This will be a pretty randomized post. I was asked if I would post pictures and I would love to, but I am not sure I will have time to. :( Maybe over winter break I will give giant picture-heavy posts!
First a few celebratory things. We did a little thrift shopping the past few days. We had been in Goodwill for a long time. I will be printing and needing to save a lot of articles in the coming years. I bought a ream of paper at the beginning of the school year (I think that was 3 weeks ago) and it is already gone. SOmehow I will need to keep that paper organized. I wanted one of these: handy file box
but GW had none. We had three before we moved and I sent 2 packing. Sigh. I found some nice sized binders for 49 cents each and grabbed those. I also found a couple accordion files for the same price. As we were leaving I went over to check out the dresses and found a beautiful sundress that fits me well for $1.99!!
I ran into Staple to see if they were having any kind of deal on copy paper. They were having their back to school sale. On the clearance shelf, I found these bad boys for 50 cents each! I went ahead and got 10, I believe I will fill them pretty well. Today was a trip to Office Depot for a case of copy paper for $19.99 That should last me the year. One thing I am stumbling on is Post-Its. They seem ridiculously expensive. I don't want to spend $10 for 500 tiny sheets of paper. If anyone has found an inexpensive source for these, please let me know. I was willing to pay $4 for 1200 at Office Depot, but they were all that sad yellow color. I am especially trying to find the little flag sized ones, which are so much more expensive!
Last week, we were walking home and decided to try the weekly special: our ice cream shop offers $1 scoops or floats. Very generous portions, every Thursday. We will be doing that again! We also went to an Italian restaurant downtown. I decided to try a new strategy. Before we left home, we went online and read through the menu to decide on our best meal value. That way we weren't faced with a huge list of choices and the pressure of trying to decide, and having to do it when the smells are surrounding us. We got out order all mapped out and headed out. As we were entering the restaurant I noticed a sign on the door. I inquired, and discovered a crazy deal. Full dinner including drink for $5 each. Luigi got a kids meal for $3, and we all had a nice meal for about what we would spend at Burger King. Even at crazy prices, going out to eat has been moved to the special occasion box.
I really wanted to get some new clothes for starting my new position. A lot of my stuff doesn't fit well right now (which will hopefully be changing. I have lost 7 pounds in this past month thanks to walking everywhere!) Fortunately my boys aren't really into brand new clothes as long as they think their clothes are cool. So we just had to fill in a few pieces for them. I am very tall and often have trouble finding pants and shirts that are long enough. I decided to check out the mall. I went to Macy's and fell upon their 70% clearance racks. I found skirts for $3 and $4. I got leggings for $3.75. I splurged and bought the HUE tights, because they are the only tights that I have found that are actually long enough. I went to the counter with my nice stack of clothes, applied for a Macy's card and received an additional 15% off. We paid the card off today, so no finance charge or interest. I got a nice big bag of clothes for about $70.
And finally, a little tech talk before bedtime. First of all, a big shout out to Netflix. For the school year, we have backed down to one disk out with unlimited streaming. This is just the right size for us when we are this busy. The Dude has been watching Dollhouse while folding clothes. The boys enjoy Futurama or Pink Panther when the Dude and I go for a walk and they want to amuse themselves. The Dude and I had been watching Soap, but now we are setting our sights on Upstairs, Downstairs, which is a great complement to my stratification class! OUr family doesn't have a television, so no cable costs. We have a phone/internet package for about $80 a month and that includes free long distance. Last year we downgraded to prepaid Tracfones. I use about $100 a year on my phone, the Dude's is probably closer to $75 a year. Huge difference from the $80 a month we were paying with T Mobile. Since the boys are walking to school, we got them one as well and will buy 60 minutes every 3 months. I think that is the smallest amount we can get. Their phone is simply for them to call and say they need a ride or are staying late. Most of the time (besides school) they can use one of the parent phones.
On to computers and printers. First the printer. I highly recommend a laser printer if you want to save a ton of money and also do a ton of printing. We bought an HP several years ago because we were sick to death of spending so much money on inkjet cartridges. It is black and white only, which is hardly ever an issue. We pay $60 for a new toner, and it lasts for around 2000 pages! I think we paid $89 for it, which was not much more than the inkjet cartridge would have cost. When it starts to run out, we take it out, give it a shake, reinsert, and we got another hundred or so pages out of it. I am also going to take advantage of my 50 free sheets per week at the grad school.
Finally, happy dance on the computer. In December, my computer got very sick very suddenly. I found a tower on craigslist for $150. Windows 7, 200 GB hard drive, 1024 MB memory something something something. It has been a very fast and reliable machine. I would also like a laptop to take to school. We have a computer lab and it is pretty close to my office, but I don't work well in that type of environment, and I wouldn't want to be grading and recording papers in the lab. We have an old laptop and the dude has been trying to get it running for me. It just isn't happening. It was going to need more memory. It is also a pretty old machine. I decided to poke around on craigslist. I found a 220 GB hard drive, 2 GB mem really sweet little laptop for $175! The dude went and picked it up tonight. It is blazing fast. :) So my computing wants have been fulfilled.
I stay true to my word. This is a very disjointed post. But I am tired and have been reading a whole lot of big words all weekend, so I hope you all can forgive me :)