Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Wrap Up

Husband installing the Chimney Liner - not for the timid.
2011 was a year of refining my quest to save dollars while earning a little on the side.  Couponing and deal searching saved me $2,700.00.  It's often hard to keep track of each penny so I can estimate that my savings were probably closer to $3,000.  Toss in several do-it-yourself projects (we installed our own flexible chimney liner and built a Chicken Coop) and we saved $1,000 more.  My Etsy business grew last year and I've gotten the hang of selling.  I sold nearly 100 pairs of vintage eyewear that previously belonged to my father and nearly 50 other vintage items.  This little side business is my way of trying to preserve what little savings I have remaining from years of employment.

Amazing Ginko at the UVA Rotunda.

Last year was also a time to take blogging seriously and I made it through an entire year and 101 posts!  I almost reached 10,000 readers checking out my Forsythia Hill Finds blog!   I also started a separate blog on tumblr to create a visual log of some of my photography.  I have nearly 3,500 followers.

Next year I will continue couponing even though I am finding it a bit harder to get those super deals of early 2011.  Grocery stores have somewhat changed their strategy to make it more difficult to super save.  I'm going to have to do a better job of stocking up - not stockpiling - but stocking up essentials so I don't have to ever pay full price.  I did a good job last year of not buying non-essentials.  My goals are to continue selling items I no longer use and of course to discover and sell vintage.  I'll be seriously clearing out my parents belongings so interesting vintage will pop up in my etsy store.

Pretty sky over Forsythia Hill.
Our biggest expenses are fuel and food.  My mother taught me the Kroger savings trick of buying gift cards for places I shop (like Target) when Krogers offers 4X the fuel points.  This will give you FREE greater fuel savings at the pump. We have a wood stove and chop our own wood to help reduce our electric bill.  I also don't drive the car everyday and combine shopping tasks - always making several stops to save gas.  My husband works from home one day a week which saves a little on fuel.  It's going to be hard to shave the fuel bill down any more.  Hopefully we'll see some food savings this year due to my improved couponing skills - practice really does help concerning nailing down couponing.

Our sweet shy yellow tabby Cesar.
We were relieved to not have any pet deaths in 2011 given the prior year we lost 2 dear pets.  We acquired our six hens that are so fun to have around.  This will be our third Spring on Forsythia Hill and I am eager to transplant some perennial plants now that they have grown a bit and put them in more permanent spots.  There is nothing like a dark cold winter to get your gardening blood moving.  Little Red Kale plants are coming along and by early Spring I'll be harvesting!  Fingers crossed that the Muscadine Grape plant that I purchased this Winter survives.

See you on "the other side" --- HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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