Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Revisiting the Priority List

Gosh I miss my own computer. Hopefully everything important backed up okay on the flash drive. I have to take it over to the computer repair shop and have it de-virused. Who knew when you back up a computer after it has a virus that you transfer the virus to the jump drive? Well, I expect my kids and my son-in-law knew but not us older people. Thankfully, they told us when we took our computer in so we didn't transfer the virus to this laptop.

Our income tax return arrived last week so out came the Priority List. The most important "To Do" on it was also the most expensive... get the sceptic tank pumped. Hubby spent an hour on the phone with the previous owner of our house (a young engineer talking to an old former engineer... let's just say they went into great detail) about the septic system. Sheesh....

Anyway, it hasn't been pumped in many years so it had to go to the top of the list. I can think of prettier ways to spend money but nothing more necessary. We baby the septic, most "food" goes into the compost bucket and (oil, grease, etc.) is poured into recycled large yogurt or sour cream containers and tossed in the trash. Even then, it was way past due for a pump and the last thing we need is to have it back up someday.

As with last year's deck maintenance project, we brought the professionals in (the former owner recommended them) and now another house maintenance project is behind us for two or three years. Since I believe we will someday see inflation much worse than today (not counting home prices), the maintenance is much cheaper now then it will be and frankly, I don't want to even think of what a backed up septic tank would be like.

There is something about writing down the Priority List that makes the expenditures real... as in reminding me that pumping the septic tank is more important than the painting projects on the "To Do" list. We also purchased the converter box for the old TV (with the $40.00 off "coupon"), ink for the printer, and an allergy type filter for the furnace. All Priority List items.

I also picked up a small gift from the Kitchen Gourmet shop that I'd ordered for Stephanie. It's something I had bought for myself awhile back and knew she'd love... small, inexpensive, but a time saver in the kitchen.

These types of items are on my own little Priority List... birthday and Christmas gifts for the family... purchased and put back to have on hand when needed. Both my kids have birthdays near Christmas and E.'s birthday is not far after the Holidays. Planning needed all year long. :)

I wasn't able to really stock up the pantry as I would like but I did a lot of replacing items I had run out of recently (vanilla, Mrs. Dash, Lawry's Seasoned Salt, a couple of spices, etc.). Also, I bought a few small things like a couple bags of chocolate chips, an extra family size box of Triscuits, another large package of Colby cheese, a few cans of green beans and Cream of Mushroom soup, one package of noodles... those items that are the backbone of my pantry.

Taking advantage of a sale, I bought one package of Pepperidge Farm lemon cookies and one box of Le Petit E'colier Milk Chocolate "biscuits"... both cookies I love for my Hospitality Pantry. They are nice to have when someone stops by unexpectedly and the cookie jar is empty of homemade cookies or I want to have a tea party with the menfolk (think tea in mugs for them and cookies snarfed rather than nibbled).

Store bought "fancy" cookies are not purchased on my regular grocery list, they are strictly a "little Priority List" item and saved for a special time... which means they are hidden from the menfolk. I also put back lemonade mix (dry or frozen), decaf coffee beans, and several types of tea.

I'm not sure I'll purchase new shoes this year. I think my sandals can go one more summer. Instead we'll "put back" cash for those months when there is no money left over from the Social Security check. In today's economy, every expenditure needs to be thought through for those watching their pennies.

Now, I must brew some tea, prop my feet up, and read for awhile. We're having homemade soup for dinner that I made Sunday afternoon (with leftover beef, baked potatoes, baby carrots, canned green beans, and a box of beef broth I needed to use soon). How wonderful to arrive home from my "Proverbs 31 shopping" and have tonight's dinner ready. :)


jAne said...

**think tea in mugs for them and cookies snarfed rather than nibbled**

I laughed out loud at this quip. It's just too true! ;o)

I'm on board with what you posted about the worsening economy and doing things while they're less expensive, anticipating preventative maintenance, planning ahead, carefully planning, etc. Thank you for putting into words what I've been thinking on lately.



Mrs. Rabe said...

I love your "priority list. What an inspired idea! I think it is a wise way to see what you have, what you need and put them in their proper spot!

Thanks for continuing to post on these subjects - so important in these difficult times!

ps. I am with Jane about your funny line - my guys love tea, but they always have it in their mugs. Kyle my 3 year old has his in his Thomas the Tank Engine mug. And cookies or scones? Definately woofed down!

scrappy quilter said...

I love that you do priority list. It makes things so much simpler. I to am on board with you about the worsening economy. We are doing as much as we can now. Top of our list is fixing our kitchen ceiling. Thankfully I worked all last week and will probably this week too. I'm casual at the library. Hubby and I were talking at lunch what we plan to do with the extra $$.

Tracy said...

A wonderful post, Brenda! In this day & time it is wise to be prepared. It looks like things will get a lot worse before they get better. I am learning a lot from your posts. :)

the pleasures of homemaking said...

We're getting back a nice bit of money due to my husband being downsized but I feel it's already spent with things that "must" be done like having the house painted! The paint is starting to peel and this is a two story house so we must bring in the professionals.

I'm going to replenish my pantry as it's really low. I love that you bought your family a few "luxury" items to enjoy! It's so important to do that!


Anonymous said...

Yes I understand septic tank mantance. If you don't have it pumped often enough and it gets too full it over flows into the leach line and the paper that should not get in this line gets in and clogs it up so you have to have a new line dug. Very costly. Also you can run out of room to have a new line dug! I know things will probably get worse but it still stings when I read or think of it. I am not worried about having enough food much as we have a good pantry and garden etc. What worries me is no health coverage as we are not getting any younger and have health problems. Worrying though does not get anything done but make us sicker so we need to trust in God for what we cannot do ourselfs. I cannot imagine living withour Him in your life. Jody

Beginner said...

You are so on the mark with your thinking. I believe the times ahead of us will make the depression my parents lived through, pale by comparison.
My husband and I decided it would be wise to see about the so far small leak in our roof before it got any worse or more expensive to have repaired.
We are basically thrifty by nature, having grown up without a great many of the luxuries that others seemed to think of as necessities. I trust that will be beneficial in the coming months. Bless you for your wisdom and the ability to pass it on.

Letters From Midlife said...

As always, I enjoyed your post. I find it inspiring to read how you live a fulfilling life with careful planning and frugality. Blessings to you...