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Weird coincidence

May 28th, 2009 at 04:32 am

I picked up a few items at Walmart yesterday. Finances are running short, but I had to have the 3 things I bought since we were out. Two of the items were grocery, and the third was in a different category. I quickly added up the grocery and decided it would be somewhere between $3.66 and $3.70, so I could probably use a gift card with $3.68 left on it. I had a nickel in cash if needed to make it come out right so I could use up the gift card and toss it. Lo and behold, the total was exactly $3.68. What a weird coincidence!

I shipped out 3 things today that I sold on eBay. One was from an auction that ended Monday, and 2 were fixed price sales that I listed on Monday for 30 days. One sold within an hour!! Literally! I couldn't believe it. The other took just a day. They were odd items too, things that I thought might never sell at auction but would need the 30 day exposure just for enough different people to see them, so that one would actually buy. Imagine my surprise!

I got a free plant at work today too. I'm not sure where they came from but they were in the breakroom with a FREE sign on them. I grabbed a spike plant. It will go nice in the big pot on our front porch that has petunias in it now. There is room in the middle so I'll just stick it in there. I like free Smile

I'm loving this long weekend!

May 25th, 2009 at 04:05 am

We've got our garden about 1/2 planted this weekend, in between rain showers. Lettuce, radishes, spinach, onions, pole beans, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, peppers and cantaloupe so far. Still need to do cucumbers, watermelon, and turnips. I'm not sure what else. There is still a lot of room left! I think the area DH designated as the garden area is too big, but maybe he'll come up with something to put there.

The funny thing is we usually don't lack for any veges during the summer. Between family members and our neighbor, we've always had all we needed given to us, at least of most things. But, we decided it was time to do our own (again), and maybe we'll have things to trade. My legs are killing me from all the up & down action. I guess I don't use some of those muscles very often!

I found another penny on Saturday. It was in my car, but I don't remember dropping it, so I counted it in my Found on the Ground tally.

I also (finally) finished updating my grocery spending and my total is now up to date on the side bar. $1,078+ saved with coupons for the year! I thought some of my big coupon-filled trips lately would bring my savings percent up some, but it actually dropped down 1% to just 31%. I'm not complaining, though!

The average spent per week is back down to $113.45, and that's after a HUGE total this past week of over $217. I can't imagine that we should need to spend ANY money the next few weeks on groceries, but there are always the basics that we don't stock up on like milk & bread. If I can keep the spending way down, I should be able to inch the weekly average down little by little.

I'm loving that this is a 3-day weekend for me. Usually by this time on Sunday, I'm so bummed thinking of all the things I didn't get done over the weekend, and I have another whole day to get them done this time! Yippee!!

If I sound giddy over all these little things, it's because I'm trying desperately to find things to be happy about and take my mind off big worries. We keep having to dip into savings to keep up with bills and payroll. When I say "dip", I don't really mean little dips, either. We HAVE to find some way to increase income, and soon. I'm considering a part-time job, even though I know it would wipe me out physically. Hubby and I talked quite a bit about the state of things today, but didn't really resolve anything. I'm trying not to get sick to my stomach just thinking about it all. I hope to list a few things on eBay or CL tomorrow. They sure won't bail us out of the mess, but at least we'll be making an effort.

Wow!!

May 23rd, 2009 at 05:24 am

One of my local grocery stores was having some pretty good deals this week, and there are a lot of good coupons out there in cyberspace these days, so I gathered my coupons and made my list using the sale flyer, and stocked up before the weekend. I sort of put the grocery spending goal to the side this week, because I didn't want to limit myself to a certain dollar amount and end up buying the stuff I passed up today in a few weeks for a lot more money.

Here is the haul, all for $35.79!!


Plus, I should be able to submit my receipts for a $6.99 rebate on the quesadillas, and possibly a free grocery tote bag from a Rachel Ray promotion, if I bought the right products. Even the cashier (a young man) was thoroughly impressed with my coupon savings of just under $28. So impressed, in fact, that he handed me a $1.50 off your next order coupon that a prior customer had left behind! What a sweetie!!

I just realized some of the stuff is hard to see. That's 10 ears of corn in the back. (We had some tonight, and it was delicious!) There are 2 Crystal Light boxes behind the tea, so that's 5 Crystal Lights total. One tea is missing, since I drank it on the way home. (gulp!) There are 4 packages of Kraft sliced cheese, 5 packages of hot dogs, 2 packages of Kraft shredded cheese, and 5 of the frozen boxed meals. Some of the coupons were for free things, or when doubled they wiped out the cost of the items. The ketchup, tea, 3 of the Crystal Lights, and the corn were all free with my coupons.

I have one other store to go to on Tuesday evening with equally as fantastic deals. I don't think I'll be spending as much, but I should end up with quite a few more free things from that trip.

I sold two things today on Craigslist, and turned around & spent the money on graveside decorations for Memorial Day. It was nice timing.

Enjoy the holiday weekend all! I have so many plans to catch up on things around here, but I'm not starting the weekend off right by staying up so late! I won't be ready to hop out of bed first thing in the morning.

A penny saved....trivia

May 22nd, 2009 at 03:48 am

I found another penny today, so that puts my total for 2 weeks at 50 cents. At that rate (not likely), at the end of one year, I'll have $13 I didn't have before.

And here's the trivia:

Who said "A penny saved is a penny earned"?
a) Abraham Lincoln
b) Benjamin Franklin
c) Bernard Madoff
d) Donald Trump

LOL! I couldn't resist.

Updates & deals

May 19th, 2009 at 04:12 am

I found a penny on Saturday and another one today, so I'm up to 49 cents since I started tracking found money!

I also updated my year-to-date coupon savings thru April 24th. I'm up to $902+ saved, or 32% of our purchases.

Today's rebate in the mail was a pair of work gloves received as a rebate from some oil we purchase a few months ago. Freebies! (since we needed the oil anyhow).

The best deal of all came at Petsmart. I had a raincheck from when their dog chow was on sale for $17.49. I bought 8 bags, and for each one had a $7 coupon (really a check sent from Purina for weight circles I submit). Then, I had $6 from calling in after prior purchases to do a survey, but since I didn't give it to them before they took off the checks they couldn't do it. I was going to use them the next time, but then realized I wouldn't have the benefit of the rain check price, so I bought another bag as a separate purchase, used the last of my $7 checks, plus the $6 survey coupon. Total for almost 400 pounds of dog chow - just under $100!!! If my calculations are right, that should last us 3 weeks. Oh, and there was a small bird toy for under $2 in there too. I can't wait until I have time to finish updating the coupon savings to include this purchase. That will really bump up the dollar and percent savings for the year.

Snake eyes!

May 15th, 2009 at 03:19 am

I found 11 cents today between Dollar General and the grocery store. That's what I'm calling "snake eyes" (like when you roll two 1's on a pair of dice).

Yesterday at work I found 11 cents also. Some contractors had been assembling cubicles and I guess when one of them was laying on the floor, the change fell out of his pocket. He was gone when I found it, so I guess it's mine now!

Since I found a quarter on Saturday also, I decided I should start keeping track of money I find, so I've updated my sidebar to include "Found on the Ground". I don't have an accurate count of all the money I've found for the year, but 47 cents in the past 6 days isn't bad.

While I was updating, I thought I'd show my rebates year to date, and coupon savings year to date. I'm about a month behind on the coupon tally, but maybe seeing it right there in black & white (or purple!) will nag at me to keep it updated more frequently.

The total are rather impressive, if I do say so myself. $480+ in rebates so far (with another $75 outstanding)!! And coupon savings of $885 for the year. If only I was able to actually apply this money to credit cards instead of just putting it toward everyday bills...

Ebay & Craigslist

May 13th, 2009 at 01:02 am

I listed 4 items on Ebay & 2 items on Craigslist that I've tried on Ebay multiple times and never get bids on. Both of the Craigslist items had some interest, but then neither sold. Two of the Ebay items did though! It's not a big profit, but it puts my Paypal account very close to $100. Once it gets to $100, I usually transfer it into my checking, and then my savings account.

I read in my email today from Ebay this news: Starting June 16:
Every 30 days, your first 5 Auction-style listings will have NO Insertion Fees when you list with eBay's Sell Your Item form or Simple listing form--regardless of your start price.
Sounds like good news to me!

I mailed off some rebates yesterday & today. If all are processed, it will be $13.49 back in my pocket, although $5 of that will be in the form of coupons.

I got a pair of work gloves today in the mail from a rebate I'd mailed back in February. Three months is a little long to take to process! Actually, I sent in enough for 2 rebates, so where is my other pair of gloves?!?!?

Thankful it was just the shingles that blew away!

May 9th, 2009 at 04:04 am

We had some wild, wild weather here this morning! Our house is now minus several shingles in one section, and we have some tree damage in the yard, but I'm thankful it wasn't worse!!

Our neighbor's garage/shed is gone, POOF!, like it never existed. Fortunately for him it was just used for storage, since he's got a double garage attached to the house and parks his truck and 4 wheeler in there.

Over a mile or so further, someone we know had lots of tree damage, a cattle trailer had rolled over & over (dented on all sides), and another flat bed trailer was sitting upside-down. I don't think they had any damage to their house, but there might have been other vehicles that got hit too.

I believe it was all straight line wind damage rather than a tornado, since it's not a certain path of destruction - just spots here and there. Our power has been out since 10am, but we've got the generator going so we can carry on just like normal. After several days without power back 3 or 4 years ago with bad winter storms, we now have a generator for these situations.

A feel-good story

May 5th, 2009 at 03:34 am

I just remembered something that happened about a month ago that was just so sweet. I was hanging out in McDonalds taking advantage of their free wifi. An elderly lady sat down at the next table over and was eating her lunch or snack or coffee or whatever she had.

There were a few tables of young people here & there. (Young = late teens/early twenties.) One of the young ladies got up from her table and passed by to go up to the counter to get something, but she took the time to stop by the elderly lady's table and comment how she liked her blouse, with its pretty colors. I thought that was just so sweet.

Not only did she brighten the woman's day, she brightened mine as well just because I witnessed it. And here I am a month later remembering it again. It's amazing what kind words can do !!

Repurposing items

May 3rd, 2009 at 03:42 am

I haven't had much to add this week. Most of it was spent in a big funk, partially weather related I think, since it's been so darn rainy and gloomy.

I took advantage of a free skin cancer screening today, and nothing of interest was noted by the dermatologist. I didn't think there was anything, but it never hurts to check.

Totally off topic of anything related to my finances, I saw this web site today and spent awhile goofing around looking at fascinating pictures of recycled items - from beverage containers to housing made from storage containers to this one, art made from recycled cardboard.http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/upcyc...

I am nowhere near that clever. I tried to repurpose my stepson's belt into a dog collar, not noticing that in addition to it being worn, the buckle was also broken. It lasted 10 seconds. I did braid another dog collar out of twine from our hay bales and stick it on one of the dogs that we've (temporarily) adopted. It lasted about a month! I just noticed it's gone today. I hope I find it somewhere so I can make another one, but use the same buckle. Also, so I don't "find" the buckle with the lawnmower. I guess it's light enough that it wouldn't do any damage, so I probably don't need to worry too much.

Tuppence....times two

April 28th, 2009 at 02:55 am

Yesterday I found 2 pennies, one at Walgreens and one at Walmart. Today, I found another 2 pennies, one at the auto parts store, and one right outside our front step. (Ok, I didn't really find it, DH told me it was there). I went out, in the rain, to pick it up! LOL

I spent all of my $40 that I was going to allot for groceries this week between yesterday and today. We will be out of bacon after tomorrow, out of milk in another few days, and I want to buy 10# of potatoes that are on sale for $1.77 thru tomorrow. So, alas, I can break my goals just as soon as I set them!

I looked back over my receipts to determine how I could have stuck to the goal better: (1) I could have put off the $5 Folgers coffee purchase at Walmart, since we aren't out, but I was afraid the price wouldn't last forever. (2) I could have used the coupon I had for the Folgers - didn't realize that I forgot it until now! (3) I could have skipped the 3 lb bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast for $3.97. It wasn't on the list, but it was a heck of a great price. (4) I could have just bought 2 packages of shredded cheese instead of 4, but the price was also great, just $1.19 each. (5) I could have, and should have, passed up the cookies for 99 cents. So, if I'd bypassed these deals, I would have still had $12-$13 in the grocery bucket, and that would have purchased the rest of the items for the week. I guess I can't pass up great deals!

Totally off topic, did you know that the boxes of aluminum foil, saran wrap, etc. all have little indentations on the end of the boxes that you can push in to keep the roll from falling out of the box? I read this in my last Redbook magazine (at least I think that's where I read it), and had to go look for myself. Who knew?!

Excitement is building!!

April 26th, 2009 at 02:48 pm

I feel a little excitement building for May! I just updated the sidebar to show credit card debt as of May 1, and we're so close to going under $29,000! By the end of May we will be. I can remember posting just a few months ago when we went under 30K, and now we're almost under 29K. It's coming, it's coming!!

I wish there was more stretch in the budget to get this gone quicker, since right now I'm just paying a little over minimum due on these 3 cards. But, with this economy, and trying to readjust to a much-reduced income, we'll just keep going the way we are. I've been trying to add any found money, rebates, and a few dollars here and there to our savings which is pretty low right now. I can't really call it an emergency fund, since it wouldn't cover much of a true emergency, and I'm using the little extras to build it up rather than pay off debt. There is some cash set aside for specific yearly expenses such as property taxes, gifts, etc. If needed, we could rob from those, but I'd rather keep them separately identified so that the cash in those doesn't get used up and leave us hanging when those times come.

This, by the way, drives DH batty! When he wants to know where we are at, he doesn't want to hear we have $X in the checking, plus $A set aside for this, and $B set aside for that, and $C set aside for emergencies. He wants to know the total. I'm afraid that if I tell him the total, he will think that's available for expenses NOW, and it will leave us short later! Then we dissolve into the "discussion" (i.e., argument) about me not trusting him with the money. Agh! On the surface, that's probably what it feels like, and I don't mean it to, but I just have to explain that it is my way of feeling more secure and if I'm going to handle the finances, I HAVE to feel secure. We calm down after awhile, and life goes on.

Where was I before that little subconcious diversion? Oh, yes! I was happy to hear on one of the Suze Orman sessions on Oprah that she advised a caller to do exactly the same thing - in this economy, put aside her advice to pay down debt, and make sure to have a sizeable emergency fund established just in case. Her recession strategy is different than what she's always preached. I don't know why that makes me happy to hear that I thought of that on my own. I didn't really need her validation! For me, it just makes plain common sense. But, I have to admit, that the caller's circumstances were a little different. She was trying to decide what to do with a large tax refund that was roughly equal to her debt, and she had little to no savings. While it was tempting to pay off the debt, it would take her quite awhile to build up the savings by using the monthly credit card payment amount, and if she were to lose her job within just a few months, she wouldn't have enough accumulated to live off. I might have wondered the same thing in that situation.

Well, I'm out to enjoy the nice weather outside. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Changed my mind

April 25th, 2009 at 03:01 pm

I decided at the beginning of this week that I was going to spend NO MORE than $100 per week on groceries & dog food ($60 for dogs, and $40 for us). No more spending creep each week!!! That was until I checked my email early in the week and had a $15 off $60 purchase coupon from Petsmart. I went the first day and found my Purina Dog Chow on sale for $17.49 per bag. That's a super price!!! I quickly bought my $60+ worth. After coupons, it was under $50, so all was well. I did several grocery stops and came in just barely over my $40 allotment. And then I started thinking...

Did it really make sense to go back to spending full price next week, and the week after when I had these coupons available and it was on sale until Sunday? I went back two more times!!! So, while I way overspent my $100 allotment this week, I think it was a wise decision to strike while the iron was hot. Shopping for the next two weeks should be simple. I can spend $40 one week and $39 the next week, and with any luck the dog food will carry me well over into the following week.

I also changed my mind on one of the Walgreens items I purchased earlier in the week. It was for the Physician's Formula makeup - spend $10 or more and get $10 back from their monthly rebate. Well, I wasn't thinking clearly. I bought some on Wednesday with an Earth day 15% off coupon, and they took the 15% off their already 40% off sale price this week. But my purchase was under $10. For some reason, I was thinking it was free after rebate up to $10. So, my choices were to (1) buy more and register my receipts to get the $10 rebate, basically spending another $5 or $6, and getting about $25 worth of makeup for $4 or $5 after rebate, or (2) return what I'd bought. I don't NEED the makeup, so I chose option 2. The manager kept saying "no problem" but I really think he was a little ticked off at the reason I returned it.

It almost backfired on me too. The money was credited back to the Visa card I had put it on. Well, this Visa card was a rebate card from some purchase last year. I had just used up the last 76 cents on the rebate card earlier in the week, and almost threw it out. So glad I didn't!!! I guess that technically gives me another $7 to spend during the next two weeks if I have to go over the $40/week budget, since it brings down my spending this week on groceries to roughly $33.

I hope that as I focus on little things, bigger things will fall into place. I can't stop this nagging feeling that I spend so much time worrying about small money when I should be focusing on a much much bigger picture.

Some happy things

April 22nd, 2009 at 02:44 am

My last entry was quite depressing, so I'm forcing myself to look for things to be happy about or thankful for.

#1) It was a gorgeous day here today!

#2) I did my mile walk at lunch!

#3) I snagged some packing peanuts and bubble wrap on my way out to walk today at lunch! (It was set out for trash pickup)

#4) I got some great deals at the grocery stores I went to!

That would have been it, but I have to now add:

#5) I am not allergic to wasps! A VERY good thing, considering I just got stung as I sit here at the computer. I put my arm on the armrest of the chair and BAM, it got me! I jumped up, freaked out because I couldn't see it anywhere, and DH said it was on my back. He tried to swat it away, and in the scared little wasper's break for freedom, it hit me on the side of the face, and BAM AGAIN! Those little buggers sure do hurt. It's been about 30 minutes and still tingles/hurts quite a bit.

Reminds me of a silly little joke....what did the bug say when it hit the windshield??

"Ain't got the guts to do that again!"

(The wasp doesn't either. I squashed him good!)





Down in the dumps

April 19th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

After a few weeks of not recording all our expenses, I finally caught up again this weekend. And it stinks! I am very depressed about it all. With my forced job change, our income is not enough to cover our expenses. I thought we were keeping things under pretty tight control; instead, We've managed to spend all the extra money we came up with earlier in the month from some unusual windfalls. What are we going to do the rest of the months?!

I don't want to reveal too much of our personal details, but many of our expenses are farm-related, and it's not like we can really plan those. I mean, to some extent, we can average the expenses that we've had in the past, but with less income now, we can't set aside the money because we don't have it to set aside! The farm does not pay for itself in any way, shape or form. When things break down, they need to be fixed. DH isn't able to do a lot of what needs to be done, so we have employees hired. I think we need major adjustments but I don't think DH is ready to commit to those. He sort of jokingly asked today, "so what do you want to do, sell everything and start over and buy a house on the lake?" "Yes!!! I would love that. It would get us out of this money pit that we're in." But, it was just that - a joke to him. He wasn't serious. I am. I want to sell everything and reorganize our life to make it more jointly enjoyable, less stressful, and financially workable. And I don't care if it's by a lake or not.

I may try to bring this up again another time, but it's so tricky to do that. DH reads so much more into things like that than he should. He says things like "you hate it here" and "you're just sick of me". No, and no, but I am sick of all the stress that we have currently. He is too, but he wants to figure out something that will bring in more steady income from the farm. That would be great, but it requires spending money to make money and we don't have it to spend!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. This is one of my PMS-induced mood swings, I'm sure. As I reread the last paragraph, it's full of "buts", which will just come across as excuses. Maybe they are. Tomorrow, I'll be back at work, and will be able to push these blues back somewhere beneath the surface. We'll find a way to survive the finances, because something will sell and we have some money saved back. My problem is that I don't want to rely on those things to get thru each month.

This is part of the reason I never updated my goals on the sidebar. What would they say? #1 - work some magic. #2 - get old job back. #3 - pray. So, waaaahhh, I feel better actually after writing all this down. I still don't know exactly what we're going to do about it. We did, however, take one action step today, and filled out info on LendingTree to see if we can refinance our mortgage. That's a teeny amount of progress, I suppose.

Sold some gold

April 16th, 2009 at 04:17 am

I took 2 rings to a jeweler today that was advertising they purchase gold. One was the old setting from my wedding ring (we had the diamonds reset into a newer nicer ring 2 or 3 years ago). It was just sitting there doing nothing so I cashed it in.

The second ring was one I found in a parking lot. I didn't think it was gold, but couldn't be sure, so I figured this was one way to find out. It wasn't. Bummer! I think it's a man's wedding band and, gold or not, it's still pretty nice but probably not worth much.

Anyhow, my 14k 1.7 pennyweight ring setting earned me almost $20. What's a pennyweight, you ask? So did I. It's a commonly used measurement in the U.S. jewelry industry, and there are 20 pennyweights in an ounce.

I'm planning to stash the $20 in my savings, to try to rebuild it just a little. I have another $30 I should transfer to savings also from my checking account. It was coin and rebate money that I deposited.

I'm always talking now about FAPDs. I'll have to see if there is a Cici's in my area, and go find some pennies!
http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2009/04/cic...

Bills, bills and more bills

April 14th, 2009 at 01:06 am

I am dreading paying our bills, but I've got to get to it today or tomorrow. Two credit cards, payroll tax deposit, vet bill, lawyer, life insurance, telephone, electricity, VA prescriptions, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something.

We should have enough to cover them all, that's not the problem. I just hate to part with the hard-earned money. It just seems like it comes in one day, and goes out the next..and the next...and the next. And I think the money that goes out is going to outweigh the money coming in, but I put it off because I hate to look. I know it's dumb, but that's the way I look at it.

Another FAPD, big garage sale, and Happy Easter!

April 13th, 2009 at 04:22 am

I found another penny on the ground recently, although I can't remember which day it was now. I remember thinking how I'd been on a roll finding change here and there, and hadn't in a few days. Within 15 minutes of that thought, I was in line at Dollar General and glanced down and there it was!

Yesterday I went to a big garage sale in our town. There were TONS of clothes, which normally doesn't lure me in, but there were so many cars there I figured there must be other good stuff. There was quite a bit, and I did look thru the clothes but came up empty handed. Everything was name brand, nice stuff, although tossed on tables in random piles makes even the nice stuff look raggy. I found two purses that I think might resell on eBay. Nothing fancy like Coach or anything like that, but I wouldn't touch one with a 10-foot pole at a yard sale unless I was planning to carry it myself. Too many ways to get in trouble on eBay if it was fake.

Happy Easter to all who celebrate. We had a nice feast today, and great chit-chat. I wish there was one more weekend day to recuperate, since I spent this whole day cleaning and cooking. I'd like a 2nd true "day off", please! Saturday was nice and relaxing, and I want another one of those!!

Had a FAP day? Or is it FAPD?

April 8th, 2009 at 03:33 am

We have NSD for No Spend Day, so how about FAPD for "Found a Penny Day"? Whatever would be the correct acronym, I had one of those again today! Smile

I was working my deals at Walgreens, and I always go past the aisle endcap where they have clearance items. I didn't spot it right away until I bent down to look closer at the bottom shelf, and there it was waiting for me. Tails down, but still a penny!

Today's find

April 7th, 2009 at 03:55 am

I stopped at the grocery store today for a few items. As the cashier rang up my order, I glanced at the end of the counter near the bagger and saw someone had tossed down their receipt and a register coupon. I picked it up expecting it to be a "save $1 when you buy 5" of some high-priced thing that nobody would ever buy five of at the same time, but it was WAY better than that!

It was a "thanks for buying coffee, save $1.50 off your next order"!!!!! I couldn't believe it. It didn't go thru when the cashier scanned it (it was probably only meant for the original store card owner), but she punched it in anyway. My lucky day! I checked the receipt to see what kind of coffee the person who didn't need to save $1.50 bought, and it was Starbucks coffee. Figures!

What's the matter with these people?

April 6th, 2009 at 12:29 am

I went to an auction yesterday with DH. Nothing was of interest to me, but I usually go with him to auctions and I'm never bored. People watching fascinates me, and I'm always interested to see what prices things bring. Plus, I was planning to walk around a lot, since lately I've been trying to go for a walk several times a week. Although it wasn't walking fast enough to raise my heart rate, it was still walking and therefore exercise in my book.

Well, to keep it frugal and healthy (trying to lose weight...AGAIN!), I brought our lunches. It worked out great. No bland, tasteless $3.50 hamburger from the vendor. Actually sometimes they are pretty good, but do you know how much ground beef I could buy for that? That's what always ruins the taste for me.

I jokingly said to DH after the sale, "what's the matter with these people? I looked and looked all day, and didn't find any dropped money on the ground! Not even a lousy penny!" But, then, we stopped at a grocery store on the way home, and I found a penny in the parking lot. You would have thought it was a gold nugget. Aloud, I said, "HA! I'm rich!" I was near the car and the window was open so I said it for DH's benefit, but I wonder how many other people looked at me kind of funny. It makes me laugh again today just thinking about it. I'm glad I amuse myself!

Monthly grocery update

April 4th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

I used to blog weekly about my progress with using coupons on groceries (the loose term I use for people food, dog food, and household products). I've gotten out of that habit, but I still track it, so I thought I'd recap the month of March instead. This is actually as of March 28th.

My original goal at the beginning of the year was to keep it around $100 each week. That worked for a bit, but became a little unrealistic when I increased my purchase of puppy food to accommodate a new litter. I guess that's still my goal, but since a goal should really be attainable, I've relaxed my standards a little.

Week 1: This one really blew the budget.
For groceries and household products, the total before coupons was $191.65. After a 59% coupon savings of $114.00, the actual cash spent was $77.65. Not too bad. For dog food, though, it was $120.11 less just $7.73 in coupons, leaving the total at $112.38. For everything combined, that's $311.76 less $121.73 coupons (39%), leaving $190.03 out of pocket. Holy cow!! That jumped my average for the year from $109/week to $117/week.

Week 2: Who could possibly need ANYTHING after last week's spending? Well, that would be us. Groceries/household was $139.63, less 63% coupons totalling $87.81, leaving $51.82 actual cash. Dog food added another $32.40 but I had no coupons. The sum was $172.03 before, $87.81 coupons (51%), and $84.22 out of pocket.

Week 3: $69.79 before coupons, a paltry $11.07 in coupons (16%), leaving $58.72 spent for groceries/household. Dog food purchases were $120.98, less $18 coupons (15%), leaving $102.98. That's a combined total of $190.77 before coupons, $29.07 in coupons, and $161.70 spent.

Week 4: Our people food was $77.37 before coupons, a paltry 10% in coupons of $7.37, leaving $70 in cash spent. Dog food was $75.79, but a nice $26 in coupons, leaving $49.79 spent. Overall was $153.16, less $33.37 coupons, ending with $119.79. The new average is now roughly $118.47 each week.

The good news is that we sold two of the puppies, so that more than makes up for the increase in spending to accommodate their extra feeding needs. I can't say that for us though. It just seems to me that food & household spending for two people should be closer to $40 each week and not $60. I guess that's something to work on for the rest of the year.

Rebate jackpot!

April 4th, 2009 at 03:12 am

Since the beginning of the year I haven't seen many rebates worth sending in, until lately. Yesterday I mailed off one for Kellogg's All Bran Strawberry Medley cereal, for my $3.56 purchase price. It's delicious cereal, I've discovered, but I really only bought it because of the full rebate.

I mailed a second one for Sargento Finishers. I should get another $3.99 from that one. Then, I had a third one for Grande tortilla chips. I looked everywhere for them, and finally saw one bag on the shelf in a local store so I snagged it. I know I looked there before, but this was just my lucky day. I was just a few days away from tossing the rebate form since I originally couldn't find them. Anyhow, that will net $3.49 back.

Today, I filled out one for Nestle Toll House Caramel Filled Cookes. That will get me $2.48 back, although I'm not sure the 10 pounds I probably gained eating them are worth that!

Last but not least I have a $10 one to do for pizza and other stuff I've bought lately. The rebate is from Budweiser. I think that's it, but that's none too shabby: $23.52 for all of them. After the tax and postage I've paid, my gain is probably about $20. It's really just reimbursement for what I've already spent, but that's quite a bit of free food.

It's the little things that make me happy!

April 1st, 2009 at 01:54 am

My last entry was about a frustrating day. Things are looking up today...other than the fact that I typed this whole entry up once and it disappeared on me!

I shopped for a few sale items at Dillons tonight. After coupons, my $25 worth of groceries came to $3.52! And, I'll either get $2.50 or $3.49 of that back from a mail-in rebate. I'm not sure how much because I don't know if they'll rebate the price before my plus card savings or after. But under $4 for 6 boxes of cereal, 2 lbs of grapes, a canteloupe, and a package of salad finishers (I wouldn't have bought these, except this is what the mail-in rebate is for!). Trips like this take the sting out of the fact that before this I'd already spent a little over $100 on groceries, household, and dog food this week, and it's only Tuesday!

Then, at CVS, I found a Budweiser $10 rebate form for the purchase of propane, ice, meat snacks, salty snacks, some other stuff and pizza. I just bought $10 worth of pizza on Sunday, so it's ideal for me. No alcohol purchase required. I love these high dollar rebates!

I came home to find 11 pieces of "decoy" mail, that I'll get paid to log online. I signed up to do this awhile ago, and some days I just get 1 or 2 pieces of mail. Sometimes, none. Today is the jackpot! It pays just a quarter an item, but it should only take me 10 minutes to log it. My volume last quarter was low, but the payout just accumulates, so hopefully I'll have enough to get paid the next time.

And, last but not least, I found a free Hallmark card deal on moneysavingmom (see the link on my sidebar). Hallmark will mail a real card (not just an email card) to anyone you choose with the TRIAL code. I picked a cute Easter card for my mom.

Frustrating morning

March 29th, 2009 at 06:08 pm

I had to take SS to a community service assignment this morning. I'd organized my coupons and grocery lists and planned on a leisurely morning after I dropped him off shopping. I had a magazine to read if I got done before he did (he was scheduled for 3 hours). Well, we arrived on time and waited around for 20 minutes. The "boss" didn't show, so we drove by his house and SS knocked on the door. A teenage kid answered the door and told him the man was sleeping, and that he'd call him later! (I personally think he ought to get credit for the hours he showed up to do; it was his last 3 hours. If they don't give him credit, we'll have to do this again next weekend - not fair to me!)

So, now I was no longer looking at leisurely shopping by myself. Bah humbug!

I crossed off two of the stops on my list, to shorten the trip. I'll go to those some day on my way home from work instead.

Stop #1 was Walgreens. I had my list and my coupons and a $10 Register Reward to use. I pulled it out and discovered it had expired yesterday. Crud!! The manager wouldn't let me use it so I didn't buy the 2/$5 pizzas they had on sale. I did buy everything else I was planning to get, but it wasn't quite as thrilling.

Stop #2 was Walmart. I had them price match the Walgreens price on the pizzas, and I picked up some other things. One of the items was a box of cereal that I have a rebate form to mail in and get my money back. I got out to the car and double checked the receipt to make sure everything was at the correct price and I noticed the amount column was blank on 2/3 of the receipt! I couldn't even tell what the total was to enter in my checkbook, so I took the receipt back in. At customer service they printed a duplicate copy, but it's just on regular computer paper, and not even a receipt that says Walmart on it. Oh, great, I won't be able to use that for my rebate either. I thanked the woman for giving me something to know how much to enter in my checkbook, but told her I'd probably be back some day this week to return & repurchase the cereal. I think she thought I was a PITA (pain in the a--), but I don't care. I couldn't bring myself to go out to the car and lug the cereal back in to do it right then, especially with SS waiting in the car.

Stop #3 was an auto parts store for some hydraulic fitting. They didn't have it.

Just not a good morning...

It's all about timing

March 28th, 2009 at 02:26 pm

You just never know. I had an item listed on eBay for fixed price for 30 days. The price? $1.99. I had several lookers, some watchers, but nobody purchased. I finally got around to relisting it last weekend, but picked a 7-day auction instead. I started it at the same price, and whaddaya know? It doesn't end until tomorrow and it's currently bid over $5!

It's all about timing, I suppose, and buyer psychology. Maybe the $1.99 fixed price scared people away that it wasn't the "real" thing. It was a rock bottom price and I would have only earned half that in profit, since my shipping fee is always actual or maybe just 25 cents more for supplies. But I just was tired of hanging onto it and I'll never use it. So, maybe at a fixed price, they thought "no way, something is wrong with it". But, with an auction, people figure things that are worth hundreds or thousands sometimes start at 99 cents, so it's okay.

I'll never know, but I'm glad it will sell!

A reason to bring lunch to work

March 27th, 2009 at 01:18 am

Has anyone heard the recent Qdoba commercials? The announcer talks about how you could bring your lunch to work, but "your briefcase will smell like lunchmeat" and "you'll eat alone" and "you'll be the office equivalent of the crazy cat lady"....or at least I think those are the claims.

Then, it goes on to push some lunch "special" that is just $6.99. JUST?! I know that's comparable to lunch prices at other places, but for $6.99 I could buy my lunches for the week at the grocery store. So, their ad isn't working for me. As a matter of fact, it's having the opposite effect. I'll make sure to bring my lunch! I don't carry a briefcase, I don't eat lunchmeat, and we have a fridge at work, so the only thing I have to worry about is eating alone. No worries! I don't mind it at all. I often eat while I read a book, or eat quickly and then go for a walk anyhow.

Please note: I'm not knocking Qdoba. As a matter of fact, I've never eaten there. Maybe for some special occasion I'll try it...if I come up with a coupon, that is Smile

The week in review

March 22nd, 2009 at 05:08 pm

I haven't had time for blogging, but as I look back over the week, I can think of a few things worth noting.

Today, I found a quarter in our Walmart parking lot. Cha-ching! I scored a few deals with coupons as well. Free tiny bag of Iams dog food, free bread, cheap chex mix and cheap cough drops. I think I saved close to 50% with my coupons.

*****

Yesterday I was in a 1-day class all day, but it was a reunion of sorts with some people that I was in class with last fall. On our lunch break, I wanted cheap food but I was with one girl who doesn't like burger joints and another who seems to like to eat out a lot. We went to a nice restaurant and the cheapest thing on the menu was a $4 bowl of chili. (I could make a big batch of chili for THAT!) But it was good, and much better than fast food, which would have been the alternative, so it was worth it. Plus, we had a blast!

****

I went to a quickie seminar at work one day on cutting costs. The speaker was from a consumer credit counseling place. The bad news is that I didn't learn anything new! (or maybe that's really good news in disguise. The best news was that the lunch was FREE for attendees. So that's really how I saved costs that day. LOL.

A lot of the focus was on how much you could save in a year if you reduced or cut out spending on:
movie rentals $4/wk = $208/year
cigarettes $4/day = $1,465/year
lottery $2/week = $725/year
acrylic nails $40/quarter = $120/year
cable TV $50/month = $600/year
books/magazines $4/week = $208/year
lunch out $4/day = $1040/year

For the most part, I don't do ANY of these things! Maybe a movie or lunch out once in awhile (like mentioned above). The one place I could use help is buying a soda or candy each day at work. I try to incorporate both into my grocery budget, but occasionally run out or need an extra lift during the day. The best way I've found to curb that is to go to work with no cash at all in my purse.

I'll try to catch up on all your blogs and update my grocery tracking when I have a chance so I can blog about that. I think I've been going over my $100/week goal but I'm a few weeks behind on my updates so I really don't know.

Trying to keep up

March 16th, 2009 at 11:49 am

I've been trying to keep up with all the blogs, but haven't had much time to add something to mine. I don't want to get out of the habit, so here it is! Smile

This past week has been a creative spending week. I had $75 worth of Rx to pick up at Walgreens, so I used $100 Amex gift card I received as a partial rebate when I bought my printer last year. I spent another $20 from the same card later in the week and used up the last few dollars on a Walgreens gift card to stock up on Scott's tp that was on sale. I bought four 12-pack rolls, enough to last us for months! Plus, the purchase generated a Register Reward for $10. So, it was almost like shopping without spending any money...can't beat that!

I also found 9 cents this week, all at Walgreens. At one store, I found a nickel and 2 pennies right outside the door. Inside, at a totally different end of the store, I spotted another penny. Then, yesterday at a different store, there was a penny on the ground under the sink in the ladies room. Cha-ching!

Cheap entertainment

March 8th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

I spent a few hours this afternoon looking through an old, old house that was on a piece of property we bought last month. We'll eventually knock it down, but it was fun looking to see what had been left behind.

At some point, people stopped living in it, and others began using it as a storage/workshop. There are some old children's school desks, not really in great shape, but not all that bad either. There is a whole area full of old tires, another with plumbing fixtures that were ripped out of somewhere (but not this house, as it predates any indoor plumbing). I found an old Manhattan Coffee tin (never heard of it), and an old Nehi bottle. But the most interesting find was some records (33 1/3) to use for training on automotive service. I dragged them home, but haven't done any research to learn more about them.

One room had an old dresser in it, but it looks too far gone to be any good. There were some buzzards flying around, and they appear to have been roosting in the house since there are no windows any more in it.

So...I didn't get anything useful accomplished that I really NEEDED to do today, but it was cheap entertainment and sometimes I just enjoy doing stuff like that.

In money-related news, I called a friend and mentioned I'd seen her husband's name in the paper in a list of people with unclaimed funds from the utility company. Good thing I called, as the copy of the newspaper she received hadn't had part of the listing in it - the part with their name. I don't know how much the unclaimed money is, just that it's less than $50. She was thrilled to hear it, so I've done my good deed for the day!


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