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Nifty thrifty

December 12th, 2009 at 06:33 am

I had a coupon that I printed worth $5 off a purchase at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. It doesn't specify a minimum purchase or anything, so I went yesterday to look around. An hour later I came out empty handed! I don't know if it was the mood I was in, or what possessed me to NOT take advantage of that coupon. Surely I could find something to give for a gift? Nothing jumped out at me. Surely I could find something for myself? Nope, nothing really appealed to me. I thought about a bracelet they had and even tried it on, but decided against it in the end. I have a ton of greeting cards already, so I don't need any more. No one I know collects any of the various mugs, doo-dads, and whatnots that they have.

I thought about just laying the coupon down for someone else to find, but kept it just in case I think of something in the next week that I can use it for.

Today, on the other hand, was a success. I just had 20 minutes after work before a local thrift store closes, so I stopped in. For this particular store, 20 minutes isn't nearly enough. It's huge! I found a nice new-looking basket for a plant, and I've been looking for one for awhile. And then, with just 5 minutes to spare, I spotted a nice sweater. It's off-white with gold trim, and really quite nice. After I tried it on and fell in love with it, I saw that it has a stain, possibly ink, on one of the cuffs. The sleeves are long enough that I can just turn the cuffs back if I can't get the stain out. $1 for each item, and I was on my way!

It looks like someone already tried to get the ink out since it's faded, but if anyone has suggestions for how to get rid of it, I'd love to hear them.

I loved my mail today!

December 10th, 2009 at 02:27 am

It was a very nice mail day. $20 in rebates from Prestone antifreeze, and $40+ reimbursement from my Health Spending Account. Yesterday I got a $5 rebate too. And, wonder of wonder, there were no bills either day.

DH & I celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss today too. Our high dollar celebration was pizza from Walmart and milk. Yum! Our farm help didn't show up today, so I get the pleasure of spending the next hour or so outside in the freezing cold finishing up the chores. Do we know how to celebrate, or what?!

And that's my day....

Last minute lunch and over-budget already

November 13th, 2009 at 04:36 am

It's week 2 of trying to limit grocery spending to $40 a week, and I'm already over this week's limit by $10. Hopefully, next week I can scale it back a little to make up for it.

I've been trying to make a list during the week for the following week of everything we need or are close to running out of. Then I try to split the list into must-haves and can-wait-a-week items, and shift things around if there are sale items that can be combined with coupons I have. The week starts out good and I try to save some money back for the extra milk or bread I know we'll need at the end of the week, but then more things creep up unexpectedly. Oh, well, I'll keep working at it. Practice makes perfect, I hope.

Today I was in a rush leaving for work and found I didn't have any more Lean Cuisine meals to take for lunch. I didn't have anything to make a sandwich out of, so I scanned the cupboards. Tomato soup - not in the mood. Cereal - nah, just had that for breakfast. Nothing else jumped out at me until I spied the potatoes. That's it! I grabbed a potato, a partial bag of broccoli, and threw some shredded cheese into a microwavable container. Voila! It was a tasty lunch, and much cheaper than grabbing something on the go.

Got some good deals at Walgreens tonight. These are some of what put me over my budget, but I couldn't resist. A small bag of trail mix for the ride home from work, 2 big boxes of Kleenex, and 4 cans of Glade air freshener for....$3.97. Of that, I paid $1 cash, and used the exact remainder of the money on my Revolution Money Exchange card for the other $2.97, so it wasn't really cash out of my pocket. I didn't even need the Glade, but I can submit the receipt for a $5 SC Johnson rebate. When I figured out the individual items by price, the 4 Glades cost me just $1.25. Gotta love it! I'll spend a dollar or two every day if I can double or almost triple it each time. Now if I only I could figure out how to do that with hundreds of dollars.

Grocery updates and to-dos

November 7th, 2009 at 06:05 am

It's been a long time since I posted any updates on coupon savings for the year and average per week. I finally figured the tally, and so far this year on grocery, household supplies and dog food it looks like this:
Before coupons = $6,647
After coupons = $4,853
Savings = $1,794....roughly 27%
At week 45 of the year, that makes our average per week $107.85. It's not as good as I'd like, but it's not that far off from the $100 I was shooting for.

My list of things to do this weekend is a mile long. It's supposed to be really nice here, so there are several outside activities to do like mowing, pulling up all the stakes in the garden so it can be plowed up, putting away various items that have been used during the summer but not put back. I'd also like to move some stuff from one storage area to another and rearrange it in the process. Unfortunately, the indoor list to do is much longer and more important than most of the outdoor stuff. Many are related to finances - list some things on ebay & CL, organize paperwork, complete financial papers for a refinance, do online training that I've signed up for to help advance pay at my seasonal job, etc. Hopefully, I'll wake up with tons of energy and can get a lot of it done and crossed off the list!

Enjoy the weekend, whatever you end up doing.

How much time do you spend online?

November 4th, 2009 at 04:00 am

Just curious...how much time does everyone spend online "playing" each day, on average? (not counting time spent making money blogging or doing surveys or selling online)

I have a routine almost daily of checking 2 email accounts, reading some blogs, and checking for coupons. Somewhere in there I peek at Craigslist also. If you asked my husband, he'd tell you I spend about 5-6 hours a day online, but it's really more like 2-3 hours. That still seems like A LOT!

I went back to Dillons again tonight after I found a few coupons online and identified 10 more items to get for their mega saver event. I couldn't resist! For $3.58 I bought:
3 Lean Cuisine meals
2 Betty Crocker potato mixes
3 Chex Mix
2 Bumble Bee tuna pouches

I also bought $4+ of ground beef at another store, so of our original limit of $40 for the week, I still have $17 left. Tomorrow I'll hit up a discount store for bread and fuji apples. Last time I was there the apples were 49 cents a pound, and they are huge. Lets hope the price holds until I can get there.

Shopping after work

November 3rd, 2009 at 05:52 am

I did some grocery shopping tonight after work. With the time change, it was already getting dark, but in one case it worked to my advantage. As I exited the store, the street light was glinting off something on the ground...a nice shiny dime! Kind of makes up for the fact that the cashier forgot to deduct 10 cents from my order because I brought my own reusable bags.

I dedided to try grocery shopping with cash for a change and truly trying to limit myself to $40 each week. I started off great tonight and only spent $15 (out of pocket) for these groceries:
2 gallons milk
laundry detergent
2 2-liters coke
3 Lean Cuisine meals
12 oz. package cheese
1 box saltine crackers
Betty Crocker potato mix
4+ lbs. bananas, reduced
5 lb. bag grapefruit
1 box Kashi cereal
2 pouches Bumble Bee tuna
1 bag fritos
1 bag Halloween candy
rubbing alcohol

I clarified this as "out of pocket" expenses because included in the list is $9 worth of stuff I got at Walgreens using register rewards from a prior purchase. I thought that was a pretty good trip either way!

I saw an interesting post on Money Saving Mom about a free download of an ebook called Thriving on Less. I downloaded it but haven't started reading it yet. http://thepowerofless.com/2008/12/free-ebook-thriving-on-les...

$10 rebate and other tidbits

October 31st, 2009 at 04:14 am

I love getting rebates in big chunks. The mail today brought a $10 rebate. I think I sent it in less than a month ago, so it was fast too!

We are muddy, muddy, muddy around here. Yesterday brought 3-4 inches of rain, and it was already muddy before that. There is still standing water in our yard in some places, so that mud is just delayed.

I had some nice savings on dog food at Petsmart with coupons they emailed to me for $15 off a $50 purchase. The limit was 2 coupons, so I split my 5 large bags of food plus a few other items into 2 purchases. I had a few coupons too, and then some Purina rebate checks to use. All in all, I spent $53 for $125 worth of food. With 2 bags I bought yesterday before I had the $15/$50 coupons, that should last us 3 weeks.

I've decided to cut way back on my diet drink purchases. Today is day #2 without them, and also without caffeine. I don't know about this. I was dead tired at work today, but I don't know that I can blame it on a lack of caffeine. I've been that tired other days while I was steadily drinking diet coke. We'll see how the weekend goes. I have heard and read that you should drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. So, for example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink 80 oz. of water. That's more than the "8 glasses a day" that I'd always heard, assuming they were talking about 8 oz. glasses. That is A LOT of water!! I think I'd be spending my life in the bathroom if I drank that much every day.

I'm yawning a lot tonight, so I think I'll drop into bed and do some light reading....I'll bet I can't even keep my eyes open for one page!

"That's our policy"

September 16th, 2009 at 04:33 am

I've never really heard those words when they've meant something good, until today. I noticed that 2 items on my grocery bill didn't ring up at the price on the shelf. They rang at $2.20 instead of $1.99 each. I had a coupon for $2 off each one, so the plan was that I would get them for free. In a split second decision, I went to the customer service desk to get my 40 cents refunded.

Sometimes I bother and sometimes I don't when there isn't much money involved. Today for some reason I did. The clerk looked at the items and studied the receipt, and punched her info in the cash register. I looked up and she was handing me $2.50! "If it's priced wrong, you get one free. That's our policy."

My jaw dropped! Where I lived before, that was a state law, but I don't think it is in this state. Plus, I've shopped at other stores in this same chain, and requested a refund on items that scanned wrong, and they've NEVER given me the item free. It was a nice surprise. I suppose I should have argued that with my coupon I already got both of them free, but who am I to argue? Smile

Coupon success!

August 22nd, 2009 at 01:15 pm

It's always nice when grocery store sales & coupons align just right, and it seems like it's been awhile for me since I had a great trip. I've just been picking up a few things here & there, but I don't know that I've been spending less doing it this way or not.

Well, yesterday after work, I bought a back seat full of groceries, stopping at 3 stores (all on my way home).



Total cost: $30.02. Coupon savings: $34.65. Future savings: $14 (with a $4 coupon to use on a future purchase, and a $10 rebate to send away for). I also think something scanned double on my receipt, so I was overcharged about 50c. My picture angle is horrible - those candy bars aren't that HUGE!

Anyhow, that was for:
3 liter diet cola
1 frozen pizza
5 loaves of bread
1 gal bleach
1 gal milk
softsoap body wash...generated the $4 coupon for next time
5 jars peanut butter
4 jars olives
2 cans pineapple...free after coupon!
1 bunch bananas
24 oz cottage cheese
16 oz cheese slices
1 can mushrooms
8 oz shredded cheese
1 lb smoked sausage
Little Debbie brownies...diet, what diet?
2 big candy bars...ditto!
4 packs gum
1 soy candle...free after coupon!
2 lbs. deli roast beef...paid just over $2 after coupons, and it will give me the $10 rebate.

If I hadn't bought the chocolate & gum, I would have been ahead about $3, but sometimes those really are necessities so I have no regrets about wasting $3.

I'm off to the garden to pick green beans soon. I missed the past two days so I may be there awhile! I'll add whatever I get to the pickings from earlier in the week, and freeze a batch today. We don't have all that many plants, but it seems they are producing a lot!

Cheap eats

June 20th, 2009 at 01:21 pm

I've been trying to catch up on all your blogs, but am not having much luck. It's been a very busy week!

Last night's dinner was soft tacos, made from a Taco Bell meal kit purchased at Walmart. As we were eating them, I realized it was a really cheap meal for us. The box kit was $2...minus a $1 coupon. The ground beef was given to us by one BIL a few weeks ago. They gave us about 10 pounds of ground beef and 10 pounds of ground sausage. The lettuce I got free with a coupon at the grocery store. The tomato & onion came from a different BIL. And, I'm sure the shredded cheese we used was purchased on sale or with a coupon or something. That came out of the freezer so I don't remember exactly what I paid for it. I think there is enough of almost everything left over for another taco or two apiece. I'm sure there would have been if we each didn't have three last night! They were delicious, and for $2 or less out of pocket, we might get 2 meals out of them. I know it was unusual circumstances, and it wouldn't be that cheap next time, but for today it was good.

In other news, I think I sold something on CL. The woman said she'll "definitely buy it" (we've all heard that before!), but I believe her. That will be an extra $10. Hubby said I priced it too cheap, but I just wanted a quick sale to get some cash in the coffers.

I also called in during the right song playing on the radio yesterday, and won $50! I've never done that before, so I was quite thrilled. It's all little dribbles, but it all helps too.

Updated coupon savings

June 13th, 2009 at 04:57 am

I just figured my grocery/dog expenses for the last 2 weeks, and updated the sidebar. Average per week is dropping! Smile I seem to have gotten lucky lately with great sales on dog food, so much so that I'll buy 2+ weeks worth at once. I ran out of Purina $7 checks (which I earn by turning in weight circles from the food), but I had a 15% off coupon at Petsmart that I used last week. I just sent in enough weight circles to get 10 more $7 off checks, but I'll probably need to stock up again before those get here. Timing is everything!

The grocery bill seems to have decreased also. I know I'm due for a bigger trip in the next week or so, since the last two weeks were very cheap. We're waiting on a part to see if it fixes our refrigerator, which went out last week. It's a pain, but I don't seem to buy as much stuff since we have no way to keep it cold. We've probably saved at least $10 from not buying milk & cheese. I do have some milk in the freezer, and sometimes take it out overnight to thaw so we can drink it in the morning. I know we could use a big cooler and buy a bag of ice every day to keep things cold, but we're getting by so I don't want to bother! If it was a quick trip to get ice and it wouldn't 1/2 melt by the time we got home, it might be different. I know, I know...put a 2nd cooler in the car and it won't melt...but I still don't want to bother!

Walgreens coupon.....pfffttt!

June 10th, 2009 at 01:24 am

I got an email from Walgreens with a coupon to save $5 on any online or instore purchase of $25 or more for the next 2 days. It excludes all the things you would expect it to exclude - tobacco, alcohol, prescriptions, gift cards, etc. That's normal. But they've now added the clause that the $25 must be before taxes and after all manufacturer and Walgreens coupons and discounts.

I know that's still a nice savings, especially if you had a lot of coupons to reduce the purchase down to $25 from something a lot higher. But, I think I've become a bargain snob! I long for the "good old days" when they had these coupons and you could START at $25 in purchases, take off the $5 coupon, and then take off the all the manufacturer coupons. Many times I walked out spending $10 or less, and most of the time that $10 included purchases for items that qualified for their rebate program. Since they did away with their rebate program and changed the terms of their coupons, they are seeing a whole lot less of me. I guess that means they'll make a profit now! Smile



Anyone watch Wife Swap?

June 7th, 2009 at 05:58 am

Friday night's show was a very "avid" coupon clipper homebody family swapped with a family that totally lived in the moment, were always on the go, and spent money left & right. Total clash! The coupon wife tried to teach the spenders to use coupons but it was pretty futile. She was successful in introducing a little more family time, though, instead of always running here & there to events. Plus, she did get the spender hubby to agree that they needed to cut back their spending, or at least he agreed his wife did!

Spendy-wife tried to teach coupon-man to do things without coupons, and was somewhat successful but I don't think that will last. She actually had the nerve to threaten to shred all the coupons they had clipped and filed in a binder though!! That didn't go over so well. LOL. She was quite successful in getting the family to do activities outside the house, and having the kids try some sports other than Wii athletics.

I like the show for a little light entertainment on Friday's, and it's fun to see the opposites thrown together for the week. Sometimes they are dumb episodes, but other times it's interesting to see people thinking and doing things outside their norm and discovering they like to do things different.

In my little world, it's been a wonderful weekend so far. The weather has been gorgeous, and I've gotten a lot done outside. Plus, I stopped at a few yard sales today, and came away with (1) a new work outfit, (2) a pair of jeans, (3) an item to relist on eBay, and (4) a nice print/picture about friendship that will make a cute little gift. Total OOP: Just $3 Smile

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.

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...

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?!

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.

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.

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!

My two cents

March 8th, 2009 at 12:56 am

I found two pennies on the ground today outside a store. Actually for one of them I had to lean way under a pickup truck to get at it. Fortunately the truck was high off the ground or they might have wondered what I was doing under their truck! Anyhow, they're my two cents now!!

I was at a birthday party and people started talking about gardens. We haven't planted one in many years, and probably won't this year, but I came home and saw a post about free lettuce seeds so I sent for them. If anyone is interested, it's at http://www.ebfarm.com/AboutUs/GrowYourOwnOrganicSalad/seedpa.... If we don't use them, I'll give them to my brother-in-law.


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