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!