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Archive for January, 2009

Grocery Shopping

January 25th, 2009 at 04:59 pm

I went grocery shopping today. Found 3 items that I had rebate forms for, so I picked them up (paying separately so each had their own receipts). I filled out 2, but I need to hold off on the third because there was a problem with something else on the receipt. Quaker granola bars were on sale for $2.50 each, but when I got home, I noticed that they still charged me $3.79. So next time I'm back at the store I'll bring my receipt with me and show them the error. I'm hoping that they'll end up giving it to me for free Smile. Another thing I'd do for $3...

I've been tracking my groceries on a spreadsheet. Really helps me to see how I'm doing. It's a bit tedious, but I've been entering the info as soon as I get home so I don't get behind.

I also updated my monthly spending. Won't be finalized for another few days but it's looking ok so far. Woohoo...

Musings...

January 24th, 2009 at 02:32 pm

Ahh, peace and quiet. Hubby took the kids to Grandma's for a sleepover, so I had the house to myself for a few hours. I went through the grocery ads for the upcoming week and cut and organized my coupons. Also went on a website where I can check out rebates, and printed out a bunch, including a few that expire on 1/31. Tomorrow morning I'll go shopping, then get the rebates out the door.

Had a good mail day today. I got a $50 coupon from our auto dealer for the next time I get service. We always take the car back to the dealer (I know, I know, it's probably a rip off, but I like them and trust them more than any locals I've used). So given that we're using them anyway, the $50 coupon will come in handy. In the mail I also received a $10/$10 or more coupon from Liz Claiborne, so I can check out the clearance rack to see what they have.

I received my $13+ deposit from half .com a few days ago. Cool.

We're going out to dinner tonight, on hubby's new company. His friend put together his website, and did a great job, but wouldn't let us pay him for it. So we're taking him and his wife out to a local restaurant instead. Much cheaper than what we budgeted for in the start-up costs!

So that's about it for today. Looking forward to the end of the week so I can see how we did our first month on 1 steady income!

I've been around

January 22nd, 2009 at 04:49 pm

this site, that is. I just haven't blogged for a few days. Combination of being busy at work and not a lot new to report. Until today.

Made progress on a bunch of to-do's from the past few weeks.

First, I called our old insurance company regarding a $100 check I was due for showing up at the gym. (50 times in 6 months= $100). They told me the check was mailed 1/17 and sure enough showed up today.

Also got the $50 rebate from Verizon Wireless for a new cell phone we got around the holidays.

Finally faxed the receipts to the old FSA administrator, so I can get the last $25 in my account.

Then I faxed $69 worth of receipts to this year's FSA administrator.

I still have the $5 Lysol rebate to get out in the mail, which I'll do tonight or tomorrow.

So all in all, not that bad,

One of the things I've been doing on this site is reviewing some old blogs. (I think all this talk of our 4 year anniversaries made me nostalgic). For those of you who aren't familiar with Flash, her entries are SO worth a read! I went to the archives and read them all. The highlights: amazing insights on navigating medicare, grocery shopping, and taking advantage of deals. Amazing.

As a result, I've decided to revisit a few money-making pursuits that fared well for me in the past. The first is the $1/month trial, and you get a $20 gift card. These are pains in that you have to remember to cancel within the month, but I've always received the cards so it's worth the note in my calendar to do these.

The second thing I'm pursuing is taking advantage of bank offers. I think I mentioned that I received an offer from PNC for $150 to open a direct deposit checking account. I'm going to open one, and close an old Citibank account to take advantage of the bonus. I don't really care where I bank, and I probably cleared about $600 (or more?) doing these a few years ago.

Final thing I did today was a health assessment at work. If you filled out a confidential survey of your health profile, they'll credit you $120 against your medical premiums in April. No brainer, because I needed to get all that stuff checked anyway. Unfortunately, I was borderline (on the high side) with cholesterol, triglycerides and weight, but did great with blood sugar. Basically need to get back to the gym and watch what I eat. (What else is new?!). Totally worth it for its own merits, much less $120!

Mortgage Shopping

January 18th, 2009 at 04:35 pm

Spent the afternoon trying to check out 10-year fixed rates for refinancing my mortgage.

We currently owe about $180k, on a 15-year fixed at 4 5/8%. That rate is so ridicuously low that I figured I would be hard pressed to beat it. Also, we're scheduled to pay it off in July 2018, which is only about 9.5 years instead of 10.

10-yr fixed rates are not hat easy to find (not as popular as the 15- and 30-year fixed). According to Bankrate, the average in NJ is 4.97%, and the lowest reported rate is 4.25%. I ran those numbers and it would drop my rate from $2005/month to $1906 (4.97%) or $1844/month (4.25%), not including any fees, closing costs, etc.

So it doesn't look like it'll be worth it for me to refinance. I don't want to extend the term unless the savings are significant, because I want this paid off sooner, not later. Also, with hubby now self-employed, I don't know that we'll qualify for the best rates. Either way, it's worth it for me to make the call to a few different banks next week, get exact rates and run the numbers for sure.

Speaking of different banks, I received a post card from PNC bank yesterday. They recently opened up a branch in my town and are offering a $150 sign up bonus if you open a checking account with direct deposit. For anyone who followed my blog a while back, I pursued these types of deals pretty aggressively, with great results. I'm thinking of doing it again. I haven't had a PNC bank account for a few years so I should qualify as a "new" customer that would be eligible. That's a pretty good bonus - I've never seen more than $100 just for opening, and usually they're more like $25 or $50.

Other good news from yesterday: I got a $7.98 check in the mail from Rite Aid for their November rebate program that I completely forgot about. Not a bad surprise!

Today was a no-spend day. We had a great day lounging around the house watching football. Cooked a crock-pot meal that was phenomenal. Great day all around...

Followed-up on a few things

January 16th, 2009 at 04:25 pm

My mouth is feeling better. I called the dentist's office regarding the crown that fell out. She's going to send me the cement in the mail so I can mix it and put it back in. (Not sure how that'll turn out, but it beats a 3hr round trip). If I can't get it, no biggie. It's in the back of my mouth and not at all visible.

I took DD to the doctor today. No strep, thank goodness. Lungs and ears were clear, so no bronchitis and no ear infection. Just a virus. Nothing we can do but wait it out for a week or so and give her cough medecine to make her more comfortable. I'll add another $10 to medical savings, $5 for my copay and $5 for the RX. I can also add $109.37 for 2 mail order prescriptions. DS has an RX that used to cost $100 under hubby's plan and it only cost me $54.37. I have an RX that used to cost me $73.74 and it now costs me $10.

I'll submit all the receipts to my 2009 FSA tomorrow.

Speaking of FSA, I was successful bumping up my limit to $1000. I originally budgeted $600 for the year (not expecting the dentist bill). Because hubby left his job 1/2, that qualified as a change of status, and I was able to up it to $1000. Totally painless. I thought I'd have to fax over a letter that proved he left his job but nope. The rep just changed it right over the phone. Piece of cake.

I also finally got around to calling my auto insurance company. They already had both of us down as pleasure drivers (no commuting) so no savins there. I did change the deductible on the 2nd car to $1000 from $500. It'll save me about $42 for the year. I'm on an equal payment plan, so it'll save me as $3.81/month for the next 11 months. I still need to take the defensive driver class that AAA sponsors. It'll cost me $60, and it will knock off $120/year for the next 3 years, guaranteed (NJ law). The thought of spending an entire Saturday or two nights to go through the class doesn't thrill me, but for those savings, I really need to.

When I went to pickup the RX at CVS I got the $10ecbs that I was owed from a few weeks back, so I'm all caught up there.

Sore and Poor

January 15th, 2009 at 08:26 pm

I have had so much dental work done during my life, I joke with my dentist that I want a front row seat to his son's college graduation because I feel like I'm single-handedly footing the bill! I have never had as bad an experience as this root canal/crown that I'm going through. I've had root canals in the past, wisdom teeth pulled, and it's nothing like the discomfort I have now.

After paying the $318.75 out of pocket for the root canal (actually $265 - I got the refund today), I went back to my regular dentist today for the crown. He was stingy with the novacaine...I was numb when he was working, but it wore off at the end of the visit and I felt like I was hit in the jaw by a boxer! Then when I got home, the temporary crown fell out! My appointment to get the permanent crown isn't until the 29th, so I need to call tomorrow to see if I have to get the temp popped back in. The kicker to all of this - my portion for the crown will be about $475! Ouch. Thank goodness for dental insurance. This tooth will cost me over $700 out of pocket, and I have what would be considered really good insurance! So now I'm sore and I'm poor!

The tooth ordeal took up most of my day. (My dentist is 90 minutes away from my house - don't ask). I did make it to Target to return a Christmas gift, only to find that the gift receipt taped onto the box wasn't the right one. Trip wasted, and now I'm stuck with a gift that my kids won't use.

I have one more day off tomorrow, and was planning on finishing up some of my errands. However, DD seems to be coming down with something (perhaps DS's strep throat?) so I need to take her to the doctor tomorrow. Fortunately I have plenty of inside stuff to do too.

On the plus side, DH got his final paycheck for working Jan 1 (holiday) and Jan 2. We forgot he would be paid for those two days, so that's a nice little bonus.

I'm off to take 2 Advil and get some sleep. Hopefully I'll be back to my chipper self tomorrow.

ETA: I added another $63.99 to my medical savings total because the premiums for my plans are less than what we paid under hubby's plan.

Made it to the post office

January 14th, 2009 at 05:47 pm

Finally made it to the post office, but not without a $20 scare. I mailed my 3 half.com books. Ended up making 13.65-7.34 to mail for a net of $6.31. I mailed my Paperback swap book, and 2 rebates, for a total of $6.79. I also returned a wii game to toysrus.com. I popped it into the envelope and left it with the clerk. When I got back into the car, I saw the invoice that I was supposed to include in the envelope, without which the return would not be processed! I zipped back into the post office and fortunately the clerk had not yet put all of my packages into the big bin so I got it back. I lost the $1.85 that I already paid to mail it, but at least I didn't lose the full $20. That's what happens when you rush!

The pediatrician sent the 2008 invoices to me. I submitted my last 2008 FSA claim for a total of about $20. I'm going to use them for a $5 Lysol rebate as well. Buy 2 lysol products and take your child for a checkup and get $5 back. That one's a no-brainer!

I added $2.39 to the pig, bringing the total there up to $114.27.

Tomorrow I'm going back to my regular dentist to get the crown put on the root canal tooth. I don't know how much it will cost me yet. I'll try to run a few errands while I'm out.

I also made it to the gym today. Nothing financial there, I'm just happy that I actually convinced myself to go in the 22 degree weather!

Follow-up on dental bill

January 13th, 2009 at 07:14 pm

I'm so excited! Every day I'm coming up with a few different things to pursue to save a few bucks. I feel like it's really adding up!

I called the dentist today. They said they received the check from the insurance company on the 9th and that the bookkeeper was sending me a check for $53.75, so I'm happy that's coming back to me.

Rite Aid sent a $10 gift card for a December program they had.

I stopped at the library (no fines- hooray!) and took out two books. One is called 52 Weeks to Financial Freedom. I've read it once before, quite a while ago, so I figured I'd take it out again and flip through it in case I come across something I can use. Pretty basic stuff. The other book is called Get Clark Smart. I'll flip through that tomorrow as well.

This was an outside shot, but I called my FSA adminsitrator to see if I could up my benefits. Normally, this can only be done during open enrollment, but because DH quit his job on Jan 2, that qualifies as a "life change" that should allow me to change it within 31 days. I need to call my company's benefits department tomorrow, but I should be able to. I only set aside $600 this year, not being sure what our financial situation would be. I'm going for a crown on my tooth this week (that's good for a few hundred), plus $20 for DS's strep throat, so I'll have blown through half of it in the first 3 weeks! It would be great to up it to $900 for the year.

I'm off tomorrow, so I'll definitely be able to get to the post office. I have 4 books to mail, along with 2 rebates and 1 Christmas return. That'll cross alot of my list!

A long $53.75 rant about doctors!

January 12th, 2009 at 08:01 pm

OK, I rarely post two times in one day, but I couldn't wait until tomorrow to vent about my experiences with the people who manage doctor offices! Apologies for the long post.

My obgyn insists that she sees me twice per year for a checkup because I'm on birth control pills. No medical history / age / other reason. If you're on the pill, you come twice a year. She only writes the RX for the pills out for 6 months at a time to insist you come back.

So I went in June, no problem. When I went in December, they charged me a $20 copay. I didn't think much about it at the time, because I never really paid much attention to these things (boy is that changing!).

The receipt the office gave me clearly checked off the box for routine exam. At some point it dawned on me that preventative exams should be covered 100%, so I called the insurance company for clarification. According the the electronic file the doctor's office submitted to them, it wasn't a routine office visit, it was an office visit for menstrual cramps, and as such a copay was warranted.

So I called up the office and they explained that the insurance company only covers 1 preventative office visit per year, so by charging it this way, I only have to pay the copay instead of the whole bill, so it's actually better for me.

Hello, can you say insurance fraud?! The reason that the insurance company only pays for one preventative is because that's all that's needed. She shouldn't be seeing me 2x/year without some overriding medical reason. And if she insists, she should be up front about it, and let me decide if I want to see her the 2nd time at full price or change doctors.

So I spent a good deal of time ranting about this to my extended family and they basically said, small potatoes, insurance companies will never pursue this kind of fraud, and it's probably an isolated incident.

Fast forward to late December, I went to the dentist for a root canal. Office manager told me that they charge $1275 and my insurance will pick up 75%, so I owe them $318.75. Sounded right to me, so I paid it. Now that I'm comparing my old and new plans to see my savings, I pulled up this claim. Turns out, the insurance company paid them 75% of the AGREED UPON RATE OF $910!! So $910 minus my $50 deductible = $840 * 75%. They were reimbursed $645 and they should have charged me $265. That's a difference of $53.75!

I called Met Life and was told that the doctor may wait until they get reimbursed to make the adjustment, and that the check was mailed to them on 1/6, so they may not have it yet. Maybe I'm cynical, but I have a hard time believing that they will call me up next week to credit me for the difference.

You can bet I'm going to call them first thing tomorrow, at which point they'll likely credit me promptly. But how many other people don't bother or don't realize that they should be checking this stuff? It disturbs me that I have to spend time checking to make sure others don't make mistakes / rip me off. At the same time, I can't afford to let $53 go to them instead of me. Ugh!

Took care of some things

January 12th, 2009 at 03:04 pm

I got back on track today...

I called my pediatrician and asked them to send two December invoices to my house so I can submit them to my 2008 FSA. They should get here in a few days and I'll take care of it right away.

I called my new benefits people to figure out how to submit 2009 FSAs. However, I'm not in the "system" until after the first pay period. So I submitted the 2 bills ($20), and they'll hold them and process automatically as soon as I'm set up.

I called EZ Pass. DH was on the commuter plan, because he used to go over the Tappan Zee Bridge every day. The charge was about $38/month. I cancelled it on 1/5. They cancelled the plan going forward, but said I'd need to wait until the January bill hits my account (Feb 12), then call back to get my credit for the unused January trips. Seems convoluted to me, but who am I to say? I put a note in my calendar to remind me to call.

Speaking of remembering to call, I took advantage of a CVS Extra Care Buck deal, where I spent $20 on a few products and I'd get $10 ECBs. I bought them on 1/4 and never got the ECBs. So I called today, gave the rep the info off the receipt, and she credited me the $10ecb. Lesson learned: Save your receipts! I used to throw them out unless I knew I'd need them (like for a rebate). Now, I'm keeping them all, by month, after I enter them into my grocery log. That way, if I stumble across a rebate after the fact, or if I have a problem like this, I'm prepared. Saved myself $10!

Sold yet another book on 1/2.com ($3.50). I bet if I went through my blogging history, every time I sold 1 book on 1/2, I ended up selling 3 or 4. It's always feast or famine. So now I'm inspired to post a bunch more on there tonight. Each book has been one that I read once (maybe twice) but would likely never read again, and I'm cleaning my shelves in the process!

Went grocery shopping yesterday and spent $109, with $5 coming back to me via rebate. Still within budget on that category. Now that I know my pay for the 15th, I need to run the numbers and see what's what.

Avoided paying for food at work again. Brought oatmeal for breakfast and nuts/fruit/pretzels for lunch. One upside of bring my food: I've been saving some money. Second upside: I lost 2 pounds last week (woohoo!).

Finally, I added $1.09 to the pig. Slow and steady wins the race!

Didn't-do list

January 10th, 2009 at 08:18 pm

My mother had an expression, "the road to he*% is paved with good intentions". That was her response any time we told her that we meant well, but something just didn't pan out. Alas, I thought of this quote as I looked at my to-do list from yesterday.

I didn't get to the post office. DD had a basketball game at 9:00, and DH was anxious to get down to his mother's for a visit so he could get home before the snow started. So I didn't get to take care of #1-4. I couldn't find any more receipts from 2008 to finish my 2008 FSA, so I need to call our pediatrician and ask her to resend our December bills, which will be enough to wipe out the balance. I'll call them Monday and take care of it as soon as I get them. So that wipes out #5. I was all set to take care of submitting 2009 FSAs, but when I went to my benefits website, I couldn't find the reimbursement page, so I need to call up and figure out where it is. So that's delayed until Monday. And I didn't get around to calling the auto insurance or putting away the Christmas stuff, although I'm still planning on doing that tomorrow.

So out of the 9 things listed, the only thing I managed to accomplish was to complete several loads of laundry! Always the optimist, however, a few good things still managed to happen:

1) I sold another book on 1/2.com (for $1.25), so I'll mail that out as well when I finally get to the post office.

2) DH returned a keg tap and barrel from our annual Christmas party and got the $70 deposit credited back to our credit card. We have one more to return from a different place, that we'll likely do over the next few days.

3) I wrote out the Smart Start rebate form so that's all ready to go into the mail, and I found a bonus $2 rebate for Baileys that I wrote out as well. (Stumbled across it, and the receipt with the keg deposit also happened to have the Baileys on it. I never have that kind of luck!)

4) While I was looking for my FSA stuff, I confirmed that my dentist participates in my new plan. I had a root canal around Christmas, and need to go back to the dentist for the crown this week. Not sure what the final out of pocket will be, but it'll help having him in network.

I also was able to log on to work and get a preview of my 1/15 paycheck. For the month, I'll be a couple hundred lower than where I was hoping to be. I'll need to rerun the numbers and see if we'll be able to squeak by on it, or if we'll need to tap some other money. Hubby received his vacation payout, which we put into an account with what's left of my bonus to use in case of emergency.

I also added another $.89 to the pig!

So the day wasn't a total loss. Onward and upward!

To-do list

January 9th, 2009 at 09:07 pm

Didn't get a lot of personal stuff done today (actually I got nothing done!). Work was crazy, and I stayed late because hubby will be on a business trip next week so I'll be out of the office alot.

I have a very quiet weekend lined up, however. The kids have basketball tomorrow morning (DD anyway, DS is still recovering from strep). After that - nothing going on. Are there 3 nicer words in the English language? So here's my outstanding list, in no particular order:

1) Go to post office and mail 1/2.com book (~$1.50)
2) While I'm there, return video game to Toys R US (note to self - never buy from an online retailer that doesn't let you return to their stores!) (~%22)
3) Complete and mail the Smart Start rebate (~$4)
4) Complete and mail the Citibank rewards form (~$150)
5) Finish submitting 2008 FSAs (~$30)
6) Submit 2009 FSAs (DS doctor, RX) (~$20)
7) Call auto insurance, if they're in on Saturday
8) 4 loads of laundry
9) Begin putting away Christmas stuff

That's a pretty aggressive list, but at the same time, there's a bunch of money there that I need to claim.

Musings

January 8th, 2009 at 09:05 pm

Some random musings for the day, in no particular order...

Made a sale on half.com, my first in months and months. $1.50 + shipping for an interesting book, but one I'd never read again.

Saved $10 on medical stuff today. I posted recently that we changed health plans from hubby's to mine as part of his job change. We had to take DS to the doctor today (strep Frown). Co-pay: $15 instead of $20 under DH's plan. RX for amoxicillin: $5 instead of $10 under his plan. I'm going to start tracking medical savings on my sidebar, because I'm hoping that I save enough to offset a doctor or two that I want to keep seeing but are out of network.

In the "loose with the money" department: in addition to my $4 splurge at Wendy's, I went to lunch at work and spent $10. I'm not beating myself up too badly, because I've brought food from home for every other meal. Being frugal is like being on a diet...if you starve yourself, it'll never work. Slow and steady wins the race.

In the "loose with the money, 2008 edition", I had to pay a $5 fine to the library for a (really) overdue book. I've vowed to not have any fines in 2009, but I make that vow every year and it never really seems to work.

My auto insurance renewed. My rates went up about $40 for the year, to about $2270 (forget the exact amount). I inquired about changing the deductible from $500 to $1000 on the car we recently paid off. It would save me $45/year, so I'm considering it. Funny, I need to take my own advice. When the rep first told me the difference, I didn't bother, because it was "only $45/year". But if I'm willing to save $3/month by returning things and rebuying them with coupons, I ought to make a phone call back to the insurance company to save $3.75/month! While I'm at it, I can tell them that DH is no longer using the car to commute, which should shave a few bucks off as well. Looks like I owe them a call tomorrow!

More stuff I'd do for $3

January 6th, 2009 at 02:33 pm

I was so proud of my $3 savings from a few days ago that I set up a category on the side called "What I Would Do for $3". Today's entry: I had a $1 Extra Care coupon from CVS that expired on 12/15. CVS will reset their quarterly ecb coupons if they expire, so I called customer service, and a new $1 coupon will print out next time I'm at the store.

Speaking of CVS ECBs, I received an email from them today. They are doing a survey of CVS and Walgreens marketing. I qualified for the survey, which I need to do on Sunday. Assuming I complete it, I'll get $10 ECBs sometime after January 30th. How cool is that!

I put in a receipt for $11.79 to my 2008 FSA. I have about $35 left, but I only had one receipt with me.

Had coffee and oatmeal at home this morning, and brought food for lunch. Turns out I got a free lunch (who says there's no such thing?). Coworkers catered a meal for outside guests that ended up not staying for lunch. Roast beef sandwhiches, mac salad and water. Not bad.

Ended up taking the kids to Wendys today. I had $4 in gift certificates, so it cost me $3.25 out of pocket. I take this out of my weekly allowance, so I'm still on target with my spending.

We're having leftovers for dinner, so a pretty frugal day all around...

No Spend Day

January 5th, 2009 at 08:25 pm

My big accomplishment for the day: I had my coffee at home and brought lunch into the office from home, so I got through the day without spending any money. Wahoo! We'll see if I can match that tomorrow.

I also (finally) mailed my gym reimbursement to my health care company. When I was under DH's benefits (in 2008), Oxford would give the member $150 and/or their spouse $100 every 6 months if they went to the gym at least 50 times in the 6 month period. I completed the 50 dates last August and submitted the reimbursement but it was never received (right). I finally (4 months later!) got around to resubmitting it, so with any luck, I should be getting the $100 within a few weeks.

I also called EZ Pass today. Hubby had a commuter plan for $38/month to go over the local bridge. Now that he's working from home, I called to switch to a basic plan. The lady told me that since he already used 1 trip this month (on Jan 2nd), she wasn't sure if she could credit me for the rest of the month but she'd try. This will be a difference of about $32, so I'm going to check back in a few days and see if she was successful.

I've been slowly taking care of alot of these housekeeping type items. On tomorrow's list: submit the remaining $30 or so in FSA claims for 2008, and submit a reimbursement to my credit card company for $150+ cash reward that I have from my points. Later in the week: I need to return a Christmas gift to Target and return a keg/tap from a recent party we had to get the deposit back. I'll be thrilled when all of these piddling little things are done!

CVS deals and some spending

January 4th, 2009 at 06:22 pm

Tartar sauce! I lost my entry.

Had a fairly quiet day today, with a little bit of spending. Spent $20 to fill up my propane tank, and another $23+ in gas to fill up my car (keeping me within my goal of $50/week). Spent $25 at the A&P (groceries) - very reasonable. Finally, went to CVS to take advantage of their ECB deals.

Bought Mylanta ($6), Pepcid ($15), Fructis conditioner ($2.99) and CVS Vitamins ($5.99x2). One of the vitamins were free (-$5.99), and I used $5 in coupons. Also had a coupon for $5/$25. End result: $19.98 spent, and I'll get $12 back in ECBs. Not bad, for stuff we'll definitely use.

Tomorrow I need to submit my remaining FSA claims (~$30), gym reimbursement ($100) and claims for my Citi credit card (~$130).

What would you do for $3?

January 3rd, 2009 at 08:47 pm

Tell me if you think I'm nuts. Apparently my family does! Yesterday I went to Walgreens and bought saline solution and visine, among other things. I had no coupons, so I paid full price (about $17 total). This morning, I was flipping through the coupons in the paper and I saw a $2 coupon for the saline and a $1 coupon for visine. So I told hubby that I was going to return it and repurchase it using the coupons. (It wasn't out of the way, as I was shopping for my dad today anyway, and going right past the store). Hubby said, "Is it worth all that just for $3?". Now, if I knew I would buy this stuff again before the coupons expired, I wouldn't have bothered but I never buy this stuff (only once or twice a year). So I did. The employees in the store didn't seem to think it was a big deal. Later tonight, I was having dinner with my dad and I told him the story. My dad is 83 years old and grew up in the Depression, so I figured he'd appreciate my frugality. His response: "You did that for $3?" (What do they say about girls marrying guys just like dear old dad?). I was so proud of myself!

Here's another example of what I did for $3 (or so). While grocery shopping for Dad, I was in the cereal aisle and saw a box of Kelloggs Smart Start cereal with a big "Try Me Free" banner across the top. So I bought it. And I'll send in the form with my receipt and get my money back. Again, the response: "Why'd you buy that? You don't eat that cereal." What the heck? I'll eat anything for breakfast, and if they want me to try it so badly, I'll oblige.

So am I nuts? Would you do either of these things (or more?) for $3?

I added today's purchases to my grocery spreadsheet. It's basically just an Excel spreadsheet. I list the item, size, date, store, cost, deducations for store coupons, mfr coupons and rebates, net cost and unit cost. That way I can compare prices for different sizes easily. I can also see how frequently I buy different things. We'll see how tedious it gets when I have a big grocery order.

A few other notes from today. I bought a belated Christmas gift from Chef Central today. I had a coupon for 25% off one item that expired 12/31. I went in on New Years Eve and they were out of stock on the item. So I talked to the manager, and he said they would honor the coupon when I came back. He wrote that on the coupon, dated and initialed it. I used it today with no problem. The item I bought was $149.99, so with the coupon, I saved $37.50. Lesson learned: It never hurts to ask. In the past, I would have chalked it up to my bad luck and paid full price.

Along those lines, I think it was HouseHopeful who called her bank to get a charge reversed when she accidentally paid her mortgage twice. Again, doesn't hurt to ask. I've done that with credit card companies when I've accidentally paid late and as long as you're a good customer, they usually waive it.

Only other spending today was gas for the car: $28+. My goal is $50/week ($25/car) for a total of $200/month. The $28 is high because dad lives about an hour away. It should go down from here.

I also managed to list about 2 dozen books on half dot com. I let my inventory expire because I never logged on (and went a while without a sale), so now I need to reenter everything. Not the end of the world, because it gives me a chance to see exactly what I have.

Have a great day!

Spent $62.96

January 2nd, 2009 at 05:27 pm

Went to Walgreens and Rite Aid for various toiletries that we needed. It was a triple hit - razor blades, saline solution and visine. Yipes they're expensive. Even with a store coupon and mfr coupon, the razor blades were $2/pop.
I did set up a grocery log so I could keep track of what I'm buying, including the unit price to make it easier to compare prices to see if I'm truly getting a good deal. Walgreens had 6 packs of Kleenex tissues for $4.99. I bought 2, with a $.50 coupon, making the per box price only $.71, which is pretty good nowadays.

Other than that, no other money spent. I did manage to make it to the gym today, for the first time in months! Felt good to get back in the swing of things. I'll try to keep that up 3-4x/week.

Caught up on documenting my utility spending. Figured out that we use about 206 gallons of water/day. I have no idea if that's alot or not, relatively speaking. We've been pretty consistent over the past 2 years, except this summer when our pool liner had a leak.

Need to make a trip down to dad's this weekend. Otherwise should be fairly quiet.

New Year off to a good start

January 1st, 2009 at 08:43 pm

Started 2009 with a no spend day! Woke up around 9:00 (no hangover - I was designated driver last night. Nothing worse than starting a new year feeling like dirt!).

Anyway, we made a great breakfast and just hung around, then went to Grandmas for dinner. On the way, we stopped at Walmart because the kids had some gift cards burning a hole in their pockets. One of my goals for the new year is to figure out how to get them to understand money better. I told them that it was there money and they could spend it if they wanted, but they're going to be sorry in July if they have none left and are itching for a new toy. I don't want them to waste their money, but that will be a lesson well learned if it comes to pass.

So we spent nothing, and I put $2.66 to the piggy.

Hubby is working tomorrow (last day!) and we have a quiet weekend with absolutely no plans. We both have a lot of chores and errands to do, so we're going to try to keep our schedule free (and cheap!).

Happy New Year everyone!