Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pick My Trip Budget

So I am in the beginning stages of planning this Mega Summer Road Trip for 2017.

I haven't even tried to figure out a budget for this Behemoth yet so I'd like to pick the brains of my readers.

Here are the details to help you figure out what you think we should plan on spending for this shindig.

* I've completed the tentative trip route and here is a close up on the area we are frolicking through.....

* We will be traveling for about 28 days total covering about 7000 miles total.  A national report notes that in 2017 gas will be at it's high of $2.67 per gal. but should go down over the Summer so I am figuring $2.50 avg. per gal. for this trip.  The car we are renting gets 27 city/39 highway and has an 18 gal. gas tank.  Who wants to do that math? ;-)

* About that car rental, that is the only "known" amount right now, at a total after taxes and fees of $932.

* We have free lodging for up to 4 of those days so this means we need to pay for 24 nights of lodging.  I am looking at an Air BNB option or two once we get to ID, but otherwise it will be one or two night stands along the way.  There is one special lodging we might do in WY for 1 night if we can get a reservation when we need it.  This one is pricey at $145-$165 per night.  Fort Laramie Bed and Breakfast

* How many meals we will need to pay for are unknown right now.  Most motel nights stays we will get a free breakfast.  While we will eat free at breakfast while at our free lodging(a friend's house), we will most certainly take them out for lunch or dinner at least once.  Hubs and I will try to eat one big meal a day(lunch)and just snack or have something light at dinner time or not eat again that day.

* There are admission fees for some of the sights/things we are going to do.......what we know so far(this for both of us)-

Mt. Rushmore--$11
Little Bighorn Battlefield--$20
Pioneer Archway--$24
Distillery Tour-$20

* We do need to purchase a GPS since Hubs no longer has a smartphone.(It's either that or pay $10.95 per day for GPS in the rental car...yikes!)  We hope to knock that off the list for $100 or less.  Any recommendations by those in the know on which brand/model to purchase is appreciated. 8-)

* Road Tolls-so far we know of one, the Mackinac Bridge in MI, at $4 per crossing.  And if we get through IL without paying a toll I'd be shocked! lol

* As far as souvenirs goes...we really don't plan on buying anything as keepsakes.  Maybe a postcard or a t-shirt or if I find something that would make an awesome Christmas present for someone I gift to.  I am sure Hubs will buy some alcohol of some kind to haul home but I don't plan on doing that.
I guess we need to build a souvenir budget into this plan but I am clueless right now on how much.

So that's what I have so far.
If you have any tips or ideas please send 'em on!

What should our tentative budget be based on all this?


Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending.....April Update

* Posting my grocery totals a bit early as I am done food spending for April.  If for some reason I shop again before Monday, this amount will go onto May's spending.*

Onward to April's food spending report.......

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for APRIL 2017.

I have posted April's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in April.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3-4(3 at home this month). No kids under 21.


OOP  $4.00
Value  $14.07
Savings  71.57%

OOP  $3.00
Value  $6.00
Savings   50%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $178.57
Value  $178.57
Savings  100%

OOP  $8.57
Qs/Ads  $9.93
Value  $18.50
Savings  53.68%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/Gift Cards  $62.76
Value  $84.55
Savings  100%

OOP  $244.97
Qs/Ads/Gift Cards  $588.58
Value  $833.55
Savings  70.61%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, Target at 100% and the Bread Outlet at 71.57%.  My WORST savings rate was Dollar Tree at 50%.
Ok, having a "worst" savings rate of 50% is not too shabby..... ;-)

I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$260.54
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$874.70
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$1135.24
TOTAL Savings of ..................................77.05%
TOTAL Savings w/o Rite-Aid of ..............72.76%

This closes out the April food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into March wanting to stay under $200 on groceries.  Even with using $208.16 worth of free(or paid for w/last year's money)gift cards to pay I came in at $260.54 spent.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went UP by 7.95% in April to 77.05% compared to March's 69.10% savings average.  That's no surprise given the $208.16 of free shopping that took place last month.

With 4 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $1,351.60 on food/toiletries in 2017 which averages out to $337.90 per month spent in 2017. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD To May........

I really don't know how May will pan out.  I'll be away for more than half of the month so the shopping/cooking/eating will be in the hands of Hubs and Daughter(and College Boy once he gets home from school).  The pantries and freezer are stocked full but if they don't plan ahead somewhat all hell could break loose as far as food shopping goes.
I am not going to worry about it, them or the food budget.  What happens happens.....but they do know they will have me to be accountable for once May is over.  ;-)

If they just rely on take-out/fast food my food budget will be great but then the Eating-Out budget will take a BIG hit. sigh.  I guess they are going to get me one way or the other.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how May shakes out.
Hopefully I won't have to drink heavily when I get home in order to deal with the potential budget disaster they created. lolz

If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in April?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?
*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Looking Back on April & Other Stuff

I love the end of the month/beginning of a new month time.
Ok, let me rephrase that....the money nerd in me loves this time.  ;-)

* It's 3 days to the end of April and looking back...... I am over my $200 food budget limit I imposed for April.  And that's even with using free or paid for last year gift cards. Oh well.  Still, spending $260 OOP for food for a month for 3 adults(and stocking up on some "deals")is awesome in my book.

* I have still got about a half a tank of gas in my car and have only filled it once in April.  Go me.
May will change all that in a big way.....I'll be putting miles on the Sonic and paying for lots of gas.

* I didn't take any cash withdrawals this month and still have $36 in my wallet from March's cash.
I decided when April started not to take any cash out of the bank automatically on the 1st and just see how far March's leftovers took the tune of $36 evidently. lol
I think I had $72? in my wallet at the end of March.
So $36 is leftover from that $72 after paying cash for about $20 in prescriptions I picked up, a few of gallons of milk at the store($13 approx.) and I did do the drive-thru for a burger or two in April so that came out of the leftover March money too.  I took myself to the movies in April but that was using a gift card that was paid for 2 years ago.
Sounds about right.  I really didn't spend on much besides groceries this month.

So I am going into May(really? May already!?!)with $36 in my pocket and half a tank of gas.
Woohoo! ;-)

* I've only got 1 item left on my To-Do List for April-a Sallie's donation to finish gathering and taking in.  I guess I'll get the rest of it gathered today and loadedd into Hubs' car when he gets home and see if Hubs can drop it off on the way home from work on Friday.  Then we don't have to make a trip there over the weekend.

*  I bought a total of 14 bags of coffee this past sales week at Weis(PMITA)Markets while they had this brand on BOGO sale.

6 bags of the Alert type(highly caffeinated)cost $7.47 after sale and $1.50/1Qs or $1.25 for each bag.
8 bags of assorted regular types/flavors cost $10.96 after sale and $2.50/2Qs + 1 x $1/1 Weis Q or $1.37 per bag.

$76.86 worth of reg. retail coffee for $18.43 or $1.32 on average per bag.
I also have a rain check for 8 more bags of the flavor they were out of that College Boy prefers + 4 x $2.50/2Qs to use with that rain check, netting me 22 bags of coffee at a cost of $30.39 or $1.38 per bag average.
Not too shabby. ;-)
Some of it is whole bean coffee so it will stay fresher longer and we can always throw some into the freezer to keep if it gets "old" sitting on the pantry shelf.

* Ok, I am serious about id-ing this mystery flowering tree!
Reader Tina left a comment Monday(thank you for that!)about it being a Saskatoon Serviceberry tree.  I looked and the photos I found are not quite right plus it does not grow berries. sigh.
So here is a better up close shot with my lovely whitest white woman hand in the picture......

The flowers are small(about 1.5 inches diameter)and have thin petals.  Most of the flowers are now past their prime bloom and you can see the leaves are beginning to sprout.  It's an oval leaf much like a beech tree I think?

And it's definitely not a bush or a short/dwarf tree.....

The two trunks behind the swing are the tree in question so it's as tall as our 2 story house + another story +.

This is a photo standing under it looking up.

And here are the petals that it sheds all over the yard........

I looked around while I was driving to Weis this week and noticed about 4 more of this same tree along the roads on my route.  None were in anybody's yard so I couldn't just go up to a door and ask them if they know what was growing in their yards.....because you know, if I got desperate enough, I'd do just that.  lolz

So I am off to work on my End of Month Grocery tallies, a blog post or two(1 geneaology, 1 road trip)and get that Sallie donation sorted out.

What's going on in your world today?


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Rite-Aid Run

I bopped up to Rite-Aid for some Rxs and also put together a non-Rx transaction.
The card had a "Spend $30/Get $5 back in Plenti Points" on it.

3 x Suave 'Poo $3 ea. on sale=$9
2 x Garnier Whole Blend 'Poo on sale=$7.00
2 x Right Guard Dry Spray Deo BOGO50%=$10.93
2 x SalonPas Pain Patch BOGO=$2.59
2 x Swedish Fish bags on sale=$3.00
1 x Sweet Stripes mints (rain check)=.99¢

Coupons Used
1 x B2B1Free Suave ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $2/1 Garnier Whole Blends ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $3.50/2 Right Guard Extreme Dry Spray Deo IPQ=$3.50
Coupon Total.....$10.50

$33.51-$10.50=$23.01 +.78¢ tax=$23.79

I used $23.79 in Plenti Points to pay and earned back $15.00 in new PPs($5 wyb $30 Offer, $2 wyb2 Suave, $2 wyb2 Whole Blends, $2 wyb2 Right Guard, $2 wyb2 SalonPas, $1 wyb2 Swedish Fish, $1 wyb Sweet Stripes mints bag)so I spent down my points by $8.79.

A $3 Load2CardQ also came off(it looks like it was for one of the shampoo brands?)so my total was $3 less(or $20.79 instead of $23.79)or $5.79 spent down in the end.

I also applied for and received a $1.20 Checkout51 cash rebate for buying the Swedish Fish candies and a $1 SavingStar rebate for buying the Right Guard deo, making my spend down now $3.59.

But....and isn't there always a but? lolz........there is a Right Guard Mail-in Rebate to try this new dry spray for free which got mailed out today.
Not sure how much I'll get back on that because A-I bought two and one was half price on sale so do I get back the full price one, the half price one or an average of what I paid for both? and B-the rebate form says they deduct any coupon used on the item on what they send you back, but the Q I used on these items isn't identified on the receipt so how will they know of the four Qs on the receipt if one was used on this product?
Good luck on them figuring this out! lolz
So I'll either get back $7.29, $5.46, $3.64, $3.79, $1.96 or .14¢. 8-)

Whatever it is will be fine.  I'll either have a nice moneymaker here or I'll have spend down as much as $3.45 in PPs.

I had almost $100 in points on this card so I can afford whatever happens. ;-)

What good deals have you gotten this week or plan to get this week?