Saturday, January 2, 2010

Outlet Malls

Yesterday I dragged my husband to a nearby outlet mall to do his every other year shopping. He hates shopping for clothes, so he rarely does it. Often times he really does look like a hobo. He will not be offended by that remark because I often tell him that. Don't get me wrong, he dresses nicely for work, but I am the one who shops for him during the year for work clothes. But his casual, weekend wear leaves much to be desired, so we needed to buy clothes yesterday.

I am often skeptical about outlet malls. I find that often times you really do get what you pay for, crap! My daughter has come home with many shirts that are sewn wrong or have a serious defect that she did not notice, leaving the cheap clothing unwearable. But, we decided to give it a try yesterday, and found we were very happy. All the stores we shopped had an additional 50-70% off for New Years. My husband and daughter both needed jeans and shirts, we got them oodles of clothes for a fraction of what we have paid at the mall. We also decided to go to the Columbia Outlet and buy new winter coats for next year for the kids. $120.00 coats were purchased for $40.00 each. I bought the hats and gloves to go with them and hung them in the closets, not to be touched until next winter. I feel so organized right now, knowing that an expensive but necessary purchase for next year has already been taken care of.

We also went to the Corning Ware/Revere Ware store for some kitchen necessities. We like to cook, but we find we are missing some required kitchen tools. My husband enjoys baking bread, he needs big bowls for the dough. The sale was buy 2 get 1 free on many of the items. My husband also found a needed drill that was normally $235, he found it for $80.

In the end, we did spend more money than we are used to spending at one time. But, we paid cash for all of it and saved so much on things we needed. I felt very frugal yesterday.

I guess the moral to the story, I will not be an Outlet mall snob anymore. Next on my list, I am going to start checking out some of the local thrift stores. My sisters in law all swear by them, guess it is time for me to try them out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodbye 2009! Hello 2010!

Happy New Year! I have to be honest, I am so happy see the year 2009 end. It was a terrible year. I have very few friends and loved ones in my life who say that 2009 was good to them. For my family, nuclear and extended, it was awful. I am not interested in dwelling on the year that was, for it is now officially in the past. We can all move on to better things, improvements in our lives and resolutions.

For me, I have come up with a list of things I would like to do to improve the lives of myself, family, friends and loved ones.

1. I am going back to Graduate School in January. I will be getting my Master's Degree in History. My goal is to either work in a museum or teach. History is my love, my passion. I can't get enough of it.

2. Rebuild and improve important relationships in my life. We are all guilty of ignoring that special friendship that we have. Kids come into our lives, responsibilities get in the way, etc. Let me just say a very good friend of mine from Chicago will be getting more phone calls from me in 2010 than she did in the entire former decade.

3. Institute and insist on date night with my husband once a week. That's right, every Friday or Saturday. We have a live in babysitter now that we do not utilize enough. Letting him watch his sisters while I run to the store is simply not enough. Look out Eric, I will become a terrible nag if this does not happen.

4. Spend more time with my family (parents and in laws). The excuse that they are so far away does not cut it anymore. If I learned anything from 2009, it is that life can change in a heartbeat. This year both my husband's family and my family had to deal with illness and loss. Time is too short to say "there is always next year." While it is something I like to believe, it is not a guarantee.

5. Start spending more one on one time with each of my kids. We do a lot of "group" stuff together, but not enough alone time. So far I have a trip to NYC planned with my son and I am going to take my older daughter to see Norah Jones with me. My youngest is pretty easy to please, a trip to McDonalds is all she needs to feel like Queen for a day.

So there is my meaningful list. I believe I have included friends, husband, children, family and myself to my list of improvements. Now on to the list I do every year that will probably be history by January 14th.

1. Lose 30 pounds. I see myself losing the same 20 I lose at the start of every year only to be derailed by Valentines Day.

2. Organize the house. Whatever! I have 3 kids and 2 dogs. Organization is making sure I remember to feed all of them every day.

3. Read one novel a week. This one is not as hard as one would think. I love to read and always start the year with a bang. Summer time is usually the time I fall off the wagon, only to get back on in the fall.

4. Exercise more. I exercise now, excluding the last 3 weeks, I exercise 4 times a week. I should try to add 1 or 2 more days to that schedule.

5. Sleep 8 hours a night. That's a joke. Not because I have kids who keep me up. Reruns of The Office are on at 10:00 pm.

6. Start saving more money for retirement. This will be the year that my husband and I look into saving beyond his 401K. Now that we have established a healthy emergency fund, it is time to look to the distant future.

Well, I guess that is all for now. Happy New Year, let us all pray (I have to stress that I am not a person who prays much) that 2010 will bring in a better year and a truly fantastic decade. I have hope for better tomorrows:)