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Archive for March, 2006

I missed this site too!

March 28th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

I'm usually on this site 2 or 3 times throughout the day, so I've definitely missed not having it lately!

The last few days, as expected, have been expensive, and I've been so busy at work and home that I haven't even been able to look at the budget. I hope to get to it tonight or tomorrow (Friday at the latest) and it ain't gonna be pretty!

I'm adding 30.69 to my challenge account: Ebookdrop came through with the last of my money ($15.69) so now they don't owe me anything. I also got the $10 Kimberly Clark rebate sent to Dad's (amazing!) and I saved $4 at ColdStone Creamery by using a b1g1 coupon.

I also mailed out the March rebates for Eckerd, Walgreens and RiteAid. Most of the rebate total won't apply to the challenge because I'm just stocking up. But stuff I usually buy, or coupons I use count.

Just trying to get through the last few days of the month without completely breaking the bank...

New total: $655.75

Outstanding items: $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $15 gas vouchers (PNC), $2.20 (Eckerd March), Walgreens Mar, RiteAid Mar

Fighting disorganization

March 25th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

Always a struggle for me...I'm planning on taking the next few days to get my act together and regroup. We (still) haven't signed off on our taxes. I'm not in a rush because we owe money, but it would be nice to have them signed and ready to go for April 15th. I also need to cancel one bank account and set up direct deposit on another. I need to cancel a few trial memberships and get a few rebate forms in the mail. Stuff like that.

As a result, I ended up not opening my next bank account. I was also planning on doing a Ford test drive ($50 gas card), but haven't gotten around to that either. Both deals end on March 31, so if I can have a productive few days getting my act together, I may still be able to do them.

I'm spending more than I'd like this weekend. My roommate came to visit and we had dinner ($65). Today we're taking the kids to ColdStoneCreamery for ice cream to celebrate DD's report card, but luckily, they sent B1G1 coupons, as a result of my having signed up on their website. Then tomorrow, I need to go to dad's for a few hours, followed by dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday. Good thing I complained about needing to keep the eating out bill down a few weeks ago!

I'm really looking forward to the coupon train. I cut out just about everything from the Sunday papers, including coupons I don'e use, in case someone else can benefit. What a great idea.

So that's it for now...Have a great weekend everyone.

More Challenge $$

March 23rd, 2006 at 03:24 am

Three additions to the challenge today: I got $20 in Exxon gift cards from one of the signups, I (finally!!!) got the $10 referral bonus from Pioneer Telephone, and I saved $1.95 at the grocery store ($1.50 coupons, $.45 recyclables!).

I never made it to the bank today, but I did manage to get to Rite Aid for their rebate items. Everything was free after rebate, but the only money I'll add to the challenge is my coupon savings, as the stuff I bought was "stock up" stuff that I wouldn't have bought without the rebate.

New total: $625.06

Outstanding items: $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $15 gas vouchers (PNC)

I'm getting into this MyPoints thing. I took advantage of a trial offer from them (no gift cards Frown) that will get me 750 points, and I just need to cancel within 30 days. I'm going to save these gift cards, along with the free membership ones, and save them to offset Christmas costs.

Errand Day Wed.

March 22nd, 2006 at 01:00 am

I'm working from home tomorrow. In addition to a boatload of work that I need to get done, I have a few errands to take care of as well as clean the house and do some laundry. I hope I'll be productive.

I'm making some more progress on my challenge. I received the $10 Pepsi rebate today. I also received the $40 in gas vouchers, but I can't tell if you need to be an active member to use them. I'll send them in and see what happens. I'm also going to open my next bank account tomorrow. A local bank, Valley National, is giving a $50 bonus for opening a checking account. No direct deposit is required, and I'm not sure what the minimum deposit is. I'll give it a go...

New total: $593.11

Outstanding items: $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $15 gas vouchers (PNC)

Challenge Total Update

March 20th, 2006 at 11:33 pm

As hoped for, today was a good mail day. I received my Kimberly Clark rebate (I'll call down to Dad to tell him to be on the lookout for the one I sent to him...he usually throws out anything that looks like junk). I also received the $20 in Circuit City gcs from a trial membership. Finally, I'll add in the $27.69 that I finally got from ebook (I think I'm still waiting on about $8) and the $3.82 from Amazon, which I received last week but never updated. So that brings my new total to:

New total: $583.11

Outstanding items: $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $15 gas vouchers (PNC), $40 gas vouchers (AutoAdvantage)

Back from NC

March 20th, 2006 at 03:37 pm

We had a great trip...the weather was much nicer in Cary, NC then home. We made great time driving (about 8 1/2 hours), and our only expenses were $165 for the basketball tickets and the gas (about $75 round-trip). We also got a pizza for dinner last night ($11). An excellent weekend.

I stopped my mail while we were gone, and am hoping that when I pick it up later I'll have some more gift cards/rebates, etc. I cancelled two more trial memberships...they are persistent in trying to keep you a customer, but I try to be patient knowing they are just reading from a script. I have a few more to go.

I also need to take stock of my challenge pretty soon. I have another bank offer to go for. It expires on 3/31, doesn't require direct deposit, and is local and convenient, but I just don't feel like I'm ready to take advantage of it yet. I need to get my act together over the next few days.

I also need to stop at Walgreens and RiteAid to get some items they're rebating. I'll try to do that today.

It's great being away, but also great being home...loads of laundry waiting...

Ebookdrop finally came through

March 17th, 2006 at 03:06 am

Wow, this is great news...ebookdrop finally made good on $17.12 of outstanding orders. (I have another $20 or so that I'm still waiting for). I also see that Ender513 was paid, so I'm hoping that the rest of my payments (and everyone else's) trickle in. I'm so relieved. I felt so bad that I was such a big proponent of this company based on my previous good luck with them, and was talking them up in my blog, then all of a sudden nobody was getting paid! I know it's not my fault, but it's like recommending a restaurant to a friend then having them get food poisoning! Suffice it to say that I'll wait to get the rest of my money, and catch up with other people's blogs before slowly dipping my toe in the ebook pool again.

On to other pleasant surprises...I just got an email from Office Max that they received the rebate form for the shredder they were giving away FAR with Turbo Tax. I sent this in back in early January and assumed it was lost forever. I needed a shredder anyway, so I wasn't devastated at the prospect of not getting the rebate, but I'll be happier to get it, for sure.

I arrived in NC last night around midnight. For Perky and Ima and anyone else who lives here, I think you're awfully lucky. Everytime we come, the weather is great, the people are nice and it it SO RELAXING! I just love it!

So that's the story for today. For anyone else waiting for ebook, please let me know how you made out, because it would really give my challenge a boost if I could start using them again...

Headed to N.C.

March 15th, 2006 at 03:44 am

My alma mater made it to the Big Dance (NCAA Basketball Tournament) and they were sent to Greensboro, NC for the Thursday/Saturday game. My brother lives in Raleigh (about an hour away) and is also an alumni. So we got tickets through the school for the three of us and my wonderful, dear SIL will stay home with my kids and her kids. This is very spontaneous (not something we're really known for) and we and the kids are thrilled to pieces.

The cost for the weekend will be a maximum of $330 for tickets (3 tickets for each of the two games, but that's assuming they win the first game), plus gas. We'll pick up the cost for Brother's ticket and when (if) he offers to reimburse us we'll tell him to take his dear wife out to dinner with the money (which he'll never do...). We pretty much hang out at the house, go to the park, etc., so there shouldn't be any other expenses. We're excited!

But now I'm scrambling to get everything taken care of before we leave tomorrow afternoon. I just got the tickets this morning, and I have to work tomorrow so it's all very short notice, but it will work.

Hopefully when I pick up my mail on Monday I'll have a bunch of rebates. Have a great weekend everyone...

Gift Cards Galore

March 13th, 2006 at 11:13 pm

I received three more gift cards from those trial memberships...2x$20 Circuit City and $20 Lowes. I also cancelled the first two trials, long before my 30-day trial was done. I received my Eckerd rebate from February but am still waiting on Walgreens. So here's where I stand:

New total: $521.60

Outstanding items: $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $3.82 (Amazon), $15 gas vouchers (PNC), $40 gas vouchers (AutoAdvantage)

In other news, had a HUGE spending day on clothes yesterday. Bought spring clothes for the kids, hubby and me. I still need to get some more clothes for work, and the kids and I will need new shoes. I'll try to time the sales, use coupons, etc. to hold the cost down.

Can't wait until payday on the 15th!

Trip to BJs

March 12th, 2006 at 02:31 pm

Saturday was errand day...I went to the dry cleaner and the bank, then to BJs. Huge hit there, as I didn't go last month and we were short on a number of things. Groceries ran about $175 there, plus another $60 at the regular supermarket, but I should be set for awhile. (Let's hope so anyway). I need to do the math to see what I have left for the rest of the month. We also took the kids to the park and stopped at ColdStone Creamery afterwards (expensive, hubby paid, but ohhh so good!).

I received 2 freebies in the mail: dove shampoo and conditioner and electrasol dishwasher samples. I agree with some of the others on the board...this stuff really adds up!

We're having a quiet day today...going to grandma's for dinner, and I have some work I need to take care of before tomorrow. That's about it for today...

No Colgate Rebate...

March 11th, 2006 at 03:28 am

Turns out I didn't by Colgate Total, but instead bought a different kind of Colgate, so I was denied the rebate. Oh well, these things happen, and it's a lesson to me to be more careful next time. Fortunately, I had double coupons for the toothpaste that made them practically free, and the other items I bought were hubby's deoderant, which I would have bought anyway.

Today was gorgeous...high of 72! We spent a few hours in the park after school, and are planning on going bike riding tomorrow. I also have a bunch of errands to do tomorrow, including dropping off stuff at the dry cleaner, depositing two checks in the bank, going back to ShopRite for a credit. (The cashier forgot to scan my club card, which resulted in me missing about $6 in savings!). Then I'm off to BJs for the big hit. I also desperately need to do some clothes shopping for me, the kids and hubby. Fortunately I have some gift cards and coupons, so I'm hoping the cash out of pocket won't be too bad. That's about it for tonight...

Good challenge day...

March 9th, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Twas a good challenge day...First, I received the $75 bonus from Chase. So quick...I opened the account on 2/15 and got the $100 check today. If the same thing happens as last year, I'll get an offer to open up a savings account with them for a $50 bonus in a month or two.

I also need to add in some outstanding items. First, I'm waiting on $15 in gas vouchers from a PNC promotion. (Current PNC checking account holders - call 1-800-808-3972 and listen to a spiel on Insurance Protector Plus. Good till 5/31). I also signed up for one of Flash's deals for $40 in gas vouchers.

I've also forgotten to subtract out the $1 per trial offer (total of $6 so far).

New total: $459.22 (incl Chase, my postage savings, and my Amazon profit)

Outstanding items: $10 (Colgate Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $2.38 (Feb Eckerd), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $3.82 (Amazon), $10 CC gc (great fun), $20 cc gc (buyers advantage), $20 lowes gc (complete home), $15 gas vouchers (PNC), $40 gas vouchers (AutoAdvantage)

Never added it up before...

March 8th, 2006 at 04:50 pm

I try to write out very few checks. When I can, I have companies automatically charge my credit card so I get the rewards. (PIF each month). When I can't, I have them automatically debit my checking account.

I went back through my checkbook and credit card statements from January and February and added up how many checks I didn't write. (Only for bills, if I used my debit card for something I could have written a check or paid cash for, it didn't count). Assuming $.02/check (buy the discounted box of 200 for $4.00) and $.37/stamp, I saved $10.14 in January and $9.75 in February (26 and 25 checks not written, respectively). That's on track to be $120/year. Not to mention the peace of mind knowing that I wasn't going to accidentally miss a bill/pay late.

Here's the list of things I paid via cc or direct debit: cell phone, credit card bills, car payments, electric, 529 investments, heloc payments, gas, satellite, mortgage, internet, exterminator, life insurance, magazine subscription, telephone, auto insurance, ezpass, AAA. So I'm transferring $19.89 to my challenge, as this is money I would have otherwise spent, and I'll continue tracking through the rest of the year.

Good saving day :)

March 7th, 2006 at 11:07 pm

First, I mailed the book for the Amazon sale...I only made a whopping $.50, because I needed to buy the padded envelope. (I was all out Frown). Still better than nothing, and I'm happy to be rid of another book...

Second, I signed up for one more trial membership today, as well as for a bunch of free samples. I'm keeping pretty organized notes as to when to cancel them all...thanks for the heads up, Diva, that they may try to give a hard sell...

Third, for any NJ Saving Advicers...I just received an offer in the mail with my gas bill. For $5, the gas company will send you a "Gas Cost Cutter Kit", which includes weather stripping, a low flow shower head, a low flow kitchen aerator, a low flow bathroom aerator, electric outlet gaskets, 2" clear tape and a saving energy guide. Although it's pretty late in the year now, I'll order it for next year. My gas company is PSE&G, but it's a state program, so any resident should qualify. Call 1-866-522-3806 or your gas company for more info.

Finally, my other great savings news for the day: I volunteer at DD's CCD in the Child Care room. This year, tuition was waived for teachers and aides (but not child care people). Next year, they're waiving tuition for all volunteers. Because DS will be in CCD next year as well as DD, that's saving me $130 for the year. Normally, I'd love to see this money go to my challenge, but given the tight month we had in February, I think I'll keep it where it is...

So all in all, a pretty good saving day.

Updating totals

March 7th, 2006 at 02:52 pm

So I need to add the $25 from the gardening company and the $10 from the Del Monte rebate in my new total. I also need to add the gift cards ($10 cc, $20 cc, $20 lowes) to my outstanding items.

New total: $338.92

Outstanding items: $10 (Colgate Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $100 (Chase), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $2.38 (Feb Eckerd), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $3.82 (Amazon), $10 CC gc, $20 cc gc, $20 lowes gc

I got the Del Monte rebate too

March 6th, 2006 at 10:52 pm

Unfortunately, no coupons attached to it, but it's $10 into my challenge, nonetheless. I stopped at Walgreens and picked up one more FAR item, and stopped at Rite Aid for their new rebate circular. I also signed up for 3 more gift cards from Flash's email. Wahoo.

Had an interesting conversation at Dad's this weekend. I was telling two of my sisters about the challenge, my bank bonuses, rebates, etc. One of them (who retired early and is incredibly great financial shape) thought it was great and wanted me to start sending really good deals her way. The other sister (who does fine, but doesn't plan much and kind of lives for today) thought I was out of my mind. She said she just didn't see herself spending the time it takes to do these things. I tried explaining that 1) it doesn't take THAT much time, 2) I tend to do a lot of this while I'm doing other things (watching tv), and 3) yeah, each $2 or $3 thing isn't any great shake, but when you add it all up at the end of the year and it's $1000 or $1500 or more, that's pretty good. I may as well have spoken to a brick wall...

So that's it for today. I need to update my price book this week, and take care of a few administrative things...

Gift Cards

March 5th, 2006 at 03:57 pm

Way to go Flash!! I signed up for Everyday Values and Great Fun and already received the 2 gift cards! I held off on the rest of the offers to make sure these came through, so I'll be signing up for them tonight!

I also sold a book on Amazon. I'll get a total of $3.82 minus shipping. I'll update my totals tomorrow after I mail it out.

I checked out the mail monitoring links that Amy752 listed. One of them looked like my zip code wasn't taken, but I chickened out when they wanted my SS number. I guess it's because I never heard of the company before. I'll need to do some due diligence before signing up with them. They basically send mail to your house under different names and you need to log it on their website (and save it for 6 months). You get $.25/piece of mail ($.50 + shipping if they need you to mail it back to them). I'd need to collect 80 pieces of mail to get $20/month. Not sure if it's worth it.

New total: $303.92

Outstanding items: $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $100 (Chase), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $2.38 (Feb Eckerd), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons), $3.82 (Amazon)

Busy weekend

March 5th, 2006 at 03:49 pm

Wow, this weekend was crazy! Friday I took DS to the doctor ($20 copay that will be reimbursed via FSA). Then we all went to see Zethura. The HS soccer team does a fundraiser twice a month in the winter where they'll show a movie for $4 pp. We spent $20 for tickets and snacks and had a good time (though the movie was a bit scary).

Saturday, DD went to a chess tournament ($21 for entry fee and lunch). Then we went to the grocery store and spent about $75, and the liquor store. Friends came for dinner Saturday night.

Today, we're going to my dad's to celebrate his birthday, then to another friend's house for dinner.

Somewhere in there, I need to do some laundry and finish up some paperwork.

Free Gardening Stuff

March 3rd, 2006 at 08:28 pm

I got a catalogue in the mail yesterday from Gardens Alive offering me $25 off (no minimum required!). Usually when I get these offers, it's $25 off if you buy $50 or more, so this is a great deal! We're going to order string bean seeds, arugala seeds, and a mix to prevent rot on tomatoes (we've ordered it before from them and it seems to work). With shipping, my total will come to about $27-$25=$2. I'll add the $25 to my challenge, because we would have bought the seeds and the tomato stuff anyway.

Also, I received my free samples of bounce and gain in the mail. Love those freebies!

I'm off to take DS to the doctor...have a great weekend everyone!

Snowy day

March 2nd, 2006 at 06:58 pm

Not much on the financial front. I went to the grocery store yesterday. Spent about $62, but $42 of it was for dinner I'm making for friends this Saturday, so I'm counting it as "entertainment" instead of "groceries". The other $20 counts, though. I also got gas today to the tune of $41.00. I didn't list the books on half.com last night (too busy watching American Idol). I'll try to get to them today.

It's snowing here. I wisely anticipated that DD would have a half-day, so I kept her out of school and brought her to my MIL's with my son while I went to work. (Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to get her early). Because I didn't need to rush back to get her from school, I took a different way into work that saved me $20. I need to deposit it in my challenge account today before I end up using it on something unnecessary!

New total: $303.92

Outstanding items: $10 (Del Monte Rebate), $10 (Colgate Rebate), $5 (Amazon Rebate - not sure if I'm getting this because I didn't submit the packing slip), $10 (Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (2nd Kimberly Clark Rebate), $10 (Pepsi rebate), $100 (Citi bonus 1), $100 (Citi bonus 2), $2 (Chandon rebate), $100 (Chase), $1.00 (Feb Walgreens), $2.38 (Feb Eckerd), $20 Exxon Card (Great Fun), $20 BBB card (Everyday Values), $5 (GG Rebate), $10 (Barber coupons)

February Challenge Update

March 1st, 2006 at 09:57 pm

So the challenge is 1/6 over. I took a few minutes to see how I'm doing:

1) Bank bonuses - (Goal: $900) - So far, I've received $75 and have another $300 on the way. I have my next two offers, for $50 (Mar) and $100 (Apr) lined up; I just need to review the details of each.

2) Books - (Goal: $360) - I'm taking the ebook items off my outstanding list. If they ever end up paying out it will be gravy. Between them and half.com, I've already received $72.01. It's going to be tough to get to $360 though.

3) Rebates - (Goal: $120) - I'm doing great here. I've already received $49 and am waiting on $115.38 more. I think the shortfall from the books will be made up here. I just never realized there were so many out there!

4) Recycling - (Goal: $100) - I don't know what I was smoking when I came up with this number...I have a total of $1.50 so far. Just don't see this happening at all!

5) Other - (Goal: $520) - So far I've gotten $49 from referrals, keep the change and other miscellaneous things.

6) Daily savings that I actually move - (New Category) - I don't really have a goal here. I just started it after seeing Ima's success. From now on, when I use coupons, discounted gift cards, and do other things to save money I would normally spend, the money is going in here. This could be a huge category for me, I just need to be disciplined enough to actually move the money. So far I have $33.09.

So that means I have $263.92 already, and another $415.38 outstanding, so at least I'm on track to meet my $2000 goal.

RX Savings

March 1st, 2006 at 04:23 pm

I finally got around to looking into mail order prescriptions. I only take one RX regularly, and it was $10/month last year. This year they raised the cost and it's now $25/month. If I get it mail-order, it will cost $50/3 months. That will save me $100/year (8% of our 2005 medical costs), plus I'll have it delivered to my door. Seems like a great deal to me. I need to go back to the doctor later this month, and will have her write up the new prescription.

I'm also in the process of reviewing our life and accident insurance policies. I already determined that my life insurance policy is competitive, and hubby's not willing to switch his. As for accident insurance, which we both get through work, mine seems like the better deal. I can add a spouse to my policy, but coverage is limited, so I need to figure out what the combined price would be vs. what hubby's paying now. I doubt that it would be more than $1 or $2/month, so I'm not sure I'd make the switch, but I at least want to find out.

Hubby's on a business trip tonight. I hope to get some books listed on half.com. I looked into the other alternatives to ebook, but I don't think they'll pan out. They seem to be more textbook-oriented, as opposed to general books.

That's about it for now. Have a great day everyone...