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The Wednesday Report: Part the Third

I apologize for the lateness of the report. We had to pick the car up from the shop yesterday. Nothing major, just new brakes.

Ace Hardware rewards: $5.00
HEB savings: $3.45
Interest on checking: $.04

New total for The Scheme: $257.45

IRP and MJT have GS1 this weekend. I hope they will be free to help with fencing next weekend. I'll keep you updated.~~TSG

(I don't know why the text is suddenly so small.)

The Wednesday Report: Part the Second

Some years ago, FMP built me a wooden box to keep money I found in. I usually keep it in my office, so it has a small padlock. This is not because I don’t trust my co-workers. I work for a college and a couple hundred students and others come into the advising area every day during a normal year. Obviously, the vast majority are good people who would not dream of robbing me. But, there’s always the one who ruins it for everyone else. Last week, when I started the count, I forgot to include what was in the box when we all went home in March. On most days, I walk the campus at 3 or 4 in the afternoon for exercise. Being a college, every building has at least one vending machine area. As I walk through, I check for coins in the change returns. This is where the bulk of the money in the Found Money Fund comes from. I also throw in money I find anywhere else. So, this week’s total includes what was already in there. In future, I will just tell you about any new finds.

Found Money Fund starting balance: $17.90
Food Town freebie/savings: $3.30
Kroger savings: $13.65
HEB savings: 6.02
Foreign money found (.04 in Euros): $.05
Found Money Fund (new): $.13

New total for The Scheme: $248.96~~TSG


The Wednesday Report: Part the First

Since I do the “big” grocery shopping on Wednesdays, I have decided to make them report days. Since the introductory post, I have added the following to the scheme:

Circle K win: 1.98
Food Town freebie: .98
HEB savings: 3.94
Kroger savings: 3.20
Walgreen’s savings: 4.50
Lottery win: 18.00

The new total is $206.91

Divided by the 7 days since I last reported, that comes to $4.80/day. I need to step it up~~TSG


The Revised Scheme

After giving it some thought, I have come up with a new “scheme” to work towards. Last year, we paid off our house. Owning the home outright is a good feeling, but we really need to make some repairs and improvements. So, that is what I am going to save up for.

The first order of business is the fence. Recently, our backyard neighbors paid to clear some trees and vines between our homes and to replace a section of fence. We will be replacing the rest in sections as we are able. The fence between us and the neighbor on the left was replaced a few years ago. They paid for the materials and FMP and I provided the labor. The fence between us and the neighbor on the right was partly hidden by the above-mentioned vines and trees. When that part of the yard was cleared, it was obvious that sections of this part of the fence are on the verge of collapse. The amount needed to fix the parts of the fence that need it is around $2000. There are about 10-15 sections that need repair. That would be about $200 per section. Since I am not a good estimator, I am going to up the estimate to $250. If I want to fix a section every month, I will need to save the equivalent of about $8.50 per day.

Before I get to where I am right now in savings, I need to go over the “rules”. The following are sources of income: rebates, money I find on my daily walks around the campus, things I find that I can use or give as presents, sales from Ebay or any other source I end up using to sell finds or creations, anything I win from the contests I enter, anything I am given that I can use or give as presents, coupons that save me money and money I make from scrapping the various things I find that do not work. Also, if I can afford to “lend” money to someone, it is obvious that I can spare it. When/if the person pays me back, I will put that towards the scheme. For entertainment, I spend $5 of my “mad money” each week on lottery tickets. Anything I win from that will be put in the pot.

What doesn’t count: savings from making things myself that I would normally buy and change collected from our cash expenditures. If I think of other things in either category, I will add them as time goes on.

Here is where I am right now in the process. I don’t have dates for most of this because I didn’t think of that until just now.

Money loaned out and repaid: $100.00
Lottery winnings: $41.00
Circle K snack pack nuts win: $1.69
Food Town free product with purchase: $1.99
HEB coupon savings: $6.84
HEB coupon savings 8/12: $21.89

TOTAL: $173.41

Looks like FMP has a little bit of time to recover from the rush of harvest before I have him out helping me build fences.~~TSG


Forgotten Projects

I’ve been reading through old blog posts and realized that there is some serious updating needed. Exactly 4 years ago, I started a project designed to achieve several goals without putting an undue stress on our budget. This morphed into a “scheme” to get our youngest child, CPI, graduated from Texas A&M University without debt. I am very pleased to report that we have succeeded. CPI completed his courses this spring and we are awaiting his diploma. He owns this degree free and clear. No one owes a single penny to the university or anyone else. Sacrifices were made by our entire family to achieve this. We are grateful for the assistance of God in remaining steadfast and resolute when it looked as if our plan was falling apart. This is a time of great triumph for us. I am most pleased that CPI has the ability to search for a job that suits his temperament and training. A job that will give him a feeling of usefulness and pride in his contribution. For this, I am truly grateful.

I must now consider what new “scheme” to turn my attention to. What other great thing can we accomplish if we choose the correct path? I must turn my thoughts to this. I will get back to you with the results.~~TSG


Bobcat in a Box Christmas

Christmas for my extended family was delayed until yesterday so the maximum number of people could come. The Bobcat in a Box packages were a smashing success. We ended up with a total of 70 packages for 17 people (you had to be 14 or older to play). Memorable moments were; my father trying to figure out why he had a handful of army green carabiners and my brother-in-love wearing a kelly green crocheted headband. The carabiners will end up with a nephew who goes camping and BIL declared he will wear the headband out jogging. Somehow, even though we were opening packages randomly, most things ended up with someone who had put in a related keyword. My brother, the Star Wars freak, ended up with a Darth Vader keychain and a handful of Star Wars stickers. One of my nieces got a stainless steel ring with a faux turquoise stone and insisted I take it since it matches the rings I wear on my right hand. The same niece was delighted with a small container of sparkly black nail powder. All agreed that we MUST do this again next year. Thank you, Bobcat!!! #BobcatInABoxChristmas #GoodTime #Christmas #BobcatInABox


And Then There Was Ink…

As you will recall, I recently received a vintage fountain pen from my Bobcat in a Box subscription. When I went to fill it, I found that all my inks were dried up. So, I had to order new. It came in today. The pen works perfectly! If you are interested in possibly getting something similar, I used the keyword “antique pen”.~~TSG
#BobcatinaBox #AntiquePen


Bobcat in a Box #3 and #4

As I mentioned before, my family is using the Bobcat in a Box service to buy White Elephant gifts this year. In order to keep up the excitement and to be sure we are getting things that match our keywords, I am opening a package after every five that come in. Now that we have gotten started, there seems to be at least one package in my mailbox every day. Here are the latest goodies:
IMG_20180706_100755308 This is a carabiner meant to be used to attach a water bottle to your backpack while hiking. We likely got this from one or more of the following keywords; “camping”, “Scouts” or “travel”. Since I don’t have a water bottle handy, I put it on a Coke bottle to demonstrate:

The second item is a fountain pen of the type you fill with your preferred ink by pressing the button on the “bladder” to draw in the ink. I got this by putting in the keyword “antique pen”. I like to use a fountain pen instead of a ballpoint, so I am delighted with this:

Hoping your day is as full of fun surprises~~TSG


Bobcat in a Box Opening #2

Despite the title, you will not find a “Bobcat in a Box Opening #1” since I posted that to my Facebook for family and totally forgot that I could put it here as well.

Bobcat in a Box is a subscription service inspired by the on-line comic strip “xkcd”. The service searches the internet for items that have free shipping and meet the price-point you set. The bot that does the searching sends you things based on key words you put in and also words you tell it to avoid. You can tell the bot that the packages are intended for children of various ages if you want to be sure not to get things that would offend the receiver.

My family, like many others, has a White Elephant exchange. This year, we are going to use Bobcat in a Box to buy the presents. I had each family member give me some keywords and am feeding them to the bot in batches of eight at a time. I intend to do this for at least five months and started back in April. Most of the packages are being put aside to be opened at Christmas. I am occasionally opening a package to be sure we are on track.

As you can see, this package contains a flat multi-tool with a sleeve to hold it so the knife part doesn’t cut me when I reach for it. There is also a key to what the various parts do. Unfortunately, the back of the card, where the descriptions are, is in Chinese. Fortunately, I know someone who speaks Chinese and can translate for me. I wouldn’t want to use something in the unapproved manner.

I believe I got this because of either or both of the keywords “travel” and “Scouts”.~~TSG




A Good Week to Find Things

As most of you know, I like to dumpster “dive”. I don’t think I can actually call it “diving” since I never get into the dumpster. That is just crazy unless you are very young, strong and agile. I have a group I check every week and sometimes they yield salable or usable items. This week, one held a gift bag in which I could see a card stuffed with lottery tickets. When I pulled out the bag, I found a small bottle of wine (still sealed and suitable for cooking) and discovered that some of the tickets (they had been scratched) were winners. A few of the tickets had expired. So, $3 worth had to be discarded. But, one of the still valid cards was worth $15. The Found Money Fund is very happy.

The Found Money Fund is where I keep any money I find during the year. FMP made me a lockbox to keep it in. I usually end up with about $30-40, which I spend at the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. With this ticket and another I found in the trash at Kroger, I have a total of $25 so far this year without the bits and bobs of change I usually find on the ground or in vending machines. This looks to be a good year for holiday shopping.

As you might expect, I also look in coin change machines I pass to see if anyone has left me something. Today, I scooped out three dimes. When I went to put them in the fund, I discovered that one of them is a Mercury Dime from 1942. It’s worth a maximum of $4.50 in mint condition. Mine is probably worth about $1.25. Still, pretty cool!

I forgot to take a picture of the lottery ticket before I cashed it, but here are pictures of the dime. May the coming week be as good to you!~~TSG