Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm an Island of Frugal in a Spendthrift Family

I swear, every time I turn around, I just can't win.
I try to be frugal.
Sometimes to the point of being ridiculously frugal....or so my family tells me.

But they sure don't help me want to loosen up on the frugality measures, when every time I turn around, they are being spendthrifts.
Or just not doing what I ask carry out the small frugal measures I ask of them.

Like Hubs for instance.
He was going to Lowe's this morning for gardening supplies.....manure, seeds, plants, etc.
I had a $10 off $50 purchase card which expires today.
I gave him my list and the card with instructions to spend enough to use the discount.
Pretty simple, right?

So he comes back with most of the things on my list and hands me the receipt.
He spent $43.49 BEFORE tax....$46.10 after sales tax.
So he spent just under enough to get a $10 discount.

What part of spend OVER $50 and use the $10 discount did he NOT understand???!!!
So he gave up $10 in FREE gardening supplies.......

He is looking at me like, "Hey!...It's no big deal."
And he walks away....

I on the other hand just want to SCREAM & SMACK HIM!

This is what he does.....he throws away money.
He throws shit out that's perfectly useful and buys new.
He doesn't take advantage of deals and discounts.
It's "not HIS way" he says.....
He feels that since he makes a good income, he can afford to waste money.
This is the guy who was writing checks for cups of coffee while in
And the kids know how he is, so they never ask me for things.  They go to him because he will buy stuff he knows I wouldn't approve of and he will just buy at full retail too! argh

I keep telling him when his income goes away and we retire, he won't have the luxury of being a spendthrift.
I keep reminding him that if he had been more aware of wasting money throughout our marriage until this point that he could have retired at 50 like he wanted to.

This trait of his drives me insane!
I get so discouraged sometimes.....

Is your partner on board with your frugal ways or are you fighting their spending like a salmon swimming upstream too?


Friday, April 29, 2011

The End of Year Season has Begun! & a Bit of Bad News and Good News

Before you think my cheese has totally slipped off it's cracker, I am NOT referring to the End of the Calendar Year Season, but the End of the School Year Season.

If you have kids in school, whether Pre-School, Elementary, Jr. High, High School or College, the Month of May through June is a very busy time of year!
As various school programs and extra-curricular programs come to an end and summer plans begin, total mayhem takes over the parental life.

For example, here is what is coming up in my kids' lives in the next 8 weeks....

*High School Concert and Jazz Band Concert  Completed last night
*Senior Prom
*Final College Exams
*High School Marching Band Banquet
*High School Marching  Band Disney Trip
*Finishing Young Scholars College Classes(Dual Enrollment Seniors)
*French Honor Society Ceremony
*Graduation Practices
*Honor Society Ceremony
*Final Exams
*Senior Awards Night
*Senior Lock-In Party
*Packing 2 off to Summer Camp employment
*College Orientation
*Packing 1 off to Summer Camp

Add in bringing 1 kid home from college, taking him out for staff training for the summer job, having him come home for his sister's graduation, hosting a house full of relatives for said graduation, trying to clean and fix up house before said relatives descend on house for graduation, running around to get stuff kids need to go to summer camp(either to work or as a camper).
Throw in doctor appointments, dentist appointments, orthodontist appointments, eye doctor appointments and refilling medications.

I'll get time around June 20th to sit down and breath again I am figuring.....lolol

Most of this craziness stems from #2 Son being in the band and Daughter being a senior in high school.
I suspect it won't be nearly as hectic next year when I have just the lone Sophomore in high school.
One kid left at home fulltime....
I can't wait!!!

Mostly that's due to the fact that my Daughter is alot of work.
You mom's out there with both sons and you find that the girls are just so much more exhausting?
Or is it just me.....and my girl?
Please tell me it's NOT just me!lol

Besides the High School Concert last night, we also got 2 pieces of news from the University Daughter is going to be attending.
First the bad news.....
Due to the proposed state budget for PA, the state colleges here are having their funding slashed, BIGTIME.
Daughter got a letter with the estimated updated costs to attend(since the state budget doesn't even get voted on until June sometime, we won't know the final costs until then).  Instead of the usual 8% rise in attendance costs, it's looking more like 18%!
More than DOUBLE the usual rate.
Suddenly the one school that Daughter wouldn't have to go into debt to attend is going to leave her with a small pile of debt when she is finished there.
At least she got that small Board of Governors Merit Scholarship for all 4 years of her undergraduate schooling, so if she can save some summer job money, she might squeak out with a teeny tiny pile of debt to pay back.

Now the good news.....
Daughter heard back from that pre-med program at the school and she was granted one of the five guaranteed seats at the Medical School after she obtains her 4 year degree at the college!
This means if she keeps her grades up through college and after she gets her B.S., she is automatically accepted into the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. 
I just think that is awesome! 8-))

So are you running the End of School Year gauntlet too?


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did Ya Miss Me? & My Easter Trip in Pictures...Sort of

Well I'm back....sort of.

You know what's worse than being sick?
Being sick and going on a trip.

Hubs, #2 son and I had promised to go to my brother's house in VA for 5 days at Easter.
I woke up 2 days before we were suppose to go with sinus problems.  At that point unless I was hanging over the toilet bowl or unable to stand up we had to go.  That and the fact that I had promised to bring my Sis-in-Law's Christmas present to her.....the pepper relish she dearly loves that I had canned.  I dare not mail those glass canning jars so she had been waiting patiently for it to arrive.
So I sucked it up and we went to VA.....and tried to keep my whining and moaning to a bare minimum.

We left Thursday morning and stopped in Dover Delaware so I could go to the grocery store.
Yes, we stopped at a Safeway grocery store on the way to Virginia.
Because I had a $25 Safeway gift card to spend and there was a Safeway along the route we took.
It's totally logical, right?
Since there was nothing on sale that week that I had coupons for and that I wanted/needed, I bought 4 12 packs of soda(on sale), 2 packages of Smithfield country ham(for breakfast biscuits)and some snacks for #2 son to eat/drink on the trip.
$40 worth of regular retail put on the gift card and $1.49 OOP in cash put on my food spending for April.
I'm ok with that....

Since we made such good time, we stopped at the outlets in Delaware also.  #2 son has never been with us before when we've stopped there.  This outlet has a VANS store.  #2 son "hearts" Vans.  $130 later, we also hit the Converse and Easy Spirit outlets.  Again, the Easy Spirit outlet had nothing in my size......the last 2 times I've found nothing. *sigh*

We stopped here for a late lunch......
The crab soup was good but my fish "sammich" was awful.
It had a big gift shop with many inappropriate and suggestive t-shirts.  We had to drag #2 son out of the gift shop....

The bar was called the "Bimbo lounge".
#2 son posed outside the lounge with one of the local bimbos.....

I think he coped a feel.
Oh, how fast they grow up.....

We got into Chesapeake at my brother's house around 8pm and had a late dinner and hit the bed around 10pm.

On Friday morning Hubs took #2 son to the skatepark.  This was his first time at a real live skatepark with half pipes and such.  He was thrilled yet bummed since he was clueless about how to "drop in" and ride a half pipe.  Some 30+ year old guy was there showboating and having his kids take pictures of him riding.  That made #2 son feel even more lousy in front of all the other kids there.  Eventually, the showboat guy gave #2 some pointers and helped him figure out the half pipe.

Hubs, #2 and I hit the Dollar Store for a couple of supplies then off to "Cici's" for the pizza buffet.
It was me and Hubs' first time at a "Cici's".
I was Not impressed!  Cheap is good but the place should be called "Dough".
It's not pizza, it's a big piece of dough with some sauce, cheese and toppings on the 3" diameter in the center of the pizza shell.
I think I took a 3 hour nap after leaving there.  Still not sure if that was due to the "meal" or the prescription drugs I was on.

#2 did some skating out in front of the house.

My sis-in-law's 5 yr. old grandson has some homemade ramps at the house he let #2 use.  Then he joined #2 son on his little board.

*This is about the time my camera went missing.  No one seemed able to find it for the duration of the trip, so I'll have to 'borrow' other photos to illustrate the rest of this travelogue.
Oh, the camera did turn up late the car right where I told Hubs it was. ;-)

On Saturday Hubs and I took a little drive alone in the morning.  It was ridiculously hot for April, even for southern VA!  All I can say is I "heart" a/c....

We had 'cue for lunch.....really good 'cue at a hole-in-the-wall little joint.

(I used this photo just for Mark.  I know he will have something to say about

Saturday afternoon Hubs took #2 back to the skatepark and I took some more drugs and napped.

My SIL spent days cooking for Sunday.  She also cooked breakfast for us each morning and dinner.
She can't help it....that's what she does.

She can not NOT make vats of food.
Even when she is sick and exhausted....which she often is.
I helped a little when I could on Saturday but I wasn't feeling my best either.

Luckily I remembered to go to Rite-Aid to spend the last of my expiring +Ups.
Priorities people, priorities!

By the time I got out of bed on Sunday, the circus had come to town.
Or at least, that's what it felt and looked like.
Sort of like this, but without the Elvis impersonators....

A bit of this but without the mosh pit.....

But more like this.....

I slept right though the Easter Bunny's visit though and the ensuing egg hunt.  This happened way early for me!

It was full out Chocolate/Sugar induced Pandimonium by the time I got to the party.
Colorful plastic eggs and candy wrappers strewn everywhere, wet bathing suit clad kids streaking through the house on the way out back to the homemade slip-and-slide and adults with beverages in hand milling about.....

I am still trying to figure out the familial structure on this side of my family.
Neither of my brothers ever had kids.
This remaining brother remarried the year my mother died to a woman who was previously married and had two kids.  By the time my brother married this wife(a big improvement over the previous wife I'd like to mention), her kids were grown.
Sis-in-law's 30 yr old was married and divorced.  He remarried about a year ago.  His new wife just had a baby 2 months ago.  She also had 2 kids from her previous marriage.
Sis-in-law's 28 yr old is married(though her husband pops in and out of their lives)and has a 5 yr old son.  She is not "self-sufficient" and let's just leave it at that.  Currently she & her son are living with my brother and her mother(sis-in-law), though she had been staying with her husband's grandmother in a nearby town...sometimes with her son, sometimes without.
Oh, and Sis-in-law's invalid mother also lives at my brother's house with them.

So imagine the Easter Dinner roster when we eventually sat down to eat....
#2 son
My Brother
My Sis-in-law
SIL's mother
SIL's son
SIL's DIL's Oldest kid
SIL's DIL's Middle kid
SIL's son & DIL's Baby
SIL's daughter
SIL's daughter's son
My deceased brother's next door neighbor
My deceased brother's next door neighbor's SO

And a contingent of 5 cats....some inside and some feral outside one.
The only thing missing was a pack of hounds sleeping on the front porch...

We packed up and bugged out early on Monday morning in order to miss evening rush out traffic around Philly.

Even with a long lunch stop at IHOP(at #2 son's request since we don't have one here), we got home safely before dinnertime.

Why is it that it takes as many days as you've been away to get back into your routine?lol
I am finally feeling a little better.
Luckily I was able to get on my SIL's computer quickly to check comments and post 1 short thing on the blog in those 5 days.
Mission accomplished.......Pepper Relish delivered, Familial Obligation completed and Onward to the Next Adventure in what passes for my life.
So we should be back to what passes for normal around here soon.

I hope everyone of y'all had a nice holiday!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some Pretty Music for Your Weekend

Maybe if I try to hit some of these high notes I'll clear out my sinus, ya think?

Enjoy this clip.
It's one of my favorite current day singers doing a number from one of my favorite musicals.....


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sinuses the Size of Syracuse!...and Rite-Aid of course!

Forgive my lack of posting the past 2 days.  I have become suddenly overcome with Spring sinus problems.
My head feels the size of Texas and my sinuses are filled with concrete.  This makes staying upright in a standing position difficult at best.  I now know how Rocky Dennis must have felt with a sinus infection.....

My ears are playing "Pop Goes The Weasel" and my throat is coated in burlap.
Needless to say I spend a great deal of time prone in the bed to keep from falling down and a Kleenex box has spontaneously sprouted from my left arm.

I'm going to be MIA until after Easter.  I just need some down time, ya know?

Before I go, here is my latest buys from Rite-Aid.
Yes, since my head is reeling I need to make YOUR head reel to....hehehe......

I bought the Lysol, Ziploc bags and Ajax powder as part of the "Clean Zone" Spend $30/Get $10 +Ups Deal.  Since I bought $10 in qualifying items, I could use the $2/$10 purchase Clean Zone AdPerk/VV Q.  After Qs, those items were a $1 moneymaker.
The 5 gum was $1 a pack and after 2 x $1/2 Qs cost me $2 for 4 packs.
The 2 Easter Skittles eggs were .80¢ after 20% off wellness discount and I used 1 x $1/2 Q, so the cost was .60¢.
The Physician's Formula make-up was a sweet deal.  The bronzers/powders were BOGO 50% off, so $13.95 & $6.97=$20.92 for both.  I had 2 x $5/1 IPQs and there were $4/1 peelie Qs on each item, so $20.42-$18=$2.92.  There's a Get $5 WYB $20 of Physician's Formula make-up this week, so after Qs this was a $2.08 moneymaker!
The Cella cherry was a filler so I could use an +Up Reward to pay.

Altogether the value was $50.13.
After Qs my total was $2.15.
I used $1.99 +Ups to pay and put the .16¢ on my gift card.
I received a $5 +Ups for the make-up.

Later that evening I bought another couple of Physician's Formula foundation powders(with $4 peelie Qs!) on the BIL's card and 2 cherries for filler items. The total was $1.52.  I used a $1 +Ups and put the .52 on my gift card and received another $5 +Up Reward for buying the make-up.

Then I bought everything else in the photo(except 1 can of the Ajax).
The No Nonsense socks were free.....$1.99 and on sale BOGO.  I used 2 x $1 No Nonsense AdPerk/VV Qs(one for each of 2 AdPerk accounts), which made them free(or a 1¢ moneymaker).
The Reach floss and Listerine were part of a Listerine/Reach Deal--Buy $15 and Get $5 +Ups back.
My price w/Wellness discount was $1.83 on the floss and $3.83 on the mouthwash.  I had $2/1 floss tearpad Qs and a $1/1 ManuQ and a $1/1 AdPerk/VV Listerine Q.  I spent $16.64 on these items and had Qs in the amount of $16 to apply to that amount, making my cost .64¢ for all 8 items plus I got the $5 +Ups.
The rest of the items--the cleaning supplies and the paper plates(my paper weakness)were bought to qualify for the Clean Zone Buy $30/Get $10 Deal. By breaking up my purchases on this deal into 2, I was able to use another $2/$10 Clean Zone AdPerks/VV Q from the BIL's account.
Can you believe that with the items I bought earlier in the day for this Deal and the above, I was actually ONE CENT SHORT of the $30 needed!LOLOL
It figures, right? ;-)

The value of the 1st transaction(the make-up)was $28.56 and the 2nd transaction was $59.69 for a total of $88.25.
After sales and Qs, my combined total came to $4.78.  I used 2 x $1 +Ups and 1 x $1.99 +Ups to pay and put the .52¢ and .27¢ for each transaction on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received back $10 in +Up Rewards--2 x $5 +Ups(1 for the make-up and 1 for the Dental Care items).

On the way home from Hubs Birthday dinner, we stopped at Rite-Aid and got 1 can of Ajax to finish off the Clean Zone Spend $30/Get $10 deal and I burned $10 in +Ups and bought 3 Pepsi 12 packs for the kids.....3 for $9.99.  No photos of this transaction, sorry.

The value was $17.76.
My subtotal was $10.58 + .04¢ tax=$10.62 OOP.
I used the $10 +Ups and put the .62¢ on my gift card.
I received my $10 +Ups for the Clean Zone Deal and a $3 +Ups for doing the Pepsi deal.

Can you believe I STILL have $10 in +Ups to use by Saturday night?LOL  I'll pick up some more soda if I can find a Rite-Aid that has different varieties since this store didn't have  enough of the ones they like.
Oh goody, I get to go back to Rite-Aid again this week!!

Number of Transactions.....4
Total Spent....$1.57 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$156.14
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$28.00
+Up Rewards spent....$15.98
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$58.00
And I have $48.35 left on my gift card.

GRAND TOTALS--April Rebate Period so far

Number of Transactions......15
Total Spent....$6.14 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$681.10
SCR qualified for....$58.91
Other Cash....$0.00

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

+UPS Totals for April SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 4/17.....$45.98

+Up Rewards spent....$148.96
+Up Rewards earned....$93.96
+Up Rewards left....$58.00  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period

I'll see y'all in a few days!  I'm off to find my neti pot....


Monday, April 18, 2011

End of Last Week & Sunday at Rite-Aid......and a little Grocery Store Shopping Too

While I didn't have any +Ups left expiring on Saturday, I still made another stop at Rite-Aid last week.

 I used some rainchecks, which combined with Qs made the toothpaste, toothbrushes and motrin pm free, and the coffee dirt cheap. The shampoo was also free after Qs, sale price and +Ups.  The overage on the Qs for the motrin pm brought my OOP on the coffee and trash bags down to $7.89.  I used $7 in +Ups and put the .89¢ on my free gift card.  I earned $3 in +Ups back($2 for the Vive Pro 'Poo, $1 for 1 of the Glad trash bags).  Value of products purchased was $77.55.

Then on Sunday I did the Clean Home Zone Deal--Receive $10 +Ups WYB $30 of select household products.
I don't have a photo but imagine a picture of 4 12-roll packs of Scott toilet tissue.
4 x Scott TP on sale $7.99=$31.96
I used 4 x $1/1 12-roll pack IPQs and 4 x $1/1 AdPerk/VV Scott TP IPQs, for a total of $8 off my purchase.
I also bought a Sunday paper for $1, for a total of $24.96.
I used #1 son's Gift of Savings Cert. which knocked off $20 from the total.
Then I used $3.99 in +Ups, for a grand total OOP of $.97, which I put on my gift card.
I received $10 in +Up Rewards back.

I then went to Weis markets to check on the meat markdowns and to stock up on coffee filters for Hubs that are on sale this week for $1.
I ended up spending $28.45 OOP there on 6 boxes of filters, 4 yogurts on sale for .50¢ each, a gallon of 2% milk, a half a chicken marked down to $1.54 and 9lbs. of ground beef marked down to $1.67 lb.
No coupons used and a savings of only 38%.

We are well past the halfway point for April and I am under $95 spent on food/toiletries so far this month.  I may spend another $30 or so before the week is over but we are well under our budgeted $250 amount for the month.

I have $23.98 in +Ups expiring this coming Saturday so I will be making another trip back to Rite-Aid this week.  Not sure what else I'll be getting this week.
What is everyone else getting at Rite-Aid this week?  Any other good deals I am not seeing yet?  Let me know! 8-)

Number of Transactions.....2
Total Spent....$1.86 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$133.56
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$13.00
+Up Rewards spent....$9.99
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$45.98
And I have $49.92 left on my gift card.

GRAND TOTALS--April Rebate Period so far

Number of Transactions......11
Total Spent....$4.57 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$524.96
SCR qualified for....$58.91
Other Cash....$0.00

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

+UPS Totals for April SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 4/12.....$42.97

+Up Rewards spent....$132.98
+Up Rewards earned....$65.96
+Up Rewards left....$45.98  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period


Happy Tax Day Everyone!

Here's a cheerful cartoon to get you through TAX DAY.......
And remember two things as you work your tax figuring pencils to a smoldering nub today--
1. Millions of people in this country who actually pay NO income tax will get REFUNDS!
2.  The head of the IRS is a tax cheat.

Now, don't you just feel loads better?

Yes, I am a sick sarcastic bitch......
Now get out there and SMILE!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Keeping The Easter Basket Scene Frugal REDUX

Since it's that time of year again, here is my Easter Basket Frugality Post from last year. So good you want to read it twice. ;-)

Today I'd like to continue talking about yesterday's Easter basket post theme found HERE

With many people having less money in their budgets due to the recession, even if you never considered being frugal when putting together your kids' Easter baskets before, you may be forced by circumstances now to downsize your holiday spending.   My thinking about Easter buying is, "Why spend more than you have to, no matter your budget?".

You can provide a nice Easter basket/goodies spread for your kids without breaking the bank.
Here are some ways to save money.

1.Set a Budget.  Either set a budget per child or a total budget for all baskets.  But set one and stay within your budget.

2. Know your child.  Figure out if they could only get 1 thing, what would make them the happiest?  Would your child like candy the most or what they prefer a toy?  With the cost of chocolate nowadays, in some cases it might be cheaper to get them a toy!lol

Keep your child's likes/dislikes in mind.  What's the point of filling their basket with $1 store toys if those aren't the kinds of things they prefer...or malted milk balls that were a great deal if they won't eat them?  Yes, it might be cheap to shop at the $ store but if the toys break within the first 5 minutes it's not a deal.

3. Decide what price tier of chocolate/candies to buy.  When it comes to buying candy/chocolate, there are the off brands, name brands and high end brands.

Off Brands are the least expensive but often they contain artificial ingredients.  Some people don't mind that and some do.  You need to spend your money the best way for your needs. I am talking Palmer's and other brands you find at discount retailers(Family Dollar, Dollar General, WalMart, Dollar Stores, etc.)

If you really prefer the major name brands of goodies(Hershey, M&M/Mars, etc.)there are ways to bring the cost of them down using sales and coupons.  Check out the major drug stores at this time of year, as they are running sales on the seasonal candies.  Combine those sales with manufacturer's coupons as well as store coupons to snag the name brand candy for as little or less than the off-brands.

If you can't compromise on quality and only the high-end specialty chocolate and candy will do, try to find coupon codes and deals online for those brands.  Google or Bing or Swagbucks or whatever search engine you prefer, the names of brands like Godiva, See's, etc.  You may be able to find a deal somewhere. 

Another way to save money on the candy/chocolate is to NOT buy the specialty packages for the Holiday.  Often times, specially wrapped candy/chocolate for the holiday is either more expensive per ounce or you get less product in the package compared to the non-seasonally packages of the same product.
To save money when this is the case, buy 1 bigger seasonally wrapped item(like a bunny shaped or egg shaped chocolate)and use everyday shaped/wrapped/packaged candies/chocolates as the smaller "filler" candies.
Something I do to keep the candy/chocolate cost down is to buy Christmas and Valentine's candies on deep discount during the holiday clearance sales and use it for Easter basket goodies.  I'll pick out the silver, gold, white and green wrapped/colored Christmas candies and the silver, pink and white colored Valentine's candies for the Easter baskets.  Add in a little lavender and light blue Easter themed candies and who can tell?lol

4. Reuse what you can from one year to the next.
When I was a kid, we reused the same basket & fake grass every year.  You don't need to buy the container you use new each year.  Unless you have a really really huge Easter basket, you should have sufficient storage somewhere in your home to stow it away until next year.  Same goes for the grass, and any decorations. Heck, if you wrap the basket in cellophane, you should be able to reuse that as well from year to year.

5. Get if for FREE or Get creative and think outside the basket.
If you don't presently have an Easter basket and grass, for goodness sakes, do NOT go buy them new!  There are numerous places you can find perfectly good baskets for cheap or free even.  Try yard sales, ask friends if they have old baskets hanging around in their attics or garages(I bet most everybody has at least one!), ask on CraigsList or any Free or Barter type local newspapers or online groups.

If you can't find a typical Easter basket for cheap or free that way, think outside the box.  An Easter basket doesn't have to be an Easter basket.  How about using an old Beach Pail, a free pastry flour bucket you can get from your local bakery, a cardboard box covered with self sticking wallpaper scraps or gift wrap you have laying around the house.  If you can crochet, how about a crocheted or knitted basket, a basket made out of string that you can stiffen with glue like THIS.  I have also seen this same idea used to make a basket out of sugar.  Any container you can think of has the potential to be turned into an Easter basket.  You are only limited by the reach of your imagination!

And if you don't have any plastic grass for gosh sakes, DON'T BUY ANY!  Plastic grass is so not environmentally friendly! Try shredding some old bills or papers in place of pre-made grass.  If you need color in your grass then use watered down paints or food coloring to give it that springy pizazz.  If you Must buy grass, buy something that is compost friendly, that's made of paper products or even the edible candy grass.

6.  Stay away from Pre-Wrapped Baskets.
The least frugal thing you can do is to buy one of those pre-assembled Easter baskets.  You know....the ones where all the goodies are already put in the baskets and it's wrapped in cellophane.  Sometimes the price may seem like a deal but look at what is actually IN the basket.  If you add up the cost of the items they contain, usually you can save money by assembling the exact same items.

7.  Hit the After Easter Clearance Sales.
While this tip won't help you this Holiday season to be frugal, check out the prices on the leftovers in the stores when Easter is over.  There are many good opportunities to pick up items for next year on the cheap like baskets,  accessories and toys as well.  Often companies will put out Easter or Spring themed versions of their toys.  Major retailers generally put these toys on clearance with the Easter themed items even though the toy itself isn't's just packaged in a seasonal way.  You can get great deals on toys that way that you can put back and give for Birthdays or at Christmas.
It's even possible to pick up candy/chocolate during the Holiday Clearance sales to use next year.  While I don't recommend this, if you can store the candy in such a way that it won't deteriorate, you can save lots.  I have bought M&Ms and packed them away in the freezer until next year and they looked and tasted the same as a freshly made bag.  Not all candies/chocolates can be kept so long so use your own discretion.

When shopping the sales, just be sure that the CLEARANCE signs don't cause your common sense to leave your brain.  A deal isn't a deal if you really don't need it!  Getting 3 Easter baskets for $.25 each on clearance is great if you NEED 3 baskets, but not so great if you don't NEED that many.  It's always a great idea to MAKE A LIST of what you NEED before you hit the clearance sales.  And stick to your list!!


Friday, April 15, 2011

More College Fun......Keeping My Fingers & Toes Crossed!

So Hubs took Daughter for a campus visit to the safety/small state college she was accepted into.  This is the school that offered her a 1/3rd tuition merit scholarship and is the only one that the pile of money we have set aside for her will cover the cost of the degree without lots of student loan debt.  It is NOT her 1st choice school so she grumbled the whole way to the visit.

She came back fairly impressed with the school and the biology/bio-medical departments there.  Her biggest concern seems to be now that this school is NOT in a large city like her 1st choice, so she thinks there will be nothing to do for fun.   Kids.....

She will be bored for awhile but she won't be in massive amounts of debt when she is done there.
I think that's a pretty good trade-off.
Heck, knowing her, she'll be running this school before she's done!lolol

She also discovered that this school has a nice little perk.  If she gets accepted into a special pre-med program there, she gets an automatic berth into an accredited medical school that is affiliated with this college.  No having to interview or apply to medical school(she could still apply to other med schools if she wanted to)and no competing with the hundreds of thousands of other potential medical school candidates for the finite number of slots each year.  There is having to keep her grades at a certain level through her undergraduate years but if she does, she's guaranteed one of the 5 automatic seats for graduates of her school into the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Well she will have to get a 24 on her MCats as well as pass the interview and get letters of recommendation too.
She has already sent in her application for this program so we wait to hear back.  Please cross your fingers that she gets in....I'd appreciate it. ;-)

Of course, the $200,000+ she needs for medical school is another matter she can worry about 4 years from now.lolol

Here is some more information on this whole Student Debt issue.  If you have any articles or stories to share on this issue, please leave a comment and links for us.

* A Video from Glenn Reynolds' talk give at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism lecture series last fall on the 'Higher Education Bubble'  HERE.

*A humorous column from George Will HERE.

* For the first time, Student Debt surpasses Credit Card Debt HERE.

* A podcast by Zac Bissonnette, who wrote a book about going to college without going into debt(while he was still a student!) HERE

* An article on saving on the cost of school by incorporating Community College into your plan HERE.

* If you put your college funds into a state plan or a 529, you need to go read this HERE.

Also, if you have a Coverdell Education Savings Account(not a 529), you need to know that they extended the tax breaks that were due to expire 12/31/10.  The new end date for these breaks is  12/31/12...unless Congress extends the deadline again at that time.
This is something you should keep your eye out for in a couple of years if you'll have an ESA at that time.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doggone Fun!

Just something fun to watch.  I am a fan of this musical group and the myriad of videos they have created.
They did this video in support of animal rescue.
We say heck ya! to second chance pets.....all of our dogs have come from shelters.
All I can say is that I sure wish my kids were this well



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Tablecloth Domestic Hack......

What is a "Hack" you ask?
Well, it's defined as a clever, ingenious or out-of-the-ordinary way of solving a problem in your life.    Thinking "out of the box" if you will, that simplifies your life.
I've come up with solutions that I like to call Domestic Hacks.

Though my kitchen is of a decent size, it lacks enough storage.  There are 5 doors or doorways into/out of my kitchen, taking up precious wall space where cabinets should/could be.  Plus one whole wall is a half wall with a heating unit smack dab in the center of it, so no room to put any kind of storage unit/shelf/cabinet there either.  I do have a dining room hutch/cabinet combo but the cabinet part holds serving dishes, china and silverware.  There is no free space left in that piece of furniture either.

My problem is where to put my many kitchen table tablecloths when they are not in use.  I have a collection of seasonal tablecloths I like to cover my glass topped kitchen table with.  If you have ever viewed one of my shopping trip post photos, you've seen at least one of the cloths in question here.

But I have no place to store the cloths not in use at the moment.  Even folded up flat, they do take up precious room I can't spare.

So I store the tablecloths not being used at the moment ON the table!
I currently have 5 layers of tablecloth on my kitchen table.....

Since it's Spring, the flowered cloth is visible on top.
But lurking underneath are 3 Winter themed cloths that are not specifically Christmas and 1 Fall cloth.  I just rotate them to the top of the stack depending on the season.

Easy solution, right?lol
I saved some storage space, expended little energy, saved time getting cloths in and out of their storage place and I didn't have to spend any money to solve my problem.
Just one of my many "Domestic Hacks".

Do you have any Hacks you have come up with?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Using the +Up Rewards up for the Week

I finally got out on Tuesday to Rite-Aid.
And just in the nick of time to get some Old Spice/Gillette Body Wash before it was all gone!
Here's how I rolled/converted/used my expriring +Ups this week.....

2 x Old Spice Body Wash on sale $2.99=$5.98  *
1 x Glad Trash bags on sale=$3.99
1 x Complete Contact wash on sale=$7.99
2 x Mitchum Deodorant 20% Wellness discount $3.43=$6.86

Coupons Used

1 x $1 Any Purchase AdPerks/VV Q=$1.00
1 x BOGO Old Spice Body Wash ManQ=$2.99
1 x $1/1 Old Spice item ManuQ Homemailer Booklet=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Glad trash bags IPQ=$1.00 (not sure if this is available anymore)
1 x $1/1 Peelie on Complete Box=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Mitchum Facebook Q=$2.00
1 x $5/2 Mitchum/Rite-Aid Q=$5.00(link sent in email)=$5.00
Coupon Total....$13.99

$24.82-$13.99=$10.83 + $.29tax=$11.12 OOP
I used $11 +Up Rewards($9 expiring this week and $2 expiring on the 23rd)and put the .12¢ on my gift card.
I received $5 in +Up Rewards back(2 x $2 Old Spice, $1 Glad), so I am 'down' $6 in +Ups but I qualified for SCR #24(Complete solution) for the full purchase price of  $7.99, so I am 'up' $1.99 overall.

*Now I realize that I didn't buy 2 "Fresh Collection" Old Spice items per the OS Q.  But sine they only had 1 of that variety in the store, they let me use the Q on that one Fresh Collection and one of the Swagger variety.
Remember also, that there is a LIMIT of 2 per Wellness card on the Old Spice and/or Gillette Body Wash Deal this week.  Both brands are of the same Deal so don't try to buy 2 Old Spice and then 2 Gillette with the same Wellness card.  You will only get 2 $2 +Ups.

Then I used BIL's card to buy the 2 Gillette Body Wash also on sale for $2.99 each....

SubTotal was $5.98.
I used a BOGO ManuQ, which deducted $2.99, making my total $2.99.
I paid with a $1.99 Scunci +Ups and a $1.00 Easter Candy +Ups, which made my OOP $0.00.

I love getting a receipt that shows $0.00 spent.....hehehe.....

I earned 2 x $2 +Ups on this purchase, so I am 'up' $1.01 on this transaction.

Number of Transactions.....2
Total Spent....$.12 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$47.02
SCR qualified for...$7.99
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$9.00
+Up Rewards spent....$13.99
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$42.97
And I have $51.78 left on my gift card.

GRAND TOTALS--April Rebate Period so far

Number of Transactions......9
Total Spent....$2.71 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$391.40
SCR qualified for....$58.91
Other Cash....$0.00

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

+UPS Totals for April SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 4/9.....$47.96

+Up Rewards spent....$122.99
+Up Rewards earned....$52.96
+Up Rewards left....$42.97  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period


So what is everyone else getting/gotten at Rite-Aid this week?


Bread Outlets are Great for Stocking-Up....

I like to go to my local Bread/Bakery Outlet at least once a month to stock-up on bread products.
My teens eat quite alot of sandwiches(especially #2 son, the grilled cheese addict).  I can't see spending $3.99 or more on a loaf at the grocery store!

The 'premium' breads(the Arnold and Thomas')go for 3 for $5 at the outlet.  These brands can be as much as $4.49 a loaf at the local market.
I usually don't buy these 'premium' breads even at the outlet unless they put them on some kind of additional discount(if they are overstocked or too close to the sell by date, etc.).  Last month I got bags of Thomas' bagels for .89¢ each because of a production overrun.  I usually don't buy them at $1.67 a bag there but for .89¢ I was all over that deal!lol

The 'other branded' breads are usually 3 for $3(only if you buy 3 or multiples of less and they are $1.59 a loaf).  $1.59 is still a good price but $1 is better and I'll buy 3 to get that price, since we will use it all up.

There is also a discounted rack where everything is .89¢ each no matter the item or brand.
I "heart" the discounted rack.....

This outlet also carries Entenmann's Baked Goods.  All kinds/varieties of evil goodness!  They run 3 for $6 or $2.25 if you don't buy in multiples of 3.  These are the items that go for $4.99 or more at the store.
There is also a discounted rack for the Entenmann's items where everything is $1.00.
I hardly ever buy off the regular 3 for $6 shelves, only the $1.00 rack.

On occasion, they will run a special, like Spend $10 and get a free loaf of something(their choice).  Since when I go I stock-up, I usually spend enough to get the free loaf deal.
I tend to stock up more in the winter, since I can keep the bread out in the frigid garage, in my "auxiliary freezer".  In the summer with the humidity, I don't buy more than I can fit into the fridge or the freezer to keep the bread from going bad.

The one problem with the Bread Outlet is that from day to day, you never know what or how much of something they are going to have available.  They don't get regular deliveries or standard amounts sent to them.  A lot of it is supermarket returns.  Grocery stores will return for credit, bread which does not sell within XX number of days.  The producer sends it to the Bread Outlet.  It's all still 'in date' but only by a few days, so you need to freeze or refrigerate what you don't use right away after you buy it.

Since you don't know what will be there it's very hard to plan your trip successfully sometimes.  If you need lots of rolls this month and they are out, you either have to make another trip and hope they have more that day, rearrange your meal plan, go spend more at the grocery store or make your own.

Anyway, here is what I bought last week....
5 boxes of Entenmann's
3 bags of rolls/buns
10 bags of breads
18 items for $20.45 

That comes out to $1.14 an item because of the 2 free loaves for spending $20.  Not a bad average with that.

It's a bit higher than what I usually spend.  They were out of chocolate doughnuts on the $1 rack, so I had to splurge and pay $2 a box.  These doughnuts are Hubs one request and it was his Birthday last week, so how could I say no? ;-)
I also splurge and got 3 loaves of the premium brand bread since they didn't have any similar type of that bread in the 'other brands' lower priced racks.

I occasionally still make my own bread, but not often, and not at all in the heat of the summer months.  The problem is the teens prefer this store bought stuff to my homemade.  Some day they will miss it when they have flown the nest.......

Anyway, it's well worth your time to seek out some type of Bread/Bakery Outlet where you live.
You will save scads of food dollars if you can keep from hauling too many of those evil baked goods home as well!lol


Monday, April 11, 2011

For Mark......

Ok, I stand corrected!
You have NOT fallen behind in your decluttering Mark, just in the sharing of what was dejunked.
I hang my head in shame at doubting you and your dedication to dejunking..... 8-(
I wait with baited breath for your next decluttering post.

While I wait, here is what I dug up over the weekend and sent off to Salvation Army today.......

A bunch of shirts(still with tags) and new in the box toys from my old eBay inventory.  Add in some books I've read and am ready to pass along.

Now why do I keep hearing Ethel Merman singing, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" over and over again in my head??lolol


3 Trips to Rite-Aid Late Last Week

I goofed up bigtime last Thursday at Rite-Aid.
I was trying to do the "Buy $20 of Hershey candies and get a $10 +Up Reward" Deal, but I miscalculated and didn't quite spend $20.

So I went right back in and spend another $3 and change to get over the $20 mark.  But by doing the 2nd trip too close timewise to the first, the system didn't sync up the 2 transactions, so the +Up still didn't print.
Ugh again.

So I went back on Friday and bought some more....not more candy, but I still had +Ups to roll/convert/burn before Saturday night AND Daughter wanted to use her GOS Cert. from before Xmas.
So I got the kids a new blow dryer and other stuff....and I STILL didn't spend all my expriring +Ups.
Triple UGH.

So....I went back Saturday evening to spend $4 in expiring +Ups.  I did end up buying more Easter candy(which also qualified for the Hershey +Ups Deal) AND my $10 +Ups FINALLY PRINTED!
Yay me!!!

So now, I'll be returning the $3 and change worth of Hershey's from Thursday night since the Saturday Hershey's also qualified for the +Ups Deal and put me over $20.  Those chocolate bunnies aren't pictured in my Photo since I am not counting them, but they will put another $3.18 on the Rite-Aid gift card(and take $1 off my +Ups left to spend total since I used $1 of them)when I return them since I paid with Qs, +Ups and a gift card.
That's just so you know when my gift card total goes up, that is why.

While the beginning of last week was all about rolling +Ups into more +Ups or converting +Ups into Single Check Rebate cash, these trips were all about spending expiring +Ups before they went kaput!lol
Since I wasn't able to roll most of the $26 that were expiring, I chose items that we needed/wanted and if possible things we also could get at least a partial amount back in +Ups like the chips, the candy, the cookies and the blow dryer.

Onward to the photo of the items I bought in those 3 transactions and the totals.....

2 Lay's Chips
2 Colgate Toothpaste(raincheck)
4 Reach Toothbrushes(raincheck)
2 Chef Boyardee Pasta(free item homemailers)
1 Corned Beef Hash
2 Dawn Dish Detergent
2 Snack Bags of Cookies
1 Blow Dryer
2 NYC nail polish
1 Gallon of Milk  **Not Pictured**
1 can of Arizona Iced Tea **Not Pictured**
4 Bags Reese's pieces M&Ms
2 Bags Reese's Pieces Eggs
8 single Reese's Eggs
8 single Cadbury Eggs
1 roll of Mentos mints

Total OOP....$1.09 put on gift card(.28¢, 43¢ and 38¢)
Total Value of Items Received....$109.62
Total +Ups spent...$26.00
Other Certs.....$20.00
Total Qs used...$62.53
Total +Ups received...$21.00
Total left on gift card...$48.72
Total left on gift card after return...$51.90

Number of Transactions.....3
Total Spent....$1.09 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$109.62
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$21.00
+Up Rewards spent....$27.00(includes $1 in +Ups I used on the items I returned)
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$47.96

GRAND TOTALS--April Rebate Period so far

Number of Transactions......7
Total Spent....$2.59 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$344.38
SCR qualified for....$50.92
Other Cash....$0.00

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

+UPS Totals for April SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 4/3.....$53.96

+Up Rewards spent....$107.00
+Up Rewards earned....$43.96
+Up Rewards left....$47.96  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period


Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Forgot to Post This......

.....about 4 months ago I had a Holiday/Christmas Giveaway.  The prize was an ornament from my big 'ol stash personally chosen for whomever the winner happened to be.
The winner was Diane(dicity)but I never posted a photo of her prize, though I did take a snapshot of it before I mailed it to her.

Diane told me she keeps her tree up year round and she's into Patriotic themed stuff and likes the red, white & blue color scheme.
So I sent her this ornie, which I thought would be right at home on her tree.....

  I was going through and organizing my photo files on the computer and I just found this photo again, which reminded me to post it.
Yes, I am a procrastinating disorganized slob......lolol

I also visited my storage today since the weather was in the high '60s today without any rain for a change.  I've got the urge to do some more cleaning/clearing out of stuff around here again.  I found another tub of Hallmark ornies in storage. 
My question is.....would anyone be interested in an Ornament Giveaway?  I'm sure I could come up with a box of 'new in the box/never used' ornies for a prize. 
Or maybe I should wait until we get a tad closer to Christmas to do this one, huh?lol 


Saturday, April 9, 2011

And the Winner is.......

I randomly picked an entry from the current Giveaway.
And the winner is.....

fperkins2000 @

Congratulations Frances!

Please email me your mailing address and I'll get this in the mail for you asap.

And thank you to everyone who entered. 
I'll have another exciting Giveaway up on deck shortly, so stay tuned!!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Quick Reminder....Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Before I drag my carcass back to bed, don't forget that me Giveaway ends at 11:59pm tonight!
Use the link on the top of the right sidebar over there--->
Or use this link HERE!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Random Things In My Brain

* After hearing of another big aftershock earlier today in northern Japan, I am thinking what Dim Bulbs in charge in our country thought it was a GOOD IDEA to build not One but TWO, count 'em TWO nuclear reactors on Fault Lines???
Yes, California has two plants built along the San Andreas Fault....

Not only that but there is another reactor just outside of the Metro NYC area(Indian Point Station), 24 miles from Manhattan.  The population density within 50 miles of that plant is so dense that should it meltdown the vast majority of people would have no hope of evacuating in time.  Screw a survival kit and iodine pills, kiss your ass goodbye. ;-)

* If you have ever watched the tv show "Third Rock From the Sun", tell me it's not just my imagination, but that French Stewart(the actor who plays Harry Solomon)never opens his eyes!  Please tell me this was part of his interpretation of the character and that the man is capable of opening his eyes.  This seriously bothers me every time I watch an episode.  Yes, I need a

* The last time I left the house 3 days ago, gas was $3.49 a gallon.  I went out to run errands today and it's $3.72!  Holy Crap!!  We'll be hitting the $4 mark before Memorial Day at this rate.

* Look at the bright side of the government possibly shutting down due to lack of money.  At least when they aren't open for business as usual, they can do no harm.  Much like the Oath Doctors take, "First, do no harm.".  I think Congress should have to take a similar oath.....and be prosecuted if they violate it....or at least just send them home and strip them of their job.  Call it downsizing, yah, that's it..... ;-)

* At the Bakery/Bread Outlet today, they were very low on product.  And some items I usually buy were not available as they were cleaned out!  And some items they had raised the prices on so my OOP was higher for basically the same stuff I always buy.  I think more people around here are frequenting the outlet and not paying the high grocery store prices for bread anymore like me.

* I have noticed that items are going up in price....that's nothing new right?  But these escalating prices are just so much more noticeable to me than say in 2010.  I think most companies can't just shrink the product sizes and keep the same prices anymore like they use to do.....they are having to actually raise prices on these shrunken products.  And it's not just a few cents to a nickel anymore.  Items are going up every week so if I don't go to the store for a week, the products are blatantly higher in price to my discerning eye.  And my Price Book prices are having to be adjusted up....ACK!

* And I still see very few people when I am in line at the register using coupons here!  How can these people(who I just KNOW for the most part are in worse financial shape than we are since the median income in my area is way lower than what we make), how can they afford to pay these prices on non-sale item goods w/out even a coupon used either? 
Plus the ready-made food the markets sell seem to be doing a box office business!  I see lots of deli meats and cheese and deli salads, etc. and hot baked chickens, sides going out the grocery store's door when I'm there.  What a waste of money that stuff is......  How hard is it to put a chicken in a crockpot before you leave for work in the morning?  Just that tiny bit of planning would save you from overspending on a $12 tiny baked roaster at the market.  No wonder people spend $800 or more a month on their food budgets!

* Some days I think people should have to get a license to have and raise a child!  I won't go into why I believe this would be a good thing but after my conversation with someone today I'll just say it's worth investigating the possiblities. lol

So what weird or wise things are on your mind today?


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I Be A Netflix Junkie

Well, I have decided that a Netflix Account is a giant suckhole of time, much in the same way being online can be a giant suckhole of time.
Would I rather watch films than clean the house, sew my projects or cook?

Just call me your friendly neighborhood Netflix 'Ho....

But I can say I DID get my money's worth of show viewing in March with my new Netflix account.  Many things I want to watch are NOT available under their instant play feature that streams on your computer, so I have to wait for a dvd to show up in the mail, watch it quickly and return it the next day.  I was able to squeeze 7 whole dvd mail/view/return cycles into a month.  Not very satisfying for me but as long as there is still stuff I want to watch instantly to fill in the voids of time when I don't have a new dvd to watch, this will work out.

I'd love everyone's suggestions on what to watch, so if you have some favorite movies or tv shows, let me hear it!!

I started watching old tv shows from my past but this is turning out to be not such a good idea.  I seem to remember them fondly but when I look at some of them with a new, older, more sophisticated eye, they don't stack up.  Case in point, "Soap".  I remember the few episodes I saw 'back in the day-1970something' as funny.  I tried to watch it again and it's just horrible! ACK!!!
And that one called "Trailer Park Boys"?  Don't even bother....  It's a Canadian tv comedy series.  It's suppose to be funny.  It's the former but not the latter.....and there are a bazillion epidsodes.  It's a time waster and it will eat a piece of your brain out too. ;-)

Some films/shows that surprised me pleasantly....
No Impact Man--Before he started his year of living no-impact, he had joined the Compact list that I have been a member of for 5+ years now.  Basically, he joined to get us to follow his blog and to advertise his film adventure, so that left a bad taste in my mouth toward him.  I finally broke down and watched his docudrama and I enjoyed it.  Not because of him, but because of his wife.  SHE is the star of that film and she should get a medal for putting up with him.lolol

Another surprise was being able to sit through an entire Michael Moore film.  The man has serious problems and I share no piece of his view of the world, but I enjoyed most of Capitalism:A Love long as I detached myself from the maudlin sentimentality and his crazy as a loon

Films I would recommend.....Noise, Being John Malkovich, The Big Lebowski and Botany of Desire.  And only 1 of them is a documentary.... 8-)

Here is the list of what I've watched this month, with my recommendations(1-5 stars).  My tastes tend toward  Documentaries, Comedies, Older Movies/Shows, Indie Films, etc.   

PRESSURE COOKER stream  *****
BABIES   stream  ****
OUTSOURCED  stream  ***
THE BIG LEBOWSKI  stream  *****
THE RITCHIE BOYS stream   ***
TEMPLE GRANDIN  dvd  *****
BROKEN stream  **
MY FLESH AND BLOOD  stream  ***
PRECIOUS stream   *****
FREAKONOMICS  stream   ****
MAXED OUT  stream  ***
NO IMPACT MAN  stream   ***
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES the original one   stream ****
LAST TRAIN HOME stream   ****
UNFORGOTTEN stream   ***
1940'S dvd  ****
SOAP TV SERIES  stream   negative ***
THE BOTANY OF DESIRE  stream  ****
NOISE stream   ****
KINGS OF PASTRY  stream  ***
THUMBS UP stream   ***
AUNTIE MAME stream   ****
EAT PRAY LOVE  stream    ***
FILM GEEK  stream   **
TARNATION  stream  ***
TUDORS TV SERIES  stream   ****
THE ONE PERCENT  stream  ****
WENDY AND LUCY stream  ***
WHICH WAY HOME  stream  ****
THE BIG BANG THEORY  stream  *****

So what is everybody else watching lately?


Be Careful......Frugality Can Turn You Into Sheldon!

I guess being frugal comes naturally to nerds. All that math involved in doing deals and the logical reasoning that stocking up exemplifies.

So call me a nerd.....I don't mind.

If you consider yourself a Frugalista, go watch this clip and tell me you don't "get" Sheldon.

Sluggy-who has a 2 year supply of toilet paper & would have more if she had the room for it

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Have a Chuckle Tuesday....Go Watch Some Great Acting

As many of you know, I come from a theatre background.  It's been in my blood since I was a wee little thing performing "Yes Jesus Loves Me" for my parent's party guests on the family home's fireplace hearth.

A few months ago I realized that I had never in my 50+ years seen the entire film "Auntie Mame"(1958).  That's the non-musical version of of the musical stage show that was made into a movie called "Mame", starring Lucille Ball.

The film "Auntie Mame" stars legendary actress Rosalind Russell in the title role.
The film is based on the book, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis.  It is a fictitious recounting of his life being raised by his Aunt named Mame.
Briefly, if you don't know the plot, a young recently orphaned boy is sent to live with his Aunt Mame.  She is an 'eccentric free-spirited character' who lives her life on her own terms.  Hilarity ensues as Patrick grows from boy to man.

Anyway, I finally got to see the entire film recently.  I've always been a fan of the stage play based on this film and book, thought I've never really cared for the film of the musical play.
I think I know why now.
I can't really see anyone else playing the role of Mame besides Rosalind Russell-the person who stars in this non-musical version of the film.
Well, maybe no one else except me....... ;-)

I've always been a big fan of Ms. Russell's work.  She was a hell of an actress!  She was also a pretty awesome person too from what I've read.

So here's a clip from Auntie Mame(1958). I hope you enjoy it....


Monday, April 4, 2011

For SonyaAnn.......a CVS Plan!

My bloggy buddy SonyaAnn asked me to put a CVS plan together for her for this sales week.  She's got a $5 off $40 Order CVS Q burning a hole in her frugal pocket.  And she's starting from Zero ECBs.
If it was me, here is what I'd buy.....
First thing is I'd concentrate on what is giving ECBs this week.
Then I'd concentrate on what Qs out there could give me a low OOP.
Then I'd use any FREE ITEM Qs I had laying around in my binder that I haven't used yet.  This part gets my pre-Q total up(hopefully over $40)so I can use the $5/$40 Q without shelling out any money on said items.

Here's what I'd buy.....
1 x Complete contact lense wash=$8.99
3 x SoftSoap Body Wash products on sale $3 ea.=$9.00
2 x Herbal Essence Shampoo on sale=$5.49/2
2 x Crest Rinse items on sale $3.49=$6.98
2 x Oral-B toothbrushes on sale $2.99=$5.98
1 x Right Guard Body Wash on sale=$3.88

Coupons to Use
1 x $5/$40 Purchase=$5.00
1 x $1/1 Complete ManuQ(4/3SS)=$1.00
3 x $1/1 SoftSoap Body Wash ManuQ(3/27 SS)=$3.00
2 x Free Item Q Herbal Essence(from Facebook)=$5.49
2 x $1/1 Crest ManuQ(4/3 P&G)=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Oral-B ManuQ(4/3 P&G)=$4.00
Coupon Total....$20.49

$40.32-$20.49=$19.83 OOP

I'd receive $21.97 back in ECBs(Complete $8.99, SoftSoap $3, Crest Rinse $5, Oral-B toothbrushes $1.98, Right Guard Body Wash $3), so if I rolled those next time into more free products, this lot of goods would end up 'costing' me -$2.14.  ;-)

If the Right Guard Body Wash had peelie Qs on them, you'd have another $1 off in Qs for a total OOP of $18.83.
And if you got the BOGO Right Guard Q in your 3/13 RP insert, you could get 2 bottle of Body Wash instead of 1 for the same OOP.

If there are things here you don't need/want, remove and add other items that are cheap/free after sales/coupons.


$32K Savings Challenge for 2011.....March Totals

Since I foresee food prices, as well as other expenses/costs/taxes to rise in 2011, I am only upping my Savings Challenge Goal by $2,000.  While I hope to bring in more income this year, I feel we will be spending more on necessities in 2011, thus the small increase in goals.

So I present to you March of the 2011 $32K Savings Challenge!

I have posted my MARCH End of Month $32K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the side bar to your right for the specific numbers.

I have 2 goals really each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $2,666.67.

I have to report that we finished up March in the black!
The extra cash amount we ended the month of March with.......$2353.56.

We had $2282.19 left over from our income after our expenses were deducted.
Add in $71.37 of Rebates applied against the food expenses and you have a deposit of $2,353.56 toward the Savings Challenge!

Our monthly target is an average of $2,666.67 to reach our Year End Goal.  We came in about $313 short in March.

As for the expenses in March....
*The credit card bill was well under $1K.
*The electric bill went down about $50.
*We ONLY spent $342 something on car repairs/maintenance.  Unfortunately, this amount is a good thing for us. ugh
*Hubs took less WAM out of the bank this month....yay! 8-)
*I didn't need to take any cash out of the bank since I was able to do the last 2 month's food/HBA shopping on what I withdrew in Feb.

 *The quarterly sewage bill came due this month, I went ahead and paid up for the full year, earning a 3% discount....hey!, it's
*I paid the garbage bill ahead for 3 months, which is good overall but not for this month's outgo.
*The Final BIG marching band payment(for #2 son's trip in the Spring)came due...$460. bleh.

The Food Budget costs for March are in another post, which is located HERE.  The actual Food/Toiletries spending in March was more than $100 under budget.

What's ahead for April.....
Looking back at last year's check register, I see that the County/Local taxes are due this month....that's a big one!
We also have another car repair to pay.
The credit card bill is up to $400 with another 10 days to go until the billing cycle closes.  I'm hoping to keep it under $600 by the time it closes on the 10th.
Other than that it's just the usual suspects this month--electric, water, phone, cable, food, prescriptions, dr. visits, etc.

With 3 months behind us, our Savings total to-date for 2011 is $5,136.53.

And if you need to start putting money into savings......What's that you say?  You don't have an emergency fund of 6-8 months worth of expenses!!??....consider playing along in 2011 with me and Challenging Yourself to Save Money each Month Toward a Realistic for YOU Savings Goal!
Not everyone can shoot for $32K, I fully get that!
But everyone can shoot for some number, right!?

Find a money goal that works for you and put that number out there for everyone to see.  It will help keep you accountable to your goal if other eyes are on you.
Ooo, that sounded kind of creepy didn't it? ;-)

So how was your March financially?  Leave a comment and share with us what you did with your money, both the good and not-so good.   Do you have any tricks or tips that help you to end your month before the money runs out?    Let us know!
If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check you out too!


Rite-Aid....What I Bought Saturday & Sunday

I had $12 left in +Ups to spend on Saturday, so I took the advice of one of my lovely readers, Chitra, earlier last week and did the Unilever +Ups Deal--got some Axe Shower Gel(#2 son's fav)and Dove 'Poo, among other things.....
The Dove and Axe was $9.50 after Qs and I received a $5+Up Reward WYB $15 in products, so all 4 bottles cost me $4.50 total.
The pistachios were 2/$5 on sale so $2/$3 after $1/1 Qs.
The 3 greeting cards were better than free after 20% discount and the in-ad $3/3 store Q.
The candy bar was filler to get my total over $12 so I could use all my expiring +Ups.
I put the .37¢ leftover on my free gift card.
I spent $12 in +Ups and got $5 in +Ups back, so this transaction cost me $7.

Then on Sunday morning I did this....

2 x Tena pads on sale $9.99=$19.98
2 x Scunci hair bands on sale $1.99=$3.98
2 x Super Poligrip on sale $1.99=$3.98
I x local newspaper=$.99
3 x Easter candy bags(large $6.99 ones)on sale $4.99=$14.97
2 x Easter eggs w/Wellness discount 20% $.399=$7.98*not on sale so discount made them cheaper
1 x Cello Cherry filler w/Wellness discount 20%=$.26 *Not pictured*

Coupons Used
2 x $2.50/1 Tena IPQ=$5.00
2 x $1.50/1 PoliGrip AdPerks/VV IPQ=$3.00
1 x $1/3 Hershey's/Reese's Easter candy bags ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Hershey's/Reese's Centerpiece Easter candies ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$10.00

$52.14-$10.00=$42.14 + .04¢ tax=$42.18
I used $42 in +Ups and put the $.18 on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received $13.98 in +Up Rewards back(1 x $10 wyb $20 of Hershey/Reese's Easter candy, 2 x $1.99 Scunci hair bands).
I qualified for $23.96 in SCRebates(2 x $9.99 Tena, 2 x $1.99 PoliGrip).
Spent $42 in +Ups, got $13.98 in +Ups back and $23.96 in cash rebates, so everything in the photo 'cost' me $4.06 in the end.
Not bad.....

Then I bought 2 each of the Tena, Scunci bands and the PoliGrip again on the BIL's card.  Oh, I also had to add in a Cello Cherry too....
SubTotal was $28.20.
Coupons were $8.00.
$20.20 + .05¢ tax=$20.25 OOP. ...still can't figure out the tax
I used $20 in +Ups to pay and put the .20¢ on the gift card.

My Rite-Aid gift card is now spent down to $49.99.

I received $3.98 in +Ups back for the Scunci bands and I'll get $23.96 back in SCRs.
$20 +Ups spent, $3.98 +Ups back and $23.96 in cash rebates, so this transaction was a MM of $7.94.
Would have been better if our region had gotten the Poligrip Q(and our PoliGrip was not the higher $2.49 reg. retail here!)but I am not

For Sunday's trips I 'spent' $62 in +Ups.....'rolling' $17.96 of them into more +Ups and 'converting' $44.04 balance of them into cash rebates, however my SCRs were $47.92, so I 'gained' $3.88 in cash.

Number of Transactions.....3
Total Spent....$.80 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$147.73
SCR qualified for...$47.92
Other Rebates earned...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$00.00
+Up Rewards earned...$22.96
+Up Rewards spent....74.00
+Up Rewards left to spend.....$53.96

GRAND TOTALS--April Rebate Period so far

Number of Transactions......4
Total Spent....$1.50 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$234.76
SCR qualified for....$50.92
Other Cash....$0.00

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

+UPS Totals for April SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 3/31.....$109.00

+Up Rewards spent....$80.00
+Up Rewards earned....$22.96
+Up Rewards left....$53.96  includes ALL +Ups not just ones from this SCR period


Sunday, April 3, 2011

March Budget Results.....Food & Toiletries Spending

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for MARCH 2011.

I have posted March's totals on the right side bar under Total Grocery Savings for 2011 and updated the Yearly Totals.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in March.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Summary.

My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Pet Supplies, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable.We are a family of 5(4 at home this month)& 2 dogs. No kids under 15.

OOP  $6.80
Value  $12.28
Savings  44.62%

OOP  $14.23
Value  $70.89
Savings  80%

CARONE'S(small local independent store)
OOP  $89.67
Qs/Ads  $98.85
Value  $188.52
Savings  52.44%

OOP  $11.18
Value  $18.00
Savings  38%

OOP  $5.79 (whole amount put on free Rite-Aid Gift Cards)=$.00 actual OOP
Qs/Ads/+Ups  $770.79
Value  $776.58
Savings  99.35% before gift cards/ 100% savings after free gift cards

WEIS (local chain Grocery store that doesn't take IP Qs in my town/doubles up to $1 total)
OOP  $82.10
Qs/Ads  $115.62
Value  $197.72
Savings   58.50%

I don't track Rite-Aid's +Ups here, nor CVS's ECBs & Walgreen's RRs. They will be included when used on purchases under "Coupons".   I'll keep track of what rebates are received monthly.  Rebate money/gift cards will be considered 'income' & will go into the Food/Toiletries budget, offsetting the Out of Pocket. Cash will go immediately into the Budget kitty, while Gift Cards will be calculated in when spent.


Rite-Aid SCR...$68.98


TOTAL Value of Cash/Store Checks/Gift Card Rebates Received...$71.37


Chef Boyardee.....Free Ravioli Q
Herbal Essence 'Poo...$1/1 Q & Free Item Q
NeilMed......Free Neti Bottle
MegaRed....Free Supplement Sample
Orbit.....Free Pack of Gum Q
P&G....Q Booklet
Purina.....Free Bag of Dog Food Q

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were from Rite-Aid at 100%,  The Bread Outlet at 80% and  Weis Markets at 58.50%.  I only shopped at 6 stores in March.

TOTAL Out of Pocket...............................$203.98
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$1060.01
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$1263.99 with Rite-Aid figured in
TOTAL Savings of...................................83.86%

TOTAL of CASH Rebates........................$71.37
TOTAL Out of Pocket After Rebates........$132.61
TOTAL Savings including Rebates...........$1131.38
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$1263.99
TOTAL Savings After Rebates...................89.50%

Since my Rite-Aid shopping(which contains No OOP)always skews my savings percentages, I like to figure my Totals without the Rite-Aid numbers also.
TOTAL OOP after Rebates.....$132.61
TOTAL Value of Items Purchases(w/out Rite-Aid items)....$487.41
TOTAL Savings After Rebates(w/out Rite-Aid items).....72.80%

This closes out the March spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month-
While I didn't set out to do a "No Spend Month", my grocery spending was under $120 until the last week of March.  I did the Kraft Cheese Instant Discount Deal a second time on the 26th at the local ShurSave affiliate store, plus my Daughter went to the store with me and she needed quite a few items so she could make quick, easy lunches and dinners on the nights that she worked.  So I spent almost $40 on her needs alone on that trip.
We did eat down some of the veggies, meats and ice cream in the freezer this month, as well as quite a few canned goods.
In the end, we kept the spending under $140.00 for the month which was very good.

What's ahead for April.....
We'll need to make another trip to the Bread Outlet this month to restock.  I can't make bakery items as cheaply as I can get them on deep discount at the Outlet. 
I'll also be buying a 5lb. block of Cooper Sharp Cheese at the Restaurant Outlet since we haven't done that since last year.  By slicing my own, we save the large mark-up on the deli sliced cheese.
The only meat I plan to buy in April will be any marked down packages that are at or under my Price Book amount for various meats. 
I'll be on the look-out for sour cream and ricotta cheese on sale/discount as we are also out of those items.  No stockpile items are low at this point but I'll keep my eyes open for 'stockopportunities' where combining my Qs and loss leader sale prices will get me some 'extreme couponing' deals.
Again, I hope to accomplish this for not more than $250 for the month.

How did you do in March with your Food Budget?
What are your challenges for April?
Please leave a comment or link to your post and let us hear about your progress!  By sharing our struggles and efforts we can help each other stick to our budgets and learn to be better guardians of our resources.