Friday, August 26, 2016

2016 Food & Toiletries Spending......August Update

* I've closed out the August books a couple of days early as I am done shopping.  Anything bought in the next 5 days will come out of September's funds. *

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for AUGUST 2016.

I have posted August,s totals on the Total Grocery Savings for 2016 Page located HERE and have updated the Yearly Totals there.  I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in August.  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 5(5 at home this month). No kids under 20.


OOP  $18.00
Value  $79.22
Savings   77.28%

OOP  $6.00
Value  $20.44
Savings  70.65%

OOP  $151.90
Qs/Ads  $113.27
Value  $265.17
Savings  42.71%

OOP  $28.50
Qs/Ads  $15.06
Value  $43.56
Savings  34.57%

OOP  $75.83
Qs/Ads $37.65
Value  $113.48
Savings  33.18%

OOP  $177.04
Qs/Ads  $141.29
Value  $358.43
Savings  44.38%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Bakery Outlet at 77.28%, the Farm Stand at 70.65% and Weis Markets at 44.38%.  My WORST savings rate was the Shursave Market at 33.18%
I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.
I did NO Rite-Aid shopping in August!  Don't faint.... ;-)

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$457.27
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$423.03
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$880.30
TOTAL Savings of...................................48.05%

This closes out the August food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into August wanting to do a $500 food budget for the month.  I ended up spending $42.73 less than that so stayed under budget, finally!

Again I am still trying to find the spending sweet spot.  I thought I was there but now CB is leaving so there is one less adult and I am back to struggling to find that balance.

At least my savings rate is up to 48.05% which is better than July's rate.
The monthly food spending savings percentage went up by 1.11% in August to 48.05% compared to July's 46.94% savings average.
I'll take that savings rate all day long!

With 8 months accounted for, I have spent a total of $2836.49 on food/toiletries so far in 2016 which averages out to $354.56 per month spent.  This is $14.67 higher per month than the average in July was.
But then again, I am feeding 2 extra people this year so that increase is not so bad.

LOOKING AHEAD To September 2016.........

I will continue with my usual shopping ways in loss leaders or great deals which we can use, use a few coupons, cash in points for gift cards or buy discounted gift cards to food stores when possible.
I am going to give myself $400 for September.  College Boy is back at school so we are down to feeding 4 adults so $100 per person should be a good amount.

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 August?
*  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, August 25, 2016

Here's the Master Packing List

Since it's that Back to College time too, here is a reprint of my Packing Master List.

It's pretty basic and you can add or delete from this for your teens needs.
We've done this packing for college thing 7 times so far(4 x #1Son, 1 x Daughter and 2 x #2Son)and just grabbing this list and checking things off works for us.

Buddy Sonya Ann also has a list but I don't know if she'll repost it again this year.

College Back-To-School List

Pens and Pencils
Black Marker
Paper Clips
Stationary Paper or Note Paper
Pencil Sharpener  
Backpack/Computer Bag
Sheet Sets
Alarm Clock
French Press
Water Kettle
Trash Can
Hand Soap
Toilet Brush
Toilet Paper
Cleaning Supplies
Dishes and Utensils
Assorted Toiletries
Assorted OTC Meds
Desk Lamp
Trash Can
Ethernet Cable
Cell Phone
Cell Phone charger
Light bulbs 
Flash Drive
TV Cable Trunk
Shoes and Boots
Facial Tissue
Laundry Soap
Laundry Basket
Stain Remover
Hair Brush/Comb
Hair Dryer
Sewing Kit
Tool Kit
Lanyard(for room key, student ID)
Medical Card
Driver's License
Debit Card

Have fun sending your college student off!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

They're Going Baaaaack!

Time again to remember this classically funny TV commercial.
It's just genius and it makes me smile every time I see it.

For email subscribers go to YouTube HERE to view it.

For everyone else, check it out below......

The Alice Cooper Staples commercial is pretty cute too.

Only 1 more year for me and I am done forever with Back-To-School stuff!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In the Garden & Other Stuff Around Chez Sluggy

* Hubs checked the garden on Saturday before he mowed the lawn and found this lurking beneath the massive Zucchini plant leaves.......

This weighed in at 2.5+ pounds and makes the 4th zuke we've harvested from the garden.  The poor zuke plants must be exhausted since we've forced them to produce these behemoths.
Bad garden keepers......

We also started to see this occurring in the garden late last week.........

First one and then a second tomato started turning red, finally!!!

We are up to 13 tomatoes turning as of yesterday morning.

As I haven't picked any tomatoes yet I haven't counted them in our Harvest Totals, but that monster zuke's weight brings us up to almost 10.5 lbs. of produce from the garden for the season.
Not bad for a haphazard effort on our part. 8-)

* Remember that medical refund check from Louisiana that no one bothered to sign so we couldn't cash it?

If you will recall they said to send it back(and it was endorsed already)so they could sign it.
It arrived back to us, signed this time, on Friday.

After taking Daughter to her medical procedure I "tried" to deposit it into our credit union account after she signed it over to me.
The clerk at the CU refused to take it!
She said they would only let me deposit it if Daughter's name was on our account....which it is not.
Really?  Are you kidding me???

I may be crazy but when the kids were little and their relatives, on the few occasions they did this, would sent them birthday or Xmas checks I'd have to cash/deposit those checks at my bank/cu because they didn't have bank accounts.
Who didn't do that, right?

So I went literally across the street to a bank where I have a small account and asked to deposit the check and they took it.
Yeah this may be this particular cu's policy but WTF?!?

Guess who is closing out a credit union account soon and moving all that money to the bank across the street? ;-)))

* When Daughter and I went to Virginia for a visit I signed up online to the Rewards Club for a bbq place we like.  My brother said I was suppose to get a $15 off YNO Q for doing so.  Well, after signing up we went into the restaurant, as it said online we could pick up our rewards card and $ off Q then.
Nope.  The card and Q come in the mail later.

Fast forward a month to mid August and my Q arrives in the mail last week......

And it expires Sept. 15th.
That was a waste of time, huh?
So I mailed it to my brother so at least he can take advantage of the offer.

* I've been grocery shopping hot and heavy lately and am about out of food money for August.
I've spent $101+ so far this week but I've gotten some good deals.  Maine Source had a $5 off a $50 order so we took advantage of that and picked up sale items like fresh local produce(eggplant, cauliflower, cuke, tomato and watermelon), bulk ground chuck, 5 lb. bag of mozzarella shreds, and a case of paper plates(now I don't have to buy those for about 1.5-2 years)plus milk which is never on sale in PA.  I hit the bread store for more bread too.

Plus we ran into Price Chopper for BF's Powerade and cold cuts and I found these marinated flank steaks marked down with $2 off Instant stickers.

The markdown stickers got these down to just under a $3 lb. price point and I'll pay that all day long for steak.  8-)

* Then the house property tax reassessment arrived from Louisiana.

Since Daughter no longer owns or lives in the property and she got a homestead exemption for living there, the parish(local taxing entity)has taken off the exemption since Hubs and I don't live in it as our primary residence.  We knew that was coming.

You can get an exemption on the first $75K worth of value on your property if it's your primary residence,  which meant Daughter was paying only $150 or so on property taxes each year.

Surprisingly the parish reassessed the value of the property about $20K lower than what it had been when Daughter owned it so our property taxes will only go up to about $400 a year on the house/land.

This was good news even though I knew LA has some of the lowest state property taxes in the country.
By comparison we pay over $4 THOUSAND a year on this house in PA.  And we still don't get much in the way of goods and services for that(including no municipal garbage or sewage).
We do have higher than average government corruption up in NEPA compared to SWLA so that's part of why we pay so much more. ;-)  I really don't mind paying the school tax component of our property taxes in PA since our school district is rated this year as the highest/best in our area of PA.....but the rest of it, well it's a crime and a ripoff.

* We have decided to ditch the third/College Boy's car.  It started acting up again last week and Hubs and I really can't justify dumping more cash into it, plus the car insurance bill payment is due by the end of August.
If we ditch the car, we ditch that bill and all those repairs.
And CB will be away at school mostly until next May and if/when he works here during school breaks in 2016/2017 and the rest of his Summer break now(he's got 1 day left of Summer work)he doesn't need a car and can borrow mine.

He is required to do an internship Spring of his senior year(he's an incoming junior this Fall)so he WILL need a vehicle in about 1.5 years for that but this current shit car is not something I feel comfortable sending him off to parts unknown in for this internship as we have no clue how far from home this will require him to be.
So this current car's expenses are unnecessary at this point and we can make do with him borrowing my car when needed for the next 1 to 1.5 years.
This extra $400+ in a 6 month car insurance payment will really help out my August spending totals too.  August spending has kicked my ass and HARD! 8-(
But this means we'll need to purchase another beater car in the future, so I'll start putting money aside earmarked for that purchase.  When CB finishes college this will give him a car to get to work in and not have to worry about buying a car for a few years and let him save up for a down payment.
But it's always something with kids, huh?

Ok I am off to rub a butt(Hey! minds out of the gutter!)and get it into the smoker and then go pay the last bills for August so I can begin closing out the books on the month.