Saturday, February 15, 2020

A February Giveaway Without Groundhogs....Come Enter!



Ok, I lied.  There ARE Groundhogs........



But I promise no Groundhogs were harmed in the constructing of this Giveaway however. ;-)


Time for the third Sluggy's Boring Blog Giveaway for 2020!

Here is what is in the February box o' goodies..............





1 x Febreeze Gain Scent Small Spaces Air Freshener
1 x Pantene Color Shine Shampoo(I can substitute another variety here)
1 x Colgate Optic White toothpaste
1 x Jergens Lotion
1 x Robitussin Cough + Chest Congestion DM
1 x Dog Shaped Silicone Tea Infuser
1 x Centrum Silver Vitamins
1 x Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleaner
1 x Listerine Chewable Tablet Ready Tabs
2 x Kinder Bueno Chocolate Bars
16 x Lindt Truffles(assorted flavors)

Close up shots of these goodies..........





Here's how it will work....
From all the VALID entries I receive I'll pick a winner at random.

* This month's Giveaway Box of goodies is open to ALL readers, previous winner or not.

Your entry must include a guess about how much I spent(before sales tax)on my Dollar General score pictured below at their Clearance Sale on February 8th.



There is a limit of ONE ENTRY PER PERSON PER DAY for this Giveaway.  Come back every day and enter though!

If you are on my Giveaway emails list just leave a comment and your name to enter. If you aren't on the Giveaway emails list make sure you leave your email in your comment OR email me your email privately after you leave a comment.

I'll leave this giveaway open until Monday, February 24th at 11:59 pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time. On February 25th, Tuesday, I'll draw the winning entry and post who won.

*Please note these rules*
I'll post the name/ID of the winner on this blog on  and that person has 48 hours from the time stamp on that post to contact me privately via email(my email addy is listed on my "About Me" page, as well as on my side bar).

If I am not contacted via email, I'll attempt to contact the winner via the email they supplied with their entry(or gave me to add to the Giveaway Data Base)and if that email is not responded to within another 48 hours I'll pick another winner.

Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US only.  As the cost of postage to foreign countries has gotten too high I am sorry to say I can no longer afford to mail boxes outside the US.  These giveaways are not sponsored by any companies.  I pay for it all(the cost of items given away and the postage to mail it all)out of my own pocket.

***PLEASE NOTE***

Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you in your comment.

If you're not a registered Blogger User with YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION on your User page, please put your email addy in your comment or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get a hold of you. If your Blogger associated user profile is a GOOGLE one make sure your email info is linked to your profile.

If I can't contact you then you can't win.  I am still having to disqualify entries due to this issue and I sure don't like doing that.  Thanks!


So let's get this February Giveaway started.  Good Luck to everyone!!!



Sluggy

Friday, February 14, 2020

Frugal Friday....the February 14th Edition

Another loop around to see what frugal wins we had this past week at Chez Sluggy...........

*  I got the Weis(PMITA)Markets Freebie last Friday............

A bottle of hot sauce.
Yep, this will be used. ;-)

*  I forgot to mention on last week's FF post that I had done the Weis Pepsi-Fritos-Lay Super Bowl Deal from the previous week of "Spend $25 on select P/F-L items, Get a $5 OYNO Catalina".  The Cat didn't print on the transaction that hit the $25 mark, so I got this instead at the Customer Service desk.............


It's now tucked into my refund/rebate/post coupon envie to put toward the food budget later this year.

*  I found a bunch of clearance at Dollar General last weekend.........

 All this chili came out of the food monies at .39¢ a can.

And a few things among all these toiletries also got applied to the food/toiletries spending.  The rest will be gifts, for giveaways or I might sell some of them locally once the Holidays roll around this year. ;-)

* I found money!


At the Dollar General I hit on Saturday in town.  2 pennies and 1 dime all found in different parts of the store on the floor.


And 2 pennies at the DG I hit on Saturday South of town.  One found inside and one found on the sidewalk out front.


And this pitifully rock salt encrusted penny(bet you couldn't tell it IS a penny!lol)outside the building at Rite-Aid when I went to get my drugs there for this sinus/ear gunk infection on Sunday.

I found 2 pennies when I went back to Rite-Aid to return and buy different make-up items on Tuesday...........



Both were near the check-outs.

Then at Weis(PMITA)Markets afterwards I found these 2 pennies wedged into the scanning machine at the self-checkout.................

At least I didn't have to bend over to score these two. lolz

On Wednesday I went out for awhile to hit some stores.............


I found this penny on the floor at Aldi's by the shelf where you bag your groceries.



I found 3 pennies in or outside of Walmart. (1 inside the store by a display, 1 by the soda machine outside the door and 1 next to my car in the parking lot.)

I also found another penny at Ollie's(Good Stuff Cheap!)..........


This was on the floor by the check-out register.  I saw 10 customers step over/on it while checking out before it was my turn to pick it up! lolz

Total Found Money this Week.... .20¢
Total Found Money for 2020......$42.62

*  I got all this from Rite-Aid this past week.........

Returned the 2 eye brow pencils pictured above and bought these 2.......


Spent $30.36 in BC and free gift card scrip.
Earned $24 in new BC.
I also earned .45¢ in Ibotta rebates on sll this(.25¢ Dunkin Coffee, .20¢ Buy Any Item).

*  I needed a phone case for my new phone(we changed phone companies thus new phone).  Instead of paying $20+ in the store for one I liked I ordered this one through Amazon............

of course, it's Purple!!! lolz  
And I used a piece of an Amazon gift card(that was a gift)so free.

*  Hubs and I went out to lunch on Thursday to Bob Evan's.  I got my big salad with chicken and Hubs also got a big salad.  I almost fell over when he ordered one as he NEVER does. *thud*

I used a $5 off wyspend $25 Q which covered the tip.  The waitress also gave me a full to-go cup of iced tea when I asked for a cup to take the rest of my tea refill home.  A cup and a refill in the restaurant plus a full to-go cup of tea meant my $2.79 tea cost less than $1 a cup in the end.  ;-)

*  Best deals last week..............

Marked down whole roaster chickens with $3 off instant discount stickers as well, made the cost less than .52¢ a lb.
Then there was all this at Weis(PMITA)Markets....

 And all this at Walmart........

After Ibotta rebates I "spent" $14.90 w/sales tax for all that.


On Wednesday I bought what's pictured above at a different Weis that's larger than ours.
All these items(plus a second package of Ball jars I forgot to put in the photo)gave me a total of $8.75 in Ibotta rebates($1 Spaghettios, 2 x $1.25 Ball jars, .50¢ Propel water, .75¢ Musselman's, 4 x $1 Oral-B toothbrushes). I also earned the .50¢ Feb. Level 1 Bonus and the $10 Cupid Love Bonus so $19.25 back in rebate monies.

$15.56 OOP after $9 in ManuQs(well $7.56 really because the ball jars don't come out of the food budget) so after sales/Qs/rebates I spent negative $11.69 on all this. 8-)))

The best were the toothbrushes that were on sale for $1.89 each, gave $1 Ibotta rebate cred each and there was a $6/4 Crest items Weis digital Q!
$7.96-$6Q=$1.96-$4 Ibotta rebate= -$2.44. for the toothbrushes. 8-)))

That's about all I can remember frugal that happened last week.


Any frugal wins in your world lately?
Tell us all about it!

                                                       
Sluggy

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Weekend Ibotta Shopping & Dollar Generals Clearance Deals

Even feeling like crap I still did some Weis and Walmart shopping over last weekend to earn the $5 Weekend Warrior Bonus when you buy 8 qualifying items.

First at Weis......


Spent $24.67 w/sales tax
Earned $10.32 on Ibotta

Then Walmart........


Spent $11.28 w/sales tax
Earned $5.73 on Ibotta

Got the $5 Bonus so $21.05 in Ibotta rebates total.
$35.95-$21.05 rebates=$14.90 OOP for all 9 items.

The 4 best deals here were the Nivea lotion was $1.23 after 2/1 ManQ/2 rebates, the Noodle cups were .03¢ total after rebate, the Minute Rice cup was a .21¢ moneymaker and the Nivea shave foam was a $1.60 moneymaker(2 x $2-$2/2 ManQ-$3.60 rebates).
We NEVER get Nivea ManuQ in our inserts here but we did a week ago last Sunday so I am making an effort to use them! lolz

I need to buy only 3 more qualifying Ibotta items before 2/17 to earn another $10 "Cupid Cash" Bonus so that's the "mission" this week. ;-)  The Weekend Warrior Deal was over the weekend but this Cupid Cash runs 10 days and everything bought during the WWD applies toward the CCD too.
Except one of my store trips(the Weis one)isn't showing as counting toward the CCD presently but that one was within the time frame for both deals.  I guess I have to write to Ibotta about it but I did make a trip yesterday to Weis and bought more items that qualify(luckily)so maybe I'll just wait a bit.

Then last weekend I hit the Dollar General Clearance Event on Saturday and utilized the $5 when you spend $25 digital Q.
I also hit another DG south of me that's pretty much in the middle of nowhere because I figured they'd have more/better stuff and they did.  Plus since my total was over $25 there the manager/cashier gave me another $5/$25 printed Q to use on that order.
Sweet!

At the first store among my scores was this food item........


Cans of chili for .39¢ each.  This stuff is not Hormel by no means(what Hubs and Ex-CB prefer)but they have had it in the past and it is serviceable on their burritos.  So for that price I got 8 cans.
I got Ex-CB 3 Powerades too....$1 off when you bought 3 and with the piece of the $5/$25 each bottle was .54¢.

I bought other items in my orders(socks, doggie treats and other things that don't count in my food/toiletries budget/spending)but here is the rest of what I bought not including the stuff noted above........


4 x Dove men's gift sets
5 x Axe men's gift sets
2 x Dial men's gift sets
5 x Dr. Teal's gift sets
1 x Calgon gift set
1 x Whole Blends mini gift set
1 x Colgate twin pack toothpaste
2 x Suave men's shampoo
2 x Head and Shoulders conditioner
1 x 6 pack Dial soap
2 x DG ladies razor packs
4 x Assorted bottles of body wash(Palmer's/St. Ives/Dial/Nivea)

All were discontinued/discounted items at various %s then 50% off that amount for the clearance sale plus I used 2 x $5/wyspend $25 Qs and I also used $5 total in other digital DGQs on assorted items in the photo.
I'm not divulging what I actually spent on all this OOP yet as the February giveaway will involve guessing that amount. 8-))

Some of the above will be used as Christmas gifts, some for giveaways in the future and what we are keeping has been accounted for in my food/toiletries spending from this past week on last Monday's post.

I confess that I don't shop at Dollar General really but if I am up for going out I'll hit these Clearance Events they hold because you never know what goodies you'll find.  I believe my last trip to one was Last May.
The only other time I go there really is when they have discounted gift card deals sporadically.

Did any of y'all hit the DG clearance sale?
Any great buys there?


Sluggy

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A Reader Asks Some Financial Questions Regarding Retirement



My Financial Meeting Post, which is located HERE brought this comment from "Jenn in Indiana" that I'd like to discuss as it might explain our current position a bit better and it might help others struggling in some way with retirement planning.

Jenn said......
"I feel so behind for retirement.  How did you and your husband know where to even start when saving/investing? I would like to go to a planner but my husband has no trust in them. Maybe you could write some blog posts on how you made retirement so successful? And how do you pay for such expensive insurance since you don't yet get Medicare? You seem very knowledgeable and would love some advice?
J"

Let me put out there that I am no way a financial expert nor do I pretend to be one.  My Hubs did spend 33+ years in the insurance business(not sales though)and the last 20+ of those in retirement services specifically.

And again, everyone's financial journey is different so take any advice with a grain of salt and mine is worth about what you paid for it(which is nothing). ;-)
***********************

Let's take this part by part......

"How did you and your husband know where to even start when saving/investing?"

It took years to get traction financially.  When we first married it was "keep your head above water time".  We were young, a year out of school(Hubs was still in a graduate program)with no 'real' jobs yet.  Getting Hubs established in his career took awhile and we relocated twice(2 different states)before he was offered a living wage.  We lived with family in 2 different states then rented half of a 2 family house from a family member before things got to a point financially when we could breathe.

As soon as Hubs began his corporate job in 1984(where he would work various jobs his entire career of 33 years there)we took advantage of ALL the employee programs to save--we bought US Savings Bonds, we contributed to the company 401K and received a 3% match(free money! always take that at the very least!!), and he got credits into a company pension plan once he was vested.  We always had everything taken out before we got his paycheck so we didn't see that money and never expected to spend it, living off what was left.
And when Hubs got raises and bonuses we never inflated our lifestyle to use up all that "extra" income.  We sat down and planned out if/when we wanted/needed to spend any of those windfalls but mostly we put them toward a goal(buying a house, college, etc.)or threw them into savings and didn't plan on touching them.
The only time you EVER touch retirement monies is in a severe financial emergency(if even then).  99% of emergencies don't meet this criteria IMHO and the penalties just make it an even worse idea.  We did withdraw a small portion from our 401K early on to buy our first house(one of the few exceptions they allow a withdrawal before 59.5 years old) but repaid it within a few years so it didn't set us back much.  If we had to do it all over again, we might not have taken that option.

The take away here is to ALWAYS put money into something your employer offers-401K, HSA, MSA, Savings Bonds, IRAs, etc. And read up on what each thing your employer offers is before paying into any of them!
And don't look at windfalls as "time to have a good time" money.  Put it to work for you for retirement.  The earlier you start socking money away for your old age the better but it's never too late to start!

************************
"I would like to go to a planner but my husband has no trust in them."

There are two kinds of financial planners--
The first kind are the ones who want to sell you their financial instruments.  They make a commission off of you so unless you want to be pressured into buying financial products or truly go to them planning/wanting to buy what they offer, and you aren't financially savvy, don't use one of these.
The other kind of planner is a Fee-Only Financial Planner.  This is someone you will pay by the hour or session to go over your finances and offer their best advise on what actions you need to take to grow your money.  They are a true fiduciary--someone is is ethically bound to look out for your best interests.  True that a financial planner who is working on commission to SELL you stuff is capable and suppose to be a fiduciary but seriously, given the choice of a planner who you pay for their advise vs. a planner who is also trying to sell you a financial product he has a vested interest in.....who do you think is more likely to have your best interests at heart?(Not to say that some sales planners aren't fiduciary but why take that chance if you aren't schooled in finances?).  Pay a planner to for his/her advise.  They won't pressure you into buying an investment since they make no money off selling such.
I've got a funny story(well not funny ha-ha)about meeting with a "financial planner" from our then current bank, a "free" meeting since we were that bank's customers.  His advise to us was to stop trying to pay off our mortgage early and to throw that extra cash into some financial investment his bank/he made a commission off of.  Well of course he wanted all that extra interest we paid them on our mortgage loan to continue to flow in plus the added bonus of a commission to get us to invest in one of their financial investment products.  He actually tried to tell me that paying off your house early was a bad "investment".   Yeah, a bad investment for HIM! lolz

I'd go HERE and find a Fee-Only Financial Planner in your area or use a similar site for licensed, reputable advisers.  Make sure you know up front what the planner charges and for goodness sake find out what documents you need to take and have it all organized.  This will mean your appointment will go smoothly and your hourly rate will be less if you aren't having to rifle through files and having to make subsequent appointments.  And it's learned advise but you are free to adhere to it or disregard it but if you aren't financially literate it's a GOOD thing to go get!  That few hundred $$s you spend on a planner may well be worth it's weight in gold.

********************
"Maybe you could write some blog posts on how you made retirement so successful? "

I plan on going in depth in a post on how our journey-from college to retirement-has played out in the near future.  It might help explain how we got to this financial point.
It would be too long for this post but look for it in the coming months(I've already begun work on it.). ;-)

********************** "And how do you pay for such expensive insurance since you don't yet get Medicare?

Ok, Hubs company(Prudential)offered a medical retiree plan for many years.  It was free and one of the perks of being a vested, "I don't know how many years exactly", employee retiree.  But about 10 years or so ago Pru changed things up.  They did away with the free retiree medical until Medicare plan.  Everyone who retires gets credits into a RMSA account(RMSA=Retiree Medical Savings Account)depending on years of service at retirement and your pay level/etc.).  Hubs was due to get approx. $60K in RMAS as of 2017.  But once we began the process we learned that since he was married Pru added another 50% of credits into the account for the spouse so our RMSA account at his retirement date was $90K+.   This was a surprise and make the decision to retire when he did highly doable and I  wouldn't be kept up at nights worrying about that cost. This money is not an HSA and can only be used to pay for health insurance premiums.

Prudential's thought was this RMSA would be enough to bridge any early retiree until age 65 to pay for private health insurance.  Unfortunately with the escalating cost of premiums it won't be enough to get us both to age 65 without having to use a bit of our savings.
Once it runs out(about 9 months before Hubs hits Medicare)we'll be eligible for the ACA exchanges(if those are still around then or whatever takes their place).  But for now the RMSA means we make too much money as it counts as income for ACA purposes.
So medical care is still a big unknown once the RMSA runs out but we've got lots of cash saved and we'll come up with a plan once we come to that bridge.

******************
The only other advise I'd offer up here is to go find this book at your local library.......
"The 5 Years Before You Retire: Retirement Planning When You Need It the Most" by Emily Guy Birken.

I've found it so useful that I've given a couple copies of this book away on the blog as I find them cheaply.

Some specific figures may be out of date as my copy was written in 2014 and I don't know if there is an updated edition of that book.
It's a handy little book and will help you see what you need to do/where you need to adjust/where you are doing well heading into retirement.  I'd say it would be better to get a hold of it 10 years before you plan to retire rather than 5 but that's just MHO. ;-)

If anyone wants to add any advise for Jenn, or ask a question, feel free to leave a comment.  

Sluggy


Back to Rite-Aid....The End of This Deal

So I did this on Monday.........

See my previous post for details.

On Tuesday I returned the 2 Rimmel items that didn't qualify for the "Buy 3, Get $10 total BC" Deal so $3.86 back in BC on my account.
I then bought these items.........


2 x Rimmel eyebrow pencils.  Cost with 20% Wellness discount + sales tax was $6.60 paid for with Bonus Cash.
I earned $8 in new BC(the rest of the "Buy 3, Get $10 BC" Deal due me for that deal(had earned $2 BC already for the 1 item I bought that qualified).
Now I have $27.46 in BC on this account.

I'll be back in a bit with another post, a "real" post. ;-)
I didn't just want to add this little bit onto what I posted yesterday so folks would be sure to see this in case anyone was following along on the R-A stuff.

Sluggy