Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We May Be Poor, But We Are Happy was hacked!!

Judy wanted me to post that her blog got hacked into today.  She says she'll be up and run as soon as she get things fixed.  Right now if you go to her blog, it's showing no blog exists by that name/url.

I'm sure everyone joins me in saying Good Luck Judy!


Judy has a new blog!  
You can find it over HERE.

January 2012 Budget Results.......Food and Toiletries Spending

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for JANUARY 2012.

I have posted January's totals on the right side bar under Total Grocery Savings for 2012 and updated the Yearly Totals.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in January.  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(3-4 at home this month)& 2 dogs. No kids under 15.

OOP  $22.67
Value  $42.91
Savings  47.17%

OOP  $19.15
Qs/Ads  $77.74
Value  $96.89
Savings   80.24%  *Not counting the $11.77 in CVS gift cards I have left.

OOP  $43.01
Value  $71.08
Savings  39.50%

OOP  $2.89
Qs/Ads  $0
Value  $2.80
Savings  0%

OOP  $10.58(put on my free Rite-Aid gift card), so ZERO cash spent
Qs/Ads/+Ups  $431.88
Value  $442.46
Savings  97.60% before gift cards OR 100% after gift cards

OOP  $55.40
Value  $75.86
Savings   27% *And that's basically all on meats.

SHURSAVE STORES(small local independent affiliated stores)
OOP  $43.85
Qs/Ads  $19.14
Value  $62.99
Savings  30.39%

WEIS (local chain Grocery store in my town/doubles up to $1 total)
OOP  $20.71
Qs/Ads  $3.28
Value  $23.99
Savings  13.68% 

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.


TOTAL Value of Cash/Store Checks/Gift Card Rebates Received...$9.00

Progresso.....free can of soup
Pinecone....product to test

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, CVS at 80.24% and Big Lots at 47.17%.
Hmmm, not a single grocery store in the lot. lol
I shopped at 8 different stores in January.

TOTAL Out of Pocket........$207.68
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$611.39
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$819.07
TOTAL Savings of...................................74.64%

TOTAL of CASH Rebates........................$9.00
TOTAL Out of Pocket After Rebates........$198.68
TOTAL Savings including Rebates...........$615.72
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$819.07
TOTAL Savings After Rebates...................75.74%

This closes out the January spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
Even though I only spent 2/3 of my food budget money for January, we still ate well.  We ate down a large piece on what was in the freezer and stockpile.  Plus there were leftovers from December still for part of the month.  Having assorted members of the family sick for part of the month lowered the grocery spending as well since nobody wants to eat when they are sick. ;-)

I plan on eating down the freezer again this month.  I need to defrost it so we need to empty it.  I hope to get into meal planning again after letting it lag in January(due partly to illness around here).  I don't plan any stock-ups in the coming month, but I do plan on purchasing more fresh produce and greens so I'll keep the budget at $300 for the month.

How did you do in January with your Food Budget? 

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.


Monday, January 30, 2012

January Food Spending Week 4, Meal Plan February Week 1

*I am taking part in Precious' MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE again for 2012.  You can find her blog FRUGAL MAKES CENTS and a list of other participants and their blogs  HERE.
Check it out.  You might find some new ideas for incorporating frugality into your life there!*

I love searching around for old photos and advertisements featuring kitchens from years gone by.  These are mostly the kitchens from my youth in the 1960's or earlier.  
Today's kitchen......
This is from a 1953 KitchenAid magazine ad.  While it's before "my" time, my brothers were around during that year.  I seriously doubt this was anything like the kitchen in my parent's house at that time, seeing as my parents were very poor when my siblings were born and they didn't own a house until shortly before I made my appearance into the world.
But for 1953, this was cutting edge in kitchen technology--metal cabinets, a stove in the center of the room with a recessed range hood, a breakfast bar with stools, a stylish linoleum floor with a yellow accent stripe(which matched the formica countertops!).  The laundry room was right in the kitchen too, with built in ironing and drying racks.  And did you notice the little rolling dirty laundry hamper/bin with the yellow counter top on it, in front of the iron board?

Now the oven position & style is a little odd, the fridge is pretty ordinary for the era, but the television set sitting in the kitchen in 1953!?  This family was upper middle class for sure to even own a tv in 1953!lol

Enough of that, onward to the Meals and Food Spending. 8-)

Last week's meal plan is in the books.  Here is what actually happened....
SUNDAY--homemade Pizza, carrot & celery sticks w/dressing
MONDAY--Leftover Chili or Burritos or both
TUESDAY--Denny's for Birthday Grand Slam
WEDNESDAY--Soup and Sandwich or leftover Sloppy Joe
THURSDAY--Chicken & Dumplings with carrots
FRIDAY--Chinese take-out
SATURDAY---Red Robin for Birthday Burger

I used up the last of the frozen pizza dough.  I had some odd pieces of chicken getting old in the freezer so I made Chicken and Dumplings out of it.  I tried a different dumpling recipe(the one in the Joy of Cooking with calls for egg as an ingredient), which gave a lighter/airy dumpling.  I didn't care for it much, preferring my old recipe which makes a heavier/gummier dumpling.  
There wasn't much other cooking last week, just more using up leftovers, heating up canned soup, opening canned/jarred fruits and more Birthday eating out.

I also didn't step foot into a grocery store all week...AGAIN!.  Hubs picked up milk one evening and #2 and I went to the Ollie's closeout store and bought some foodstuffs on another night.   The weekly spending was $46.75.

4 Weeks in and I spent $207.68 of my $300 January food budget.  $92.32 leftover for the month. I'll roll this amount into February's food budget, giving me $392.32 for this month.
I don't plan on spending it all in February, the extra will cover if I go over my usual $300 in the coming month.  Any leftover amount at the end of February will get thrown into my Savings Challenge fund and I'll start at $300 going into March.

For February....
Going into February Week 1, we have a little bit of Chili leftover and a couple of helpings of Chicken & Dumplings from Week 4.

This week's menu.....

SUNDAY--Italian Sausage Sandwiches, Cauliflower
MONDAY--Taco Bell(I'm having leftover Chicken & Dumplings)
TUESDAY--Homemade Pizza, Fruit Salad
WEDNESDAY--Tacos, Corn
THURSDAY--Tilapia, Rice, Brussel Sprouts
FRIDAY--Lasagna, Tossed Salad

This menu gives us I night of take-out(except for my dinner), 1 night of leftovers and 5 home cooked meals this week.

Items needed for this menu are...pizza dough(getting from Price Chopper tonight), fruit and salad greens. I've got all the proteins I'm serving and all the dairy and noodles for the Lasagna here already. 
I'll pick up extra salad greens this week, some fresh produce and fruit as well as any good deals I find this week.  I haven't checked the sales ads yet so I don't know what I'll be picking up, if anything in the way of good deals.

Before good deals, I'm figuring on $30 spending this week for immediate menu food 'needs'.
With my leftover cash, I'm starting February with $392.32 in the food budget.

So what is everyone else eating this week?  


Hopes/Goals for 2012

Since it's still January....ok, just BARELY.....I can still post my Goals for 2012.

Since I didn't achieve all my Goals for 2011 IN 2011, I'm building my Goals for 2012 from where 2011 left off.

Sluggy's Personal List of Goals for 2012

1.  Get all the tax and college Paperwork completed and filed by the end of February.
2.  Convert all my vinyl LPs to CDs and purge the LPs from my life.
3.  Continue to Declutter everywhere.  Finish the garage and move what's in the living room into the garage so that the house is 100% done by April.  Be out of the storage unit by December.
4.  Complete 4 house projects in 2012. 2 inside/2 outside
5.  Read 20 books this year.
6.  Rework the stockpile.  Make it healthier and more compact.
7.  Finish up the eBay sales by May.
8.  Get the sewing going again.  Go through projects in-progress and alterations pile and get rid of stuff.  Sew clothes for myself for a change!
9.  Get the Etsy Store up and running.
10.  Spend more time with family, especially Hubs.
11.  Lose 40 lbs...there, I said it!  Now I have to do it!!
12.  Continue the Savings Challenge with a goal of $20K for 2012.
13.  Continue to be Frugal whenever possible and live well below our means!
14.  Take at least 1 REAL vacation and ENJOY IT!
15.  Just in case I think of something else later, I'm leaving #15 empty.

So tell us dear readers, what areas of your life are you going to be concentrating on making better in 2011?
We need to know!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Doing the Double Challenge Month over at Carla's Blog

CARLA over at "My 1/2 Dozen Daily" is hosting a “Double Challenge Month” for February!! After holding a January Low Spend Challenge, she's doing another “Low (no) Spend Challenge”, and a “Decluttering Challenge”! You can join in both challenges, or just the one you’re most interested in!
Go check it out HERE .

Here’s how the Low (no) Spend Challenge will work:

1. Choose a financial goal for the month!
Other than food/HBA spending, some eating out, and bills, I just don't spend money each month! So if bills & food shopping aren't 'spending' then I just have no demons to tame here.
I don't shop for fun, heck I don't even go to the mall!lol  My money isn't running out a faucet like some people's seem to do, as I have a tight grip on that spigot after the years I spent in my youth wasting money on junk!
I spend so little on wants these days that a "Low(no) Spend Challenge isn't a challenge to me. ;-)  Since I give myself practically no discretionary spending anyway, my goal setting will work differently than most.....see below.

2. How will you achieve your goal this month?

But I still want a financial savings goal this month so here's my approach to this....

I went through the usual February bills we seem to always have(using last year's bills as a guide)and when I take those away from our projected February income it leaves about $1,600 in 'unspoken for' income.  I'm giving myself $200+/- for unforeseen bills and another $200 for #2 son's birthday which leaves $1,200 for a financial goal to put toward my 2012 Savings Challenge.
So my target to save is $1,200 in February.  This $1,200 will go into my Savings Challenge ING Account that was set up 3 years ago to hold these funds.

If I see ways to cut back on the February bills I will put this money in with the $1,200 I am targeting.

**And before you hate on me for having such a big target, remember that I have no debt at all....no credit cards, no student loans and my house has been paid off for almost 5 years.  Once you get into this position, you too can save money at an amazing rate no matter your income as long as you have discipline and don't blow large wads of cash on crap. ;-)

3. How will you allot your spending this month?

We are paid every 2 weeks.  After payment comes in, I pay bills as they come in and/or until I run out of the current payment.  In which case, I wait for the next income check to hit the bank and continue to pay the bills.  Bills are paid via check or directly online to the company from our bank account. Eating out and gasoline purchases are put on the credit card.  Any unexpected purchases are also put on the credit card.  Most importantly the credit card is paid off EACH MONTH no matter the amount.
As for food/HBA purchases, I take cash from the bank and all food/HBA purchases are covered with this.  Hubs also takes cash each month to cover his incidental purchases like lunch, coffee, picking up milk on the way home, paying for son's music lessons, etc.

4. Track your purchases!

I track all my spending anyway.  Every receipt goes into my notebook and each transaction gets listed and posted on my blog at the end of each month.
I try to get Hubs to save his receipts so I can see where his cash withdrawals go but it doesn't happen on a regular basis.  He resents being held accountable...... 8-(

5. Are there any “exemptions” for the month?

The only unusual purchase will be #2 son's Birthday cash and meal out, which I have accounted for in my Financial Goal above.

Here’s how the Decluttering challenge will work:
1. There will be 4 main challenges for the month. I pick the theme, you pick the challenge!

Since I am still in Decluttering Mode this year,  after the Great Purge of 2011, I am all in on this Challenge too!

Week One: Personal Space Challenge--This week will be all about my bedroom.
Week Two: Family Space Challenge--This week will be all about the den.
Week Three: Productivity Challenge--This week will be all about the living room/dining room.
Week Four: The “Dreaded” Challenge--This week will be all about the garage.

The Tossing/Selling/Donating 29 items part?
Oh, I have this down in SPADES!lolol
I'll probably toss/sell/donate that many items A DAY!

I'll be documenting all via photos.....both befores and afters.  Good times!

So go see Carla and sign up for one or both of these Challanges!


What I Bought at Rite-Aid Last Week & What's Ahead for This Week

After Hubs and I had my free Birthday meal at Red Robin on Saturday afternoon, I bopped into Rite-Aid on the way home and bought this.....

2 x Mentos UP2U Gum on sale=$2.00
1 x mentos Pure Gum on sale=$1.00

Coupons Used
2 x $1/1 UP2U Gum ManQ=$2.00
1 x .55¢/1 Mentos Gum ManQ=$.55¢
Coupon Total....$2.55

$3.00-$2.55=.45¢ OOP
I put that on my free Rite-Aid gift card and received $1 in +Up Rewards for buying 3 packs of qualifying gum.

So .15¢ per pack of gum and $1 more in Rite-Aid Conscript.
And nothing out of pocket. ;-)

This week I have $6 in +Ups expiring on Saturday 2/4 so I'm looking at what to get.
As there is nothing we 'need' in food or HBA that's a deal this week, I am looking at getting stuff we can use that will rolling these +Ups.  I don't see any rolling opportunities so far.

I have a $2/1 Tide ManuQ and Tide is $5.99 this week at R-A so that would make free Tide with a couple of $s left to use up.
I already did the Colgate toothbrushes Spend $30/Get $10 +Ups Deal so that's out.

There is a +Ups Deal double dip....the Snack Foods/Soda Spend $15/Get $5 +Ups also includes a Pepsi buy 3 12-packs/Get $2 +Ups Deal, so if you buy the Pepsi 12 packs as part of the $15/Get $5 +Ups, you'll get $7 +Ups instead, meaning you get almost half back in +Ups on what you spend OOP.

Hmmm, I'm going to marinate in this one a bit before deciding what to do this week.

Anybody out there have any Rite-Aid plans/deals they are doing this week?


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is eBay Selling Worth Your Time Anymore?

While I wait on tax documents to get here so I can power through the taxes, and the much dreaded FAFSA(yes, I said that word!), I've been going through and calculating my eBay numbers.

Yes, if you sell stuff on eBay it's income and you had better report it.
I'm just sayin'.....

Even with just selling stuff for 2 months last year, the amount of paperwork and numbers I have to wade through is mind numbing.  It took me three solid HOURS to get through it tonight!

After deducting all the fees, supplies and the costs of the goods I sold, I netted a whopping.....you'd better sit down for this!......$1710.10.

And that's not deducting for the portion of the storage unit fees I incurred to store the things I sold.  I "could" deduct that IF I could come up with an acceptable formula to divide the storage unit fees between the square footage the eBay stuff occupied and the square footage where all the non-eBayed stuff sat.  I could also try deducting lots of other things too....like part of my internet connection cost, part of the cost of my computer/printer/paper/ink/etc.  But all that takes documentation and effort and sends up audit flags.   I'll just take that hit and not even bother.  I am beyond caring to go there.lol

So in the end all the fees I paid to sell this stuff?
It almost cost me as much as I netted!

I will not depress myself by figuring what my hourly wage was to make that $1710.10.
But I suspect I'd be better off wearing a paper hat and asking if you want fries with that! lol

This all just confirms my belief that selling on eBay as an income stream is so not worth it.  Might have been years ago but now?.....nah!

It's a great way to get rid of things you have laying around the house and such.  Or selling off things you don't want anymore.
But as a sustainable fulltime job?  Not so much.

I'll stick to Focus Groups and some Survey work.....though my patience for that stuff is wearing thin too lately.  ;-)

I need to find someone who wants to pay me to sit around and drink adult beverages!
Yah, now THAT'S the kind of work I could so get into!!  8-)


Friday, January 27, 2012

What I've Done....Er, Mostly Avoided This Week

On Tuesday I dragged my self out of bed long enough to take #2 son to the eye doctor.  He had failed the vision test at school...uh oh.....

At the doc's office, #2 son learned he has joined the family "bad vision" club on Tuesday, as he is now nearsighted.
Plus got the astigmatism from dear old mom's genes.
Double bonus!

I had my vision checked as well since it was time and yes, the doddering old mom's eyes have gotten worse in the last 2 years.  Pretty soon they'll be fitting me for a white red tipped cane and/or a big guide dog in a harness to haul my carcass around.

I don't mind eye exams.
It's the picking out new frames I can't stand.
Why must they change all the styles every 2 years?!?  I find a style that doesn't make people turn away in disgust at my face and then the next time I need a new frame, the style is gone and I have to ferret out another style that works with the few good points on my visage.
It's so totally unfair I tell ya!

After the psyche scarring episode over at Pearle Vision Center, #2 son and I went down the strip mall to Ollie's.
Ollie's is the local discount/closeouts store, much like a Job-Lot, Odd-Lot, or the now defunct Value City.  I am a card carrying member of Ollie's and they had mailed me a 15% off Coupon to use before Valentine's Day.

Since I've spent so little from the food budget this month, we stocked #2 son up on vital junk food and I got a few deals as well......

I got 5 boxes of kitchen bags-45 count for $4.24 after 15% discount.  A real good price!  Between this lot and what I already have in the stockpile that I got for no OOP at Rite-Aid over the course of last year, we should be set for garbage bags at least until the Fall.
4 bottles of 100% juice for $1.69 each.
3 jars of mandarin oranges for $1.35 each(ignore that 1 is already empty!lol)

Then for #2 son's dining pleasure....
4 boxes of Mac and Cheese "crack" for .76¢ each.(close-out because it's jack-o-lantern shaped)
2 packages of cookies for .76¢ and $1.69.
1 package of kettle popcorn for $1.27.
And a huge 2 foot tall container of pretzel logs for $4.24. *Not pictured as it's already disappeared into the depth's of his room.*

I spent $43.01 with tax.

Afterwards we met Hubs and went over to Denny's so I could cash in my Free Birthday Grand Slam Meal Coupon.   Mmmmm.....French Toast, a couple of eggs and assorted breakfast meats made my tummy happy.  #2 son got a Grand Slam and Hubs got a Chicken Sandwich.  We dropped a $20(including a righteous tip) and headed home.

And other than chauffeuring duties, I haven't left the house since then.
I wander around the house and think about cleaning and decluttering or doing laundry and then I go lay down and rest instead.
Or I go read emails/blogs until the feeling passes and then I go lay down instead.

I can't seem to shake this thing.  Being sick on your birthday blows, ya know?
Plus I've been in a major funk.  Having relationship issues with the daughter lately doesn't help.

Don't mind me.  I'll just be over here in the corner wallowing in self-pity for a bit longer.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January Food Spending Week 3, Meal Plan January Week 4

*I am taking part in Precious' MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE again for 2012.  You can find her blog FRUGAL MAKES CENTS and a list of other participants and their blogs  HERE.
Check it out.  You might find some new ideas for incorporating frugality into your life there!*

I love searching around for old photos and advertisements featuring kitchens from years gone by.  These are mostly the kitchens from my youth in the 1960's or earlier.  
Today's kitchen......

Here's a 1960's beauty!  The rustic country americana kitchen look.  Wooden cabinets with those black iron handles that allude to a barn door and the requisite RED wallpaper.  I'm surprised there is no chicken motif going on as well!
While the '60s saw the end of metal cabinetry in the American kitchen in favor of wood, the colorific appliances were still  hanging on.
And those lovely yellow appliances....just makes your mouth water, or would that be your EYES WATER?!?lol

Enough of that, onward to the Meals and Food Spending. 8-)

Last week's meal plan is in the books.  Here is what actually happened....

SUNDAY--Chinese Take-out *I wasn't feeling too well
MONDAY--Sloppy Joes(with ground turkey or chicken), Rolls, Green Beans
TUESDAY--homemade Chili, Cornbread
SATURDAY--homemade Chicken Pot Pie-Daughter made this and it was good!

Yes, those are question marks for 4 days of my menu.  I was sick all week with sinus problems.  I hung in there for 2 days and made a couple of crockpot meals(just throw the main components all in the pot and make the rest of the family sort it all out)but I didn't eat any of it.  I had soup and applesauce and bagels or Hubs got me some Egg Drop Wonton Soup at the Chinese place.  The family fended for themselves with leftovers and whatever they wanted to fix the rest of the week.
I was beyond caring what they ate by Tuesday. lol
Since I wasn't on top of my food waste game last week(and no one else here seems capable of dealing with this issue), we lost some items while I was indisposed.

I also didn't step foot into a grocery store all week.  Hubs and daughter picked up some rolls, milk and eggs along the way as needed and threw the receipts on my desk.....how thoughtful.  The weekly spending was $8.31.

3 Weeks in and I've spent $160.93 of my January food budget.  $139.07 left for the month.  There isn't much in the sales ads that is thrilling me, so I may not be venturing into the stores again this week.  You'll see better why I don't need to shop below.

Going into Week 4, we have Sloppy Joes and Chili leftover from Week 3.

This week's menu.....

SUNDAY--homemade Pizza, carrot & celery sticks w/dressing
MONDAY--Leftovers or Burritos
TUESDAY--Denny's for Birthday Grand Slam
WEDNESDAY--Red Robin for Birthday Burger
THURSDAY--Baked Potatoes with Toppings, Mixed Veg.
FRIDAY--Lone Star for Birthday meal
SATURDAY--Chicken & Dumplings with carrots

Items needed for this menu are nothing.  2 of the meals planned but not fixed last week are here and a whole bunch of free birthday meals so not much cooking this week.  The only new item this week is chicken & dumplings
While my meals will be FREE, the Hubs and son's meals will come out of the Entertainment funds for the month, not the grocery funds.

So what is everyone else eating this week?  


Monday, January 23, 2012

Songs for a Grey Day..... & A Secret Revealed

Go HERE for a snappy song to lift your spirits.
And Big Kenny.....that would be the tall one of the two......I wouldn't throw him out of bed for eating crackers in it.

And here's my country music street cred.
This guy is a distant cousin.  You may have heard of him before?

And for a laugh, did you know he was a Champion on Star Search in the '80s?
Love the mullet.....lol


Is it Really Monday AGAIN?!?!

* Being sick on your birthday sucks.  Ok, so this isn't startling news to anyone.  As of this morning, I do feel like I have turned the corner on this thing however.  I am drained of energy still but I am on the mend.

* Being sick for a week turns your Meal Plan into a Meal Disaster.  I made a few things this past week but lots of other things didn't get eaten, still other things didn't get put into the freezer in time(which makes me sick again to thing about the waste) and the fridge needs a good clean out.  The freezer, pantry and stockpile as well could use a good clean out also.  Having the offspring home and pawing through the freezer, pantry and stockpile means nothing is in it's place.  Daughter hauled back 2 bags of foodstuffs to college(which I didn't inspect or "ok" before it left the premises)so if anything comes up missing, I KNOW where it is.lol

* Being sick while trying to show your 19 year old daughter how to do her taxes is NOT found under "Fun" in the dictionary.   Come to think of it, neither is doing your own taxes and TWO, COUNT 'EM TWO FAFSAs......

* Being sick is not conducive to figuring out ones Goals for the new year.  I know everyone is probably bored to tears with my Monthly Food Budget spending reports and my Monthly Savings Challenge reports and my Weekly Meal plans and the little bit of Shopping I do each week(IF I do any).

So what say you dear readers?.....should I continue with these reports and plans? 
How about I bring back the Sluggy's Boring Box Giveaway?


I will have my List of Goals for 2012 later this week.
Hey, at least I'm getting them done before January is over!...maybe......lol


Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Rite-Aid Fun!

So we had BIL's Wellness card at $82 toward the Resolution Reward.
I went back to Rite-Aid late yesterday before the snow hit and bought this.....

Basically it's the Theraflu deal again with a pack of lighbulbs thrown in.

3 x Theraflu on sale $5(must buy 3)=$15.00
1 x Lightbulbs on sale=$2.99
1 x had the cashier ring up .01 manually=$.01 *--watch the magic!

Coupons Used
1 x $3/2 Theraflu IPQ=$3.00
1 x $2/1 Theraflu IPQ=$2.00
1 x $3/2 Theraflu PeelieQ on package=$3.00
1 x $2 In-Ad Lightbulb Sales flyer Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$10.00

$18.00-$10.00=$8.00 OOP
I used $8 in +Up Rewards to pay.
I received $5 back in +Up Rewards(for the Theraflu).

$17.99 toward the Resolution Reward total brought BIL's card to $99.99 which triggered the $20 +Up Reward to print.....yay!

Total +Ups earned this trip....$25.00

*-This Rite-Aid will add a penny or two to your total manually if you are that close to being able to use an +Up Reward.  I found that out last month when I was a penny below the amount needed to use an +Up Reward, and the Asst. Manager said they would/could do this.  Who am I to argue, right?lol

I went back in to shop to get a Tom's Deodorant on my card......

1 x Tom's of Maine Deodorant on sale=$3.99
1 x Lightbulbs on sale=$2.99
1 x Cella cherry w/wellness discount=$.26

Coupons Used
1 x $2/1 Lightbulbs In-Ad Sales flyer Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$2.00

$7.24-$2.00=$5.24 OOP
I used the $5 +Up BIL got for the Theraflu purchase and put the .24¢ on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I earned $3 +Up Reward for the Deodorant.

I could have had the cashier manually up my subtotal to $7.00 and not bought the cherry, using just the $5 +Ups and no OOP to pay.  But she had such problems doing it the first time, I just 'ate' the cherry.....er, the overage and the cherry.  ;-)

So we are finished with the Resolution Reward a week before the deadline of Jan. 28th to earn it.
Some of our +Ups expire on 2/4/12 so we don't need to go back to Rite-Aid for 2 more weeks, unless a great deal happens.....a great deal that we need!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Time for Another Brain Dump....Birthday Edition

*  Lately I have been feeling like the giant hand of the Universe has got me by the leg and has been twirling me in the air, at a high rate of speed and then letting me go.  At this point the laws of matter have stopped applying to me and all the molecules that make up my body fly off like a billion tiny little ball bearings into space.
Ok....that's just my crazy way of saying I feel bad physically and mentally I've lost my center.

I'm so unfocused mentally and I can't do beyond basic functioning.  My thoughts are scattered, my energies are scattered.  I have so many 'things' to see to, but I can't seem to settle my brain enough to concentrate on a consistent thought long enough to accomplish any thing.

My eBay store is sitting empty.  I have tax papers all over the dining room table.  Bags of Sallie's donations sit in the garage.  I still don't have my Goals for 2012 worked out yet. And I can't even find the energy to pick up after myself or clean the house.  There is no forward movement on anything around here!
If I had some energy at all, my current state would drive me nuts.

*  After posting last week about Mark and his family's plight I noticed I lost a few followers.
Now the timing may just be coincidence......or not.  And I didn't even think that my dwindling numbers of fans was because of my supporting of a 'gay' issue until Mark mentioned that taking a 'pro gay rights' stand on an issue might cause this kind of backlash with some folks. I didn't see it that way, because frankly I don't see his case as a gay rights issue but rather as a human rights issue.  If what someone does is not hurting you or someone else, why the fleck should you care what they do in the privacy of their own lives?  Do I have to give my "fill in the topic is like a penis" speech again?!?
Let's be loving on each other, not hating.

*  My long anticipated Couponing Seminar....ok, it was really more like a Talk than a Seminar....happened yesterday.  I couldn't sleep the night before, due to nerves and the fact that I was fighting off a sinus infection.  I was scared I would lose my voice halfway through it because of the throat issues I was having.
Even with my before mentioned scattering energies issue above, I was able to cobble something together at that last minute, that sounded halfway coherent and rational.
And I want to thank each one of you who offered thoughts and advice last week on how to approach this thing. I appreciate and took under advisement everything you all said! 8-)

Of course since it's a subject I intimately know and it is well known that given the opportunity I will talk until given "The Hook" and yanked offstage, I did babble on a very long time.  And yet, I still didn't cover everything that was pinging off the walls inside my head.
The best thing was that most of the crowd(and the gal in charge did say it was a rather large crowd, so they must have been interested in the subject matter)enjoyed it and I feel got something out of what I droned on and on about.  This certainly must has turned some off of the idea of couponing and living frugally within a budget but I'm hoping it might have sparked at least a few to explore the subject matter and take steps to change how & how much they spend at the stores.

Since we didn't get around to the nitty and the gritty of matching up sales to Qs and planning a shopping trip I offered to work one-on-one with anybody who wanted more assistance and shared my email addy.  I don't need to do this to make an income, so I can afford to be altruistic with it.  If I can help people save money and time then I am happy to help.

*  My Birthday is tomorrow.  It sucks because I am feeling physically sick(along with that mental exhaustion thing I have going on).  I thought it was the flu, as Hubs was down with a bad cold/flu bug last week.  I think mine is more of a sinus infection though.  #2 Son stayed home from school yesterday as he was feeling ragged and slept all day long.  We told him to stay home tomorrow(which would be today)as well and take the weekend to get better.  3 hours later, as I was typing some of this missive late last night, he came downstairs and promptly threw up all over the downstairs bathroom.

So feeling sickly, cleaning up puke and having a Birthday got me into a morose mood and all I can think about now is.....

How the hell did I get this old?
Can somebody tell me please!
I'm watching videos of songs from my youth and I feel like that 16 year old teenager inside, who heard these songs the first time, but the face looking back at me in the mirror is some alien I don't recognize.
Whoever stole my youth, I would appreciate it's return, pronto!
No charges will be pressed and there might be a small reward in it for you. ;-)

*  SonyaAnn got me thinking with her "Bullets Post" of a couple of days ago.  She shared some personal stuff about herself, as well as some wacky anecdotes regarding her life.
I think I want to try something like that on this old blog too.

I started drafting a list of "Things You Don't Know About Me" back in September and I've been adding to it over the months now, when I get inspired.  I am thinking about making it a regular feature with it's own page.  When I add an item on my list,  I'll post and talk about that item.
I must warn you that most of the stuff is silly and weird, but some of the stuff is really really personal.  It may be uncomfortable to read since some of it's not "happy stuff" and I'm not totally sure I want to share those things with every heavy breather weirdo with internet access across the global.
But on the other hand, I'm an old lady and I've got nobody to impress any more, no career to protect and I'm at the age where I can't give a crap what anybody thinks of me or knows about me(mostly), so I may just let this rip.  Any thoughts from anyone on doing this?  Would you?

* The blog stats this week haven't changed much.  I will tell you that if you want search hits, mention Mormons on your blog.  Mormons are "hot".
I am still getting many many hits from "cat hoarding" and "cat hoarders".  Why specifically cat hoarding??  Why not dog hoarding.....or teapot hoarding......or money hoarding.  You would think that if I mentioned Mormon Hoarding I would rake in the blog hits, huh?
Another top search word this week has been Joe Btfsplk.  Who knew so many people search this name/word online??lol
And another strange current stat I found......the country with my second highest hits are located in.....Slovenia.  I'm far from the world's answer to Sherlock Holmes but putting two and two together..... it just occurred to me that maybe there are a lot of folks named Btfsplk in Slovenia? ;-)

Of course, NOW I've offended the country of Slovenia.
There go my page views!......

I think it would be fun to post once a week on the blog some random topic, just to see what kind of keyword page hits it would generate, wouldn't you?

* And I leave you with an awesome site to check out.  Most of the online planet has heard of "etsy".  You know it....that eBay-esque site for selling handcrafted and vintage items.
Well let me introduce you to Regretsy.
This is the dregs and "bottom of the weird barrel" from etsy and other online sales sites, or as the site's owners describe it, "Where DIY meets WTF".
It's a great time waster and good for adding a few chuckles to your day.  I especially liked their Christmas Advent Calendar last month, where they daily added a horrible "why would anyone buy that as a gift for someone else?!?!" handmade Christmas gift that was for sale somewhere in cyberspace.
Hys-pee your pants funny-terical!

I bet when folks from Slovenia aren't googling Joe Btfsplk, they are buying and selling Regretsy-worthy crafts.

Heading back to bed now.  Don't make me have to come back on here and yell at any of you crazy kids!
There!!.....NOW I sound like my age.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 Decluttering P*rn & Other Stuff

Yes, I am back at the decluttering again.  Once the weather improves a bit this is all leaving the garage and heading into Hub's car trunk....well, the stuff that isn't already in there....then off to Salvation Army. ;-)

Matchbox Beetle Car 1:32 scale
Small Soldiers Slot Car Racing Set
Small Soldiers Board Game
4 Racing Champions 1:64 scale Rockin' Steel Cars
7 Johnny Lightning .Com Racers 1:64 scale
6 Matchbox Airplanes
1 Johnny Lightning Wacky Racers car
1 Miniature Drag Racing car
1 Star Wars Yoda figure

3 Micro Machines Miniature Star Trek vehicles Sets
3 Micro Machines Double Playsets
1 Hallmark Floyd the Dog Mug
1 Johnny Lightning .Com Racers
1 Batman Playset miniature
1 Godzilla Playset minaiture
1 Lunchbox Keychain set
1 Set of 101 Dalmatians Playing cards in collectible tin
1 101 Dalmatians Pen in collectible tin
2 101 Dalmatians Christmas ornaments
2 sets of Christmas cards
1 set of Barbie Paper Dolls-1976
3 Women's blouses(used)
5 Happy Holisters books(used/vintage)
1 Silver Plate Tea Service with Tray

2 Wooden Shelves
1 Rock Tumbler
2 Sets of rocks & findings for Rock Tumbler

Load #1 for 2012.
Go me!lol

I got Daughter to go through all her crap I boxed up when she left in August for college.  Her room was a disaster!  It looked like a Stuff Bomb blew up in there.lol  So everything got boxed and shoved into the closet.  She finally went through the boxes last week.  She threw out 3 garbage bags of rags, worn out shoes, paper and junk.  I have 2 boxes in the living room ready to go into my next Sallie's donation.
She threw out 2 perfectly good cell phones which I found in the garbage pile.  I've tucked those away in case somebody's cell phone dies.  It may not be "in" anymore but it will work fine for me.
Anyway, after she got rid of all that crap, there is now room in the large closet in her room to put away ALL the Christmas stuff.
Finally!  Boxes of Christmas stuff don't have to be in the garage or sitting out in the living room all. year. long.
Can you tell I am pleased?

I'm fighting some illness at the moment....sinuses.....flu.....I don't know what it's turning into.
Hubs had been sick all week and has graciously shared whatever he had with me.  I love him anyway.....

I've got a dentist appointment in a half hour and that Women's Club talk on Thursday so falling apart is NOT an option right now.

My eBay store is empty and once I feel better I'll have to fill that up again as part of the Big Purge.

Off to brush my teeth again and get through the day.


Monday, January 16, 2012

January Food Spending Week 2, Meal Plan January Week 3

*I am taking part in Precious' MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE again for 2012.  You can find her blog FRUGAL MAKES CENTS and a list of other participants and their blogs  HERE.
Check it out.  You might find some new ideas for incorporating frugality into your life there!*

I love searching around for old photos and advertisements featuring kitchens from years gone by.  These are mostly the kitchens from my youth in the 1960's or earlier.  
Today's kitchen......or rather today's appliance in honor of my Birthday, a 1959 Electric Range!

Ok....this ad is actually a 1958 Range.....here's the 1959 one.....

Now I don't think I could stomach a Pepto-Bismol pink kitchen but I truly would have loved to have had a TURQUOISE one!  Not blue, not sea green but true up turquoise.  Like this yummy GE range.  And notice Mrs. Tweed Jacked Pencil Skirt Suit also has those cutting edge metal cabinet doors in matching turquoise!
Back the year I was born they touted these new fangled Electric ranges/ovens as so space age and modern.  No more open flames of gas.  "Keyboard Cooking" was the buzz word. Dials and push buttons with numbers for accurate temperatures.  Automatic timers that were easier to set than a clock.  The oven door was removable for easy cleaning.....well, that was a nice feature but who the heck cleans their oven anymore??lol

This fashionable Cooking Machine's cost started at $149.00 in 1959.
Gulp.....that wold be $1,130 in today's dollars! 

Enough of that, onward to the Meals and Food Spending. 8-)

Last week's meal plan is in the books.  Here is what actually happened....

SUNDAY--bucket of KFC *weekend special for $11*, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, biscuits
MONDAY--Mac and Cheese, Broccoli
TUESDAY--Subway sammies
WEDNESDAY--Kielbasa on rolls, Onions, Ginger Carrots
THURSDAY--Grilled Pork Chops, Beets(leftover), Mac and Cheese(leftover)
FRIDAY--Breakfast for Dinner(Eggs, Pancakes, Meats)
SATURDAY--Fish, Wild Rice, Peach Salad

Except for the bucket of chicken we bought on Sunday and the Subway sandwiches for 3 of us(Hubs was sick), the rest of the food served was already here.  The only thing we needed last week was milk.
Therefore, the food spending was low last week.  1 trip to Weis for Juice and Nestle's Quik where my Catalina didn't print.  Then there were my trips to CVS stores to stockpile Finish dishwasher detergent.
Trips to Rite-Aid also but no actual money was used. ;-)
In all, I spent $39.86 last week at the grocery/drug stores.
I used 26 coupons(25 at CVS on non-food items, 1 at Weis on a food item).

2 Weeks in and I've spent $149.73 of my January food budget.  $150.27 left for the month.

Going into Week 3, we have 1 piece each of kielbasa and salmon leftover.  Since everyone is off of work/school and home today, I am counting on these to be scarfed down for lunch.

This week's menu.....

SUNDAY--Chinese Take-out *I wasn't feeling too well
MONDAY--homemade Pizza, carrot & celery sticks w/dressing
TUESDAY--homemade Chili, Cornbread
WEDNESDAY-- Sloppy Joes(with ground turkey or chicken), Rolls, Green Beans
THURSDAY--Baked Potatoes with Toppings, Mixed Veg.
FRIDAY--Chicken Divan
SATURDAY--Spaghetti Carbonara, Salad

Items needed for this menu are rolls and salad greens.  I have everything else on hand.
The grocery store ads look pretty pitiful this week as well, since it's the "store brand" week here.
I might stock up on salmon this week as somebody had a good deal on it....can't for the life of me remember which store it was.lol  I'll pretty much be staying out of the stores this week at any rate.

My menu might change if A-Daughter want's me to fix a favorite food since she is leaving to go back to school next weekend(yay!lol) or if B-I feel worse than I do now......I think I'm getting the flu or it might just be a cold.

So what is everyone else eating this week?  


More Rite-Aid....Getting to 100

So our Intrepid Bargain Hunter(that's me!)rolls into the new Sales week at Rite-Aid on Sunday, with $51 toward the $100 needed to get her BIL's card to the $20 Resolution Reward.

Here is what we bought.....
Hubs didn't feel like going out for the Sunday paper, so we picked them up.
2 x Sunday papers (1 was $1/1 was $1.20 w/my discount)=$2.20 I'm getting real tired of hearing about Joe Paterno and we aren't even in State College!lol
1 x Fritos on sale=$1.88 *
2 x Tom's of Maine items on sale $3.99=$7.98
3 x Theraflu items on sale $5.00=$15.00-must buy 3 for this price **
2 x GE Lightbulbs on sale $2.99=$5.98

Coupons Used
1 x $2/1 Theraflu item IPQ=$2.00 (Our region didn't get the Theraflu ManuQs)
1 x $3/2 Theraflu items IPQ=$3.00
1 x $3/2 Theraflu items PeelieQ=$3.00 ***
2 x $2/1 GE Lightbulks In-AdQ=$4.00 ****
Coupon Total....$12.00

We used my $20 Resolution +Ups and the $1 +Ups from buying the Hall's cough drops on Saturday to pay.
We put the remaining .04¢ on my Rite-Aid gift card.
We received $11 in +Up Rewards back(2 x $3 Tom's of Maine and $5 WYB 3 Theraflu).
BIL's card got $31 more toward his $100 because everything except the newspapers were qualifying items, so he's at $82 now.  Only $18 more of qualifying items to purchase to get his reward.

* As far as Frito-Lay's products go, $1.88 is about the lowest price you will ever see at Rite-Aid these days.  I tell you this in case you haven't noticed and you know, you want to stock up on junk food.  ;-)

** Who else is hating on this new Rite-Aid deal where you ONLY get the sale price if you buy in quantities they designate?  So NOT loving this.....

*** First off, I had a better scenario worked out for the Excedrin Deal(which was the other item you could buy with this Sale).  3 Excedrin bottles and $9 in stacked ManuQs/AdPerk Qs....pay $6 OOP and get $5 +Ups back.  But I didn't count on the Excedrin recall last week!  And Rite-Aid had pulled all Excedrin off the shelves, so the Excedrin scenario wasn't happening. ugh  So we resorted to Plan B-Theraflu.

You may have noticed I used 3 ManuQs on 3 Theraflu products, yet 2 of those Qs were for the purchase of multiple bottles/packages and not single bottles/packages. This particular Rite-Aid store has a policy that if an item has a PeelieQ stuck to it, you can use it, no matter if it's expired and/or if you came into the store armed with your own Qs to use on the purchase.  I found a box of Theraflu with a $3/2 PeelieQ on the shelf so I got a bonus $3 off my total. 8-)

**** After I finished my transaction, I was reading the sales flyer in the car and noticed that the GE Lightbulbs In-Ad Q says, "Limit one per customer."  I had bought 2 packages. Sluggy hangs her head in shame....
Now this wording could be open to interpretation....Limit one Q per customer, per item.....Limit one Q per customer, per transaction or visit......or you can only buy 1 package this week and use 1 Q 1 time, period.
If I had noticed the wording or the cashier had caught the wording, I would have only bought 1 in my transaction.  I find that most stores don't have a hard and fast rule on the In-Ad Qs.  If the In-Ad Q is for an item the store doesn't stock a large quantity of, you should always use restraint in the number of something you purchase.
For example, last Winter when Rite-Aid introduced their private label brand of toilet tissue and facial tissue, and was offering +Up Rewards equal in value to the paper products you purchased(which meant you were getting every single one of them for FREE after +Up Rewards).  Whole stores were cleaned out of these items in a matter of minutes on Sunday morning.  It was a blatant case of GREED.  And I dare say that as soon as Rite-Aid management noticed it they put severe limits on the amount one could purchase.  It saddened me to think that people would be so greedy and unscrupulous to do this and then some of them would go online and brag about it on certain blogs and message boards.
But I digress.....
The point is, try to pay attention to the wording but if you screw up, well, it happens.....and be considerate of others.
Some cashiers will enjoy busting your balls over the wording on every Q you try to use and some stores couldn't give a seahorse shaped craplet over the number/variety/wording of any of your Qs.  Use your discretion and good sense at these times.  If you take every flyer on the rack and try to use the In-AdQ to buy every pack of lightbulbs in the store in One Transaction, well yes, you are being an asshole and yes, you are going to piss not only the store off but your fellow shoppers....especially if you are in line AHEAD OF ME!lol 

At least 1 more transaction to go before we hit $100...maybe 2.

I'll be going back to buy myself some Tom's of Maine deodorant this week.  Costing only .99¢ after +Up Rewards is a great price!  Too bad there aren't any Qs out there now for it so it would be FREE! ;-)


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rite-Aid for Nerds...Another Torturous Math Post

So I am trying to get to the $100 in qualifying products in order to get my $20 +Up Reward to print.
When last we visited our intrepid bargain hunter(that would be ME!), she had made a purchase at Rite-Aid that should have netted her $95 toward her $100 goal, but $9 mysteriously didn't add to her tracking total.  The details of that transaction are located in this post HERE.

So your intrepid bargain hunter(Me again)went back to Rite-Aid on Saturday.
And I bought the suspected 18oz. 'special' Axe body wash bottles with me to exchange for 12oz. 'normal' sized bottles.....
I exchanged my Axe bottles for smaller ones(even exchange so no money involved BUT I did make them ring it all up so the credit toward the reward would be recognized).
I also added an Axe deodorant to the transaction.
And my suspicions were confirmed!  Those 50% MORE bottles were not coded to count toward the Reward!

Now, the Axe deal was you had to buy in units of TWO to get the 2/$9 price.  Buying a single item you paid $4.99 instead of $4.50.
BUT....the deodorant regular price is $5.49(in this store), and applying my 20% wellness discount, MY price for a single item came to $4.39, which is less than the sale price on a single item purchase.  If your wellness discount is lower than the sale price, you get the wellness price instead.
So I owed $4.39 on this transaction.
I used the $1/1 Axe ManuQ from the Sunday inserts, making my total $3.39.
I used the $3 +Up Reward I got for buying the Thermacare dohickey earlier in the week, so I owed .39 + .03 tax=$.42 OOP.
This was put on my ever present Rite-Aid gift card. ;-)

My receipt showed my $20 Resolution Reward total was now....

$1 away from getting to $100 and my reward.

So I bought this back at the pharmacy register when I went to pick up a prescription.....

2 x Reese's PBCups on sale BOGO=$.99
I put the whole .99¢ on my gift card.
And miracle of miracles, my $20 Resolution Reward printed out.
Yay me!

So let's recap these transactions, shall we?
I did 6 transactions to get to $100 in spending credit to get my $20 the Resolution Reward.
Because of sales, coupons used and other +Up Rewards earned/used, I 'spent' $5.98 OOP for all that stuff I bought. 
Well I 'would have' spent $5.98 OOP except all that was covered by my Rite-Aid gift card, which cost me Zero money. 
Gotta love that, right? ;-)

Now that I've gotten my $20 Reward, it's time to work on getting the BIL his $20 Reward.
Here's what BIL bought.....

4 x Stayfree on sale 2/$5=$10.00
2 x Clean & Clear Scrub on sale BOGO50%=$10.48
2 x Visine 20% wellness discount($4.39)=$8.78
1 x Bengay 20% wellness discount=$5.19

Coupons Used
4 x $1/1 Stayfree(2 ManuQ/2 IPQ)=$4.00
2 x $1/2 Stayfree In-AdQ=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Clean&Clear IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Clean&Clear AdPerks/VVQ=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Visine IPQ=$4.00
2 x $2/1 Visine In-AdQ=$4.00
1 x $2/1 Bengay ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Bengay In-AdQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$24.00

$34.45-$24.00=$10.45 +.17¢ tax=$10.62
I used $10 in +Ups and put .62¢ on the trusty Rite-Aid gift card.

BIL's card now had $34 tracking toward the $100 in purchases toward the $20 Reward.
He also earned the $10 J&J +Up Reward for this purchase.

Then we did this transaction.....
2 x Axe Body Wash on sale 2/$9=$9.00
1 x Axe Deodorant wellness discount=$4.39
2 x Hall's cough drops on sale=$3.00
2 x Hershey candy bars on sale BOGO=$.99

Coupons Used
1 x Axe BOGO ManuQ=$4.50
1 x $1/1 Axe Deodorant ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/2 Hall's cough drops IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$6.50

$17.38-$6.50=$10.88 +.02 tax=$10.90
We used the just earned $10 +Up Reward and put the .90¢ on the Rite-Aid gift card.
BIL earned a $1 +Up Reward for the cough drops.
BIL's card has $51 tracking toward his $20 +Up Resolution Reward.
$49 more in purchases and he hits the $100 mark.

And we've spent $1.52 on the gift card to get him halfway to that Reward.

Next week, we 'spend' $49 to get his Reward but we don't pay any money OOP.
Come back then to see how we get there!

Do you shop at Rite-Aid?
What great deals have you gotten there lately?


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finish-ed for Another Year

If you have been at this couponing thing for years like I have, you know that every new year, for the last couple of years anyway, brings a Perfect Storm scenario for dishwashing products.
Each January the company that makes Finish products releases a really good manufacturers coupon for their brand.  They do it just once a year so you'd better get it and use it before it expires!

This year, the coupon was $2.15 off 1 package of Finish powerballs, gelpacs or quantums(excluding 10 or 12 ct. packs).  The coupon came in the first set of Sunday paper inserts of the new year on 1/1.

Then CVS drugstores puts this Finish item on sale for $3.50 during the 1/8-1/14 sales week.
Doing the math, each Finish package you buy this week at CVS comes to $1.35 OOP.
Nice, right?

To make this price even more awesome, Finish qualifies as part of the "Spend $30, Get $10 in CVS Cash" Deal CVS has going this week!

So buy 9 packs, spend $31.50, use 9 coupons, get $19.35 off, pay $12.15* and get a $10 CVS gift card.
*Before sales tax if your state charges that.

Ok, so the Finish coupons says limit of 2 coupons per transaction.
So you have to do 2 item transactions to get to the $30 spend threshold to get the $10 gift card....and you have to do this 4.5 times. lol
So you find a cashier who lets you A-buy more than 2 packs in a transaction or B-let's you do 5 tiny transactions one right after another. (Or if there is a line at the register, let's you buy 2 packs and then go to the back of the line and buy 2 more, rinse and repeat until you have purchased 9 and hit the $30 threshold.

Whatever it takes, you can buy 9 packs and get there if you have the patience. ;-)

So on New Year's Day I started going through the 1st batch of coupon inserts for the year, hunting for the good coupons, like the Finish one.
And as is MY LUCK, my region did NOT get any Finish coupons this year!

Did I say Ugh yet?

Then mid week(last week)I saw CVS was putting Finish on sale during the 1/8-1/14 weekly ads and was part of their $30/$10 Deal.

So I resorted to a clipping service to get my hands on the $2.15 Finish Qs.  And since it's more cost-effective to get a quantity of Qs from this source, rather than say 9, I sourced 20 of these Qs.

After the Qs arrived on Tuesday, I spent the afternoon/evening(and Daughter hit one up as well for me)visiting 5 different CVS stores in my area, doing lots of little transactions, so as to keep myself within the coupon limits and to keep from taking more than a normal amount of packs from any one store.  Shelf clearers burn my butt......

Let me just add that when you use a clipping service(or a coupon train for that matter), you run the risk of your coupons arriving too late for whatever deal you intend to use them with.  So you need to have a plan B for them just in case.
My coupons didn't arrive until Tuesday(for a sale that started Sunday), so I was 2 days late to the party at CVS.
Luckily for me however, 2 things occured.
1st--my region didn't get the coupon.  Therefore everyone else here didn't buy the Finish at CVS this week or had to mail away for the coupon as well.  This leveled the playing field.
2nd--The 5 CVS stores I went into here?....only 1 had the sale price marked on the Finish products and none had the "$30/$10 Deal" marked on the shelf.  This meant the likelihood of someone stumbling upon the Deal while in the store was almost nil.  You had to be going into the store prepared to get this deal.

I not only bought 20 boxes of Finish, but I bought 5 tubes of Rembrandt toothpaste, as it was also part of the 'Spend $30/Get $10 CVS Cash Deal', it was on sale for $3.99 AND there were $2/1 IPQs for the Rembrandt.
Since 20 Finish didn't get me enough spending to get to 3 x $10 CVS Cash, the 5 Rembrandt tubes helped to get me to the spending threshold.

The candy bar was just a no brainer.....spend .75¢, get a .75¢ ECB back.lol

By doing the small transactions, once I got the 1st $10 CVS Cash card, I was able to use it to cover some, if not all my OOP after the Qs were applied to the orders.

I'm not going to give a play-by-play on each transaction because, frankly I'd be here all day typing it out.
Let's just do the final results, shall we?

I got....
20 x Finish dishwashing tablets
5 x Rembrandt toothpaste
1 x Snickers candy bar

I spent OOP(including tax)....$19.15  Regular retail was $96.89.
I have left in CVS Cash....$11.77
I could have had a lower OOP but I forgot to use the Cash card once...ugh.
Since this CVS card does NOT expire, I could theoretically save it until next January and use it if there is a similar CVS Deal and use it to cover the large OOP at the beginning. 
Or I could say I "spent" $7.38 here and deduct the Cash card amount from my OOP like so many others do.

I'll just call it $19.15 for 26 items.
And I'll mark having to buy dishwashing tablets for another year off my "To Do" List for 2012.
I can live with that..... 8-)


Friday, January 13, 2012

Why Can't Companies Do Anything Right Lately?

Yes, my life these days seems like Joe Btfsplk's.
You know....that character from the old Lil' Abner comic strip.....the guy with the dark cloud over his head who goes around spreading misfortune.

Ok, so I don't purposely spread misfortune but I don't seem to be able to get out from under Joe's cloud!
Especially, it seems, when dealing with Corporate America!

Let me say first, that I despise using the telephone.  If I go to hell when I die, it will be a big call center and I'll be damned for all eternity to make phone calls.

In December, my cell phone company billed me TWICE for one month of service....twice within 3 days.
So I had to call them and talk to "Robot John".  He talked like a robot and said his name was "John".  From what I could tell, he was in India, spoke a heavily accented English so he talked like a robot to cover up his true nationality(and went by the decidedly UN-Indian name of John).  It didn't fool me. at. all.  And I didn't care who or where he was, I just was pissed I had to call his company's call center for being charged incorrectly.

Then I bought one of those 'social coupon deals'.  It was a gift card that was to be a Christmas present.
I purchased on Dec. 2nd.  The voucher/code was delayed and not ready to redeem until Dec. 14th.  I redeemed it on the 14th and was told the card would be mailed within 5-8 business days.
It's almost the middle of freaking January and guess what hasn't arrived yet? 8-(
So that necessitated another phone call to a corporate entity's CSC(=Customer Service Center).  After 10 minutes on hold(two times!)I was informed the gift card was back ordered(would have been nice to tell me this oh.....a MONTH ago!)and would be mailed out next week.
Shall I hold my breath on this one?

Also right before Christmas, the 3 packs of Orbit gum I bought at Rite-Aid for $1 each, that was suppose to give me 3 x $1 +Up Rewards didn't.  I didn't bother calling about it until last week when I had another problem with something else at Rite-Aid I had to call them about.

I tried the new Rite-aid "electronic e-coupons" that you can load onto your Wellness card(HERE is where I talked about it).  Qs loaded successfully but didn't come off the item's purchase at the register.  After speaking with TWO different people at Rite-Aid CSC(and being hung up on and having to call back!), I was told that a high mucky-muck would be calling me to discuss the issue and work out the "kinks in the system".
This high mucky-muck is supposedly in charge of the whole new e-coupon system and as I am one of the first people to tell them that their system is NOT WORKING!, they want to speak to me and find out why.
Evidently, they really don't want to get it working properly and were just giving me lip-service, since Mr. High Mucky-Muck still has NOT returned my call a week later.
I don't give a crap at this point if their system every works.  I just want my FIFTY FREAKING CENTS BACK for that blasted e-coupon I used!
Next week, I return the item for a full refund, then call back CSC and tell them I am NOT amused and will Twitter evil thoughts about them into the Twitterverse.

And this week?
Oh, you KNOW it has to continue.....this lucky lucky gloomy streak of dispair.
First up....Rite-Aid again!
Earlier this week I bought this.....

1 tube of Ben-Gay, 2 packs of OB tampons and 2 bottles of Visine.(Daughter took one of the tampon packs already.)
SubTotal after 20% Wellness discount was $18.57.
I used a $2/1 Q for each item(either ManuQ from inserts or a IPQ), bringing my total down $10.
Then I used the Sales-Ad Qs for the Bengay($2), Visine(2x$2)and the OB($1/2), for an additional $7 off my total.
After these discounts my total was $1.57.  I had $2 and $3 +Ups to use so very bad planning on my part.lol   I put the $1.57 OOP on my free Rite-Aid gift card instead.

I went into this week with $50 toward the $20+Ups Resolution Reward.  This purchase gave me $19 more toward the $100 needed to earn that reward. (I guess they rounded up from $18.57 to $19?)
There is also a separate J&J Spend $30/Get $10 +Ups reward.  All these items count toward that goal, so I have $19 toward that reward as well.

So I am at $69 toward the $100 mark and $19 toward the other $30 mark.

I go back to R-A the next night and buy this....

2 x Clean & Clear BOGO 50%off($6.29)=$9.43
2 x Axe Body Wash on sale $4.50=$9.00
1 x Bengay w/20% wellness discount=$4.79
1 x Thermacare on sale=$3.00

Coupons Used
2 x $2/1 Clean & Clear ManuQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Clean & Clear AdPerks/VVQ=$2.00
1 x BOGO Axe ManuQ=$4.50
1 x $2/1 Bengay ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Bengay Sales-Ad Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$14.50

I used $10 in +Ups and put the $1.81($1.72 +.09¢ tax) on my Rite-Aid gift card.
This purchase put me over the $30 spending threshold for the $10 J&J +Ups(which printed)and I received another $3 +Ups for the Thermacare, so $13 in +Ups back.

In addition, ALL THESE ITEMS qualified toward the Spend $100 get a $20 +Up Reward.
So I should be $26 closer to that $100 mark, right.
Nope.....according to my receipt I only got credit for $17 worth of purchases.
I am missing the last $9......which coincidentally is what the 2 Axe body washes add up to.
So I notice that the bottles I bought are "50% more product" bottles.....so not 12 oz, but 18 oz size bottles.
How much do you want to bet that the "50% more product" bottles are NOT CODED AS QUALIFYING PRODUCTS???!!!
So now I either have to call Rite-Aid YET AGAIN and get them to credit my account for this Axe purchase or exchange these bottles for normal sized ones and bet my bottom dollar that the normal sized bottles WILL ring up correctly.  I would get my credit but lose the extra product in the larger bottles.


And to top of my week, I finally get over to Weis(pound you in the ass)Markets to do the Nestle Catalina Deal.
Spend $20 in qualifying products, Get a $5 Catalina Q.

This is $20.43 worth of Nestle qualifying products.
You will notice that there is NO Catalina Q in the picture.
That's because one did not print out.
And it's hopeless to get my Q at this store.  CS is just so clueless about this stuff.
I'm so tired of the 'deer in the headlights' looks and having to explain to them what they should know already.
So now I get the thrill of calling Catalina Corp. to get my $5 CatQ.
(I will add that these were the only 3 canisters of Nestle's Quik in the store.  So much for stocking up on it.)

And you can add in the unmitigated JOY I have been having the last 2 months with the HOMESCAN people(previously known as NIELSON).  Yes, I am one of those schmucks who scans all her purchases via a scanner and reports in to these hallowed marketing gods so they know what kind of crap to put over on sell the American consumer.
That lightning strike we suffered back in late September?  Among the items it took out was the HOMESCAN SCANNER.
Except these nimrods at Homescan don't believe that the scanner if broken and insist I keep using it.
Oh, they are another "piece of work" company which I'll kvetch about another time.

So tired of dealing with companies that suck and telephones.

What companies are on your Shit List this week?
C'mon, spill the beans!
Don't let me wallow around in misery alone....


Thursday, January 12, 2012

With Liberty and Justice for All?......Not Always

Sometimes the World is just one big ball of FuckedUpness!

I am preempting my blog today and sending you elsewhere.  I just don't feel like being amusing right now.

Go see my friend, Mark.
He's got some serious shit going on in his life.
My heart is aching for his family today.

Go read THIS and THIS.
Then imagine that you have a sibling, a close friend, a son or daughter, or even that you are a kid and  YOUR parents were going through a similar situation.

Like I said before.....a big ball of FuckedUpness.

Want to do something?
RePost about his family's plight on your blog.
Twitter about it.
Spread the word any way you can.

But more importantly WRITE and CALL your elected officials!
Antiquated laws need changing people......

And then do me a personal favor.
If you get the chance......
Go kick Bill Clinton in the nuts and tell him DOMA was a bonehead move.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Have I Done?.....The One Where Sluggy Freaks Out!

Longtime readers will remember that I held 2 Stockpile Sales(think Garage Sale but with new excess food and HBA items)this past summer.  Catch up on those adventures HERE and HERE.

I can't recall at which Stockpile Sale the following happened but it really doesn't matter I guess.

Anyway, during one of those sales, one of my customers was chatting with me and as inevitably happens in the conversation, they asked where I got all this nifty stuff I am selling.  I usually just answer that I "coupon" and that either shuts them up OR acts as a gateway for them to start plying me with questions about the whole couponing/money saving/frugal lifestyle thing.
Hey, I am always glad to share my saving ways with anyone who asks!

Well this gal seemed intrigued and after we got beyond that whole "extreme couponing" ugliness that is shown on tv which all the non-believers want to know about(lol), we had a nice little chat.

Then she sucker punched me......
Ok, she didn't actually hit me or anything, but out of the blue, she asked me to come speak at a local women's club meeting about couponing.

Turns out she is the President of said club in my teeny tiny town, which meets monthly for lunch and a talk by some speaker, on a topic of interest to said gaggle of women.
She said she's had members ask her about getting someone in to talk about coupons and saving money at the grocery store.
And I am guessing since I have more stuff, obtained through couponing, than I can use, that I must be good at this, so she asked me.

Not being someone who turns down the opportunity to run-off at the mouth to a captive audience(longtime readers KNOW this!lol), I said I'd do it.
I said yes because it was summer and she wanted me to come speak in January of next year.....which at the time seemed like a gazillion years away and I'd have pleeeeeenty of time to organize my thoughts.

Well, here it is the second week of January and I am slated to give this Epic presentation in less than 10 days and my brain is a jumble of mushy facts.

I need to at least make myself some kind of outline to follow or my 10 minute talk will resemble a Bill Clinton press conference and I'll have hawkers in the audience selling sleeping bags and bug-out packs of 3 days worth of MREs to sustain my audience through to the end of my 'brief chat'. ;-)

Now that this thing is almost at hand I am freaking out.  Why did I ever agree to do this thing?!
I am not a public speaker.  Ok, I use to be an actress but that was eons ago and I wasn't writing my own script!lol

The club prez did confide that it's not a big deal and they don't expect a ToastMaster, a Power Point, a Steve Jobs company meeting presentation or anything like that.  Just talk about what you do and then field questions from the audience, she said.  And she suspects there will be oodles of questions since many of the women are younger moms with small children at home who could benefit from and will be eager to hear what I have to say.

So, dear readers......what would YOU cover if YOU were asked to give this talk?  How long would you speak and how specific would you get?

I am just hoping when they introduce me as "one who uses coupons" that I don't get a lot of questions about extreme couponing and "the show that shall not be named on TLC".
I sure don't want to spend 20 minutes distancing myself and what I do from that Ball of Crazy!

Whatever transpires, I hope I come off looking like this.....

And not like this.....

Yah, I guess I'd better start practicing my balloon animals now just in case.....