The downside to finally paying attention to my finances: I have to face the music for all of my neglect!
I cleaned out my pantry today. I had to throw out a bunch of food that had expired (by at least 6 months)! In total, I lost some faro, red lentils, black beans, kasha and rice (can you tell I was on the "starch shelf"?) Oh, and a bag of chips too. I had gone through the shelf with canned goods too but fared better there.
It was painful, but it's done. And I can now see what I do have, which will hopefully lead to better planning so I don't get caught like this again. To start, I had a bag of wheatberries that I've had forever (no exp'y on the package), so I put them in the crockpot to cook overnight. I read that they'll stay for 2 weeks in the fridge / 1 month in the freezer, so I'll plan on making a few salads with them.
I had previously cleaned out the freezer and fridge, so I know what I have there as well. I'm going to try to use up as much as I can between now and the end of the month and check back in.
In other news, I'm still using You Need A Budget. I'm getting used to it, so I think I'll keep it when the trial runs out. Not as simple as my trusty old Excel sheet, but I guess I need to get into the 21st century at some point!
Viewing the 'Groceries / Dining Out' Category
The downside to finally paying attention to my finances: I have to face the music for all of my neglect!
We had friends for dinner last night. I was going to try a new recipe that required kaffir lime leaves. I've never used them before, but apparently they're popular in Thai restaurants, and they can be found in Asian markets. I don't know if we have any around us, so I stopped in a farmers market in the next town over. Couldn't find the lime leaves, but what a find otherwise! Everything was SO CHEAP relative to what I usually pay, with a huge selection, and everything looked so fresh. Here's a sampling of what I got, and what I normally pay at the regular veggie store:
yellow onions 2lb bag - $.99 ($1.98)
thyme and chives - $1.00ea ($2.00ea)
basil bunch - $1.59 ($1.99)
red onion - $.79/lb ($.99)
scallions - $.33ea ($.42 ea)
pears - $1.29/lb ($1.69/lb)
lemons - 4/$1.00 (3/$1.00)
I walked out with thiese and other things for $28.00. It easily would have cost $40 at the other place. I'm so excited! I'll be going here each week. (And the meal was great, too).
So now I have a clean house, leftovers to nibble on, and I'm going to dad's for dinner tonight, while DH and the kids are at grandma's. Before I go to dad's, I'm going to have a cup of coffee and catch up on my finances, but I had to post this find first!
I spent some time tonight prepping for my shopping trips tomorrow. I'm ready to stock up!
First stop: Walgreens. I have $4 in register rewards from last week, so I'm going to pick up 2 Purex laundry detergents @ $1.99 each.
Second stop: Rite Aid. Colgate Toothpaste is on sale for $3.50, and you get $3.50 back in UP rewards, limit 2. I also have 2 $.35 coupons, making this a $.70 moneymaker. They also have Maalox on sale for $4.99, with a $1 UP reward. I have 5 $5.00 coupons from a few weeks ago, so I'll pick up 5 for free, and will get at least $1 in UP rewards (not sure what the limit is). They also have GE Soft white CFL bulbs for $2.99, with a $2 UP reward, and I have a $1 mfr coupon.
CVS: Colgate Toothpaste $3.79 - $3.79 ECBs (limit 2). Also, Speedstick deoderant for $2.99 - $2.00 ecbs = $.99, and I have a $.50 coupon, making the final price $.49. (This is hubby's favorite brand).
Shoprite: Colgate toothbrush for $.66, and I have a $.35 coupon that will double, so that will be free. I also have a coupon for a free Schick Hydro razor that expires this month, so I'll pick that up. Finally, I have a coupon for $3.50 off Gillette deoderant. Can't imagine that it's much more than that, so that should be close to free.
Final stop - A&P: Perdue chicken nuggets are on sale for $1.99, and I have $1 coupons, so I'll pickup 4 for $.99 each. I also have a coupon for Excedrin 20 ct for $5.99 off. Again, I have to check the price, but am thinking this has got to be close to free.
So that's a great week of sales! I've got some other shopping to do that won't be free, but I'll feel a lot better about spending the money knowing I'm making out so well on these deals!
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 . 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...
I work one block away from a Godiva chocolate shop. For the past week they've been adveritising smores. They look absolutely amazing on the poster...you can practically taste the graham crackers, gooey marshmallow and melted chocolate. I was thinking about picking some up for me, hubby and the kids as a special treat, until I saw the price tag right above the picture: $3.75 each. That's $15 for the four of us. Are you kidding me?
I totally had a craving for them (I don't think I've ever had a real smore in my life!), so when I went grocery shopping yesterday, I bought a box of Keebler graham crackers ($2.50), a jar of marshmallow fluff ($1.89), and a Hersheys chocolate bar ($1.50). For less than 6 bucks, we each had 2 smores for dessert (they were REALLY good), and we have enough left over, except for the chocolate to make more. I recognize that stores are in business to make money, and I'm all in favor of them jacking up the price a bit in return for convenience, but paying $6 for 8 smores plus leftovers, vs. $15 for four is ridiculous!
We're going to see the Police in concert tonight. I paid for the tickets a while ago, but our two friends are repaying me tonight, so that's cool. We're going to get sandwhiches to eat before the concert, so it will be a cheap dinner.
I got a coupon from Walgreens in my email, save $5 off $20 on an in-store purchase, Thursday only. (There's a link to forward to a friend, so if anyone is interested, let me know). So I checked out their new rebate booklet, which started 7/26 and goes through the end of August, and I've laid out my strategy:
1. Walgreens 4pk lightbulbs $1.99 (FAR)
2. Walgreens "Brita" water filter $6.99 (FAR)
3. Pert Plus shampoo 13.5oz $4.29 (FAR)
4. (2) BIO Infusion Shampoo/Cond $11.98 (FAR)
Hubby just told me this week that we need lightbulbs, we use a Brita pitcher instead of bottled water, and hubby is loyal to Pert Plus. The kids and I use whatever shampoo is on sale, so I'm great with that, even though I've never tried it before.
The total comes to $25.25, minus the $5 coupon and minus a $1 Pert coupon, for a total out of pocket of $19.25. All of the items are free after rebate, so I'll get the full $25.25 back, plus an extra 10% for having it put on a Walgreens gift card, instead of getting it as cash. So basically, I'm making $8.53, plus getting the stuff for free. Sounds like a great deal to me. Now, I just have to hope that my WAG has all of this stuff in stock, which is not always a given...
Be Free mentioned in her entry a $5 Walgreens coupon she received. I deleted mine from my inbox because I didn't think I'd be getting to the store today. Inspired by her, I decided to print it out and head to WAG to get my free after rebate items.
I bought Softsoap body wash, Fructis shampoo, Speed Stick 24/7 deoderant, 4 boxes of Kleenex, and 1 Ensure Plus for my dad.
Total cost: 24.04
Minus $5 coup: -5.00
Minus $1 Fructis coup: -1.00
Minus $4 WAG Kleenex coup: -4.00
Minus $.50 Kleenex coupon: -0.50
Dad reimburse Ensure: -9.00
Rebates (w/ 10% bonus): -13.71
So I make $9.17 on the deal!
I did pretty well taking advantage of some sales today. First stop was Walgreens, where there March rebate program started. I got 2 packs of maxi pads, Fructis shampoo, deoderant, and a toothbrush. Spent $21.17 out of pocket, and will get $23.20 back on my WAG gift card.
Next stop was ShopRite. Bought 10 bottles of Pepsi for $10.18, and I got a coupon for $10 on my next order. I also bought 5 Lysol products for $8.15 and got a $5 coupon back. 10 Eggo Waffles for $16.67-$10 coupon back, and 6 Motts applesauce 6 packs - $5 coupon back. We use all of this stuff all the time, so it was a great deal for me. In fact, I'm thinking of going back for more soda tomorrow, to stock up for the spring/summer.
I figured my February net worth. Not as big a hit as I thought, with the stock market tanking. It's always a good exercise, even though most of my savings are long term (college, retirement), so day to day changes don't really matter.
Speaking of exercising, I'm back in the saddle. Went on the treadmill today and will meet my goal for the week. Also tried to eat pretty well today.
So all in all, things are going pretty well...
I went onto Mypoints for the first time in months, and realized that I'm REALLY close to getting a $25 gift card somewhere. I've been getting their emails, but have been too busy, tired, distracted to even click on them. I finally went on to check my balance today and was pleasantly surprised to see that I had 3190, and need either 3250 or 3500 for most $25 gift cards. So my goal over the next week is to see if I can boost that total up and cash them in!
I also placed another order with PeaPod today (home grocery delivery). I haven't been doing it regularly because I've been pretty fanatical about checking the weekly sale ads at the local stores, which I'll still do, but I'm coming to the realization that I actually spend less money with the home delivery! My total order today was $62.15 (no meat or veggies). I don't need the meat (have plenty in the freezer that I should be using up anyway), and I get the veggies from the farm stand. I'm sure if I were in the store it would be much higher. So those will be delivered tomorrow morning!
I have a few hours to myself this afternoon while hubby and the kids are at grandmas. I need to go fill an RX at CVS and go to the veggie store. We're going to hit church tonight so tomorrow will be a total pajama day. They're the best kind...
I'm on this site at least twice a day, and could have sworn that I posted an entry at some point since the 18th, but I guess not...
Maybe I was subconsciously feeling guilty for going out to a (too) expensive dinner Saturday night. We were supposed to go to a housewarming party that was cancelled. The kids were already scheduled for a sleepover at Grandma's, so we decided to go out to dinner. Instead of going to a local pub-type place, we opted for the really nice Italian place by hubby's work. It was fantastic, but instead of buying a small housewarming gift ($10-$15), or a relatively inexpensive dinner, we broke the bank. I have total buyer's remorse too, because as good as it was, it wasn't worth it...
Other than that, life's on autopilot (which is not a bad thing). Still walking on the treadmill, still watching what I eat (I'm down 5 lbs total from the beginning of the year), still not buying breakfast/lunch at work. So far so good.
I listed 3 things on Ebay during the $.20 listing sale (my first ever). I have watchers on all of them, and have had questions for 2 of them, but no bids. I have a few days left, so I'm hoping I'll get something. Even if not, it was worth it just for the experience!
Tax-related stuff has been dribbling in. As soon as I get my W-2s, I should be ready to do a rough estimate. Hoping (desperately) that I don't owe...usually wishful thinking.
I just discovered Peapod for at-home grocery delivery. They are affiliated with Stop&Shop in my area, and I never really considered it before, because I thought it would be so much more expensive than going to the store. But a friend of mine used them and raved about it, so I gave it a try.
First off, the pricing follows the Stop & Shop circular, so you get all of their weekly deals. They also accept manufacturers' coupons, and double up to $.99, just like in the store. You place your order online, indicate whether or not you'll accept substitutions, pay by credit card and set your delivery date. Mine will come tomorrow from 5-7 p.m. My friend had a problem with some raspberries she ordered. She called up customer service and they credited her account right away.
Delivery charges are $9.95 under $100, or $6.95 over $100. I had a $10 coupon for my first order, and my friend said that they send you 4 $5 coupons for your next 4 orders, making delivery close to free.
The best part is that I only ordered exactly what I needed (no walking down the aisles picking up stuff I didn't come in for), I don't need to take the kids with me (saves me a boatload right there), and I don't have to use my precious weekend time with the family to go grocery shopping. Wow, I hope this really works out...
First of all, thanks StressLess and HouseHopeful for the Amazon tips. I was able to cancel just the video game. Everything else should be here next week, and my account has been credited. Painless. I like painless...
I'm having a great day! Already received my November RiteAid rebate ($36.94), and my $2 Drug Fair Nov. Rebate. I entered them Thanksgiving weekend and the check was in the mail today. Not too bad.
I also got my gas bill today. Unlike the struggles I had last week with the electric company, my gas bill for the next 6 months has been lowered by $11/month. I don't want to get too crazy here...they were billing me a whopping $319/month, every month, for my gas bill, now it's $308/month, which is still ridiculous. But I ended the year with a $377 credit, so I don't have to pay December's bill (awesome, what with the holidays and all), and I still have a $58 credit to apply toward my January bill.
I went to CVS today to pick up some of their promotional items, including a Gillette Fusion power razor, free after the Extra Care Bucks and a $4 coupon, and Sunsilk shampoo for $.50/bottle. $.50 Kraft MacNCheese also. Of course I had to pick up a small thing for each kid (I usually try to shop alone, but hubby's away). Fortunately, I had a $4/$20 coupon, so I applied the $4 toward that.
My goal tonight is to start writing out the Christmas cards and take care of a few Christmas packages. I need to make a trip to the post office tomorrow.
I went out yesterday morning. Learned my lesson from last year, when I got to Kohls at 5:50am (they opened at 5:30) and there were already 40 people on line! So this year, I stayed local.
1st stop: CVS. Bought a Schick Women's Power razor 8.99-$2 coupon, with $8 in Extra Care Bucks (their reward program) coming back to me. Also got DS a portable CD player for Christmas for $8.88.
2nd stop: Staples. They were MOBBED, and sold out of everything in their sale ad (at 8:45 am!). Luckily, I only needed to get a desk calendar for dad, and a 6-outlet surge protector, far. Spent about $9, and will have $3.50 coming back to me.
3rd stop: Eckerd. Bought hubby a Gillette Fusion power razor for his stocking ($2.99 after mir). Also bought us a new cordless telephone, as ours is on the outs.
4th stop: Walgreens. Love this store...what didn't I get? Tide 50oz detergent 2/$4-$1 coupon. Leggs pantyhose 2/$4. Bought 6-$4 coupon = 6 pair for $8. Schick Quattro power razor $8.99-$7 coupons, $8.99 coming back to me after rebate. Revlon mascara $5.99-$2 coupons, $5 coming back to me. 8 votive candles for $.10 each, and wrapping paper, b2g1 free.
Final stop: Drug Fair. They were having triple coupons up to $.99, no limit. I got 2 tubes Aquafresh toothpaste, 3 colgate toothbrushes, and a package of CremeSavers candy, all free. Also bought a package of Snuggle fabric softener $4.99-$1.50 coupons, with a try me free offer to boot. Finally, bought 2 big clear storage bins for DD's doll stuff.
I was back home by 11:00. Not too shabby.
It's beautiful this weekend - sunny and in the mid-50s, so we're getting all of our outdoor decorating done. We're putting up our (fake) tree tonight, and I'm going to sit by the fire and fill out my rebate forms... Wahoo!
I made some serious headway into the mounds of paperwork in my house. I signed up for some health benefits under hubby's open enrollment. I need to do the ones we get from my company tomorrow. Also wrote out checks for picture days and a scholastic book order. Gathered up my Box Tops for Education and Campbell's Labels for Education.
(Shameless begging: for any blog readers who don't have young kids or whose kids' schools don't do box tops, I'd appreciate it if you could send them my way. You can find them on Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Ziploc, Kleenex, and a whole host of products. Each box top gets $.10 back for the school, to help fund things that are inevitably cut in the budget. So if you have them and don't need them, send them my way!)
Shameless plug over. October's been a good month. Bills are paid, and I got a small bonus thrown my way at work, which will help with some of the work on the bathroom. I realize (pleasantly) that I haven't really thought about Christmas yet. We're decorated for Halloween, and I've picked up / picked out a few things for Christmas, but not much more than that. Usually by this time of year, Christmas pix of the kids are done, shopping's done, etc. (Though I do need to get the pictures scheduled, just because those places get nuts once November hits!)
So that's about it here. Just plugging along through the end of the week...
I've been meaning to check out Hot Coupon World for a week or so, since Flash mentioned it in one of her blogs. Wow!
It's totally forum-based. I looked at the forum of drugstore and grocery store deals. Basically, they post about what's on sale, what coupons are available, how they stacked things to get the best deal, etc. For every store I shop at! So now, each Saturday when I check the ads, I can check my strategy against what these gals (primarily) are doing and see where I can tweak it a bit more. I am so excited!
It's been a pretty quiet few days. Just waiting for payday tomorrow. October is shaping up to be the first really good financial month I've had in a while. (Finally!)
I checked the RiteAid website and, as expected, the oatmeal went "on sale". Still $3/box (which ain't on sale in my book - I can usually get it for $1 or $2). But combined with my coupons and rebates I went for it.
I bought 5 boxes @ $3 = $15. I had $3 in coupons, bringing it down to $12. RiteAid will give me a $4 rebate, and I have a mail-in rebate from Quaker for $5. Net result: 5 boxes for $3 = $.60/box or $.06/packet. Ain't bad. I also picked up Electrasol dishwasher detergent for $.49 after rebate. Worth the trip.
I also hit CVS. They have a bunch of far items this month. You get the credit in the form of "ExtraBucks" that can be used in CVS. Not sure how I'll like this program, but I figured it'd be worth a try.
Hubby went fishing this morning, and the kids went to Grandma's, so I was able to go shopping by myself. I made out great!
First stop: Walgreens
Glade Candles 2@$2.50ea - $2 coup = $3
Glade PlugIns Refills 2@$2.50-$1 coup= $4
Glade PlugIn Fan $7.99free w/refills, -$1
Scrubbing Bubbles 2@$2.50 -$2 coup = $3
Activa Back Rub 2 oz - $9.99
Rayovac 9V - $3.00
Bubble Mailer - $.99
Tax - $1.89
Total cost: $24.87
Walgreens Rebates: $24.29
Total spent after rebates: $.58
Can't beat that...
Next stop: A&P
Yoplait yogurt 12/$4.22 after coupon
Dozen large eggs $.99
5lb sugar $1.99 (2) = $3.98
1lb butter $2.00 (2) = $4
Keebler Crusts $1 ea (3) = $3
Vive Shampoo + Vive Conditioner - Both free (B1G1 store deal + B1G1 coupon)
Total spent: $16.82
Final stop: ShopRite
Too many things to itemize. Highlights were Musselman's applesauce 6/$6.80, and I have a $3 mir. Also, used my $5/40 coupon from Amy.
So a great trip. Today, I'm going to make meatballs for the freezer, and a peach/blackberry cobbler from the frozen fruit I have on hand. I'm off from work tomorrow. Life is good...
I should be a paid spokesperson for this company for all the times I talk about how great they are! I called the 1-800 number at 3:15 today to tell them about my water damage. They had an agent call me back within 15 minutes. He said he'd have a company they use to assess the water damage get in touch with me. They called within 1/2 hour, then the co-owners of the company were at my house at 5:00. They looked at the damage, and said they would have a crew at my house tomorrow morning at 9:30 to begin drying everything up and seeing if the rug can be saved. (I'm sure it can't - it's at least 15 years old and pretty ratty!).
Then our contractor called us back. We told him what happened, and that we're thinking about remodeling part of the bathroom (not a wholesale overhaul, but putting down tile instead of carpet, and a new shower). He said if the insurance company asks for an estimate, call him and he'll give us one, and once we get the check and are ready to remodel, he'll be happy to do it. Music to our ears...we thought this would be too small a job for him. I guess the fact that he's done work for us in the past helps.
So although my bathroom is out of commission for at least the next 5 days while they dry it out (thankfully we have others to use), and the carpet is still soaked, things are looking up a bit.
On to other news...Thank you Amy for $15 of free Shoprite coupons!!! ($5/$40 for the next three weeks) Those savings will be going right into my challenge account, thank you very much.
More great news...I think my gas bill will actually go DOWN when they review it. I'm on budget billing, and their last estimated reading was higher than my actual usage. I'm hoping the bill will drop $10-15 per month.
My other great savings opportunity is health insurance through open enrollment, but that's such a great story, it deserves a separate post!
I have been REALLY into rebates lately, and have read with envy Flash's and Retire@50's Del Monte savings. I'm now biding my time to take advantage of the Quaker Oatmeal rebate:
RiteAid has a rebate this month, buy 4 participating PepsiCo products (including Quaker Oatmeal), get $4 back.
Quaker has a rebate, buy 5 products get $5 back.
I have 2 coupons for $1/2 Quaker Oatmeal.
So if I buy 5 boxes, I'll get $11 off/back ($4 from Riteaid, $5 from Quaker, and $2 from Coupons). (Note, that RiteAid rebate programs are online, so you can use the same register receipt for both).
I was at Riteaid yesterday, and was tempted to buy, except the oatmeal was $4/box(!). So I would have gotten the 5 boxes for $9. Not worth it. I've noticed though, when these stores do their rebate programs, they usually put the rebate items on sale throughout the month. So I'm going to keep my eyes open, and if the price drops to $3/box or less, I'll get them.
Good thing this forum is anonymous. I think most people I know (present company excluded) would think I'm nuts for getting so excited about ways to save a few bucks on oatmeal. Yeah...crazy like a fox!
My goal was to keep the heat off until October 1st, but the house was at 64 degrees all day yesterday. The low was projected to be 51 last night, and we were pretty cold, so we turned on the heat to 67. It was only 11:30p.m., so I missed my goal by 1/2 hour.
I had an unexpected break today. Hubby's friend came to visit with his 2 boys, so he and hubby took my kids and his kids to lunch and bowling! I was able to go grocery shopping in peace!
Deal of the day: ShopRite had an 18 pack of Rayovac AA batteries on sale for $2.99, and Rayovac is offering a $3 rebate on any purchase, so I'll get them for free !
I also hit Walgreens for some of their October rebates, including a family size Fructis shampoo free after rebate (+ $1 coupon, so I make out on the deal!).
I need to mail out the September Walgreens rebate and the Rayovac rebate tomorrow. The trains are also going out tomorrow, so hopefully they'll run a bit more smoothly now...
Home from work again today. The doctor gave me some horse-sized antibiotic yesterday. I'm on Day 2 of 7...hopefully I'll kick this soon. In the meantime, I'm taking DS to the doctor today. He's still coughing, and I want it checked out in case he needs an antibiotic as well. I hope this isn't a foreshadowing of winter.
I did, however, have the chance to sit in bed and go through the huge packet of coupons Flash sent with the trains. I thought the complaints about expired coupons was overblown until I threw out at least 500 hundred of them! I was going to go back through the garbage can and count them, but it wasn't worth the effort. They're all fixed now and ready to go.
I got the $10 Pepsi Labor Day rebate yesterday, so anyone else waiting on it -hang in there, you should get it soon.
I took a vacation day today. Had every intention of sending the kids to school, then getting some things done, until...my son got sick. Started overnight Saturday, lasted all day Sunday, and was still congested today. Hubby took a wah day, so he could stay with DS while I did some things, but it's still not the same as having the house to myself.
That said, I did manage to get things done. Went to the post office and mailed out some coupon packages. Went to the bank to deposit some checks, and generally got organized.
I have back-to-school night tomorrow and Wednesday. Babysitters are required both nights; fortunately it should only be 1 1/2 hours total.
Went to dad's this weekend. I was thrilled to see a rebate for Ensure in the rebate forum. He drinks a TON of this stuff, so I bought it at two different stores and plan on filling out a form for me and one for hubby (sent to MIL's house). Somewhere I read that you need to be careful about doing the multiple address thing, because if you cash them through the same bank account it can trip you up, so I'll need to remember to keep them separate.
Deal of the weekend: RiteAid had Herbal Essence styling product far to $3.99. I had a $1 coupon, so I ended up paying $3.27 (incl tax) and will get back $3.99, plus the hair spray. Love those deals!! I need to submit my Walgreens rebate tomorrow before getting ready for next month's offers.
I'm trying to spend some time this weekend getting organized. First stop - coupons. I went through the coupon wish list thread and matched up people's wants with what I have and don't need for the Northeaster. As I get people's addresses, I'll mail them out.
I had a mail in form for Campbells Label for Education. Submit 10 upcs with the form and get 200 bonus points. So I need to get that off my list.
Also need to mail in a St. Ives form. I bought 2 products, so I send in the form and get 1 free...
Finally, I need to get my Box Tops together. I forgot to submit them at the end of last school year, so I have about 30 lying around. I'll send them in with the kids on Monday.
Somehow I ended up on the ToysRUs mailing list. Today I got a coupon for $10/$50, expiring in mid-October. I also have gift cards that I bought at a 20% discount. I'll need to see if I can combine these with a good in-store sale...
I can't wait for the next electric and gas bills. (When have I EVER said that before?!) It's been so cool for the last few weeks that the a/c has been off, and despite it getting pretty chilly at night, we haven't turned on the heat. (Twice, the house has been 63/64 when we woke up, but I'm trying to hold out until at least October 1. Flannel sheets are going on the beds this weekend, and the kids will be in their feetie pjs if necessary) I'm hoping I'll see a big difference in the bill.
I'm hoping for a quiet weekend. We have soccer tomorrow, then the kids are going to grandma's for a sleepover. Instead of going out to eat, I'm taking 2 steaks out of the freezer, and we'll have them with a great bottle of wine. I do need to go to the veggie store and pick up something to have with it.
Sunday I'm going down to my dad's...
I must have been really bored...I calculated how much it costs me to make coffee at home. We get our coffee mail order, and received a shipment a few days ago. So I actually figured out how many cups are in each bag, and how much the sugar and 1/2 and 1/2 would be, and it came to $.20/cup. Just wanted to reaffirm that it was really worth it. (Certainly more so than Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. I can get coffee at work for $.25, but it's not as good!)
I did well at ShopRite with the triple coupons. Stocked up on things for the pantry. I bought a lot of Campbells soup, and need to remember to take off the labels. The gym teachers at our school collect them for sports equipment. I gather that people don't like this program as much as BoxTops for education, for a number of reasons, but free stuff is free stuff, so it's worth peeling the label...
I need to stop down to dad's this weekend. His home aide quit because he got a new dog (she's deathly afraid), so I need to do some research and secure him a new helper. Always an adventure...
Tomorrow is my birthday (36...yikes!). We celebrated yesterday, with cake and presents, I had breakfast in bed...the whole bit.
As I was accumulating the trash, I saw the receipts for my gifts, including one for a CD hubby got me. It had an extra receipt and a form for a $3 rebate! (Of course, hubby didn't realize it, because he never pays attention to that kind of thing, but I was SO EXCITED! He thinks I'm nuts, because it absolutely made my day. I filled it out right away and will be getting it in the mail today. Wahoo!
I stayed home all weekend, so aside from whatever he spent, it was a spend-free weekend. DD had a double ear infection on Friday that required $35 worth of meds.
I do need to go to the store today. ShopRite is having triple coupons up to $.99, no overall limit (4 coupons for the same item allowed). So I made a list, and checked it twice, and will head over there after work.
I also have chili in the crockpot. 2lbs of beef, plus beans and everything else, should easily be enough for 3 meals...
I went shopping while the kids were in school today. First stop: Walgreens, to take advantage of their monthly rebates.
Bought 3 packages of Kotex @$3.49 each = $10.47, minus $3 in coupons = $7.47. Will get back $10 Walgreens gift card, leaving me with 3 free packages +$2.53. I have a bit of a stockpile from the last time they ran this deal, but they don't go bad, so may as well stock up. Also bought a Zone nutrition bar ($1.50, far), and children's Tylenol and Motrin. (Buy 1 of each get a $5 gift card. Used a $1 coupon, too).
I then went to Shoprite. Didn't do quite as well here, as I needed to buy hubby's (expensive) razor blades, and they had beef tenderloin roasts on sale, for $4.99/lb and $5.99/lb. So I bought one of each. I'll freeze one for Christmas dinner, the other I'll make into filet mignon steaks, and beef bourgignon.
I received a $5 Walgreens gift card from last month's rebates, so I'll need to add that to my challenge, bringing my total to $90.36. Missed out on a $25 offer from Citibank to pay 3 bills online. Disappointed in myself, but the offer expired on 8/31, and things have been crazy the last few weeks so I'm not going to lose sleep over it. THere'll be other offers. I also have an offer for credit protection on my credit card. These strike me as an amazing waste of money, but if they're going to pay me $20 to try it out for 30 days, I may as well. Just need to write myself a note to cancel...
Week 2 of my "challenge" to spend part of my weekend cooking some food from scratch. I made chicken noodle soup, enough for hubby and me to have one night, then a bunch of individual servings for me to have when he's out for dinner. I made pulled pork in the crockpot for dinner tonight, and cinnamon rolls that are in the oven now. I also need to use up some of the remaining peaches.
I've made the cinnamon rolls one other time, and they're fantastic! But I need to start tracking how much it costs me to make all of this stuff. I think it was Retire@50 that used to itemize the cost of her meals (where is she, anyway? I miss reading her blog). I need to do the same. Is it really cheaper to make them for scratch (yeast, cream cheese for the frosting, etc.), then just buying Pillsbury refrigerated rolls on sale with a coupon? I know they taste a lot better, but I don't know if they cost less.
I went to BJs on Saturday and I'm making progress on my bottled water issue. Hubby willingly agreed to switch to Brita filters, but I hadn't had time to price them out. (BJs has the pitcher + 1 filter for $22, and 5 replacement filters for $22. I need to figure out roughly how many gallons each filter is good for). Until I get around to that, BJs had the Poland Spring 3 liter bottles for $.90 each (instead of $1.59 each at the store). So I bought enough of them to hold me over for a few weeks until I check the Brita information.
Cheap day today - bike riding in the park. It finally stopped raining, and is clear, but cool (65 degrees or so). My favorite time of year...
I ran my net worth as of August 31st and it went up over 5% last month. Nothing like automatic 401(k) contributions to make the finances look better!
Also on the financial front, I tried a new commute (again). Once the kids start school, I can take a train to work. The net result will be a little better than what I currently have, some of my out-of-pocket will come out pretax, and my auto insurance should drop a little, because my round-trip commute dropped from 60 miles/day to 14. That should help with my enormous gasoline bill, too. So I'll start this daily on Friday.
Checked out the various rebate programs for September. Walgreens, as usual, has the best. Specifically, Pepcid 8-ct far, zone perfect bar far, 2 kotex maxi pads far, 4 pepsi 12-pks far (and different from the mail in pepsi rebate, so you can do them both!). Also rebates on batteries and children's tylenol and motrin, both of which I need to stock up on.
Also, I don't know that I'll take advantage of them, but they have buy $20 proctor and gamble items get $10 gc, buy $20 Huggies products get $10 gc, and buy $10 lysol get $3. These could be good deals if you combine them with coupons. In fact, I'm trying to figure out if I'll be invited to any baby showers coming up, because it may be worth getting the huggies deal and giving the diapers and wipes as gifts.
It's going to be pouring rain through Sunday, so it's a good opportunity to scour the sale ads and the coupons.
I'm planning a trip to BJs tomorrow, too. Haven't been in months, but I'd like to stock up on some things for school, and also for all of the baking and cooking I'll be doing this fall.
I've been working like a dog, and will certainly enjoy my relaxing long weekend. Hope everyone else does the same.
Wow, we're in the middle of a damp, cold stretch. Feels like fall in northern NJ!
I was super-proud of myself on Sunday. Spent the entire day cooking and baking, including homemade bread, blackberry ice cream, blackberry and peach clafouti (thanks Contrary, for the suggestion!), blackberry sauce, steaks for Sunday night dinner, and bolognese sauce for Monday night. It's been a long time since I did that much in the kitchen and it was great!
I've been positively swamped at work, so I haven't had time to get my 8/31 stub and finalize the August numbers. If I thought they were better, it'd be easier to get motivated to do this!
Got my electric bill today. The actual usage was really high due to the a/c being on during last month's heat wave. Fortunately, we still have a credit of about $85 on our budget billing...I'm hoping that we can end the year with a credit and drive next year's rate down...
Quiet rest of the week...work, work, work!
We went fruit picking again today, this time for peaches (again) and blackberries. Man, am I envious of JodiM for having bushes in her backyard! I was online earlier and found recipes for a blackberry cobbler, blackberry ice cream, and roaster peaches with blackberry sauce, all of which will be made on Sunday. YUMMY! These pick-your-own farms are great. The kids had so much fun, plus they had a hay pyramid and petting zoo.
Tomorrow we're off to an Oktoberfest. It's an outdoor thing, free to go. We'll need to pay for food and beer. We went last year and it was entirely reasonable. Then Sunday is a stay at home day. I'm going to cook, bake, and relax - not necessarily in that order.
I need to printout my paystub for 8/31 and see how I ended up the month. (I already know it was tough, I just need to see what the damage is)...
I'm thinking about auto insurance again. Once the kids are back in school, I'll be able to change my commute to work (again!) and take the train, instead of driving. That should save me something, because hubby and I are both listed as commuting >30 miles each way. I won't be, and it turns out he's not now - that's a mistake. So we should see a cut for that. Also, I got the dates for the insurance reduction program. There are dates in October and November we could go to, and hopefully see the savings when our policy re-ups in December. Anything to get that number down...
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