Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Technical Difficulties....Please Stand By!

Just a quick update to let everyone know my computer is dead in the water at the moment.
Figures this would happen right when I get my eBay store opened for the Holidays, right?lol

So until I can get back online I won't be blogging.
Hopefully it's something we can fix soon.

Take care everyone and pray that my machine gets revived.... 8-(


Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh Virginia, there is no Santa Claus at RITE-AID!

Well as reported on many Rite-Aid reporting deal blogs now, the sad news is that EVERY FORM of PAYMENT on your purchase at Rite-Aid except for CASH, GIFT CARDS or CREDIT/DEBIT CARDS is disallowed toward your total to qualify for the GIFT OF SAVINGS Promotion.

I submitted 1 of my receipts on the Rite-Aid Website and here is my GOS total.....try not to laugh too hard!lol

 PurchasedStoreRegTrans Product Name QtyAmount
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039Gil Sensor 3 Sns Skn 4Ct 1 $5.49
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039Vas Men Xstrngth Ltn 10Z 1 $2.99
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039Ckp Duracell Aa 4Pk 6 $15.00
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039Colg 360 Actflx Man Fhm Tb 1 $1.77
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039$1 OFF COLGATE TOOTHBRSH360 1 ($1.00)
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039WELLNESS PLUS COUPON $1.00 1 ($1.00)
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039MERCHANDISE TAXABL 9 ($11.75)
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039WELLNESS PLUS COUPON $2.00 3 ($6.00)
11/26/10 00:00 AM49902904039$5 OFF $25 NONPERSCRIPTION 1 ($5.00)
Total 24 $0.50


Oh Rite-Aid......how un-Holiday Spirit of you......
Ok, I won't whine much longer, seeing as I get tons of good deals besides this one case, and I heart the employees at my Rite-Aids around here.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rite-Aid & the Gift of Savings SUCKS!...NOVEMBER SCR Period TOTALS *Update*

So I didn't stand in any lines at the mall or the BBS(aka Big Box Stores) scooping up Christmas Deals this Weekend.
I did go to Rite-Aid.
And Over.
And Over Again.

Friday was the beginning of the qualifying period for the GIFT OF SAVINGS Promotion at Rite-Aid.
Like in years past, the GOS is when your purchases qualify you for a $5, $10 or $20 Gift Certificate, depending on your level of spending.  Just submit your receipts on the Rite-Aid website anytime you make a purchase between November 26th and December 24th.   This year the Certificates will be mailed electronically, not snail mailed as in years past, so you'll get it super quick!

If you spend between $25 and $50, you get a $5 Certificate.
If you spend between $50.01 and $100, you get a $10 Certificate.
If you spend over $100, you get a $20 Certificate.

As an added bonus this year, if at least $25 of your purchases during this time are spent on qualifying Photo Center items, you'll receive a Bonus $5 added to your Certificate, for a possible total of $25 when you buy over $100 in items.

This year though, you MUST use your WELLNESS CARD when you shop to qualify your purchases for the GOS program, so get a card if you don't have one and Happy Saving!

I had a feeling that Rite-Aid would bring back to GOS for the Holidays, so I have been saving up some FREE ITEM Coupons to use once the qualifying purchase period got here.  This is always a good thing to do if a store is holding special promotion where you qualify for rebates/discounts/etc. and the larger your purchase is the more you get.  I've held onto free item coupons to use during "Spend $X, get a Free Turkey" deals.  Buy the items that you have free item coupons for to get to $X and you will actually be out of pocket nothing(or alot less)that way and get your free turkey.  Some of the cereal, the Pringles, the Cottonelle wipes(even tho they weren't the ones on sale that gave the +Up Reward, they were still free with the free item Q)were all free.  The LSS Deodorant, the Tugaboos, the Vaseline, the Earbuds, the Got2B, the Hand Soap, the Cold Pack, the Toothpaste, the Toothbrushes, the Candy Bars and the M&Ms were all free or better than free after coupons and/or +Up Rewards.

Well I am so disappointed in the Gift of Savings Promotion this year!
Why you ask?
Because as I saw it reported on "For The Mommas" blog, that only what you actually "spend" counts toward your qualifying purchases.
I just submitted a receipt from Friday onto the Rite-Aid website and THEY TOOK OFF EVERY DISCOUNT/COUPON/WELLNESS CERTIFICATE I USED ON THE TRANSACTION!

I now have a whole .50¢ that I put on my gift card for that transaction toward a GOS certificate.
GOSH!....what a whole lot of nothing!lol

Since they seem to be disallowing all forms of payment toward this premium except for gift cards/cash/credit cards, I guess I won't be qualifying for a GOS this year.

The sales flyer at Rite-Aid this week was very good.
Add in that the 3 Day Thanksgiving Weekend special Sale was even better!
I did 7 (yes, Seven!)transactions in the last 2 days.
Here is the evidence.....one big group photo....

8 Planters Nuts(BIL card)
1 pack Cottonelle TP(It was all gone on Thurs. except this one!)
1 Cottonelle Wipes(not the one on sale, they were also gone)
10 Tugaboo Diaper Packs
2 M&Ms
6 Duracell Battery Packs
2 Colgate Toothpaste
2 Colgate Toothbrushes(BIL card)
1 Earbuds
2 Vaseline(also hard to find by Friday)
2 Dial Hand Soap
2 Gilette Razors
1 Noxema Razors
20 Candy Bars(10 me/10 BIL card...Who wouldn't take free chocolate?lol)
3 Cereal
1 Got2Be hair stuff
1 pack Reading Glasses(Only pack in store)
2 Lady Speed Stick Deo
2 Pringles
1 Ace Cold Pack
1 Olay Body Wash
1 Secret travel size Deo
2 Oreo Cookies
8 Ramen Noodles
*Not included in this photo are 7 12-packs of soda.*

I have qualified for the $20 GOS already and BIL card has qualified for the $10.
$21.81 more and he'll reach $100 and qualify for the $20 GOS as well. 

Total Spent....$7.75 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$316.80
SCR qualified for...$17.98
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$00.00
+Up Rewards earned...$45.00
+Up Rewards spent...$53.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$25.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......39
Total Spent....$26.30  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,843.52
SCR qualified for....$59.98
Other Cash....$14.99

Gift of Savings Reward...$0.00
Additional Rebates....$31.99
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/23.....$33.99
+Up Rewards spent....$231.50
+Up Rewards earned....$237.49
+Up Rewards left....$25.99

I spent $26.30 Out of Pocket this SCR period at Rite-Aid.
I put that amount on a free-to-me Rite-Aid gift card so ZERO cash was spent.
I will receive $106.96 in cash from SCRebates or other Manufacturer's Rebates.
I have $25.99 in +Up Rewards(good as cash at Rite-Aid)to use to buy more.
I have over $1800 worth of merchandise.

I'd call November a very Very Good month for me. 8-))


Photo +Ups & Nuts +Ups.....Rite-Aid Stuff

Since my Planters nuts coupons arrived Wednesday morning, I checked out the Rite-Aid over by the grocery store I needed to go to that day.

With the craziness of getting ready for Thanksgiving I didn't get a picture taken of this trip but I bought....

5 x Planters Nuts on sale $3.99=$19.95
2 x Band-Aid trial size $.79 w/wellness disc.=$1.58
1 x Purell Hand Sani. small size w/wellness disc.=$1.59
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$4.00
1 x Ace Cold Pack w/wellness disc.=$1.03
Used $15.50 in Manu and IP coupons for a total of $12.65.

I used $12 in +Up Rewards and put the $.65 on my free Rite-Aid gift card.
I received $15 in +Up Rewards back for this purchase(5x$2Planters and the $5 WYB $15 in Planters)=$15 +Ups
In addition, I'll submit for SCR #81(Motrin PM)under BIL's account for a $2.00 cash rebate.

"Spent" $12, getting $17 back.

Then I ran out after dinner to scope out the Planters situation at my local store & to see if the +Ups Photo Frame deal was still printing on the lower priced items....

1 Planters Nut*rition--used $1/1 Q & $.50/1 Flu Booklet Q=$2.49
4 Kleenex--used $1/3 AdPerks/VV Q & $1/4 ManuQ=$1.96
2 Fiber Plus Bars--used 2x$2/1 IPQs=$1.00
4 Chow Mein Bowls--used $1/3 ManuQ=$3.00
2 Diaper trial packs(wellness disc.)= minus .42¢
2 Keychains(wellness disc.)=$4.78
1 Acrylic Frame(wellness disc.)=$1.99
1 Magnet Frame(wellness disc.)=$1.19
Used a $5 off $25 Q and $10 in +Up Rewards, put OOP $.99 on Rite-Aid gift card.

Suppose to receive $17 in +Ups($2 Planters, $1 Fiber Plus Bars, $2 Chow Mein Noodles, $12 Photo Frames), but the Frames +Ups didn't print.
Since all the pegs that these frames were displayed on had the Wellness +Ups tag that they gave $3+Ups per item on them, I called Corporate Customer Service.  If the shelves/pegs weren't tagged I wouldn't have bothered to call and make a case for the +Ups, but they were, so I did.lol  And since the tags were there(wrongly or rightly so)they said I was due the +Ups for buying the products.  So I'll be getting the +Up Rewards and I'm counting them in my totals for the month even though they have to be mailed and I can't spend them for awhile.

Spend $10 +Ups, getting $17 +Ups back.

Total Spent....$1.64(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$84.03
SCR qualified for...$2.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$00.00
+Up Rewards earned...$32.00
+Up Rewards spent...$22.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$33.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......32
Total Spent....$18.55  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,526.72
SCR qualified for....$42.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$31.99
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/23.....$23.99
+Up Rewards spent....$178.50
+Up Rewards earned....$192.49
+Up Rewards left....$33.99


Friday, November 26, 2010

Where Will You Be on Friday?

Will you be out with the Shopping Fanatics on Friday morning?
Or will you be snug in your bed or headed to work at that early hour?
Me?....I don't 'do' Black Friday.

Besides the fact that I don't have many people to buy "stuff" for during the Holidays, it's rare that I want/need something so badly at an insanely low price that I'd brave the traffic headaches, go out into the Chaos of Crowds and stand in lines a mile long to pay in order to save money on an electronic/appliance/toy/article of clothing/etc.
But that's just me I suppose....
Hey, I am all over a great deal but even I have my limits.

If you do have the "Shopping Monkey on your back" and you'll be hitting as many stores as time will allow in a Shopping Bachanalia, remember that all that "stuff" you buy needs to fit into your already crowded with "stuff" home and once you are done with the new "stuff", it will most likely end up clogging up a landfill somewhere....and we are fast running out of places to dispose of all our unwanted "stuff" on this planet.  Consider these points and buy judiciously if you have to purchase "stuff".

The teens mostly want cash or gift cards and Hubs and I don't need more "stuff". I'm going to try to find ways to support local businesses this year when I do buy.
I'll try to find gift cards/certificates to buy off of local small merchants(for consumables or experiences mostly)and try to stay out of the big box stores.

Speaking of big box stores and Black Friday, have a lookie at this SNL skit and tell me that this isn't where we are headed.....

Since I sold a few things on eBay on Thanksgiving(bless all those cyber shoppers with nothing to do but watch football on Thursday!lol) I'll be packing and shipping when I'm not strolling down the aisles at Rite-Aid on Friday seeing what food/HBA items I can bring home for free(or close to it).

Whatever you are doing on Black Friday, stay safe, stay sane and stay warm!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Short History of Thanksgiving in the New World....

Every school child learns at a young age that the Pilgrims held the 1st Thanksgiving Meal that we celebrate to this day.
But actually, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were NOT the first European settlers in the New World to hold a Thanksgiving.

There were FOUR earlier Thanksgiving celebrations on this new continent....one was held in what was to become North Carolina and three in what was to become Virginia.

#1 Took place in 1586 on Roanoke Island, NC. near present day Manteo.   This was the contingency brought to the New World by Sir Walter Raleigh to found a settlement.  These 100 men lasted about a year and after holding their meal of Thanksgiving they folded up shop and sailed home.

#2  Took place in 1609, at Jamestown, Virginia at the Jamestown Settlement.  This is the First Thanksgiving held by European immigrants at the 1st permanent settlement in the New World.  (Since the Roanoke Colony was abandoned, that earlier celebration is often discounted.)  This Thanksgiving was held after a year of near starvation.  They were thankful that they had survived the lack of food and disease and that a relief supply ship was soon to arrive.

#3  The same Jamestown Settlement held another document-able celebration in 1612, when the Colony's Governor returned with a shipload of women destined to be wives for many lucky settlers. 

#4  Another document-able Thanksgiving dinner was held in 1619 at nearby Berkley Plantation, also along the James River near Jamestown in VA.

#5  The Thanksgiving celebration at Plimouth Plantation wasn't until 1621, a full 35 yrs. after Roanoke Colony's and 12 yrs after the first Jamestown celebration.

And then there is the contingent that sees the 1st American Thanksgiving as being celebrated in St. Augustine Florida in 1565 by the Spanish explorers, long before the Pilgrims or Sir Walter Raleigh's crew or the Jamestown Colony gang.

I often think that historians pegged the Massachusetts Thanksgiving as the genesis of the Holiday due to the fact that the colony was founded by Europeans fleeing religious persecution.  And once they got here the Pilgrims began exhibiting discrimination toward anyone who wanted to practice different religious beliefs from theirs, but that's another lesson in intolerance for another time. ;-)

The VA Colony founders were farmers and merchants who took part in settling the New World for economic freedom and opportunities.   The religion stuff was not the issue for them.

Having grown up in the South, I often felt that the earlier VA based Thanksgivings were not given their due.  The way it comes off, since none of those school books I ever read as a child mentioned any of the other earlier Thanksgiving celebrations, is that only people who are religiously oppressed are worthy of being considered the 1st to give thanks.


Having grown up and sought knowledge beyond those inaccurate textbooks I have learned a more accurate history of the Holiday.

And that's without getting into the whole "There were indigenous people here long before the Europeans arrived" issue, so yah, the Holiday is way older than whatever anyone claims!

But I can safely say that the cutest first Thanksgiving celebration was this one from my youth....

No matter which date you observe as the "first" Thanksgiving Day, here's hoping your day to Give Thanks is peaceful, you have people around you that you truly care about and who care about you, and you are aware of the many awesome blessings you have.

I'm off to count mine....one by one.
Then some pie and a nap.


Pumpkin Alchemy

Along with running errands, today was Pie Making Day.  I had 8 pumpkins still sitting in my garage I had gotten from the farmstand last month.

I have a confession to make.
Up until day, I have NEVER MADE A PUMPKIN PIE from SCRATCH.
My pumpkin puree has always come out of an orange container, yes....but that container wasn't roundish with a stem....it was cylindrical and said "Libby's" on it.

At my advanced age, it was about time I made my own pumpkin puree.
So I was off to perform some Pumpkin Magic!

First, we chose our hapless unsuspecting victim.....

*Imagine me stroking it like Gollum and saying, "My Precious, preeeciousss....".*

 Then we performed a vivisection on him....my surgical technique left alot to be desired.
More like Night of the Living Dead than Gray's Anatomy....

Next we used one of our kitchen multi-taskers to gut him.
Pumpkin gutting tool aka ice cream scoop.....Alton would be so proud.....

 This was followed by spraying a sheet pan with oil, plopping the two halves down on said sheet pan(outsides up) and putting it into a preheated 350 degree oven.
Let's take a look at the pumpkin guts while our little orange fellow roasts, shall we?....

You have 4 options with this mess here.
1--Throw it out.  That's easiest but the less desirable choice.
2--Salvage as many seeds as you can, roast them, toss with salt or other seasonings and you have a frugal tasty snack.
3--Take a food processor to this lovely glop 'o pumpkin innards and add it to your dog's dinner bowl.  The seeds and the fiberous nature of pumpkin innards will help clean your doggies innards out and make his bowels happy. (I got this tip from my buddy Alex M over at Living Without Money.)
4--Salvage as many seeds as you can, dry them and then store them away in a dark place until planting time, then attempt to grow from seed your very own pumpkins.

Back to our pumpkin....
When he is done(about 40 min., the flesh should be soft and give way easily when poked or pressed on), take him out and let cool.
After he cools off, we pulled off his skin and cubed the flesh up.

Then we took our Stick Blender to this bowl and blended away until it looked something like this......

Actually, the stick blender didn't render the mash smooth enough so I dumped it, in 3 cup allotments, into my Waring Blender.  Since we roasted and didn't boil the pumpkin it wasn't wet at all, so we needed to add some tap water so we didn't burn out the blender's motor. (About 1 cup of water per 4 cups of mash.)

This 1 pumpkin gave us approx. 7 cups of puree.  Most pie recipes call for between 1 3/4 cups and 2 cups per pie.  We made 2 pies so the leftover puree went into a Ziploc bag and into the freezer.

We added the usual additional ingredients to our puree, poured the mixture into a pie crust and baked it according to the recipe's directions and ........

.....Here is the finished product!
If I don't say so myself, it looks good enough to eat.  ;-)

The teens have been eyeing it for the last 4 hours.
I may have to sleep with one eye open tonight to keep Mr. Pie from falling into their evil clutches before morning.

Pass the Whipped Cream,


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Universe Hears You & Provides..If You Pay Attention

So last check-up at the Orthodontist for #2 son he got called out for his lackluster brushing efforts.
I contend that people kept their teeth clean for eons without battery operated gizmos(aka toothbrushes) and I don't see why #2 needs me to shell out big money for one of these now.
He just needs to make a better effort.

But Mr. Orthodontist man succeeded in pissing me off(or rather the people working for him since he never seems to be around when we have an appointment scheduled).   He had his employee trying to sell me(at a great discounted price no less!HA)an uber expen$ive battery operated gizmo to rectify the dismal brushing results we were getting, all for the bargain price of $150.
Yah......*see me sitting there making skeptical grimaces and repeating "No way in Hell!" in my mind.*

Haven't I already paid this man a gazillion dollars to fill my kids mouth with metal & wires and cause the offspring pain every 4 weeks or so when they change and tighten said metal  & wires?
I don't appreciate the heavy handed sales pitch pressuring me to throw even more money at the kid's teeth!
And it's worth noting that Ms. Toothbrush Saleswoman kept us captive far longer trying to get me to cave in and buy a gizmo than anyone at this office has EVER spent bending my ear updating me on what is going on with #2 son's treatment.
I left that place with a bad taste in my mouth concerning Mr. Orthodontist and his business practices.

Anyway, fast forward to this past Sunday.  I spied in the SmartSource coupon insert a bunch of coupons and a Mail-In Rebate as well for Phillips Sonicare battery operated toothbrushes.
And after a quick look at my Rite-Aid November Single Check Rebate Directory I noticed SCRebate #54 for the Sonicare Toothbrush for $20.

And the next things I know, I am in the car and heading to Rite-Aid to get this....

Toothbrush reg. $84.99, on sale=$44.99

Coupons Used....
$5 off $25 purchase=$5.00
$10/1 ManuQ(sunday inserts)=$10.00
$1 off $10 Oral Care purchase Wellness Q(in my wellness acct. on Rite-Aid website)=$1.00
Total....$16.00 off

$44.99-$16.00=$28.99 + $1.73 in tax=$30.72
Used $28 in +Up Rewards(which took off $1.68 in tax as well)=$29.68

Since +Ups can't be applied to tax and another $1 +Up would have taken off $1.06, I paid $1.04 Out of Pocket, put on my Rite-Aid Gift Card.

I'll submit for SCR #54 and get $20.00 cash refund from Rite-Aid.
I'll submit via snail mail to Phillips for the $10.00 Manufacturer's rebate.
So I'll receive $30 back and will have "spent" $29.04, making this a free toothbrush + .96¢ in overage.

Now #2 son has NO excuses for poor brushing.
I'll worry about the cost of the replacement heads for this gizmo later......

And I'm not happy that I acquiesced on this matter but at least I didn't sully my Mantle of Frugality in the process.lol

Total Spent....$1.04(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$84.99
SCR qualified for...$20.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$10.00
+Up Rewards earned...$0.00
+Up Rewards spent...$28.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$23.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......30
Total Spent....$16.91  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,442.69
SCR qualified for....$40.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$31.99
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/20.....$51.99
+Up Rewards spent....$156.50
+Up Rewards earned....$160.49
+Up Rewards left....$23.99


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Trio of White Things Hodge-Podge

Ok, so the unifying thread that ties all my babbling in today's post together is the color white.

What is missing from this picture?

Ok.....here's a visual clue.......compared to this photo, what is missing above....besides the sunny day?

We've got a case for Unsolved Mysteries here!
About a month ago, the new, bigger RV aka The Behemoth got pulled away.  Since it was in the midst of the school year(and they have a kid)I figured the Grandparents had taken it out for a fall camping getaway, since they have borrowed it in the past for trips.
But the Behemoth has been gone for a month+ now.....and the Grandparents have never taken it out for that long before...and never this deep into the Fall weather(meaning when it's this cold).
No one has said anything in regards to the Behemoth that I have been able to overhear.
I may just have to think up an excuse to go over there and ask.....not that I don't mind it being gone!

And speaking of weather....
It's almost the end of November and we have had(I know I'm jinxing us with this)NO SNOW yet!
A Single.
The photo above I had to dig out from last February's stash of pics, to show you some of what we ususally have.

This is northeastern PA people.....and we live on top of a MOUNTAIN....albeit a small mountain, but still....
Very rarely do we get to this point in the calendar with not at least 1 or 2 'snow events' that don't instantly disappear upon hitting the ground.
I could get use to this though since the PITA Chihuahua won't go out in snow.
She thinks she is the freaking Queen of England or something and won't go off the deck if there is a dusting of white stuff.  Guess who gets a foot shoved up her hiney to get her off the deck on a regular basis in the winter?

I'm sure we'll pay for this fluke "No Snow In Nov." thing with  lots of APRIL SNOW(which by the way is so WRONG!)on the tail end of Snow Season around these parts.

And speaking of white stuff.....
We now officially live in the "bad" part of town.....if you can call this a town.lol

Our next door neighbor rang our doorbell the other night and let us know that someone had thrown something on the teen's car earlier that evening.  His grown daughter's car, she was visiting from out of town, also was a recipient of this special honor as well.  Both cars were parked down at the street when it happened.
Neighbor's daughter called the police so there was more doorbell ringing here as the patrolman wanted to get our information for his report, etc.  No damage that couldn't be washed off.

I went out the next morning and took some photos of the *ahem*, artwork......

Hubs deduced that the 'media' used in this graffiti art was New England Clam Chowder.
We both simultaneously said, "What a waste of a good cup of chowder."

Now I could see throwing a cup of hot coffee, or spraying a bottle of soda pop on a car.....but who the hell joyrides around with containers of clam chowder for the singular purpose of decorating someone's parked  car?
And the landlocked mountainous area of PA is not where people go around eating clam chowder much anyway, nor is it a popular carry-out food item at any restaurants here.

At least it could be washed off and didn't leave a permanent mark.
It's an 18 yr. old car for gosh sakes so who cares about how it looks, right?lol

I'm just glad the 'hooligans' who did this didn't use rocks or bricks and smash windows or slash tires....this time!
The policeman said he was going to go check up on the whereabouts of our neighborhood, as he called them....*ahem* "freqent flyers" (aka juvenile deliquents).  We've got about 4 rotten egg teens living around here who may or may not be involved.
I'm not getting myself all worked up over this until they do something like set my mailbox on fire....
Once they start destroying the holder of my free samples and coupons, then it will get ugly, I guarantee that!!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Meal Plan Monday....November 22nd Edition...Gobble, Gobble

I won't be employing my BPLS system(=Browse/Plan/List/Shop)this week.
*Most weeks, I see what leftovers I need to incorporate into this week's meals, then I Browse the sale ads for the store, Plan a menu, Make a List of what you need for that menu and THEN go food Shopping.
Since I have an overflowing freezer/fridge this week, I'll be incorporating leftovers and shopping from what I have already on hand to come up with my meal plan.  The Thanksgiving foods were all purchased last week in advance of the holiday.

Here's what I will be serving our family of 4 this Week.....our household presently consists of 2 adults and 2 teens at home. (Except we will serve 6 on Thursday.)  No children under 14.

SUNDAY--Marinated Ginger Catfish, Garlic Mashed Taters, Stir Fried Mixed Veggies
MONDAY--Beef Enchiladas, Refried Beans, Guacamole and Salad
TUESDAY--BBQ Chicken Breasts, homemade Macaroni and Cheese, Veggie(to be determined)
WEDNESDAY--Homemade Boston Baked Beans, Hot Dogs, leftover Veggies from Sat.-Tues.
THURSDAY--Turkey Day
FRIDAY--NOT COOKING!  Plenty of Leftovers to graze upon
SATURDAY--Meatloaf, to be determined leftover side dishes we need to finish up from this week

How am I being frugal with this menu?

Sun.--The Catfish was bought on special, stockpiled taters, veggies on sale $1 a bag.
Mon.--I have leftover taco meat to use up so I'll add some fresh ground beef, onions and respice it all.  Plus I'll make my own Enchilada Sauce for pennies.  Beans from the stockpile, avocados were on special for $1 last week so I picked one up to make the guac.
Tues.--Chicken breast from Sat. on special, leftover alfredo sauce to use up I'll use as the base of the mac and cheese sauce along with shredded cheese in the freezer, pasta in the stockpile and frozen veg. also in the freezer.
Wed.--Bag of yellow eyed beans I got in Maine and stockpiled bacon for the BBBs, Hot Dogs in the freezer, Bread Outlet rolls to use up and leftover veggies.
Thurs.--Discount prices this last week on traditional Thanksgiving foods I bought along with stockpile foods make this as frugal as you can get for a big honking meal.lol
I'll be serving Turkey, stuffing, rolls(free after MIR), gravy(homemade), sweet potatoes, rutabaga, roasted fall root veggies, deviled eggs(used BOGO eggs coupon last week), pumpkin pie with whipped cream and key lime w/meringue pie.
Fri.--The ultimate in frugal cooking.....serving a leftover buffet. ;-)
Sat.--Meatloaf fixings in the freezer/stockpile and using up leftovers.

I spent $85.29 last week on groceries.  I have $37.08 left in my $250 monthly food budget until the end of November.

The only purchase for this menu is possibly some bread for the stuffing on Thanksgiving.  I'll head over to the Bread Outlet tomorrow for that.

Nothing went bad, nothing wasted last week. 

Check out ORGANIZING JUNKIE to see what other Home Cooks are serving this week.


Not Much for Me To Take Home from Rite-Aid This Week & Perfume GOOD DEAL ALERT!

I finally got up to Rite-Aid after dinner on Sunday.
While last week was a BLOW OUT Week, this week is pretty slim pickings for me.
The Sunday vultures had left me a few crumbs thankfully.....lol.....

2 x Welch's Juice(no purple, just white, boo!)on sale $2.99=$5.98
4 x Tresemme 'Poo/Stylers on sale BOGO($5.49)=$10.98
1 x Planters Nut*rition on sale=$3.99
1 x Motrin PM on sale=$4.00
2 x Tugaboos trial diaper pack w/wellness disc.$.79=$1.58

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 Q=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Welch's Juice Hangtag Q=$1.00
4 x $1/1 Tresemme Flu Booklet Q=$4.00
1 x $5/3 Tresemme products AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Tresemme styler AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Planters nut product IPQ(from Kraft 1st Taste website)=$1.00
1 x $.50/1 Nut*rition Flu Booklet Q=$.50
1 x $2/1 Motrin PM ManuQ(from Sunday insert)=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Motrin PM AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Tugaboos item Q(from previous diaper trial pack insert)=$2.00
Coupon Total...$22.50


I used $4 in +Up Rewards and put the $.03 Out of Pocket on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received $4 in +Up Rewards(2 x $1Welch's, $2 Planters Nut*rition)=$4.00 back.
I also qualified for SCR #81(Motrin PM)=$2.00 cash rebate.
I kept my +Ups at $51.99 worth but I'll get $2 back.

I've rolled all 2 of the +Ups I needed to use this week.  I wanted to buy the Hash on sale but they only had 2 cans and I need at least 3 to use my ManuQs.  I'm also waiting on my Planters Qs to arrive to get more Nut*rition cans.

There is a great deal on Shakira fragrance of perfume this week if you have someone who wants this as a gift or if you yourself use this scent.
This week this is among the scents that is $10 off the reg. price.  It retails here for $28 a bottle.
Combine this instant $10 off with a $5 off $25 purchase and the $5 AdPerks/VV Q for Shakira and you'll pay $8 a bottle.
But it gets better because there is a $3 SCR on this scent during the Nov. rebate period, so in the end you pay $5!!

Total Spent....$.03(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$41.31
SCR qualified for...$2.00
Other Rebats earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$4.00
+Up Rewards spent...$4.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$51.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......29
Total Spent....$15.87  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,357.70
SCR qualified for....$20.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$21.99
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/20.....$51.99
+Up Rewards spent....$128.50
+Up Rewards earned....$160.49
+Up Rewards left....$51.99


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday Food/HBA Shopping Madness

  I decided NOT to go to Price Chopper for a free turkey seeing as I'd have to spend $50 to get that 'free' bird.
I probably spent more than $50 when all was said and done however by not going there.lol

I thought Redner's had $.49lb. frozen birds and they had Coke products for $2 a 12 pack(limit 5 please)so I hopped over the river to get some things.
Hopping over the river was easier said than done since I hadn't counted on the big town in between me and Redner's having their Christmas Parade on Saturday....right around the time I tried to go from here to there.
It took forever to go around the parade route but I persevered and got there.

Got the Cokes but no Turkeys for cheap.
They had Dietz & Watson poultry deli meats 40% off(!!!)and Daughter wanted some lunch meats so I picked up smoked turkey, bacon lover's turkey and southern friend chicken breast.
I was so hungry I snacked on a couple of pieces once I got it out to the car in the parking lot. Mmmmm....the bacon lover's turkey is awesome!  Too bad it won't go on sale like that probably EVER AGAIN since I won't pay the reg. retail of $8.99lb. for it.

Redner's also had a deal w/coupon in their ad....buy 4 pillsbury refrigerated dough or sweet moments choc. things(which were on sale for $2 ea.)and get $3 off a gallon of milk.  I had Qs for the sweet moments things($1/1)and some packages had peelies for $1/1 also.  And when I checked out, there was a pillsbury catalina deal on the stuff.  Having bought 4 I received a $3 OYNO Catalina Q. 
So I bought 4=$8 & a gallon of milk($3.33)=$11.33-4x$1/1 Qs=$7.33, Milk Discount($3)=$4.33 and received $3 Cat=$1.33 for all after Catalina Q.
Not bad.
This Deal on the milk runs another week at Redner's(the Catalina runs through 12/26.

I also found Breakstone Sour Cream on sale for $1.25 with $1/2 Peelies, which made the sour cream containers $.75 each after Q.  Add in a few other things and I left there $44.39 poorer.....but still no turkey!

So it was off to the local independent grocer, thinking their ad is where I saw cheap birds.
But I got celery for $.99, ice cream for $2 a tub, fruit, lettuce, a rutabaga and yogurt to the tune of $14.84.

Then it was off to Weis Markets and yes, THEY had the frugal poultry!  Picked up a nice 14.62lb. Boat Anchor masquerading as a frozen turkey.lol
I also cruised by the meat counter and found some $2.99lb. fresh catfish(I've got it sitting in marinade as I type), and a 5lb. package of marked down boneless chicken breast which came to $1.42lb. after the store Q.
A sack of Beauregard Sweet Potatoes, some cheapish butter with Qs and a bag of bagels finished up my Turkey Day shopping list for $26.06.

In between all this grocery store-ing, I managed to work in 4 transactions at various Rite-Aids.
Since that week's sales are over, I'll just show you the photos of the hauls and give you the non-itemized totals of how it went down.  If anyone is interested in the particulars, just leave a comment about that.

I'll just preface this by saying that this Fall has been epic for me at Rite-Aid and I have amassed quite the wad of +Up Rewards, along with a few SCRs/MIRs making November a real moneymaking month. 8-)

#1--After Qs, I used $9 in +Ups, put $.91 on my gift card and received $11 +Ups back.

#2--After Qs, I used $4 in +Ups, put $.98 on my gift card and received $4 +Ups back.
I also qualified for a $11.99 MIR for Tena Underwear.

#3--After Qs, I used $6 in +Ups, put $.88 on my gift card and received $10 +Ups back.
This was a repeat of the L'Oreal Make-up deal I did earlier in the week.

#4--After Qs, I used $9 in +Ups, put $.51 on my gift card and received $8 +Ups back.
I also qualified for SCR #79($3).

Altogether, I put $3.28 Out of Pocket on the gift card, used $28 in +Ups, received $33 in +Ups back.

Nothing Out of Pocket, I grew my +Up Rewards by $5 and I will get back $14.99 in cash for the 2 rebates.
Value of the items purchased.....$177.21

This week should find me being a home body and not leaving the house much.  I'll be cooking and cleaning this week in preparation for Thanksgiving and reorganizing stuff before Winter sets in.

Total Spent....$3.28(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$177.21
SCR qualified for...$3.00
Other Rebats earned...$11.99
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$33.00
+Up Rewards spent...$28.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$51.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......28
Total Spent....$15.84  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,316.39
SCR qualified for....$18.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$21.99
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/19.....$46.99
+Up Rewards spent....$124.50
+Up Rewards earned....$156.49
+Up Rewards left....$51.99


Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Rite-Aid Trip and Scenario

Ventured into a different-for-me Rite-Aid store tonight.
Here's what I got....

2 x GM Cereals on sale $2=$4.00
2 x BC Taters on sale $1.50=$3.00
2 x Benevia Drinks monthlong BOGO sale=$7.99
2 x Right Guard Deo on sale BOGO=$4.49
1 x Herbal Essences 'Poo on sale=$2.99
1 x Summer's Eve Douche w/wellness disc.=$2.39
1 x Vicks Vaporub on sale=$3.99
*You can leave off the HE 'Poo and get to $25.  I got it anyway because it was a bonus sized bottle.*

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25=$5.00
1 x $.75/1 Total Cereal=$.75
1 x $.55/1 Cin. Toast Crunch Cereal=$.55
1 x $1/2 BC Taters ManuQ from Sunday inserts=$1.00
1 x $1/2 BC Taters AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
2 x $3/1 Benevia Drinks IPQ(from Benevia website)=$6.00
1 x BOGO Right Guard ManuQ from Sunday inserts=$4.49
1 x $1/1 Herbal Essences 'Poo ManuQ from Sunday inserts=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Summer's Eve product Wellness Q link mailed to me by RA=$2.00
1 x $1.50/1 Vicks Vapo Item ManuQ from P&G insert=$1.50
1 x $2/1 Vicks Vapo Item Flu Booklet Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$25.29

*If I had not gotten the HE 'Poo(as noted above), the coupon total would have been $24.29 from $25.86=$1.86.*

I used $3 in +Up Rewards and put the $.56 left OOP on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received back $5 in +Up Rewards($1 for the 2 Taters, $1 for the VapoRub, $1 for the 2 boxes of Cereal and $2 for the HE 'Poo=$5.00

$3 +Ups spent and $5 back grows my pile of +Ups by $2.

Not only is that Benevia on BOGO sale all month at Rite-Aid but there is a $3 SCR for November, meaning you spend $7.99 and get back via Qs and SCR $9 on that purchase.  This makes the Benevia a $1.01 moneymaker during the November SCR period.
And when you add in that $3 rebate to my OOP, I am up $5 for this transaction.

It looks like the "Thanksgiving food" items and their +Ups deals are running next week also, so if your store didn't get enough stock this 1st week, hopefully the supply trucks bring enough to meet the demand for next week. The store I was in tonight was restocking and seemed to have much more of the food items with +Ups Deals to put on the shelves.

Total Spent....$.56(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$51.49
SCR qualified for...$3.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$5.00
+Up Rewards spent...$3.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$46.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......24
Total Spent....$12.56  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,139.18
SCR qualified for....$15.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$10.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/15.....$41.99
+Up Rewards spent....$96.50
+Up Rewards earned....$123.49
+Up Rewards left....$46.99


Giveaways Galore....Go Check Them Out!

Lots of Giveaways out in BlogLand to tell y'all about today!

*First up there is Noreen over at Silly Mom Of 2 Silly Girls.
She has a bunch of Giveaways running.  My favorites are.....

Old El Paso Family Taco Night  Ends 12/1

Fiber One Bars/Cereal & Safeway Gift Card Ends 11/25

Lawry's Marinades and Mixes Ends 11/22

*Then there is Marilyn over at Marilyn's Money.
She has the OEP Taco Giveaway as well....

Old El Paso Family Taco Night  Ends 11/24

*And I just saw A. Marie over at My Money Mission Online put up a couple of  Giveaways too.

Hamburger Helper Show Your Helping Hand  Ends 11/27

MOZAIK® PartyWare   Ends 11/27

Go check them out and tell em  I gave them some Linky Love! 8-)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saturday at the Grocery Stores....Meat & Menus

I hit Weis Markets on Sat. to check for clearanced meats and found a few good buys.....

2 packages of marked down chicken breast(bone-in but very little bone actually)with $3 Store Coupons on the packages.
2 packages of ground beef with $3 Store Coupons on the packages.
2+lbs. of frozen Catfish for $3.99lb.  A good price that got even better after another shopper asked me, while I was contemplating the meat counter, if I could use her $3 off a $15 purchase of fresh meat coupon, since she wasn't going to use it.
Heck yeah!!lol

All totaled I bought 13.63lbs. of meats.
Regular retail on all was $45.94
The chicken had an additional markdown of $9.91.
Made it $36.03.
The $15 in Store Coupons/Catalinas brought the price down to....
My per lb. avg. price ended up being under $1.50 per lb.

I had Hubs pick me up a Pork Loin Tenderloin at Price Chopper as well on Saturday.  They were $1.99lb. so my $17.81 bought us a 9+lb. hunk which I'll cut into boneless pork medallions and freeze.  I've been holding out for a deal on boneless pork chops for ages and this looks like as low as it's going to get around here, now that inflation has started to take hold on the commodities markets.

As noted in a previous post, I went to the local independent grocer & spent $39.96 on staples and sale items and fell way short of spending $300 to get a $15 gift certificate.  I also hit the Bakery Outlet and Ollie's(a regional discounter) for a grand total spent last week of $100.94 from the food budget. Not counting Rite-Aid purchases because, well....I don't actually spend money there.lol
All totaled I have spent $127.63 so far in November on food/toiletries.  12 days to go and I have $122.37 left to spend this month.

So far this week I have stayed out of the grocery stores, but that will end later today or tomorrow, since I do need to pick up a few things for the Thanksgiving meal.  I don't plan on making a ton of food since there will only be 6 of us for that meal, and 3 of those 6 are teens who have mercurial appetites.  I do need celery, bread or dried stuffing mix(unless I decide to bake my own bread to use), eggs and sweet potatoes.  Oh, and a turkey....almost forgot that....duh!lol
And I may pick up a rutabaga for Hubs since he loves it and never gets that veg. since nobody else here eats it. 8-P

Does everyone have their Turkey Day menu set yet?
I am still tinkering around with mine.
I probably won't settle on a menu until Thanksgiving morning.
Turkey of course, stuffing, rolls, cranberry glop, 2 veggies but to do reg. taters and sweet taters both?
We'll see....
And pumpkin pie but what other pie?....or will it be cake?
Only the shadow knows at this point.....
And do I put out appetitzers.....cruditees?.....chips and dip?.....deviled eggs?......a relish tray?.....cheese and crackers?
Decisions, decisions....

I have stuff in the stockpile and freezer so I can just go with what I feel like, depending on how I feel and how ambitious(or not!lol)I want to be in the kitchen.
I do like to make some things from scratch but trying to make it all from scratch is just too exhausting for me because nobody helps out.
I am making the pies from scratch(even the filling)so I'll not make the rolls from scratch and use all those frozen and refrigerated ones I have because......because that's just how I roll......Oh, you KNOW I had to say that, didn't you? ;-)


Simplifying the Holidays...Christmas Cards

                        (Card courtesy of HoHumCards)

To send or not to send.....that is the question!

One of the widespread traditions of Christmas is the sending and receiving of Holidays Greeting Cards.
Americans shell out big money throughout the year, but especially over the Winter Holiday Season buying and sending Greeting Cards.

Not only does there seem to be a Hallmark store on every corner, but even Grocery stores are now selling greeting cards.  You know it's got to be a lucrative product if a grocery store starts selling cards along with all the other non-food items they now stock.

Depending on how extensive your card sending list, this tradition can be more draining on your wallet than you realize.
First there is the cost of the actual cards and envelopes.  Have you looked at the price of premium cards lately? ECK!
Then there is the cost of the postage....1st class stamps seem to go up in price every year nowadays.  And if you buy those expensive fancy oversized cards, you'll pay almost double for postage.
And don't forget to figure in all the time you need to shop for the cards, address the cards and mail the cards.  And if you write a personalized message or enclose the dreaded Christmas Letter, the labor/time factor gets even bigger.

So let's step back and ask ourselves a few questions.....

Why are we spending money and time on this traditional activity?
1.  Do we send cards because we always have so it's an automatic Holiday chore?
2.  Do we send cards because it's something that others just expect of us?
3.  Do we send cards to connect with friends and family who live some distance from us?
4.  Do we send cards to "show-off" to our friends and family?

Ascertaining our motivations behind sending Holiday Cards is key.  If we want to participate in the ritual of Christmas Cards we need to be doing this for the right reasons.  The only 'right reason' to be sending cards, seems to me to be #3.

If we find that we need to continue this tradition, we then need to ask ourselves this question....

Can we change anything about this activity to make it cost less, take less time, and/or make it less stressful for ourselves?

To bring down the expense of the "old way" of doing Holiday cards we might consider these points....

Cutting down on the number of cards we send out.
    If we are using Cards to stay connected to loved ones who live distant from us, then only send cards to those people and not the folks we see often or live close by.  Cut the cost of cards/postage by giving loved ones who we will be in physical contact with during the season an in-person Christmas Greeting only and ditch the cards and their costs.
   Another way to cut the card sending list is to only send cards to people who send us cards back.  I know it sounds childish....a bit of "well if you don't send me a card, I won't send you a card!"  Face it, some people just don't care about cards and those people are usually those we send cards to every year but never reciprocate by sending us one.  If we take them off our list it might actually prompt them to contact US, if only to ask why we don't like them enough to send them a card anymoe....but at least it will get them to take the initiative and get in touch with us first!  And the point here is to reconnect so that still would be a win/win in my book.lol

Find cheaper or frugal ways to "do" the Cards.
   If you can't bring yourself to ditch the Card Thing, then consider ways to make this tradition hurt less in the wallet.
    Consider spending less on the cards.  Figure out how much of your Holiday Budget you can allocate for Card sending, deduct the postage you need to purchase and that will tell you what your card buying limit should be.  Stop trying to out "shine" everyone else's card choices by getting the glitziest and most expensive cards and the ones that are over-sized and need extra postage to boot.  Look for the card bargains instead.  Always buy your cards by the box and not the individual ones since those will cost you much more.
Shop for cards at discount retailers(the "Marts")and Dollar type stores.  Even better hit up true Outlets and Clearance stores(Odd Lot, Big Lots, etc.), Thrift Stores, Yard/Garage Sales and  Estate Auctions. 
   The best place to find cards is always the free places....ask on a Freecycle type group or ask family who save stuff because "you never know when you'll need 'insert an item here'".  I bet you have a packrat relative who has a big stash of cards who would love to supply you with cards!

In addition, if you can think ahead for next Holiday Season, shop for your cards during the After Holiday clearance sales when items are marked down from 50-75% off.  Or save the Christmas cards you receive this Season, remove the front of the card(as long as there is no handwriting on it's reverse side)and turn it into a Postcard.  Sending a postcard Greeting will also cost you less in postage so it's a double win!

   If you are crafty and enjoy spending your free time on that sort of thing, try your hand at making your own cards.  Try to source cardstock paper for cheap or free.  If you have an assortment of pens, paints, markers, glitter, glues, rubber stamps and ink pads at hand already, create your own one-of-a-kind card creations.
Or design a card and using computer software, print out your own cards. 
Also, consider getting your kids to make the cards.  This will give them a creative outlet, give them an activity to participate in and all your friends/relatives will LOVE to receive a kid-made card, especially any grandparent types in your life.  But make sure you are around to supervise any card making session, especially if you don't want your dog, couch or expensive dining room table "decorated" too.

With both these suggestions, be sure to keep an eye on the cost.  If these alternatives will be higher than buying store made cards, perhaps craft cards for loved ones instead of purchasing gifts for them.  If the cards and gifts will be prohibitive to your budget, do one OR the other, not both.

Find alternatives to traditional Cards.
   Reinvent the card ritual.  Like I mentioned above, try sending Christmas Postcards instead of traditional "in an envelope" card.  Cost less money to mail.

   Or don't send actual physical cards.  In this electronic age, if your intended card recipient is "computer savvy" and has an email account, how about an e-card?  There are quite a few e-card sending sites on the internet, both ones that charge and ones that don't.  Since free goes further to keep you on budget, check out these free card sending sites....
*Hipstercards.com  --my personal favorite

There are other sites if you search around, as well as sites that charge a modest monthly or annual fee to belong and send cards: Hallmark, Blue Mountain and American Greetings are among the most well-known ones.
While some Christmas Etiquette guides warn against sending e-cards as a substitute for a real life card I disagree.  I have a sneaking feeling that those guides are sponsored by the folks behind the big name Greeting Card  businesses.  After all, they are the ones who have something to lose if the card buying public stops spending those billions of dollars on cards.   ;-)

So get your head wrapped around the whole Christmas Card issue and see if this is one area where you want to make a change this Holiday Season.
And be sure to...ahem..."address" it soon because the US postal system volume swells starting the day after Thanksgiving and if you elect to send cards, you want to mail them so that they arrive before Dec. 25th(or the 1st Day of Channukah if it's a Channukah Card, etc.).   Personally I try to mail all cards by the 15th of December.  If you are making up a master list for "Things To Do" for the Holidays, get your Take Care of Greeting Cards on that list early!

Do you have any tips or ideas about Holiday Greeting Cards?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More Rite-Aid....L'Oreal Deal

This week at Rite-Aid when you buy $15 in select L'Oreal cosmetic products, you get a $5 +Up Reward.
L'Oreal cosmetics are also 30% off this week.  Add in some stacked coupons and you've got yourself a possible moneymaker.

So we went up and did this....it requires access to 2 flu coupon booklets, 3 IP coupons, a $5 off $25 coupon and at least $7 in +Up Rewards to roll.
The 2 tugaboos purchases is optional(don't "need" them for the deal)but if you don't buy them & have a 20% wellness discount(and use $1/1 coupons from inside previous tugaboo packs), your OOP will be slightly higher.  Leave off the Tugaboos and your OOP is $.74 after sales/coupons instead of $.29.
*Also note that store prices on specific products can vary so your 30% off these particular L'Oreal items may be either higher or lower.  Take your calculator and be sure to pick the items that get you over $30 after the discount.
1 x Lash Boosting System reg. $24.95 30% off=$17.46
1 x Infallible Lipstick reg. $9.99 30% off=$6.99
1 x Lip Liner  reg. $8.95 30% off=$6.26
2 x Tugaboo Diaper packs w/wellness disc.$.79 ea.=$1.58

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25=$5.00
1 x $2/1 Lash Boosting System IPQ=$2.00
1 x $6/1 Lash Boosting System Flu Booklet Q=$6.00
2 x $2/1 L'Oreal Color Cosmetic item IPQ=$4.00
2 x $3/1 L'Oreal Lipstick or Liner Flu Booklet Q=$6.00
2 x $1/1 Tugaboo item Q from inside previous diaper purchase=$2.00
Coupon Total....$25.00

I used $7 in +Up Rewards and put the $.29 OOP on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I bought $30.74 in L'Oreal so I received 2 x $5 +Ups=$10.
I spent $7 and gained $10, so I am 'up' $3 in +Ups=FREE Cosmetics & more +Ups to roll!

Total Spent....$.29(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$45.87
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$10.00
+Up Rewards spent...$7.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$44.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......23
Total Spent....$12.00  put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,087.69
SCR qualified for....$12.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$10.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/15.....$41.99
+Up Rewards spent....$93.50
+Up Rewards earned....$118.49
+Up Rewards left....$44.99


My Thanksgiving Survey Replies...

1. What is your preferred menu for Thanksgiving dinner and why?
*Crispy Roasted Duck, homemade stuffing(with sausage meat/walnuts/mushrooms), sweet potatoes, green beans, roasted fall veggies, au jus rather than gravy, Aunt Ollie's recipe potato rolls, cranberry glop from the can, sparkling cider, pumpkin pie and cheesecake.

2.  Do you cook/host the meal or do you gather at someone else's house for dinner? If you cook, how many will gather around your table to eat?
*I cook.  If I can get help cooking, all the better but I don't expect help or anyone to bring any food.
Since the kids are teens with jobs, they may or may not be here when we eat the meal.  The most if family is in town is 9, the least is 3.  We usually have about 6-7.

3. What time do you generally sit down to eat?
*Since I don't relish getting up at the crack of dawn to start cooking for the day, we try to eat around 1 or 2(usually more toward 2).  We'll have a light late breakfast so we are hungry by 1.  Dinner is "go grab something for the fridge" at whatever time you want it.

4. Do you have any traditional dishes you serve/have served and what are they?  (These can be regional dishes or family traditions or what you feel are the national dishes everyone eats.)
*The jellied cranberry glop in the can is traditional from when I was a wee one.  #2 son likes it so we keep it, even though I've tried to serve 'better' versions of this dish over the years.  The family just doesn't take to them.
The other family traditions are my stuffing(my mom's recipe which I have changed over the years and made my own)and my Great Aunt Ollie's potato roll recipe.  Aunt Ollie left this Earth about 10 yrs. ago at the age of 98.  She was a good old country cook, who cooked on a wood cookstove until she was 96.  Have to have the potato rolls....if not on Turkey Day then on Christmas.

5.  Do you have any non-food Thanksgiving traditions?
*I've tried a few activities but nothing catches on.lol  The last one was to pass out paper and pencils and have everyone write down something they are thankful for.  Someone reads them all out loud before we eat.....this way we keep from embarrassing the teens since the 'thankfuls' are anonymous.
The only other tradition is to play board games after the meal, while the testosterone laden people watch football....**Sluggy rolls her eyes....**lol

6.  If you could only have 5 food/beverage items at your Thanksgiving meal, what would they be?
*Pumpkin pie, stuffing, potato rolls, roasted fall veggies, duck...then hook me up to a cardiac monitor. lol

7.  What was your worst and/or best Thanksgiving day and why?
*I can't think of a Thanksgiving day that sticks out in my mind as being the 'best', but any from when my mom was alive and we had extra relatives &/or friends there would qualify.
I do have a worst Thanksgiving however.....this was during my sophomore yr. in collegeI was 19. My family life was non-existent at this point so there was no going home for Turkey Day....besides, I couldn't even afford to take the Greyhound bus there.  So my BF(now Hubs)asked his parents if I could come home with him for Thanksgiving.....and they said no!  As BF told me, they didn't want 'strangers' at the house for Thanksgiving.lol  And yes, I had been to their house before at least twice before this time.
So BF did NOT stay at school with me, he went home and left me there alone.  It's a wonder I stayed with him and married him after that, huh?lol
I remember my Thanksgiving that year was spent alone in my apartment, watching the parades on a tiny 10" screen tv I owned.  I walked down to the A&P and bought myself a Thanksgiving meal...one of those turkey roll things, a frozen Stouffer's spinach souffle and I stopped at the bakery on the way home with my cart and bought a slice of something sweet...it wasn't pie because they didn't sell them by the slice and I couldn't afford a whole pie, and I might just have eaten the whole thing if I could have afforded it...I was that depressed.lol
I was approached by an old drunk on the way home from the grocery store and he panhandled me for a dime to "buy a cup of coffee".
Frankly, I couldn't spare a dime for him and I was in shock that someone had actually asked me for money, since I was destitute enough myself to be doing the asking.lol
After I got home, I just sat down and cried big time.
Alone and being accosted by bums on Thanksgiving. lol
I sure felt low and sorry for myself...

I am happy to say that things have improved since then. 8-)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 3 Day Rite-Aid Bender

**If the deals at Rite-Aid make you yawn, just skip to the bottom of this post for the Totals.
I promise something NOT Rite-Aid next post.  ;-)

So I set out Saturday to find 10 boxes of Keebler products on the shelves to do that Deal I mentioned on my last Rite-Aid post.  (Buy 10 Keebler items on sale for $1.99, use $1/2 Qs, get $10 in +Ups back and submit for the $10 Keebler Rebate found in the Keebler booklet found in grocery stores.)
Well, this transaction turned out even better!
Because that Keebler booklet also had a coupon for $2 off 2 sodas when you buy 2 Keebler cookies/crackers.
So instead of having to use $5.10 in filler items to get my transaction to $25 so I could use a $5 off $25 coupon too, I bought 6 2 liter bottles of 7-Up, which were on sale for $1.33 and gave a $1 +Up Reward when you bought 3 in one transaction.
So here's how it went down...
6 x Cheez-Its=$11.94 *1 box is missing...the teens ate it already.lol
4 x Keebler cookies=$7.96
6 x 7-Up bottles=$6.66 *My wellness disc. made the price less than the sale price-$1.11 per bottle.

SubTotal of $26.56

$5 off $25 Q=$5.00
5 x $1/2 cookie or cheez-it Qs=$5.00
3 x $2/2 soda wyb 2 Keebler items=$6.00
Coupon deductions of $16.
Balance of 10.56.
Used $10 in +Ups, put $.56 on my Rite-Aid gift card.
Received $11 in +Ups back(1 for each cookie/cracker and 1 for 3 bottles of 7-Up)
If there wasn't a limit on the 7-Up deal of 1, I would have gotten 2 $1 +Ups for a total of $12.
Oh well...I can live with that.lol
So basically everything in this transaction was free and I just rolled those $10 in +Ups.

Then I stopped in to my local Rite-Aid that evening while I was out grocery shopping....

After coupons, the ColorSilk was $.50 ea., the Summer's Eve was $.63, the Renuzits were -$.24, the Tugaboo trial size was -$.21, the Hand Sanitizer was $.99 total for both, the Edge gel was $1.89 total for both(1 BOGO Q and a $1.50 adperk/vv Q stacked) and the Skittles were were $.25 ea. so $1.50 for all 6.
Subtract the $4 off $20 Wellness AdPerks/VV Q and we end up with $.56 total OOP put on a Rite-Aid gift card.
Nothing gave +Ups in this transaction.

Total Spent....$1.13(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$83.62
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$11.00
+Up Rewards spent...$10.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$32.49

Then Sunday I did this....

3 Colgate Toothbrushes on sale=$6.99   *Get $2 +Ups back
8 Assorted food items on sale $1.50=$12.00   *Get $1 +Ups back WYB 2 items
1 Herbal Essence 'Poo on sale=$2.99   *Get $2 +Ups back on each bottle
2 Right Guard Deo on sale BOGO=$3.29
2 Newspapers =$1.58  *Not pictured*

Coupons Used
1 x $5/$25 Q=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothbrushes(smartsource online)IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Colgate Toothbrushes Sunday inserts ManuQ=$1.00
3 x $1/1 Colgate 360 Toothbrush AdPerks/VV IPQ=$3.00 *These beep.
1 x $1/3 Heinz Gravy (living delicious website)IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Stovetop (living delicious website)IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 FFOnions ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 BC Taters ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 BC Taters AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Herbal Essence ManuQ(sunday's insert)=$1.00
1 x Right Guard BOGO ManuQ=$3.29
Coupon Total....$21.29
**Actual on the receipt was $19.29

I used $7 +Ups so $.56 OOP put on Rite-Aid gift card.

I received $8 in +Ups($2 Herbal Essence, $2 Colgate toothbrushes, 4 x $1 for buying 8 Thanksgiving food items).
I wanted to do the $4 +Ups wyb 10 items that were $1 each but even with getting to the store by noon on Sunday, they were out of the ones I wanted.  They started the sale that morning with very little of those items on the shelves and I've seen others have complained that their stores were similarly SO Understocked!  Rite-Aid missed out on some big bucks with this one.....

Then I stopped in later that evening to use those $2/1 Clairol family Qs on some Herbal Essence(a Clairol product).....

4 x Blistex on sale $1.50*1 rang up $1.43=$5.93
3 x Herbal Essence 'Poo on sale $2.99=$8.97
1 x Tugaboos trial pack w/wellness disc.=$.79
2 x Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks on sale BOGO 50%=$11.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25=$5.00
2 x $1/2 Blistex ManuQ=$2.00
3 x $2/1 Clairol product ManuQ=$6.00
2 x $5/1 Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Q mailed to wellness members=$10.00
Coupon Total....$23.00**'
Some how 1 of my $1 Qs didn't come off. I forgot my Tugaboos $1 Q and I think the Blistex Qs stuck together...ugh.
So coupon total is $22.00

I used $5.50 in +Ups so $.17+$.50 in tax=$75 OOP put on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received back $14 in +Ups(3 x $2 Herbal Essence 'Poo, 4 x $1 Blistex, $4 WYB $10 in Revlon/Almay).

The Blistex was giving out $1 for EACH item, not $1 for 2 items as the flyer stated.  That has since been corrected and it's only giving 1 per 2 items as of Monday.
Please note that the Almay/Revlon $4 +Ups deal is a LIMIT 1 per card.

Total Spent....$.1.26(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$86.54
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$22.00
+Up Rewards spent...$12.50
+Up Rewards left to spend....$41.99

Onward to Monday's trip out....

2 x Blistex on sale=$3.00
3 x Colgate 360 Toothbrushes on sale=$6.99
3 x Reach Dental Floss on sale $.99=$2.97
1 x VapoRub on sale=$3.99
2 x Glad trash bags raincheck item $3.74ea.=$7.48
1 x Tugaboos diaper pack w/wellness disc.=$.79

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25=$5.00
2 x $1/2 Blistex ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Colgate Toothbrush (smartsource online)IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Colgate Toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00
3 x $1/1 Colgate 360 Toothbrush AdPerks/VV Q=$3.00
1 x $1/1 Reach Dental Floss ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1.50/2 Reach/Listerine items ManuQ=$1.50
1 x $1/$10 any Oral Care items Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1.50/1 VapoRub ManuQ=$1.50
1 x $2/1 VapoRub Flu Booklet Q=$2.00
2 x $.75/1 Glad trash bags ManuQ=$1.50
1 x $.50/1 Glad trash bags AdPerks/VV Q=$.50
1 x $1/1 Tugaboos product Q inside previous diaper pack=$1.00
Coupon Total...$21.00

I used $4 in +Ups to pay so the $.22 OOP was put on a Rite-Aid gift card.
I received $4 in +Ups($1 Blistex, $2 Colgate, $1 NyQuil/VapoRub) so I rolled my +Ups here.

Total Spent....$.22(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$43.19
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$4.00
+Up Rewards spent...$4.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$41.99

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......22
Total Spent....$11.71 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$1,041.82
SCR qualified for....$12.00
Other Cash....$14.99

Additional Rebates....$10.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 11/12.....$31.49
+Up Rewards spent....$89.50
+Up Rewards earned....$108.49
+Up Rewards left....$41.99



Monday, November 15, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Not-So-Pretty

First the good.....
If you haven't seen this on my Facebook already, #2 son's Marching Band had a big regional tournament Sunday in Hershey PA.  The band performed very well and they won their Division!  In addition they were awared top honors in 4 individual areas.

I am so glad to see them do well finally.  Our Band Parent's Association hosts one of the big local Tourneys at the high school.  Our band finished last in the 'open' division at that.  Our band is very small.  Our band gets next to zero $s from the school district, so the parents are saddled with most of the costs to cloth, host competitions, travel to competitions, etc.  This lack of resources puts our band at a large disadvantage next to other schools who have much larger parent associations as well as more funding.  We usually compete in the open division but with the big glitzy bands the kids have to compete with, they never finish very high up the food chain.

There is one local band that we have a David and Goliath type competition with.....to put it into GLEE SPEAK(for those of you who are "gleeks", we are New Directions and we compete with Vocal Adrenalin.
And after working the tourney our band hosts and seeing the directors and parents and the kids in this Goliath band up close and personal, I can honestly say that most of them that I have had to deal with are NOT very nice people.  They are rude, the universe revolves around them and their needs, and they have no class.
So seeing as we really can't compete on an equal footing with the Mega-Bands, we now compete in a different division.  And it seems to be paying off.

Speaking of people who think the universe revolves around them.....
We are having large problems with our Daughter.  She has always been too smart for her own good.  Getting good grades, etc. has been a nice result.  But she has "too big for her britches" syndrome and has had it for the last 5 years or so.  She feels she is the center of the universe and she treats other people(her family)like dog poo....unless of course, she wants something from you, and then she treats you nice until she gets her way.  She no longer wishes to be associated with our family except for us to do for her and give her her own way in things.  She doesn't feel the need to respect her parents or her siblings, or to lift a finger to help the family.  It's all a big she takes and we give.

If fact, she is making life so stressful for her parents and her younger brother when she is home that we are at the point that once she turns 18 next month, she may be asked to find someplace else to live.
I love my Daughter and I thought we could make the current living situation work well enough to get her graduated and off to college(which would have her NOT living here then), but I'm not so sure we can make it until June.  My health is suffering and she is becoming verbally abusive toward me.
Unfortunately we don't have any family locally who we can pack her off to for awhile until things cool off or she grows up a tad so I don't know what you are going to do.

In other news.....Daughter got her acceptance to Ohio State today.  I have no clue WHY she applied there.  We aren't big OH football fans and we don't live in Ohio.lol
But she did and she got in.
We are still waiting for the "yeah" or "ney" from the one school we haven't heard back from....Penn State.
Hopefully soon.

I have reopened my eBay store for the Holidays. SSP(aka Shameless Self Promotion) link is HERE.

I'm hoping even with the economy and the sluggishness of eBay, I can unload some goodies to the Holiday buyers.  I am concentrating on listing toys and collectibles since it's the gift buying time of year.  Even with this heavy stuff at Christmas someone might overlook the shipping expense more and I can get some of these large weighty items outta here!lol
At any rate, my living room and dining room now looks like a postal warehouse has exploded in there with all the bubble wrap, boxes and merchandise everywhere.  Throw in a few boxes loaded with fabric since I store those in there and it's such a lovely sight.lol

The one thing that all my years doing eBay has done for me?  It has made me an expert at re-cutting and gerryrigging boxes for shipping.  Now, if there was some industry where I could put this skill to work for me as a career....besides eBay that is.lol

I cleaned the interior of my minivan on Sunday.  It was LOOOOOONG overdue!  For the past 2 years I have told the kids that if they wanted to make some extra money that cleaning my car was tops on that list and the money was available at any time should they undertake that chore.
2 years and it was still undone.
So I hauled out the vacuum cleaner, clorox wipes, windex and newspaper and just got it done before winter weather sets in.

Saturday was the last day to qualify for the Thanksgiving Deal at the local independent grocery store.  If you spent a minimum of $300 in 5 weeks' time you got a $15 gift certificate.  It wasn't even a free bird deal but the best thing going in these parts.
I made a run to the grocery store Saturday evening and we ended the qualifying period with $115 in purchases....so not EVEN halfway to the amount we needed to spend to get that $15 certificate.
Oh well.
Last year I ended up doing the Price Chopper Turkey Deal....spend $25 in one transaction and get a free bird.
This year Price Chopper has upped the ante tho....spend $50 in one transaction and get a free bird.
Doubled the qualifying price!!
And I don't even like turkey so I am so not liking this deal and tempted to eat chicken this year instead.lol

That's about it for now from  my corner of the world.
What's new in yours?