Monday, December 11, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "New Twist on a Familiar Recipe" Edition--


Last Monday because I had a TON of fresh mushrooms to use up I made my Beef Stroganof recipe but left out the beef and just used a LOT of mushrooms.  And we didn't even miss the meat in this dish......well Hubs did. ;-)
If you need to reduce the amount of meat you use/eat for whatever reason, I'd recommend doing so this way.

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--
1. Sunday--Fresh Mushroom Soup, French Bread
2. Monday--Mushroom Stroganof, over Leftover Mashed Taters, Asparagus
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joe, Rolls, Carrots
4. Wednesday--Tacos
5. Thursday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Caesar Salad
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--
1. Sunday--Fresh Mushroom Soup, French Bread
2. Monday--Mushroom Stroganof, Rice, Asparagus
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joe, Rolls, Carrots
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--Tacos
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread

Pretty much the plan happened but not in the order or on the days planned.No leftover mashed taters so I made rice for the Stroganof. The last of the French bread became garlic bread for the spaghetti meal.  We used up and ate all those packages of mushrooms I got for .50¢ each and no leftovers there.  Daughter tried her hand at making fresh Mushroom Soup and it was nothing like that canned cream of mushroom stuff.  Yum!

Last week saw 5 night of home cooked dinners, 2 nights of leftovers/fend for yourself, 0 nights of take-out and 0 nights of Eating out.
Weis, Maines and Bread Outlet shopping last week and the bill came to $119.03.  That brings December's food spending to $168.88.  There are 20 more days in my shopping month.

My savings percentages last week was 53.48% and the monthly savings so far ends up at 53%(without Rite-Aid trips added in).

Leftovers going into this week.......sloppy joe meat, spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--homemade Tomato Soup w/Veggies and Pasta, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2. Monday--Pork Chops, Grilled Asparagus
3. Tuesday--Fried Fish, Home Fries, Brussels Sprouts
4. Wednesday--Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
5. Thursday--Chicken Sausages, Roasted Veggies
6. Friday--Homemade Pizza, Caesar Salad
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 2 nights of leftovers, 0 nights of Take-out.

The only thing I need to buy to make these meals is nothing I think. 8-) 

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sluggy

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December Giveaway #2......Come Enter!

This is the tenth and FINAL Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway for the year.
December is here and the Holidays are here and before you know it, New Year's Day and 2018 will have arrived!
This giveaway is a little different since it isn't a box full of goodies.
Come on and enter.
Somebody has to win and it might just be YOU!

Here is what you can win if your entry is picked.........



It's a Brinker restaurant brand gift card for $15.
You can use it at a CHILI'S, a MAGGIANO'S, a MACARONI GRILL or an ON THE BORDER restaurant.
I figured this was the best one I could offer since most people have at least one of these restaurants available to them. (We only have Chili's here.)
I know $15 won't buy you a full big meal(unless you go by yourself)but hey!, we are living on a fixed income now and I did the best I could.  ;-)

I'll leave this giveaway open until Saturday, December 23rd, at 11:59pm Eastern Time, so that gives everyone 12+ full days to enter this one.  On December 24th  I'll mark all the valid entries and use Random dotorg to pick a number and that corresponding person's entry wins.

Please note-I will mail this out when I can.....it might be before New Year's or it might be later that week. I will be sending it in a Xmas card via regular letter mail and NOT priority mail.  I wanted to wait to mail this so it didn't get lost in the voluminous Holiday deluge of cards and letter mail.  You can use this for a nice night away in the new year, 2018.  8-)))

*Please note the rules*
I'll post the name/Id of the winner on this blog and that person has 48 hours from then to contact me privately via email(my email addy is listed on my "About Me" page).
If I am not contacted via email I'll attempt to contact the winner via the email they supply with their entry and if that email is not responded to within another 48 hours I'll pick another winner.

There are three ways to enter--1 Daily and 2 One-Time Only........
1. Leave a comment every day.
2. Be a follower of this Blog(Hit the "Follow" button on the right hand side bar.) Let me know if your comment for this entry the name you follow under to verify.  You can do this entry once.
3. Post on your own blog(or on your Facebook page)about the Giveaway and leave a link in your comment/entry to where I can find it.  You can do this entry once.
In your Daily Entry tell me in your comment......which of the 4 restaurant chains you most would like to use it at, what food is a MUST to have on New Years Eve/Day for you, and/or what's the one big goal you want to accomplish in 2018.

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

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

If you're not a registered Blogger User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email addy in your comment or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get a hold of you. If your Blogger associated user profile is a GOOGLE one with those Google Circles nonsense I CAN NOT CONTACT YOU as Google Circles doesn't show your contact info.

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

So let's get this started!

Sluggy

Friday, December 8, 2017

Frugal Friday.....December 8th Edition

As the Holidays roll around, being frugal is all about maximizing your savings when you need/want to spend money.
Of course we are also doing all those non-Holiday type things to stay frugal(using electricity off-peak hours, turning off lights when not in a room, not showering every day if we aren't dirty/going out of the house, staying home, running errands together, etc.)but this time of year, it seems to be all about the shopping, doesn't it?
So here are my "wins" this past week............

*  I found a penny in the Rite-Aid parking lot!
No matter how little, found money is free money.  ;-)



*  Among the deals I did this past week at Weis(PMITA)Markets was this one........


These were all part of the Mix and Match/Buy 6/Get $6 instantly Off Deal.
I was able to used Qs on 4 of them and stack Qs on 2 of those so $21.94 sale price-$6 discount-$8 Qs=$7.94 OOP for all 6 items.  The black cherry/chocolate flavor of Enlightened ice cream is really good....at least to me it is. 8-)))

I also picked up 5 Minute Maid OJ cartons(our December OJ purchase)and got another one of these......


$2 off your next purchase(good through 1/5/18).  I now have 4 of these($8 off total)to use for any Weis shopping I do the rest of December.

*  Doing my grocery shopping at Weis I paid with what was left on that Prepaid Visa card I bought at Weis(and earned 20 Points for buying it).  I spent over $50 so now I have 40 Points toward a free meat item/lasagna.  Only 10 more points(spend $50 or refill an rx at Weis will get me to 50 Points).

*  I used Coke codes on caps to get this...........

A $5 Target e-card.
I tried to get a Amazon $5 e-card but am having problems receiving the email with the secret code to claim that prize. ugh.  It's always something, ain't it?

* I don't wait until Christmas to shop for gifts.  Though I don't do as much buying throughout the year I did pick up the bulk of my presents before November hit.  After pulling the "gift box" out of hiding and going through it there were still a few holes to fill so I went online the weekend of Black Friday/Monday to see what I could do about filling those holes.
My order from Kohl's arrived this past week from CyberMonday shopping(the online order I did).......well half of the order did.

Between sale price, discounts and 50% of $8 promotional Yes2Rewards gift I spent $9.62 for both of these flannel shirts.  I LOVE the suggested retail pricing of $35 on these shirts.  Who in the world pays that for a flannel shirt??? lolz

I also got my Daughter a birthday gift(can't mention or show what because she reads this sometimes)and did a store pick-up on that one and we went on Monday to pick that up.  I paid $18.46 on that reg. $29.99 item.  My whole 4 item order(also got myself a shirt)was $53.56 so shipped free and I received $15 in Kohl's cash and a $5 Yes2Rewards for this order so I now had $20 in free script to spend.
So when we were picking up the gift for Daughter that shipped to the store I browsed around and found some more stuff for College Boy........


College Boy said he's put on a little weight so his pants were tight in the waist so I found a pair of nice cargo shorts an inch larger and this nice plaid l/s shirt(in colors he likes/wears)which will come in handy next month when he starts his internship.  Both items were on clearance and after my $20 in script and my 25% off discount code I spent $4.35 OOP.

*  And the total in Plenti Points spent down at Rite-Aid on Wednesday for all these goodies?




$10.93 in Plenti Points.

I spent $55.93 in PPs and earned $45 in new PPs, so $10.93 of my Plenti Points "spent down".  If only they had 6 more Remfresh on the shelves I could have made ALL this as $1.13 moneymaker!
I may return the sinus kit($8.23)and 1 of the toothpastes($3.91).  In that case that's $12.14 off my total PPs spent(neither item gave me new Plenti Points)so we'll have a $1.21 Moneymaker. 8-))

So what did you have in the Frugal Win column this week?

And as always...........


Sluggy

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Perfect Rite-Aid Storm

What happens when Wellness Wednesday Sale with one day coupons(that can stack with reg. manu coupons)meets a 4 Day Sale at Rite-Aid?
You get some awesome deals for pennies(worth of points if you roll Plenti Points)on the dollar!

By combining the Wellness Wednesday coupon and regular manufacturer's coupons plus earning new Plenti Points, I got all this in the photos below(combining transactions from all 3 of our Wellness/Plenti accounts/cards............


I'll say I screwed up big time on the Crest.  The 4 Day Sale $2.99 varieties that gave back $1 in PPs(and had $2 Load2CardQs)was NOT tagged so I bought the wrong ones-the 2/$8 that gave $3 in PPs-and wasted my Qs on those. ugh.
On the Sinus Kit though I had two stackable Qs the register wouldn't take them both so my $8.32-$10 in Qs making it a $1.68 moneymaker didn't happen and I paid $3.23 + tax.  The toothpaste and sinus kit may be returned at a later date but we'll keep those in my total haul for now.


And here is the last little bit when I went to pick up my Rx.
If only there had been more than 2 Remfresh on the shelves I could have made ALL this a moneymaker!

Oh, and I also scarfed up all these freebie samples and most had coupons attached to them.

Burt's Bees, Zim's, Olay, Nexcare, R-A brand nasal strips and some brand of foot lotion I can't remember. lol

So let's see who can come closest to guessing how many Plenti Points I spent down for all this.(Of course, this is Rite-Aid and I didn't pay CASH for any of it!)

I'll reveal how many Plenti Points were spent in Friday's Frugal Friday post tomorrow.

I'll even give y'all a hint and put the "price" I paid for each item after sale/coupon(s) but not the points earned.
I'll also put the tax paid(in points of course)and total the list for ya! ;-)

6 x 4 pack Red Bull $35.94
2 x Arizona Tea  .99¢
1 x Jergen's wet skin Lotion .99¢
1 x Purex laundry detergent  .99¢
6 x Aquaphor lotion -$2.46
7 x Russel Stover sugar-free candy bags  $1.61
3 x Crest toothpaste  $2.82
2 x 3 Musketeers candy bars .77¢
4 x Listerine mouth wash  $11.42
4 x Blue Diamond almonds  $9.50
4 x Sparkling Ice drinks  $0.00
2 x Remfresh sleeping aid  -$4.02
1 x Rite-Aid ibuprofen 80 ct.  $2.95
1 x Xclear sinus rinse kit  $3.23

I also used a total of $12 in $X off $X Catalina Qs(2 x $2/$20, $3/$20, $5/$50)on 4 of my transactions.

$52.73 + $3.20 tax=$55.93 spent in PPs
$258.88 in regular retail prices.

What did it cost me in Plenti Points used?


Sluggy

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

December Giveaway #1.....Come Enter!

This is the ninth Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway for the year.
December is here and the Holidays are here!  This box includes some Winter/Christmas themed items as well as the always popular-chocolate!
Come on and enter.
Somebody has to win and it might just be YOU!


Here is what you can win if your entry is picked.


1 x Colgate mouthwash
1 x L'Oreal total repair shampoo
1 x Simple face scrub
1 x Secret women's deodorant(cherry scent)
1 x Noxzema razors
1 x Snow Babies trinket box
1 x Lindt white peppermint chocolate bar
1 x Oral-B toothbrush
1 x Boyds Bears Christmas bear in stocking
1 x Haribo cola gummies
1 x Scotch pop-up tape holder
1 x Rite-Aid gift tape
1 x Scunci hair ties
2 x Maybelline Eye Studio eye shadow duos(Carbon/Frost & Tantalizing Teal)
13 x Lindt chocolate Truffles


Over $80 in regular retail of goodies.


Closeup shots of the goodies up for grabs......











I'll leave this giveaway open until Sunday, December 17th, at 11:59pm Eastern Time, so that gives everyone 12 days to enter this one.  On December 18th  I'll mark all the valid entries and use Random dotorg to pick a number and that corresponding person's entry wins.

*Please note the rules*
I'll post the name/Id of the winner on this blog and that person has 48 hours from then to contact me privately via email(my email addy is listed on my "About Me" page).
If I am not contacted via email I'll attempt to contact the winner via the email they supply with their entry and if that email is not responded to within another 48 hours I'll pick another winner.

There are three ways to enter--1 Daily and 2 One-Time Only........
1. Leave a comment every day.
2. Be a follower of this Blog(Hit the "Follow" button on the right hand side bar.) Let me know if your comment for this entry the name you follow under to verify.  You can do this entry once.
3. Post on your own blog(or on your Facebook page)about the Giveaway and leave a link in your comment/entry to where I can find it.  You can do this entry once.
In your Daily Entry tell me in your comment......something like what here is the thing in the box you most would like to win, what food is a MUST to have on Christmas or Hanukkah, what's the one thing you want for Christmas or Hanukkah and/or how big is your Christmas or Hanukkah gathering, if you have one.

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

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

If you're not a registered Blogger User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email addy in your comment or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get a hold of you. If your Blogger associated user profile is a GOOGLE one with those Google Circles nonsense I CAN NOT CONTACT YOU as Google Circles doesn't show your contact info.

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

So let's get this started!

Sluggy

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

To-Do List Outcome.....November Update

Here's my November To-Do List and what got done and what didn't.......

* Pay Bills  DONE  Always first on my list of things to get done. All paid early or on time.

* Read 1, 2 Books  DONE  I read two of the books in the "The #1 Ladies Detective Agency" Series.  



They are a quick read but fun so I may hunt for some more in the Series at the Library next year.
And I also got halfway through this one before November ended.



As I am a history nut, this one is riveting!

*  Puppy to Vet for Shots   DONE




And he was NOT too happy about that!  Poor little guy yelped something awful. This mommy thinks it's because they wouldn't let me go back and hold him for the shot. 8-(

*  Get Giveaway Boxes Ready  DONE  


I gathered a bunch of my mostly Rite-Aid freebies and 6 mailing boxes and made up Giveaway Boxes for the next 6 months.  They are ready to go one per month at least until May 2018 as long as the little bit of blog revenue continues to roll in so I can afford to mail them all.  ;-)

*  Sell Stuff  DONE  While I wasn't able to sell anything on the local tag sale site I did get 8 things listed on eBay in November and sold $207.99 worth of goods.  

*  Make Motel Reservations  DONE  I made advance motel reservations for Hubs "rescue" mission using certain loyalty cards we have for two different chains to save a few dollars and earn some points toward future rewards.

*  Hold Giveaway  DONE




* Mail Giveaway  DONE  And I have it on good authority that the chocolates were the first things to be removed and "disposed" of. lolz

*  Declutter  DONE  Unpacking my dishware from the garage led to more decluttering of said dishware, which led to other things leaving the house as well.

*  Load to Sallie's  DONE  



Just some of what got carted off.  



A total of 24 more items left Chez Sluggy.




*  Clean Bathrooms  DONE  And just in the nick of time before Thanksgiving company arrived.

*  Change out Wardrobe  DONE...sort of  I got the Winter stuff out but there are some not-Winter stuff I didn't put away yet.  I'm calling this mostly done.

*  Unpack Dishes in Garage  DONE



Dishes are now residing in the Dining Room in the buffet.

*  Move Dishes in Kitchen  DONE  As part of the organizing dishes the ones hiding in the cabinets over the stove were moved to the new Buffet.  I put some items for the kids and things I can't display but want to keep in those inaccessible cabinets over the stove.

*  Get Blood Work Done  DONE  I got stuck and all the tests came back with good results. Yay me!

*  Pick-up College Boy  DONE

*  Turkey Day!  DONE  And it was yummy.

*  Take College Boy back  DONE 



And we got to see him again this past weekend.


*  Put Furniture together  DONE



With much gnashing of teeth and choice words it got done.  I am under pain of death orders NEVER to order furniture that has to be put together again. lolz

So we  basically got everything done that was on my list-a rare occurrence indeed!
Onward and upward to December's To-Do List.

What did you get done in November?


Sluggy

Monday, December 4, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "The Relief That It's Over" Edition--
After Hubs got home late Friday night, he returned the cargo van Saturday morning, and then we drove up to school to see College Boy's Senior Recital.
I'll share photos of that in the coming weeks.  Here's a shot of College Boy afterwards, when we took him out to dinner.  He was just so glad that recital pressure was off and 1 more week of classes and just 2 finals and his semester(and basically his college career)is over.  This semester has kicked his ass he says.  There was some partying done on Saturday night after we left I hear tell.  But by Sunday afternoon he was feeling nostalgic for being in school and said he'd miss most of it. lolz

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Beef/Broccoli/Mushroom Stir-Fry, Jasmine Rice
2. Monday--Leftover Chicken Thighs, leftover Thanksgiving sides, Stuffed Mushrooms
3. Tuesday--French Bread Pizza, Salad
4. Wednesday--Chinese Take-out
5. Thursday--?
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--?

And this is what actually happened--
1. Sunday--Beef/Broccoli/Mushroom Stir-Fry, Jasmine Rice
2. Monday--Leftover Chicken Thighs, leftover Thanksgiving sides
3. Tuesday--Primo Hoagies for 2(Daughter paid)
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself
5. Thursday--Leftover Stir-Fry, Rice
6. Friday--Chinese Take-Out for 2(I paid)
7. Saturday--Eating Out after recital(3 at Perkins)

Daughter wasn't feeling French Bread pizza so we shoved that loaf into the freezer to use another week.  She was feeling Chinese(isn't she always?)and take-out Subs so I little variation from the plan.

Last week saw 1 night of home cooked dinners, 3 nights of leftovers/fend for yourself, 2 nights of take-out and 1 night of Eating out.
Weis was the only store I shopped at last week and the bill came to $49.85.  That brings December's food spending to $49.85.  There are 27 more days in my shopping month.

My savings percentages last week was 51.79% and the monthly savings so far ends up at 51.79%(without Rite-Aid trips added in).

Leftovers going into this week.......Thanksgiving side dishes(Mashed Taters, Stuffing, Carrots)and 4 rolls.  The rest of the stuffing is going into the freezer for later and we'll incorporate the other side dishes into this week's menu.

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--Fresh Mushroom Soup, French Bread
2. Monday--Mushroom Stroganof, over Leftover Mashed Taters, Asparagus
3. Tuesday--Sloppy Joe, Rolls, Carrots
4. Wednesday--Tacos
5. Thursday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Caesar Salad
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 2 nights of leftovers, 0 nights of Take-out.  I went to Maines Restaurant Supply on Sunday(bill goes on next Monday's grocery spending)and they had a shopping cart of 12 oz. packages of whole mushrooms for .50¢ each.  I guess they overestimated the demand for Thanksgiving. lolz   So I bought 5 more boxes to go with the 1 I had leftover still from Turkey Day so the front end of this week will be heavy with mushroom dishes w/out meat.  ;-)

The only thing I need to buy to make these meals is some iceberg lettuce and milk.  We are also out of cream cheese and I plan on picking up a few loss leaders this week(besides the Maines trip).

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sluggy

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Income & Spending Report.....November Update

* As Hubs retired effective July 1, I am no longer doing my 2017 Savings Challenge.
We ended that on June 30th.  The goal was $17.5K saved for the half of 2017 that Hubs was working.
We actually saved $21,100.42 all totaled, so $3600.42 over goal!

Now that we are living on an annuity and 401K$(no 401K$ until October)I am still going to keep track of our monthly spending and income, and hopefully we'll still be able to live BELOW our means and I'll have some leftover monies each month to tuck aside.
But this money leftover at the end of each month, at least for now(as we find our new financial "normal")won't be saved toward a yearly Savings Challenge.

The issue now is to cover all the bills with just the annuity payment each month plus some liquid savings(checking account cash)until October.
October is when Hubs turns 59.5 and then we can access the 401K retirement savings.  Until then things will be tight here at Chez Sluggy, so all the leftover monthly cash will get tucked aside to pay irregular bills that will be popping up for the rest of the year.

Got it?
OK, let's move on.


Though nothing will be put toward it the rest of 2017(probably), the 2017 $17.5K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals are still available
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

On to the November report--
I had 2 goals for November......
The 1st is to actually finish the month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to try to have a little cash leftover at the end of the previous month to apply toward irregular bills that are coming due in subsequent months.

I have to report that we finished up November in the black.
The extra amount we ended the month of November with?.......$4007.15

Income

The income in November was the monthly annuity payment,the healthcare account reimbursement and the October overage of $3454.25 that carried over.  I also had interest on non-retirement accounts and a blogging revenue check in November and brought us to $8855.11 of total income.  Expenses(including funding the Sinking Fund)came to $4847.96.

This brought us to our gain of $4007.15  If you deduct the overage from previous months that carried over into November and the Healthcare payment and reimbursement from the euqation, this means we spent $97.11 LESS than what we brought in in November for the annuity payment only.  So far we are doing ok without accessing the 401K account.

Since we have no debt, this November overage will get put aside to apply to the irregular bills coming due in December(of which there are none due that month)and then rolled over into 2018 to pay either $3K HDHP costs or property taxes that are due near the beginning of the year.  Plus we have to take a chunk out of this overage to pay for the "rescue mission" costs.

Outgo
As for the expenses this November, here are the good and the bad side of things....

HERE are the GOOD THINGS

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month(Within $1 or so).
*  The gas card bill was $12.54 lower than last month.
*  The cash WAM withdrawals were $165.00 lower than in October(extra WAM was taken out in October but I don't recall why/what for).
*  After paying the semi-annual car insurance the Sinking Fund carries over at $366.74 into December.

HERE are the BAD THING

*  The water bill was $5.44 higher than in September.
*  The electric bill was $53.67 higher than last month's bill.
*  The credit card bill was $757.10 more than October's bill(mostly furniture purchase).
*  The car insurance was due(paid for out of the Sinking Fund).
*  A dental bill was due and paid in November.
*  We had to pay the November health insurance premium of $1771.94.


The Food Budget costs for November are in another post, which is located HERE.

So we end November in the black with $4007.15 to apply to irregular bills going into 2018.
Plus the Sinking Fund goes into December standing at $366.74.

FINAL THOUGHTS on November---It was a pretty good month financially, even with buying the buffet......until Hubs had to go on his "rescue mission" to IL.  This will impact our December bills as the charges were put on the credit card.  Just a few extra bills in November so we didn't have to dip into the 401K yet.


THOUGHTS going forward into December of 2017----

Electric usage(and thus costs)will rise this month.
Food spending shouldn't be over $400(even though it's Christmas this month).
Most of the usual bills will be about what November's levels were.
But the credit card bill will be higher than usual, not because of Christmas spending but because of the "rescue" mission we bankrolled.  Thankfully we are not traveling anywhere for Christmas which would have added charges to the c/c.
We are just trying to hold a line on the bills and not have to access the 401K account until 2018.

So how was your November financially?
  
Did you spend less than the income you had in November?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
What did you do with any money leftover at the end of the month?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle or into savings, in an emergency fund or a retirement account?
Or did you blow it on a want?

If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check out your progress too and celebrate or commiserate with you!

I hope this year was the one were you cleaned up your finances and paid off your debts.
That you planned to set something aside if you didn't already or increased what you banked now for your future self.
Or paid extra on the principle of your mortgage if your house isn't already paid off.

Live below your means and keep some change for a rainy day....because no matter how sunny it is in your life now, dark clouds come along and you'll be glad you have that umbrella to keep you dry.

Sluggy

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Net Worth......December 1st Update



We have gone from acquisition mode with money into spend-down mode since we are now officially retired here at Chez Sluggy.

Our Net Worth will no longer be growing(well that's what I thought going into this phase)so I have to stay on top of what we have and where it sits.
I shared where we keep out money and why in the first Post-Retirement Net Worth post HERE.

So here is how the money did in November......

* Checking Account #1 Went down by $2081.35(life is expensive sometimes)
* Checking Account #2  Went up $86.87(monthly interest & blogging revenue)
* Savings Account  Went down $1.00(monthly fee)
* Online Accounts  Went down $620.22(monthly interest was a lot less than the withdrawals to buy gift cards)
* Certificate of Deposit  Went up $253.69(interest)
* US Savings Bonds  Went up $5.00(interest)
* Cash on Hand  Went up $87
* 401K Account  Went up $2,146.27(monthly interest) We didn't have to tap it in November so it just grew. 8-)
* HSA Account  Stayed the same.  Again we didn't have to tap this account for medical expenses.
* RMSA Account  Went down $1342.46.  The interest earned on this account offset the healthcare premium reimbursement amount by $429.48 so it didn't go down as much as it might have.

Overall we are $1771.94 down from October's Net Worth.  Between the interest on all accounts and income received, weighed against our spending last month,  our holdings sank by the amount of our healthcare premium in November.
Decreasing our wealth holdings is the norm in full retirement but we didn't lose much ground last month so I'll take that as a win.

I am by no means a financial expert but I'll readily share what worked for us on our financial journey if you have questions.

Did you increase your net worth last month?
Do you have a retirement plan in place?

Sluggy

Friday, December 1, 2017

Frugal Friday.....December 1st Edition

Let's see what frugal wins we had this past week.

* I received a $5 rebate check for buying some vitamins in October.


This was part of those Huggies diapers/TRU gift card Deals.  This $5 cash back puts me at $2.49 in PPs spent down total for a ton of suff I got and once I sell all those packs of diapers I'll be at least $77.51 CASH in the black plus have all that stuff I bought as part of that Diaper Deal back in October.

* Remember the coffee grinder I wanted to buy on Amazon for Hubs for Xmas?  Well I got this........


An Amazon Prime Visa card.  It came with a $70 Amazon credit and there is no annual fee to have the card.  I applied said credit toward the purchase of the coffee grinder (since I was going to buy it on Amazon anyway)so with tax(free shipping)the grinder will only cost me $14.76 OOP.

Before anyone says it's a bad idea to get a credit card just for a free credit on it(which ordinarily I'd agree with you on that but).....1-I have been considering getting a second credit card for awhile now since we only have one card now and we've had an issue in the past with that card company freezing our card when we were on vacation(not fun).  A back-up card, since we will be traveling some in retirement, is a wise move. And 2-I am someone who can tuck a credit card away and NOT USE IT.  Getting into credit card debt is not something that will happen to me after 30+ years of handling credit responsibly.  ;-)

* I got a baker's dozen of Panera bagels this week and it didn't cost me anything.  I used a free with credit card points gift card to pay and I still have $36.02 left on that gift card.

* Remember this coupon Weis sent me?...........


I used that 10% off when you buy a Mastercard or Visa debit gift card Weis(PMITA)Markets this week before it expired and purchased a $100 Mastercard debit gift card.



I paid $95.95 for that $100 M/C with the $5.95 "fee" Visa/Mastercard charges for them so once I use the $100 on that card I'll have saved $4.05(Value of card-Cost of card+Activation Fee)total.   Not a big "win" but $4.05 free is $4.05 free.

I also earned 20 Weis Points for "spending" $100 at Weis.

Weis has a similar Xmas Deal, a free ham/turkey/large lasagna/etc. for 50 Points, like they had at Thanksgiving.
So I just need 30 more points to earn a meat or lasagna freebie for Xmas.
I may transfer 3 rxs to the Weis pharmacy that need refilling this month before the Free Meat promo ends.  Each rx will earn me another 10 Points so I don't technically have to spend any money at Weis to get the free ham.
Or if I use the whole $100 on that card at Weis I can potentially earn another 20 in Points toward the free meat deal.
Any way this works out for me it will be Sweet!

*  I got all this at Rite-Aid during the 4 Day sale........





$65.67 in Plenti Points were spent and $61.00 in new Plenti Points were earned so I "spent down" my PPS by $4.67 and in return brought all this home--
* 4 shave creams
* 1 lotion
* 5 baby wipes packs
* 10 lip balms
* 2 Tummy Zen
* 4 Hydralyte tablet packs
* 18 candy bars

Not bad for $4.67 in Plenti Points.
Lots of stocking and giveaway box stuffers! 8-)))

* While I don't "do" Black Friday(other than Rite-Aid)I did go online Saturday night and purchase a few things from Kohl's(3 shirts and a sweater)and that all qualified for free shipping.  Besides the sale prices on the items, I used 2 different discounts totaling $23.40 off, my $8 anniversary credit and earned $15 back in Kohl's cash.  I also earned $2.70 from the cash back site I went to the site through.
I am not one to advocate shopping until you drop, but sometimes you have to buy things.  So why not squeeze every discount out when you open your wallet?  ;-)

*  And just so you don't think my life is a perpetual frugal love fest here, check this out..........



These are teeny tiny Yankee Candle brand candles.  They were a "door buster" item I got at Boscov's(a local/regional department store)the weekend before Thanksgiving when Hubs and I went there to get some flannel sheets that were a good buy.  With any purchase you were "allowed" to buy up to 2 of these candles for $1.99 each.  The photo in the ad was quite deceptive and made these look like larger Yankee Candles.  Plus they had them hidden behind the register counter so you couldn't smell/inspect them beforehand.
Nope, they are tiny. lolz
I thought I was getting a "deal".
Ummm, no!  But they do smell nice.....


So what frugal wins did y'all have this past week?
Tell us all about them.

And remember.............


Sluggy

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's Worse Than He Thought

So I've gotten a report back from Hubs on the road about his rescue mission.

I tried to tell Hubs it was going to be bad(Hey!, I've seen many episodes of the TV show "Hoarders")but he didn't believe me....or maybe didn't want to believe me.
Anyway, it was as bad as I thought.  Dust, dirt and filth everywhere.  Trash all over the floor and you couldn't help but walk on piles and/or open doors fully for all the junk.  I am kicking myself that I didn't insist he take face masks.
He said it was hard to breath in the house and he had to keep going outside to catch his breath.

She had 15 large Rubbermaid type plastic tubs packed and sitting on the front porch when he arrived that morning from the motel, all marked with a piece of paper that said, "S.A. #1", "S.A. #2", etc to #15.
He couldn't figure out what S.A. stood for.   Not "K" for kitchen stuff or "B.R" for bed room stuff, etc.
"S.A."?
It was STUFFED ANIMALS.

WTF???
The priority of things to bring with her across the country was 15 tubs of stuffed animals.
Not dishes.
Not flatware.
Not bed linens.
Not clothes.
Stuffed Animals.

15 tubs of those S.A. weren't going to fit in the cargo van along with 2 dressers, 2 bookcases, a cedar chest and 2 large wooden chairs plus a box of papers, clothes and whatever else was going.  So choices had to be made and only 7 tubs worth of S.A.s made the cut.  I doubt if her brother who is taking her in will let that many actually come into his trailer home.

When asked where she was going to put all those plush toys once she got to where they were going she said in her bedroom so they could "keep her company".  Her bedroom is a secondary bedroom in a single wide trailer to give you an idea of how small it is.  I don't think besides a bed, those 2 dressers, 2 bookcases and 2 chairs, much of anything else will fit in that bedroom.

Hubs had to keep redirecting her to stay on task and focus and she would wander off in the house and he'd have to go find her.  She was suppose to have everything she was taking packed but throughout the day she'd suddenly mention that "this or that" had to be gone through of packed up to go with her.

A neighbor came over for a brief chat and suggested to Hubs when the sister wasn't within earshot that the sister needs help(as in mental help).  When the neighbor left Hubs remarked that that it was nice of the neighbor to stop by and visit and the sister insisted that this neighbor is evil, a liar and tried to poison her dogs with weedkiller last Summer, etc.
Hubs mother, before we got her to a dr. and diagnosed officially had similar delusions and cognitive issues when she came down with Alzheimer's.  I hope to gosh it's not that but.......
The cognitive issues may help explain why she has been unable to get a job for the last 1.5 years(plus the age issue as she is one month away from being 61 but nobody will tell you you didn't get the job because you are old as that's against the law-even though it happens all the time).

Once Hubs drops her off she becomes his oldest brother's problem to deal with since none of his siblings(these two plus the other brother)could be bothered to help out for the last 7 years of her life that we dealt with their mother and her slow decline into dementia.  None of them couldn't even be bothered to visit her let alone handle any of the financial or day to day stuff.

So I sit here and pray Hubs gets through this and gets home safely......as I watch our credit card bill climb(currently at $1200+/-)with all the charges we are footing the bill for to deliver her across the country to somewhere she'll not be homeless.

This is what can happen when you make a lot of bad life choices.  She didn't get here overnight.  It started with no financial discipline over 40+ years.  Then making bad choices about who to associate with.  She continues to expect things "her way"(like insisting that the brother taking her in buy her a full sized bed which HE is paying for when she didn't need one that big nor will it fit in the bedroom)and refusing to apply for X job because that company doesn't meet her high moral standards.  People who are destitute and about to be homeless can't afford to have high moral standards really.

Not everyone can be a shining light for others to follow their example.  Some folks have to be the warning of what can happen if you aren't careful and prudent in life.
If you are a praying person, please say some for her.

Sluggy


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Food & Toiletries Spending 2017.....November Update

* I am done food shopping for November so am posting this a couple of days early.*

Onward to November's food spending report.......



Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for NOVEMBER 2017.

I have posted November's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in November.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3-4(3-4 at home this month). No kids under 21.

*****************
BIG LOTS
OOP  $11.56
Value  $20.50
Savings  43.61%

BREAD OUTLET
OOP  $8.00
Value  $31.33
Savings 74.47%

DOLLAR TREE
OOP  $22.18
Value  $39.39
Savings  43.69%

MAINES
OOP  $79.19
Value  $150.03
Savings  47.22%

OLLIE'S
OOP  $28.35
Value  $55.27
Savings  48.71%

RITE-AID
OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $722.79
Value  $722.79
Savings  100%

SHURSAVE MARKET
OOP  $72.17
Qs/Ads  $53.02
Value  $125.19
Savings  42.35%

WEIS MARKETS
OOP  $160.27
Qs/Ads  $159.36
Value  $319.63
Savings  49.86%

*********************
My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, the Bread Outlet at 74.47% and Weis at 49.86%.  My WORST savings rate was at Shursave Market at 42.35%.

I shopped at 8 different stores this past month.  

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$381.72
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$359.62
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$741.34
TOTAL Savings of ..................................48.51%
Total Value of Items Purchased w/Rite-Aid....$1464.13
TOTAL Savings with Rite-Aid items..........73.93%

This closes out the November food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into November wanting to spend $300 on food/toiletries but went over by $81.72.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went UP by 10.58% in November to 73.93% compared to October's 63.35% savings average.  Over a 70% savings rate is only because of all the freebies from Rite-Aid in November.  It's a anomaly which will disappear next month.  8-)

With 11 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $3953.73 on food/toiletries in 2017 which is a 68.31% savings rate for the year to-date and averages out to $359.43 spent per month so far in 2017.

LOOKING AHEAD To December........
I need to use up any store script/gift cards I have accumulated to keep cash spending down in December.  I will put some of my side cash(rebate/refund/post coupon/etc.)into play in December as well.  As all my kids will be home(Daughter the whole month, CB for 2+ weeks and Eldest son for 2 weeks as well)they may blow up my budget but I don't mind as I haven't had them all home together for at least 3 years.   I am going to try to keep the food budget at $400 but if it goes over, I won't mind.  ;-)


If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in November?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?
*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Sluggy

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

This Week's 4 Day Sale at Rite-Aid

There is a 4 Day Sale Ad(that starts Wednesday)besides the regular weekly Ad this week at Rite-Aid.
Though nothing is free after Plenti Points earned, pair some coupons with sale prices and Plenti points earned back and some of the stuff will be free or very cheap.
Wait until Saturday when the 30% regular price "Friends & Family" event kicks in and some of these items might be cheaper than the sale price.  I don't know for sure as I haven't checked yet.

Here are the good deals I saw............

* Huggies baby wipes are $1.99 and give back $1 in PPs.  Pair this with various .50¢/1 or 2/$1 wipes Qs and they are .49¢ after sale/Qs/PPs.

* Edge and Skintimate shave gel is $2.99 on sale and give back $2 in PPs so .99¢ after sale price/PPs.

* Carmex lip products are 2/$3 on sale and give back $2 in PPs for every 2 you buy, so $1 for 2 items.

* CeraVe cleanser and lotion are on sale $7.99 and give back $2 in PPs.  Pair this with a $5/1 ManuQ in the inserts a couple of weeks ago and you pay .99¢ per bottle after sale price/Q/PPs.

* Tummy Zen and Hydralyte products are on sale $5.99 and give back $5 in Plenti Points so .99¢ each.  These are part of the same Deal so a combination of 2 total for that price.  There is a Hydralyte Q for $2/1 online  HERE so if you get 2 of those products and pair the Q with the sale price and PPs earned back it's a $2.02 moneymaker(before sales tax).

* Almay may be cheap if the "Complete Look" and "Age Essentials" items are included in the $5.99 sale price.  There are $10 off 2 Load2Card Qs for these particular Almay items and buying 2 at a time gets you $2 back in Plenti Points, so if they are included, that's .02¢ moneymaker or almost free after sales tax cosmetics.

* Reese's and KitKat candy singles are 3 for $2 and generate $1 back in PPs for every 3 you buy, making 3 bars $1 total OOP after PPs.  That's some cheap stocking candy stuffers. ;-)

* Single cans of Red Bull are 2 for $4 and generate $2 in PPs for every 2 cans you buy so $1 per can after sale/PPs if this is something you can use.

If anybody sees any other good deals in this 4 Day Sale ad give us a holler!


Sluggy

Monday, November 27, 2017

Anybody Out There Do Retail Arbitrage? I Gots A Question....

Ok, I'm in the midst of listing some items on eBay and I have a large item that needs to ship Fedex.
eBay wants me to choose a shipping category called "Fedex Smart Post" instead.

I don't quite understand something so if anyone out there sells on eBay, Amazon or some other platform and you have used this hybrid shipping option, please email me so I can ask you something.

I know it's basically a Fedex service but Fedex hands it off to the US post office for final delivery.
Do I need to find a Fedex retailer to drop it off at or what?  And will the Fedex retail location accept this eBay generated paid for shipping label?

Thanks!

Sluggy

This Week on the Dining Table

The "WTF?" Edition--

Last Spring, before College Boy came home from college I found these in his room when I was digging out the garbage........


A couple of miniature lunch boxes I put a couple of his Xmas presents in a couple of Christmas' ago.
What I found inside was another story..........


They were filled with homemade cookies a friend of his made for him Christmas of 2015!  
Yum.....um, no! lolz
They looked good except for being 1.5 years old8-P


Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftover Chicken Enchiladas
2. Monday--Tuna Subs
3. Tuesday--Pizza
4. Wednesday--Chinese Take-Out
5. Thursday--Turkey Dinner w/all the bells and whistles
6. Friday--Turkey Dinner leftovers
7. Saturday--?

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftover Chicken Enchiladas
2. Monday--Tuna Subs
3. Tuesday--Teriyaki Chicken Thighs, Cornbread, Cabbage
4. Wednesday--Chinese Take-out
5. Thursday--Turkey Dinner w/all the bells and whistles
6. Friday--Turkey Dinner leftovers
7. Saturday--Ditto

College Boy came home Tuesday afternoon rather than Wednesday morning so I dug some chicken thighs out of the freeze and made a proper dinner instead of getting pizza that night.

Last week saw 3 nights of home cooked dinners, 3 nights of leftovers/fend for yourself and 1 nights of take-out. 

Last week's grocery spending included Weis, Shursave Market, the Bread Outlet and Maines Restaurant Supply and came to $101.21.  That brings November's food spending to $381.72.  There are 3 more days in my shopping month but I don't know if I'll do any more food shopping this month.
I wanted to stay under $300 for November so I have blown my budget already for the month. sigh.

My savings percentages last week was 51.77% and the monthly savings so far ends up at 48.51%(without Rite-Aid trips added in).

Leftovers going into this week.......Thanksgiving side dishes(Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Taters, Stuffing, Rolls, Carrots), Chicken Thighs and Cornbread.  I also had 3 containers of fresh mushrooms that didn't go into the stuffing to use.

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--Beef/Broccoli/Mushroom Stir-Fry, Jasmine Rice
2. Monday--Leftover Chicken Thighs, leftover Thanksgiving sides, Stuffed Mushrooms
3. Tuesday--French Bread Pizza, Salad
4. Wednesday--Chinese Take-out
5. Thursday--?
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--?

This week will see 2 new meals cooked, 1 nights of leftovers, 1 night of Take-out and 3 nights of ?.  Hubs is off circumnavigating the country this week so meals will be mostly fend for yourself or leftovers or take-outsince it's just Daughter and myself for meals.  We are traveling this weekend to go see College Boy's recital so no clue on what meals will consist of the end of the week.

The only thing I need to buy to make these meals is some salad greens.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sluggy