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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 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.

Text is and Link is

$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 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, what diet?
2 big candy bars...ditto!
4 packs gum
1 soy 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