Andy’s orca diorama is finished. It’s done. Complete. And if I do say so myself, it’s pretty cool too. My biggest coup is that I didn’t spend a dime. No trip to home depot. No last minute run to Michaels. All those years of overbuying and impulse shopping have finally paid off. My kid and I can now make an awesome diorama without leaving the comforts of our own garage.

Blue spray paint? Check. It was leftover from Andy’s pinewood derby car. Big cardboard box? Check. The guy at Costco asked, “would you like a box for all this?” and I said, “yes. Please.” Sand, rocks and plants? Check. Backyard. Three killer whale toys? Check. I’m so glad I let Andy talk me into those when we were at Sea World 4 years ago. Shells? Check. From a trip to Rocky Point Mexico a few years back. Construction paper? Check. Valentine supplies. Fishing line? Check. From Kate’s bracelet making kit.

Add hot glue and a little know how and presto-change-o, we had ourselves a diorama last night around 11pm. I’ll let you know how his report goes.

Speaking of overbuying and impulse shopping, we’ve declared February a “lean month.” Thank goodness it only has 28 days. January’s budget got away from us–what with all the resolution shopping (muscle milk, real maple syrup for my ridiculous lemonade cleanse, protein bars, fresh produce galore, all those cases of V8…boy, loosing weight gets expensive.) Oh, and did I mention we bought half a cow? A colleague from Paul’s work has a son who raised a cow in their back field–grass fed, happy life. Anyways, he was selling the meat at a great price to raise money and before I could say “where’s the beef” Paul bought a freezer full of ribs, steaks and roasts. We’ve got enough meat for the year and for a killer BBQ this summer (sorry for the pun, Bossy.)

Let’s just say, we went over-budget last month. So February’s motto is “course correct.” For me, that means cash in an envelope. There’s just no better way of staying frugal when your dealing with a very real, very finite amount of moolah. My other strategies include: only going to the store once a week and buying a ton a milk while I’m there. Otherwise, I justify a second trip to the store all too easily (“Ooops, we’re out of milk! I’d better go fetch…”) and then I spend an additional 50 bucks on other stuff I suddenly realized I needed when I walked through those polished automatic doors.

So: cash, once a week, copious amounts of milk. I can do this.

We may have bought the cow, but the milk still isn’t free.


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