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Weird coincidence

May 27th, 2009 at 09:32 pm

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 24th, 2009 at 09:05 pm

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 22nd, 2009 at 10:24 pm

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 21st, 2009 at 08:48 pm

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 18th, 2009 at 09:12 pm

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 14th, 2009 at 08:19 pm

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 12th, 2009 at 06:02 pm

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 8th, 2009 at 09:04 pm

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 4th, 2009 at 08:34 pm

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 2nd, 2009 at 08:42 pm

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.

Text is http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/upcycled-cardboard-art-47032004?link=rel&dom=yah_green&src=syn&con=art&mag=tdg and Link is
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 27th, 2009 at 07:55 pm

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 07:48 am

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!