Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Earth Review and GIVEAWAY TIME! CLOSED!!!

**This Giveaway is now Closed.**

I am a tad late in getting around to posting this review since the kit arrived while the relatives where staying here and 2 of the teens were finishing up school for the year.

In early June(or was it late May? geez....)the fine folks at MyBlogSpark and General Mills sent me a package including a new dry dinner kit that is hitting your grocery store shelves this month.  These new dinner kits are marketed under the GOOD EARTH brand.

Here is a blurb from MyBlogSpark about GOOD EARTH......
"When dinner means tons of pots and pans and mixing or chopping for hours, sometimes dining out seems tempting. Now with new Good Earth TM dry dinner kits, you can have restaurant taste without the restaurant wait and still have a wholesome dinner."
General Mills use to own a chain of restaurants by the Good Earth name by the way.  Being in the east, I had never heard of them.  I looked it up as I was curious.  You can look them up too if you are curious. 8-)

Anyway, one night a few weeks ago we set out to prepare our Mediterranean Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta.   Everything you need to make this dish is in the box, except for the chicken, which we bought and added ourselves.
Daughter and I followed the directions on the box and it was ready to eat pretty quickly. 
We did a bit of improvising by adding some extra finely diced tomatoes and red peppers, because....well, we LIKE tomatoes and red peppers!
We like our pasta with tomato-y sauces usually but this was a cream based sauce, but it was not a heavy cream sauce so all the veggie flavors all came through in the dish.  It was a nice change from our usual fare at Chez Sluggy.

The flavor is good without the expense of eating out.  Being frugal but still eating tasty food is always a good thing.

The GOOD EARTH box states that this line is made with 100% whole grain, no trans fats, or artificial flavors or preservatives & no MSG.  Not eating artificial stuff is also a good thing.

Other varieties in this line besides the Mediterranean Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta, are the Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta, Herb Crusted Chicken with Mushroom Risotto and Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta.

Along with the GOOD EARTH dry dinner kit I received a set of bamboo dishes and flatware, a small bamboo cutting/serving board along with a reusable market bag.  I am sure the bag will be getting some use out in my garden when we start to harvest the veggies there.

Wanna Win It?
 MyBlogSpark and Good Earth/General Mills are providing me with an additional Good Earth gift pack that includes a boxed dry dinner kit, two sets of bamboo flatware and dishes & a utility board, as well as a 100% recyclable grocery tote to give away to one of my readers.

If you would like to win this prize pack just leave a comment about your favorite healthy dish along with your email address.  It can be a dish you make or a dish you just like to eat.

Receive Additional entries by....
1. subscribing to my blog(if you already subscribe just tell me that)and leave an additional comment for this entry.
2. follow my blog-click on the "follow button" on the right sidebar and leave an additional comment for this entry. (If you already follow just tell me that in an additional entry/comment.)
3. Post on your blog about this giveaway and leave a link to that post, then leave 2 additional comments for 2 more entries.

This Giveaway ends on July 6th(Tuesday) at 12 am(midnight) Eastern Daylight Savings Time.
I'll post the winners name on July 7th(Wednesday) and contact them via email. If they fail to respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
Good Luck!

***Disclaimer***This Giveaway was sponsored by General Mills/GOOD EARTH and MyBlogSpark. I was supplied with product and encouraged to blog about the product and offered an identical product to give away to someone in my readership.  The opinion of the product expressed here is my own and I was not paid for endorsing this product.


What?....More Rite-Aid??!!

Ok, I know most of you are sooo over all these Rite-Aid trip posts, so unless someone ASKS me to do the play-by-play breakdown, I will forego it.

I made 2 trips to Rite-Aid on Sunday and 2 more on Monday.  All the stores were out of the Crest Whitestrips  and very low on the John Frieda that gave the $10 +Ups(tho I am not planning on doing the JF this go round).  I did want to do the Duracell SCR and any of the FAR items(like the toothpaste), as well as work on BIL's Skin Care Rebate.

Add in 2 Sunday papers to this photo.

Besides $5 off $20 & AdPerks/In-ads and ManuQs, I used $9 in +Up Rewards for a grand total of $2.98 OOP(put on free RA gift card).
SCR qualified for...$2.99 CREST and Duracell purchase toward $10 SCR=$2.99
+Ups earned...$2 Duracell, $2 VENUS(it didn't print! so cashier just took $2 off my next purchase).

Besides $5 off $20 & Adperks/In-Ad and ManuQs, I used $4 in +Ups for a grand total of $.34 OOP(put on free RA Gift Card).
SCR qualified for...$10 DURACELL
+Ups earned...$1 Tresemme & $2 Duracell.

Besides $5 off $25 & Adperks/In-Ad and ManuQs, I used $4 in +Ups for a grand total of $.62 OOP(put on free RA Gift Card).
SCR qualified for....$10.78 toward BIL's Skin Care rebate.

+Ups earned...$1 Tresemme.

Besides $5 off $25 & Adperks/In-Ad and ManuQs, I used $4 in +Ups for a grand total of $.18 OOP(put on free RA Gift Card).
SCR qualified for...$2.99 CREST(BIL), $11.34 toward BIL's Skin Care rebate(subtotal-$22.12/$27.88 to go).


Number of Transactions......4
Total Spent....$4.12--all put on free Gift Cards/Certificates 
Value of Items purchased....$151.62
SCR qualified for....$15.98 in cash and $0 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$0
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0
+Up Rewards earned=$8.00
+Up Rewards spent=$17.00

Total Cash I'm getting Back=$0
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$0
+Up Rewards left to spend=$22.00


Rite-Aid Coupon Changes.....HEADS UP!

If you are a Rite-Aid shopper who utilizes all the various coupons, programs, rewards they offer, you NEED  to read this!

Rite-Aid has changed up the game.
Those AdPerks/Value Videos you watch to earn coupons?
About the Bonus $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks Coupon.....don't bother printing that one more than once per month anymore.
Rite-Aid has changed that coupon.  Now it is linked to your Wellness Card and has a unique serial number on each one that can be tracked when it is used.
Once you use it, that's it.  You can't print multiples and use them. 1 of this coupon per account.  The registers are now programmed at Rite-Aid to give a message to the cashier that this coupon has been redeemed already if you try to use it more than once.

For now, all the other AdPerks/Value Video Coupons are NOT this way, with a trackable unique serial number.  In case you never noticed before these AdPerks/VV coupon serial numbers all end in the date of expiration.....ie--the ones that expire June 30th end in 63010, the ones that are set to expire July 24th end in 72410. 

Reports are that if you printed out your Bonus $5 off $20 coupon that expires 7/24/10 earlier this month there is NO unique serial number.  Rite-Aid made the change sometime during June so the early birds will be able to use all their prints.

While this sure throws a monkey wrench into all the die-hard Rite-Aid shoppers plans(not to mention the dread that blackened their hearts) this is NOT the end of the Rite-Aid Shopping World dear readers!

First off, if you have a Wellness card/account, your spouse or SO can also apply/get an account and set up their own AdPerks viewing account.  By doing this, you go from access to 1 Bonus $5 off $20 Purchase coupon to 2 per month.

The last couple of months, there have been 2 $5 off $X Purchase coupons available in the AdPerks program.  The Bonus $5 off $20 as well as a $5 off $25 when you watch the Wellness video.
So now you are up to 4 $5 off $X Purchase coupons.

Often Rite-Aid will release a $5 off $X Purchase coupon through REDPLUM &/or COUPONS dotcom.
You can print these coupons generally twice per computer, so that give you potential for 4 more $5 off $X coupons per month if you have access to 1 computer/printer set-up and both sites offer it in that month.
If you have multiple computers accessible to you, count on 2 more of this coupon per month when offered.

And though they haven't offered a PDF $5 off $X Purchase this year, Rite-Aid has in the past and there is always hope that they offer that again.

So while you will have to be more resourceful in the future finding these $5 off $X Purchase coupons, they are still a viable option.


How Much 'Poo Do You Do?

No, this is not just some random photo of 2 bottles of shampoo.  These are my now emptied bottles of shampoo.
Guess how long it took me to use up these 2  bottles?

I used both of these bottles up in 7 MONTHS.   I switch off every week using one and then the following week I use the other one.....then I--pardon the pun--rinse and repeat. hehe
So if it takes me 7 Months to finish both bottles, it would take me 3.5 months to finish one if I didn't alternate brands.
Got it?

My hair, though thin, is a bit longish.  4" below shoulder length so I have a bit of hair to wash.  I use an amount the size of a nickel when I 'poo.  I wash my hair 2-3 times per week....a little more in the summer if I am getting sweaty.  But in the winter months 2-3 times is sufficient.

So if I extrapolate this out, I go through less than 4 bottles(12-16 oz. each)of shampoo a year.  A 2 yr. supply(which is what I like to keep on hand)would be 8 bottles tops for me.
By combining coupons and sales, I can usually get high end 'poo for $1 or less per bottle especially at Rite-Aid, meaning at most, I spend $4 on 'poo per year tops.

Considering a regular retail price on 1 bottle of name brand shampoo can run you $4-$8, I have cut my spending on 'poo by 75% from what it use to run before I used coupons and bought on sale almost exclusively.

A tip on shampoo--change up your brand every couple of weeks!  Your hair gets 'use to' whatever you use and stuff accumulates on your hair shafts.  You need to strip this gunk off every now and again so using a different brand usually is enough to do that.  Each shampoo can have different surfactants, conditioners, scents so by changing brands, the new ingredients will wash away the old ones giving you cleaner feeling hair.  As you continue to use the same 'poo over and over the new ingredients are left behind on your hair shafts causing a new build up of the new 'poo ingredients.  This is what they market the 'clarifying' shampoos for...to wash off the build up from your old shampoo.  But be careful using clarifying 'poos all the time as they tend to be harsher on your hair.

How many bottle of 'poo do you go through a year and what is it costing you?

I tried going the Baking Soda/No 'Poo route.  It was difficult getting use to it at first.  With shampoo, your hair follicles are use to producing lots of oil, because you are stripping away the natural oils every time you 'poo.  The baking soda isn't stripping but your follicles continue to over produce oil so you will go through a stage in the first month or two where your hair gets greasier to the touch.  If you can tough this part out, once your follicles calm down, things get better.  But a lot of people can't get past this part and give it up since they don't feel clean.

While baking soda did work, for now I prefer a good lather on my head now and again.

Have you ever tracked how long a bottle of shampoo lasts you?  Let us know your thoughts on 'Poo, ok?

I'd love to mark and keep track of how long/how many bottles of shampoo #2 son goes through.  Of course, he has more hair and it's longer than mine....plus he is in that teenage showering/shampooing/grooming overkill stage of life.  Here he is about 6 months ago in what I refer to as the "sheep dog look".....the girls he knows are all jealous of his hair.lol


Monday, June 28, 2010

Do You Coffee?.....Go Enter this Giveaway!

My blogging buddy Precious who blogs over at Frugal Makes Cents is holding a Giveaway for a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.
Go on over and check it out HERE.
While you're there, check out some of her money saving tips...you'll be glad you did!


JUNE Food Stamp Challenge.....Day Twenty Six & Twenty Seven and MORE Food Expenses

This post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located over HERE.

Saturday DH & I polished off the rest of the Ham Macaroni & Cheese leftovers for dinner along with some frozen veggies. 
Costs....mac&cheese(free-leftovers), veggies $1.69.

Sunday we feasted!  I made cheese burgers and veggie kabobs to cook out on the grill.  I chopped some veggies and used the leftover pasta I cooked and didn't use in the mac & cheese to make pasta salad.

Cost of items not figured in yet......cheese $.75, condiments $.10, celery $.10=$.95.

Total 'spending' from the pantry for the last 2 days.....$2.64

As I mentioned before I have been keeping track of non-dinner foods eaten for the month.  I've compiled a list of everything we've used from the pantry.
Here it is....
1 box cold Cereal
2 dozen Eggs
2 packages Bacon
1 box Oatmeal
2 jars Peanut Butter
1 jar Jam
10 boxes Kraft mac/cheez
7 cans Soup
1 bag Rice
3 packages Noodles
3 cans Tuna
1 jar Mayo
1/2 jar Mustard
1 bottle Ketchup
2 packages Hot Dogs
2 bags Hot Dog Rolls
1lb. Kielbasa
1 2lb. bag Onions
1 5lb. bag Potatoes
3 loaves Bread
2 bottles Salad Dressing
1 bag Tortillas
2 lb. Chicken
2 lb. Fish
1 bag breaded Fish
1 bag shredded Cheese
3 lb. sliced Cheese
1.5 gallons Milk
2 lb. Bananas
1 container Sour Cream
10 containers Yogurt
1/2 bag Flour(5lb.)
1 bag Sugar(2lb.)
1/2 bottle Oil
1 large jar Applesauce
1 pouch Cookie Mix
1 12pack Coke
3 boxes of Capri Sun
4 envelopes Kool-Aid
1 bag of Coffee
1 box of large Tea Bags
Total of Pantry Spending....$88.03

June Food Stamp Challenge Update
Spent to Date....$299.93
June Food Budget Left....$73.77
Days of Challenge Left....03

Can I keep from going off the grocery spending deep-end for 3 more days?
Stay tuned.....


Sunday, June 27, 2010

JUNE Food Stamp Challenge....Grocery Shopping on Saturday

 The post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located HERE.

Being a couponer, I don't shop like most people on the planet.  Being on this Food Stamp Challenge has cramped how & where I shop a bit but it hasn't been something I can't handle.  Of course, if some of the stores that have been off limits to me this month since they don't accept EBT where off limits in the long term, I might be singing a different tune!  I suspect, I'd adapt my shopping habits if I was forced to avoid these stores indefinitely but it just might push me to seek out other low price alternatives.  And in all probability, I'd be forced to spend MORE on my groceries than I do now.

That being said, this challenge did push me to seek out and try a new shopping venue on Saturday.  A local produce market opened up near my town about a year ago and seeking lower priced produce from a EBT friendly source got me in the door.
And I am so glad I went!

Here is what I picked up.....
1 x Cantaloupe $1.49
1 x Romaine Lettuce $.99
1 x Tomato  $.44 ($.69lb)
1 x Blueberries(pint) $1.49
3 x Lemons  $.99
1 x Cucumber  $.33
4 x Squash  $2.26 ($.69lb)
2 x Red Peppers  $.76 ($.99lb)
1 x Liverwurst  $2.93($2.99 lb)*Yes, they had a deli dept. too.

These prices are well below what the chain and regional grocery stores in the area charge for produce!
While none of the items were locally sourced(it's too early here for harvesting locally)I have hopes that come picking time some of the items will have been grown in this area. 

Then we hit the local independent grocery store in town....

6 x chopped Clams BOGO sale($1.69, so $.84 ea.)=$5.04
1 x Real Goodness lactose-free Milk on sale=$2.00
2 x Krunchers Potato Chips on sale $2.50=$5.00
1 x Taster's Choice instant Coffee=$1.00
1 x Marcal recycled Facial Tissue on sale=$1.11
1 x Whack Biscuits(store brand)=$1.69
1 x Cream Cheese(store brand) on sale=$.99
1 x 1lb. Carrots on sale=$.99

Coupons Used
1 x $1/1 Real Goodness Milk ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Krunchers Chips ManuQ=$2.00
1 x FREE ITEM Catalina Q Taster's Choice=$1.00
1 x FREE ITEM ManuQ Marcal Item(up to $1)=$1.00
Coupon Total....$5.00

$17.82-$5.00=$12.82 + $.07 tax=$12.89

Then I went to Weis Supermarket for 1 item....
2 x OM Lunchmeat on sale BOGO($4.99)=$4.99

I used a FREE ITEM(up to $3)Coupon from Kraft...
$4.99-$3.00=$1.99 total for 2 packages of turkey breast.

Why I bought what I bought.....

I plan on making Club Sandwiches for dinner one night(the lunchmeat, tomato), Clam Chowder another night(clams, milk and enough clams for another batch later this summer), some meat grilled out with veggie skewers(squashes, pepper), the romaine, cuke and carrots for salads, and the fruit, cream cheese & whack biscuits are for breakfasts this week.  The liverwurst is for Hubs lunches at work & he can take chips in a reusable container.  The lemons are for my home brewed iced tea of course! ;-)

Saturday's spending.....$26.56

June Food Stamp Challenge Update
Spent to Date....$209.26
June Food Budget Left....$164.44
Days of Challenge Left....05


JUNE Food Stamp Challenge.....Day Twenty Four & Twenty Five

The post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located HERE.

On Day 24-Thursday- DH & I went out to eat.  While you can't pay for meals out with food stamps/EBT, folks who rely on food stamps to eat DO go out.  One way you can stretch those precious dollars to afford to eat out is using deals and coupons.  We use a site called Restaurant.com where you can buy gift certificates to local eating establishments.  I figure, if you're going to spend on eating out, you might as well spend as little as you have to AND spend it with locally owned businesses.  You save $ doing something fun and you support local people's businesses.  Win/Win!

I will wait until the site is having a sale, like an 80% off any certificates you buy sale.  Alot of the cert.s I buy are "$25 off your bill when you spend $35" ones.  At 80% off, they cost me $2 a piece, so in the end I am getting $35 of food for $12(the $10 over $25 I must spend + the $2 cost of the cert.=$12).  That's a 65% savings on the cost of eating out!(Not including the tip).

So we headed out on Thursday to use a "spend $35, get $25 off" $2 certificate I had bought months ago during a 80% off sale.  Hubs had a gourmet burger and wings & I had crabcakes and onion rings.  My meal also came with salad, a potato and veggie of the day.  We went a few dollars over $35 but I had enough food leftover for lunch the next day as well.
We spent $37.99, so our expensive night out cost us $12+$2.99+$6.85(tip)=$21.84.

On Day 25-Friday-DH & I ate odds & ends from the freezer.  He had some beer brats and the leftover potato salad from earlier this week, and I took some pieces of breaded chicken cutlets, shredded cheese and spaghetti sauce and made some quick chicken parmesan in the skillet, adding a tossed salad to finish up the greens I had bought last week.

Day 23 food costs for items bought before June......chicken cutlets $1.00, sauce $.40, cheese $.50, brats $.67, condiments $.05.
Friday's total=$2.62

That brings our 'spending' for the last 2 days to $2.62.($21.84 for non-food stamp purchases.)

June Food Stamp Challenge Update
Spent to Date....$182.70
June Food Budget Left....$191.00
Days of Challenge Left....05


Saturday, June 26, 2010

2 More Trips to Rite-Aid & I'm Finished with the June SCRs

I couldn't resist looking for more Corned Beef Hash so we hit Rite-Aid when we went out to grocery shop today.  Found 1 more can so I have an even total of 10 cans for #2 son when he gets back from camp. 8-)

1 x Corned Beef Hash on sale=$1.50
1 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale=$2.99
2 x Rembrandt 20% Wellness Discount($6.39)=$12.78
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$3.00

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $3/1 Rembrandt (1 ManuQ/1 IPQ)=$6.00
2 x $3/1 AdPerks/VV IPQ=$6.00
1 x $1/$10 Oral Care Purchase Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Motrin PM ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$20.00

$20.27-$20.00=$.27 OOP put on FREE Rite-Aid Gift Card so ZERO spent!
+Up Rewards earned...$3(Motrin PM), $2(Colgate)=$5.00

And then I hit the local Rite-Aid.....

1 x Airwick Sprayer 50% off=$4.99
6 x Bounty Towels on sale $.99=$5.94
1 x Glad Trash Bags on sale=$5.99
2 x TGIFriday's Chips BOGO=$2.19
1 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale=$2.99
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$3.00

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $4/1 Airwick Sprayer ManuQ=$4.00
3 x $1/2 Bounty Towels ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $1/$10 Household Purchase Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $1.50/1 TGIFriday's Chips IPQ=$1.50
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Motrin PM ManuQ=$1.00  *I ran out of the $3/1 Qs.
1 x $3/1 +Up Reward(Motrin)=$3.00
1 x $1/1 +Up Reward(Purex)=$1.00
1 x $4 off any Rite-Aid Purchase *This is one of the Qs I received from corporate when my +Ups didn't print earlier in the week.
Coupon Total....$24.50

$25.10-$24.50=$.60 OOP put on FREE Rite-Aid Gift Card so ZERO spent!
SCR qualified for....$1(Glad)--this item is a limit of 2 rebates=$1.00
+Up Rewards earned...$3(Motrin PM), $2(Colgate)=$5.00

Today's totals--
Spent...$.87 put on gift card
+Up Rewards earned....$10.00


Number of Transactions......16
Total Spent....$46.87--all put on free Gift Cards/Certificates
SCR qualified for....$59.98 in cash and $35 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$15 MIR from Neutrogena
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$5.00 Gift Card from Gillette(for survey)& $20 in Prepaid Debit Cards=$25.00
+Up Rewards earned=$63.00  *They sent whole dollars for the +Ups that didn't print so  I rounded up the .99¢ amount.
+Up Rewards spent=$32.00

Total Cash I'm getting Back=$74.98
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$60.00
+Up Rewards left to spend=$31.00


Friday, June 25, 2010

Rite-Aid Scenario for 6/27-7/3.....97¢ OOP, Get $4.99 SCR & $3+UpRewards

Here's a scenarios I am considering doing this coming week at Rite-Aid.
My 20% Wellness discount does NOT come into play so you can do this with the right coupons even if you have no Wellness discount yet.  You do need a Wellness card to get some of the sale prices however so make sure you sign up for this program at Rite-Aid.
I am assuming certain prices from my local store, you store's prices may vary.

1 x Tresemme Shampoo on sale $3.99
1 x Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield Toothpaste on sale $2.99
1 x Venus disposable Razors on sale $5.99
1 x Stayfree Pads on sale BOGO $3.99
2 x M&M's single serve packages BOGO $.88
1 x Welch's Grape Juice on sale $3.00

Here are the coupons you need....
1 x $5 off $20 or $5 off $25 AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Tresemme IPQ from the Tresemme website=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Tresemme AdPerks/VV IPQ from watching videos last month=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste from 6/27 inserts=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Venus disposables ManuQ from last P&G insert=$2.00
1 x BOGO Stayfree ManuQ from 6/27 inserts=$3.99
1 x BOGO M&M's ManuQ from 6/27 inserts=$.88
1 x $2/1 Welch's IPQ from Welch's facebook page(go "Like" them)=$2.00
Coupon Total....$17.87

I have a $2 +Up Rewards from the Colgate I bought this week, so I'll add 1 to bring the OOP total down to $.97.

I'll qualify for $4.99 in Single Check Rebates(SCR)...$2 for the Venus & $2.99 for the Crest.
I'll receive back $3 in +Up Rewards(they spend like CVS's ECBs)....$1 for theTresemme & $2 for the Venus.
$.97 OOP-$4.99 in SCR=$4.02 overage + the $3 in +UpRewards.

If you are into tooth whitening strips, I also see  a great deal this coming week on the Crest 3D vivid whitestrips.  The 10 ct will be on sale for $22.99.
There is a $5/1 ManuQ in the last P&G insert for these, or better yet, there is a $10/1 ManuQ in today's insert!

Pair that with a $5 off $20 purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ and if you've used your Wellness card this week, you should have a $1 off $10 Oral Care purchase Q on the bottom of your Rite-Aid receipt which you can also use.
And with this purchase you will receive a $10 +UpReward on the bottom of your purchase receipt, so after that +Up, your bottom line spent is -$3.01.

Even better....if you plan on doing the John Frieda deal at Rite-Aid(buy 4 for $20, use Qs to bring that purchase OOP down to $2--a $5/$20, a $1/$10 hair care wellness CRTQ, 4 x $3/1 JF ManuQs=$18 in Qs-- and get a $10 +Up Reward), then turn around and roll that $10+Up into a Crest Whitestrips deal so your OOP is REALLY $1.99.

Your total OOP for both deals will become $3.99($2 for 4 shampoos & $1.99 for the whitestrips) and you'll have a $10+Up Reward left to do it again or put toward something else.

The BIL hasn't done the skin care SCR deal yet(it runs until 7/24)so he might be buying some Coppertone and Aveeno this coming week.

If you need batteries the Duracell deal looks mighty fine as well.  Buy $20 and get a SCR for $10 so that makes them 50% off right off the bat.   The 25 ct. packs of Duracell are $10 this coming week and you get a $2+Up Rewards for buying one.  Spend $20 on batteries in 2 transactions(so you get the $2+Up for each packages) and you'll pay $8 after +Ups for each & get $10 back so $6 OOP.  Spend at least $20 in each transaction and use a $5 off $20 AdPerks Q to make it an even better deal.  I might have to buy some batteries this week too....lol

What scenarios are you considering for this coming week at Rite-Aid?


JUNE Food Stamp Challenge......Food Insecurity, Hunger & Society

This post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located HERE.

 There are many people in this country who believe hunger exists only in other places in the world.  You see those images on late night television of far off lands where the relief organization needs you to send a small check each month to feed the hungry children.  So you turn off the tv & ignore the pleas or you write a little check to mail off.  You then feel like you have done your part and are safe in your little corner of the world from ever facing hunger.  After all, you live in America, the riches nation on Earth!

But the next time you are in any public place in America....the bank, the mall, the post office, the library, the local park, and especially the grocery store, look around you.  Just because you can't recognize the faces of hunger that surround you, they are there.
Hunger in this country is everywhere and in places you don't think it exists!
How does this relate to me?

There was a time in my life(well, 2 times to be exact)when I was very 'poor'....poor menaing I lacked enough money to support my basic needs.  (Poor and not having money aren't necessarily the same thing....but that's another philosophical discussion for another time.)

The 1st time was between the ages of 15 & 18.  Due to a chaotic and totally dysfunctional home life during those years, I was left to raise myself alone in the family home without my parents.  Only occasionally were one or the other of my parents around.  Mostly they were absite for assorted reasons(business, separation, divorce, hospitalizations, emotional and mental breakdowns)and I was left alone there with the family dog.

Though the house and utilities were paid for I had no food once what had been left in the pantry was depleted.  Being underage with no parent around I was not in a position to get food stamps.  If I had tried to apply at my local welfare office as a minor, the whole situation of a child left alone would have opened up a social work case and I would have been taken into custody and placed in a foster home, which was NOT an arrangement I wanted or deemed necessary.  So I knew better than to ask for help there.

We had no family in the area and my brothers were grown and off living their lives....one was working at sea off the Alaskan coast and the other was living hundreds of miles away and trying to establish himself in business.  Neither was in a position to help nor did they know of my situation.   Between my best friend's mother feeding me occasionally, my father dropping off a $10 check a few times in 2 yrs. and later on, getting myself a part time job at a sub shop for money(as well as taking home food from that job), I was able to keep from starving.  All the while attending a private high school and living in a 5 bedroom/3.5 bathroom home on an acre of land.  If you hadn't known the details of my situation you would have never guessed by looking in from afar that I was living a life of total food insecurity.

This experience has totally colored my world when it comes to food.  I continue to this day to have 'food issues' related to this time in my life.

My 2nd brush with food insecurity was during college.  My father stopped paying for my 'board' at school when I moved off-campus during my Sophomore year.  At this point, being over 18 but attending school in a different state from my state of domicile, I had no clue if I qualified for any kind of governmental food assistance and frankly, I had no clue about asking anyone about it.  Again, I sucked it up and worked 3 different part time jobs while attending school full time in order to feed myself and pay bills.

By my Senior year I was living with my boyfriend in a roach-infested basement apartment and we had $20 cash between us to pay for our groceries per week.  $20 to feed 2 people for a week.  That was back in 1980, but even with food not being as costly as it is today, $20 was a small amount to eat on then.

Having $100 in 1980 is like having $243.45 in today's money when you adjust for inflation.  This means that feeding 2 people in 1980 for $20 would be like feeding those same 2 on $48.69 in today's money.  That comes out to be less than the food stamp allotment of today.  Gee, I was eating on a food stamp budget even then!
It would have been nice to have had those food stamps in 1980 and to have had that $20 cash freed up for spending on other necessities that we had to forego...or use to buy a better quality of food.

Back in 1980, I had one of those metal carts with 2 wheels that I used to carry our groceries home from the local A&P every weekend.  One time, one of the paper grocery bags ripped and a jar of mayo fell onto the sidewalk and broke.  This was a food catastrophe to us!  That mayo was needed for our weekly tuna sandwiches and should have lasted a month or more.  Finding the cash to replace that meant some bill got paid late that month.
As for what we ate on that $20 a week....I recall that we had a lot of boxed mac & cheese, plain jarred sauce and spaghetti, tuna fish, cheap hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches and canned beans.  For a treat I would make lasagna when mozzarella was on sale and I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta because ricotta was too expensive.  If we could afford meat that week we'd have hamburgers made with a ground beef mixture containing TVP because it was cheap or we would buy chicken legs.  The boyfriend had gotten some money for a graduation present from his parents so we used that if we felt we needed a night out at the low-rent college cafe.  Going out there cost about $10 for 2 people with alcoholic beverages and food in 1980.
We couldn't afford to do that very often.... 

One time, boyfriend's ex-roommate saw us in the grocery store and asked to borrow some of our $20 food budget from us.  As I recall, he wanted $8.
Ex-roommate was the son of wealthy NYC judges who lived on Park Avenue.  He had never lived outside of Manhattan until college and he was of the opinion that every place outside of 'the island' was a desolate wasteland, devoid of culture and class and the people who populated the country were not worth knowing.  Yah, I didn't like him very much. lol
He couldn't wait to finish school and get back to NYC.  Yes, he was a pampered, spoiled,  privileged snob who had never wanted for anything.

Daddy was late with his generous monthly check that month so instead of using Daddy's creidt card which he carried, he decided to ask his friends, who had $20 to eat for a week between them, for a loan of 40% of their food budget. (This ex-roommate was notorious for NOT paying back loans promptly-if at all!-as he never felt the sting of not having money in his life.)  It never even crossed his mond that other people lacked for resources.  And when we said no(well, I said no), he was aghast that we turned his request down.
Nothing personal(well sort of)....it was all about self-preservation baby.  

Ok....so what's my point here?
I'm not sure.... 

May it's that no matter your station in life, things happen that can put in a situation where you have a hard time meeting your basic needs.  It can happen in a heartbeat with no warning.
Just because someone appears to have money enough to live, don't assume.  There could be things going on below the surface that you are unaware of.

There are many times in life where ANYONE can experience a food insecurity and be hungry.  

Sometimes it's a child or teen who is living in a situation not of their own making due to the adults in their life.

Sometimes it's a young adult trying to establish themselves in a job and trying to pay their own bills for the first time.

Sometimes it's experiencing an unexpected reversal in life(job loss, illness, addiction, domestic abuse, accident, etc).

Sometimes it's being caught in a cycle of poverty(often many generations long)and seeing no way out.

Sometimes it's being old and/or disabled at any age and unable to support yourself fully any longer.

In today's world, you need a safety net.  In times past, people lived with or near their extended families.  Your family was your safety net in times of need and you could be assured of being taken care of it needed.  Families took care of their own.  And if the family wasn't there, usually the community was and could help.  Neighbors helped each other and communities solved their own problems.

Now for whatever reason you wish to believe, people are disconnected from each other.  Families move great distances from one another.  People living in the same building or in houses on the same street hardly know each other.  Waving to your neighbor as you get in your car to get to work or as you pass by while moving your lawn is NOT knowing your neighbors....

Unfortunately, family and community do not exist for many people and they must rely on government for their safety net.

The best we currently can do for a hunger safety net is the Food Stamp Program.
That it is necessary doesn't say much about the society we live in today.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

JUNE Food Stamp Challenge....Days Twenty Two & Twenty Three

This post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located over HERE.

On Day 22-Tuesday-we had steaks cooked out on the grill.  DH and I shared that Sirloin Tip Steak I bought earlier this month on deep discount.  We also had tossed salads with dressing and leftover potato salad.

Cost of meals on Tuesday for food bought before June....dressing $.50.
Tuesday's 'spending' total=$.50.

On Day 23-Wednesday-I took the last thawed slice of ham chopped it up finely and added it to my famous Mac & Cheese.

I added some steamed broccoli and we had a filling meal that used meat as a garnish or a condiment.

Day 23 food costs for items bought before June......ham Free, half a jar of sauce $.30, block of cheese $1.25, milk $.55, pasta $.50, crackers $.10, half a bag of frozen broccoli $.42.  And we have half a pan of the mac & cheese left to eat later in the week.
Wednesday total=$3.12.

Both Days combined costs....$3.62

On Tuesday we bought milk for $2.19.

Added in that brings our 'spending' for the last 2 days to $5.81.

June Food Stamp Challenge Update
Spent to Date....$180.08
June Food Budget Left....$193.62
Days of Challenge Left....07

Tomorrow I will post & add in all the other food costs for the month.....the cost of the foods we've eaten for breakfast, lunches and snacks that we had on hand before the month started. 
Prepare for the "what is left in the budget" figure to go down significantly!


JUNE Food Stamp Challenge....Thinking About Food & The Planet

This post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge which is located HERE.

Taking part in this Food Stamp Challenge got me thinking about what we eat, both what food our country and culture values and what we personally consumer here at Chez Sluggy.
I was reminded of this Photo Essay created by the husband & wife team of Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio that they turned into a book a few years ago called "Hungry Planet".

Check out the link located HERE at Walrus Magazine for a brief article on it.  There are 15 photo links there where you can access photos of half of the 30 families that were profiled.
Basically the Menzel/D'Aluisios  lived with the families for 1 week and detailed every food product they used during that time.
Then they laid out in the photos of the families all that food that was consumed in 1 week.

From the Ayme Family in Tingo, Ecuador....

To the Melander Family in Bargtheide, Germany...

To the Ahmed family in Cairo, Egypt...

To the Revis Family in Raleigh NC, USA....

You can't view those photos and not come up with definite impressions about the differences and similarities in how people around the world eat.

So, what does what you serve on your dinner table say about you and your culture?


Brains vs. Common Sense

Go watch the video on this page HERE and then tell me why I am shaking my head at this kid.
I guess he never developed any common sense while he was there getting a degree, huh?

When it comes to college I don't understand what some people are thinking!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sluggy's Historic Time Machine

Finding my childhood home got me nostalgic, so I decided to Google around and see if I could find some other homes I remember.

Here is the last home my Great Grandmother lived in.  Her 12 kids moved her there from the old Homestead ROXABEL Plantation about 10 yrs. after Great Grandfather died. Roxabel was 5 miles out and this way she was right 'in town' in case she needed anything or her kids as she was well into her '70s.  She was born in 1888 and died in 1973 so I was 14 the last time I was in that house.  Both my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother died in that house.
I hope that doesn't creep anyone out....lol

Here's photo of my Great Grandparents, circa 1950-something....
They sure look like a fun couple, don't they?  Well they were fun with each other because they had TWELVE kids!

And here is a photo of my Great Grandmother with her 6 adult daughter's from the early 1960's.  You can see the old homestead house Roxabel, behind them.  My Grandmother is the one in the bright blue dress, 3rd from the left.  From right to left in birth order are Louise Frances, Virginia Elizabeth(Ginny), Rosa Bell, Lillian Grace, Doris Lee(Dot), Lula Mae.
Ok, here's the house....

I remember this house well as we use to visit 2 weekends a month plus spend more time in the summer.
The main part of the house was built in the 1700's of VA clay brick.  There was an addition on the back that you can't see, that held both bathrooms, the kitchen, den and the stairway to the 2nd floor.  I remember there were only 2 bedrooms upstairs but they were HUGE!  I guess everybody use to sleep together.

There was a brick outbuilding out back as well....it was either the original kitchen or a root cellar or something.  There was an old abandoned wooden outhouse in the backyard at that time too.
See the 2 flagpoles and the Civil War era cannon on the left in the yard?  Those weren't there then....

Next door, to the west, were 2  abandoned schools with a playground that we use to hang out in.  That was located where that newer building on the right in the photo stands.....
To the east of Grandmama's house was and still is a Church.  It hasn't changed....
That massive tree on the other side of the church is in Grandmama's yard.
Two lots east of that church is this.....

That building with the Texaco sign was an old Gas Station.  In the 1960's it was no longer a gas station but some kind of  'store. There was a scary old lady who sold penny candy out of that building back then. There were never any lights on inside that store.  And yes, the penny candy cost a penny back then!  I am old...lol
We also picked up soda bottles and could turn them in for candy there.

And 2 doors down on the east from that building is this....

Here's another shot.....

This is the smack dab center of the town....the crossroads of Rte. 40 & 47.  The building on the right side in the photo was a drug store back in the 1960's.  That building was originally lawyer's offices built around 1825.  You can see the very old brick on the side where the siding isn't covering it up.

See that big tree in front of it?  That tree is historically significant...there use to be a Historical Marker next to it in the 60's.
You've heard of Patrick Henry?
You've heard of his "Give me Liberty or Give me Death" Speech?
He gave that speech for the 1st time under that tree.
I know, I know......all the history books say he gave the speech in Richmond at the Virginia Convention in 1775.
Well here is something they don't tell you....he originally gave that speech here, standing under that tree in the summer/fall of 1774...the historic recitation of it came later.
This is also where the Henry-Randolph Debate took place....that's the event that the Historical Marker identifies.  Go look that up since I'm sure nobody today knows what the Henry/Randolph Debate was all about.lol
And to think that just around the bend in that photo is the house my Great Grandmother lived in....

But why did this stuff happen under that tree?
Because it's right across the street from this building.....
The Charlotte County Virginia Court House.
Well back in 1775 when Mr. Henry was lawyer-ing & making speeches, this building didn't exist yet.  There was a wooden framed building.  In the hot weather they conducted legal business outside.  Yes, Patrick Henry was one of those dreaded lawyer people when he wasn't revolting against the Red Coats....either revolting against some one or being a revolting lawyer....poor Mr. Henry can't win.lol

The original courthouse had a tavern in it.
George Washington was a regular there when he was in town on revolutionary business.  I've read that he was thrown out for being drunk more than a few times.  Seems George was a party animal when he was traveling!

This courthouse was built in 1823.
You may have heard of the guy who designed it?--Thomas Jefferson.  He lived a mite north of here.
Too bad old Patrick Henry didn't live to see this grand courthouse.   Patrick Henry lived a couple of towns west of here near Brookneal, VA.  Brookneal is where my Grandfather's family was from.

The 'courthouse' stands in....wait for it......Charlotte Courthouse, VA.
Original name for the town, huh?lol

This place wasn't always called Charlotte Courthouse.
It was originally called The Magazine(now that's weird!),and then a few other things like Marysville,  but it's always been CCH since I was born.  They did change the spelling since I've left from Charlotte Courthouse to Charlotte Court House.
Big improvement....

Alot of historic buildings still exist in this town due to the fact that the Yankees didn't rape and pillage here.  Some troops did come through town during the 'War Between The States' but they didn't hang around and torch anything, just pinched some livestock and food from the locals.  Not much going on there then or now except the growing and fire-smoking of tobacco.

I would show you photos of the Plantation House but Google Maps/Street View doesn't have that road in their system.  I remember staying there as well.  It's still standing.  Some descendants of my Great Grandparents pitched in and bought it to keep it in the family.  It would be cool to go back there and see it again.

But I did find a photo of this house.....
This one is across the street and 2 lots down from Grandmama's house.
And it's for sale!
And it's pretty darn cheap too.
If it only had a bigger lot I might consider buying it....

I hope you've enjoyed your time travel voyage.  Please return your seats to the upright position and thank you for flying Sluggy Air.  ;-)


Are We Done Yet Mom?......1 More Trip to Rite-Aid

Well, I had a Motrin PM coupon left and I hadn't done the UKotex deal yet on BIL's account so we stopped at Rite-Aid Again! yesterday evening.

2 x Bounty Basic towels on sale $.99=$1.98
2 x UKotex on sale $3.50=$7.00
1 x Airwick Sprayer 50% off=$4.99
1 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale=$2.99
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$3.00
2 x Mounds candy bars BOGO=$.88

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Bounty towels Manu Q=$1.00
2 x $1/1 UKotex (1 Homemailer/1 IPQ)=$2.00
1 x $4/1 Airwick Sprayer Manu Q=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste Manu Q=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Motin PM Manu Q=$3.00
1 x $.50/2 Mounds/Almond Joy candy bars AdPerks/VV IPQ=$.50
2 x $2 +Up Rewards(Nice 'N Easy & Colgate)=$4.00
Coupon Total....$20.50

$20.84-$20.50=$.34 OOP put on Free Rite-Aid gift card
Value of Items....$33.99
SCR qualified for....$3(Kotex)
+Up Rewards earned.....$3(Motrin), $2(Colgate)=$5.00

I am not out of Motrin PM and Airwick Qs, but I still have Rembrandt, Bounty and Colgate Qs.
Hmmmm....wonder what other scenarios I can come up with.  There are still cans of Hash out there calling my name!lol


Number of Transactions......14
Total Spent....$46.00--all put on free Gift Cards/Certificates
SCR qualified for....$58.98 in cash and $35 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$15 MIR from Neutrogena
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$5.00 Gift Card from Gillette(for survey)& $20 in Prepaid Debit Cards=$25.00
+Up Rewards earned=$52.99
+Up Rewards spent=$24.00

Total Cash I'm getting Back=$73.98
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$60.00
+Up Rewards left to spend=$28.99


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The House I Grew Up In....

I just found a real estate listing from the not so distant past.
The house I grew up in was for sale recently!

Go HERE and then click on the first house on the left.....the red brick one with the single dormer.

Did that bring back a flood of memories.....it was a great place to be a kid!
This is the house that had the mulberry trees McVal. ;-)

Wish they had more photos on the listing.
The house is across the street from the Lafayette River.  This area got put on the Historic Registry awhile back.  I hope they fixed the really bad plumbing in that house first.lol

Anybody got a spare $369K to buy it for me?
Hey, I know all the flaws so I bet you could talk them down to $330K.... ;-)


JUNE Food Stamp Challenge....Days Twenty & Twenty One

This post is part of the June Food Stamp Challenge located over HERE.

As we head into the last third of the month for the June Food Stamp Challenge I have an update to my Budget to make.

Since Daughter didn't return from her training for her summer employment, due to the fact that she was offered 2 additional weeks of work, I need to adjust our Food Stamp Challenge Budget to reflect 1 less person to feed for the last 11 days of the challenge.

At $101 a person, the daily budget per person is $3.36, so when I subtract her food budget for those 11 days, that amount comes to $37.02.
Our $410.72 food budget is now $373.70.
At this point we have spent $167.33 and have $206.37 remaining.

**Actually, we have spent More than $167.33 in food costs for items used/eaten that were bought before June started.  I am keeping a tally of food eaten at other meals as well as drinks and snacks that include foods bought before June started, and will add all of those costs in at the end of the month.  It's the simplest way I can figure to keep track of it all.**

On Day 20-Sunday-DH was out of town depositing #2 son to camp.  I ate leftover Sesame Chicken from the night before for lunch and DH had his plate of leftovers when he returned that evening for dinner.  I munched on leftover cantaloupe and made myself a grilled cheese sandwich for supper.  Yes, I use every opportunity I can find to use that badass industrial cheese slicer I blogged about HERE.  Cost of meals on Sunday for food bought before June....cheese .41¢, mayo .05¢=$.45.
Cost of fast food lunch & 2 coffee purchases for DH=$5.49.(1 coffee was free as a Father's Day Promotion where he stopped.)
Sunday total=$5.94

On Day 21-Monday-I took the last 3 slices of ham out of the freezer from one of the free hams I had gotten in April of 2009 (talked about HERE).  It is at the tail end of it's usable 'life', even with my mad wrapping skillz.  I thawed them and just pan grilled 2 of them, made potato salad from scratch(heavy on the mustard!) and broke out a package of frozen brussel sprouts.  The larger third slice will go into a casserole I have planned for Wednesday's dinner.

Photo courtesy of my camera which is still wheezing & gasping....lol.....

Day 21 food costs for items bought before June......ham Free, condiments .20¢, brussel sprouts .80¢.
Monday total=$1.00

Both Days combined costs....$6.94

We haven't been to the grocery store since last Thursday(our trip for bread products).  We've been out of milk since Friday but as the kids aren't here, we could go another couple of days without buying more, if we had to, unless I wanted to cook something requiring fresh milk.  There is always the powdered milk or the evaporated milk in the stockpile in a pinch.   
 I have enough food in the house to finish the month off without shopping again if I had to.  The grocery sales aren't very good this week so if I do food shop, it won't be a very large shop.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to do a Catalina Deal 3 times and score $74.89 worth of food for just over $30(plus have a $7 catalina coupon giving me $7 of free food next week).

But being on this Food Stamp Challenge made me stop and think before I picked up the keys and headed out the door to the store.  Yes, it would have been a 'deal' and yes, I would have had that 'high' from getting the deal and spending that money.  But seriously, none of the food products were things that we needed.  I have plenty of spaghetti sauce, tea bags and salad dressing already.  Very few people who are actually on food stamps probably have the stockpile of food items I do presently.  It just felt wrong to go buy more of the same.....we have enough already. ;-)

June Food Stamp Challenge Update
Spent to Date....$174.27
June Food Budget Left....$199.43
Days of Challenge Left....09


Garden June 18th Update.....22 Days

With this unseasonably warm weather for June, the garden is starting to take off!
I snapped these photos on Friday, 12 days after the last set of pictures I took.

You can see the tomato plants here have shot up.....they need cages already.
This is what they looked like 12 days earlier....
The eggplant plants are just hanging in there.....
These tomato plants are not growing as fast as the ones at the other end of the bed.  Less sunlight and the soil is not as nice....

The green beans and squash/zuke plants have started coming in at the front of the house.....
And here is the end of the front bed....
The holes in the center of this shot are where the evile chipmunks have dug up the sunflower seeds every time I replanted them, dang them!!
Something buglike has been eating on the collard plants on the right in the photo.  I need to make up some soapy spray to drive them off.....those leaves are for MY MUNCHING Pleasure, not yours so bug off!lol
I guess I'll replant some of the cuke plants I need to thin out in the back bed and put them in here.

More bean plants and the salad greens spottily coming in....
Here is what the salad greens looked like 12 days earlier for comparison.  You'll notice the green beans weren't 'up' yet....

The aforementioned cuke plants.  #1 son sowed these and I do believe every single seed took!  40 cuke plants in the space of oh....3 feet!lol

These collard plants the bugs haven't dined on...yet!lol

And the cauliflower plants just about ready to start heading....

Here is what the collards and cauliflower looked like 12 days past....

Notice how the weeds have begun to take over too......ugh.  I have a very hard time bending down and weeding this bed as it has a definite slope and my old body has a hard time keeping my balance while bending over to weed.  I may need to look for some kind of weeding tool with a long handle.....I used one at the CSA we use to belong to but it's not a cheap tool.

So how is your garden growing?
Are you getting any good eats out of it yet?


More Rite-Aid Booty.......How Much Hash is Enough?!

I finally got out to Rite-Aid right before dinner last night.

Here is the damage I did.....

Transaction #1
2 x Pantene 'Poo on sale $3.50=$7.00
1 x Finish Quantumatic 50% off=$5.49
1 x Airwick Sprayer 50% off=$4.99
3 x Hormel Hash on sale $1.50=$4.50

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Pantene Homemailer(Vocalpt.) Q=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Finish Quantumatic IPQ=$3.00
1 x $4/1 Finish Quantumatice AdPerks/VV IPQ=$4.00
1 x $4/1 Airwick Sprayer ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $1/$10 Household Purchase Wellnedd CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $3 +Up Rewards(Motrin)=$3.00
Coupon Total....$21.00

$21.98-$21.00=$.98 OOP put on free RA gift card
SCR qualified for--BIL's account....$3(Pantene)special emailed link SCR=$3.00
+Up Rewards earned....$3(Pantene), $3(Motrin)=$6.00

Then I went back in and did this....

1 x Nice 'n Easy 20% wellness discount=$6.39
2 x Rembrandt Toothpaste 20% wellness discount($6.39)=$12.78
1 x Finish Quantumatic 50% off=$5.49
1 x Airwick Sprayer 50% off=$4.99
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$3.00
2 x Hormel Hash on sale $1.50=$3.00

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 Wellness Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Nice 'N Easy ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $2.50/1 Nice 'N Easy In-Ad Q=$2.50
2 x $3/1 Rembrandt Toothpaste IPQ=$6.00
2 x $3/1 Rembrandt Product AdPerks/VV IPQ=$6.00
1 x $1/$10 Oral Care Purchase Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Finish Quantumatic IPQ=$3.00
1 x $4/1 Finish Quantumatice AdPerks/VV IPQ=$4.00
1 x $4/1 Airwick Sprayer ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $3/1 Motrin PM ManuQ=$3.00
Coupon Total....$35.50

$35.65-$35.50=$.15+$.03 tax=$.18 OOP put on Free RA gift card
 SCR qualified for....$3.00(Nice 'N Easy)on BIL's account
+Up Rewards earned....$2(Nice 'N Easy), $3(Motrin)=$5.00

Then I hit a different Rite-Aid on the way home....

Transaction #3
2 x Bounty Basic towels on sale($.99)=$1.98
1 x Rembrandt Toothpaste 20% off w/wellness discount=$6.63
1 x Glad Kitchen bags on sale=$5.99
2 x Purex 3-in-1 Sheets on sale($3)=$6.00
1 x Finish Quantumatic 50% off=$5.49
1 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale=$2.99

Coupons Used

1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Bounty towels ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Rembrandt Toothpaste IPQ=$3.00
1 x $3/1 Rembrandt Product AdPerks/VV IPQ=$3.00
1 x $10 Oral Care Purchase Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $.55/1 Glad Peelie Q=$.55
2 x $1/1 Purex 3-In-1 Sheets IPQ=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Purex 3-In-1 Sheets AdPerks/VV IPQ=$4.00
1 x $3/1 Finish Quantumatic IPQ=$3.00
1 x $4/1 Finish Quantumatice AdPerks/VV IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/$10 Household Purchase Wellness CRT Q=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$28.55

$29.08-$28.55=$.53 OOP put on Free RA gift card
 SCR qualified for....$1.00(Glad)on BIL's account
+Up Rewards earned....$1(Purex), $2(Colgate)=$3.00

Monday's totals....
OOP....$1.69 put of gift card
Value of Items....$148.06
SCRs qualified for...$7.00
+Up Rewards earned....$11.00
+Up Rewards spent....$3.00

Again, the Motrin, the Finish Quantumatic & the Rembrandt(when I bought 2 in the same transaction and paired it with the $1/$10 Oral Care wellness Q)gave overage.  The Pantene, Purex and Hair color were free with sales/coupons/+Up rewards/rebates or a combination of any of those.
I went to the 1st store looking to buy Purex sheets but they were out so that's why I stopped at the 2nd store on the way home.  Being out of Purex sheets meant I had to changed up the plan in store #1 but I had other options and coupons to use so no big deal.
You will note for the record that I am up to 9 cans of Hash.  I'll have to hit an additional Rite-Aid location to get more as none of them seem to stock very many cans. ;-)

Bringing forward the Monthly Totals....

Number of Transactions......13
Total Spent....$45.66--all put on free Gift Cards/Certificates
SCR qualified for....$55.98 in cash and $35 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$15 MIR from Neutrogena
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$5.00 Gift Card from Gillette(for survey)& $20 in Prepaid Debit Cards=$25.00
+Up Rewards earned=$47.99
+Up Rewards spent=$20.00

Total Cash I'm getting Back=$70.98
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$60.00
+Up Rewards left to spend=$27.99

**I just realized I did a transaction I forgot to account for 2 weeks ago involving diapers.  I'll post that one  and add the results to the monthly totals tomorrow.  My OOP was something astronomical like $6!lol  As always this was put on a gift card..... ;-)