living is a lifestyle I’ve lived for quite awhile now. It was a necessity after Rick died and I had to adjust to living without that second income. Over the years, the kids have grown up and become financially self-sufficient, I’ve switched jobs, and slowly but surely I don’t have to pinch those pennies quite as tightly. I assure people I’ve lived frugally for so long though that I’m quite sure I could hit the Powerball tonight and you’d still find me looking the the endcaps and scouring the sale ads before I do my weekly shopping. It’s second nature to me now.

I feel blessed that I’m no longer in a position where I am worried about paying the bills. That’s not to say I still don’t need to be careful about money. I’m currently in my “pay off debt” stage that was the result of years and years of not quite enough income to cover everything. It’s still easy to get a little lackadaisical about your spending if you’re not careful though. Continue reading

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April Intentions-Writing & Micro Habits

woman writing

Photo by Andrew Neel

How is it possible that the first quarter of 2024 is already over? I glanced over my 2024 Resolutions/Intentions list tonight and I’m doing okay but probably should pick up the pace a bit. 

  • I’ve paid down some debt
  • I’ve read 17 books so far (5 ahead of schedule for the 48 I’ve challenged myself with for the year)
  • I’ve attempted NANOWRIMO (wasn’t successful unfortunately 44,872/50,000 words)
  • I’ve submitted one piece of writing (2 more to go this year)

April’s monthly intention is going to be focusing on writing and micro-habits. Continue reading

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The Birthday Edition

Woman celebrating with picnic

Photo by Rachel Claire

It’s official…I’m 50 today. Or, as I will probably refer to myself for the next year: I’m 30 with 20 years experience.

And to be perfectly honest, I’m struggling a bit to not struggle with it. I feel kind of bad even admitting that, since I realize more than most, that’s it’s a blessing to make it to this age. Why do we get so stressed about age, especially those round numbers? And I feel comfortable about saying “we” because I don’t think I’m alone in this. People have always joked about mid-life crises. Unfortunately, I don’t have the bank account to support running out and buying a sports car but I did get a little crazy at the hairdresser last week and said we have to do something different…lol. Continue reading

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March and Self-Care

Woman in yoga pose by the ocean

Photo by mali maeder

I’m back!

February is the shortest month…although this year we did get an extra day thrown in for Leap Year, which is always cool. I didn’t manage to write even one blog post for February, which is a huge fail for me. My goal, despite my busy schedule for the short month, was to get at least two posts published.

NANOWRIMO Update

What kept me so busy and led me to neglect my beloved blog? National Novel Writing Month, also known as NANOWRIMO. This is officially held in November each month, but I’m a rebel, and decided to do my own version in February. The goal is  to write 50,000 words in a month’s time, which should produce a very rough draft of a novel.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t complete 50,000 words. I ended up with 44,873 words. Did I fail? Yes, technically. Am I upset? A little, because I’m competitive and I don’t like to fail a challenge I’ve set for myself but I also realize I have 44,873 words written that I didn’t in January. 

50 Before 50 Update

Guess what other challenge I’m not going to complete that I set for myself? Yup, my 50 Before 50 challenge that I set last year. You can see my list here. As of today, I’ve only completed 20 of the 50 items, but I’ll probably have at least 3 more done before Wednesday. Based on a friend’s suggestion, my list is going to be modified to “50 Things to Usher in 50” now since I still want to complete these things. 

March Intention

Moving on….My March Intention is all about Self-Care. That seemed appropriate since it’s my birthday month. Might as well try to spoil myself a bit…on a budget of course. What does self-care month mean for me? Not sure exactly. Maybe I’ll try to knock off a few more of those 50 Things to Usher in 50 list, like get a massage, or visit a museum, or finally get that tattoo. Knowing me, it will probably also involve some reading and writing time and lots of Starbucks lattes.

Self-care month definitely needs to include a few more gym visits. A recent doctor’s visit has me at the highest weight I’ve ever been at. A yoga class at my gym and a few Hydrobed sessions might ease my stress levels. Heck, I might even take a vacation day since I have a ton saved up.

What do you for frugal self-care days?

 

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February Challenge-NANOWRIMO

typewriter with blank paper

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

NANOWRIMO-What the heck is this?

National Novel Writing Month, better known as NANOWRIMO to those of us crazy enough to attempt it, is held every November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. I’ve attempted this at least 4, maybe 5 times, and was only successful at completing it once-in 2019.

A few of the more popular books that have been published that were written during NANOWRIMO are The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and Fan Girl by Rainbow Rowell. Completing NANOWRIMO doesn’t mean you have a manuscript ready to hand over to a publisher. Those 50,000 words are a messy first draft but it’s still a huge accomplishment. Editing comes later. Continue reading

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Holly’s Favorites-January 2024

vacation items

Photo by Element5 Digital

Super busy week prepping for vacation. I didn’t want to miss a blogging week though so it’s time for another edition of my favorite things. A couple of these are items I received from my generous boys for Christmas this year. The fact that I’ve already deemed them “favorites” should tell you something.

I consider myself a simple person. For the most part, I could care less about what brand I’m wearing or carrying. I like technology but I don’t have to race out to get the newest phone if mine is still working okay. I drove around in my last car for well over a year when it alternated between the AC and heater not working.

The reason for some of this is that I am extremely frugal. Life as a single mom dictated that lifestyle for many years. Thankfully, I’m in a position where I can loosen the purse strings a bit now. Let’s be realistic, I could hit the Powerball tonight and you’ll still find me checking the Target end-caps for the clearance items and shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshalls for the best deals though. I love a bargain. That being said, the first two items on my Favorites list this time are definitely splurges from my awesome boys. Continue reading

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