Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending.....April Update

* Posting my grocery totals a bit early as I am done food spending for April.  If for some reason I shop again before Monday, this amount will go onto May's spending.*

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



Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for APRIL 2017.

I have posted April'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 April.  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 at home this month). No kids under 21.

******************

BREAD OUTLET
OOP  $4.00
Value  $14.07
Savings  71.57%

DOLLAR TREE
OOP  $3.00
Value  $6.00
Savings   50%

RITE-AID
OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $178.57
Value  $178.57
Savings  100%

SHURSAVE MARKET
OOP  $8.57
Qs/Ads  $9.93
Value  $18.50
Savings  53.68%

TARGET
OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/Gift Cards  $62.76
Value  $84.55
Savings  100%

WEIS MARKETS
OOP  $244.97
Qs/Ads/Gift Cards  $588.58
Value  $833.55
Savings  70.61%

*********************
My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, Target at 100% and the Bread Outlet at 71.57%.  My WORST savings rate was Dollar Tree at 50%.
Ok, having a "worst" savings rate of 50% is not too shabby..... ;-)

I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.


TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$260.54
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$874.70
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$1135.24
TOTAL Savings of ..................................77.05%
TOTAL Savings w/o Rite-Aid of ..............72.76%

This closes out the April food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into March wanting to stay under $200 on groceries.  Even with using $208.16 worth of free(or paid for w/last year's money)gift cards to pay I came in at $260.54 spent.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went UP by 7.95% in April to 77.05% compared to March's 69.10% savings average.  That's no surprise given the $208.16 of free shopping that took place last month.

With 4 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $1,351.60 on food/toiletries in 2017 which averages out to $337.90 per month spent in 2017. 8-)


LOOKING AHEAD To May........

I really don't know how May will pan out.  I'll be away for more than half of the month so the shopping/cooking/eating will be in the hands of Hubs and Daughter(and College Boy once he gets home from school).  The pantries and freezer are stocked full but if they don't plan ahead somewhat all hell could break loose as far as food shopping goes.
I am not going to worry about it, them or the food budget.  What happens happens.....but they do know they will have me to be accountable for once May is over.  ;-)

If they just rely on take-out/fast food my food budget will be great but then the Eating-Out budget will take a BIG hit. sigh.  I guess they are going to get me one way or the other.
It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how May shakes out.
Hopefully I won't have to drink heavily when I get home in order to deal with the potential budget disaster they created. lolz

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 April?
*  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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Looking Back on April & Other Stuff

I love the end of the month/beginning of a new month time.
Ok, let me rephrase that....the money nerd in me loves this time.  ;-)

* It's 3 days to the end of April and looking back...... I am over my $200 food budget limit I imposed for April.  And that's even with using free or paid for last year gift cards. Oh well.  Still, spending $260 OOP for food for a month for 3 adults(and stocking up on some "deals")is awesome in my book.

* I have still got about a half a tank of gas in my car and have only filled it once in April.  Go me.
May will change all that in a big way.....I'll be putting miles on the Sonic and paying for lots of gas.



* I didn't take any cash withdrawals this month and still have $36 in my wallet from March's cash.
I decided when April started not to take any cash out of the bank automatically on the 1st and just see how far March's leftovers took me....to the tune of $36 evidently. lol
I think I had $72? in my wallet at the end of March.
So $36 is leftover from that $72 after paying cash for about $20 in prescriptions I picked up, a few of gallons of milk at the store($13 approx.) and I did do the drive-thru for a burger or two in April so that came out of the leftover March money too.  I took myself to the movies in April but that was using a gift card that was paid for 2 years ago.
Sounds about right.  I really didn't spend on much besides groceries this month.

So I am going into May(really? May already!?!)with $36 in my pocket and half a tank of gas.
Woohoo! ;-)

* I've only got 1 item left on my To-Do List for April-a Sallie's donation to finish gathering and taking in.  I guess I'll get the rest of it gathered today and loadedd into Hubs' car when he gets home and see if Hubs can drop it off on the way home from work on Friday.  Then we don't have to make a trip there over the weekend.

*  I bought a total of 14 bags of coffee this past sales week at Weis(PMITA)Markets while they had this brand on BOGO sale.


6 bags of the Alert type(highly caffeinated)cost $7.47 after sale and $1.50/1Qs or $1.25 for each bag.
8 bags of assorted regular types/flavors cost $10.96 after sale and $2.50/2Qs + 1 x $1/1 Weis Q or $1.37 per bag.

$76.86 worth of reg. retail coffee for $18.43 or $1.32 on average per bag.
I also have a rain check for 8 more bags of the flavor they were out of that College Boy prefers + 4 x $2.50/2Qs to use with that rain check, netting me 22 bags of coffee at a cost of $30.39 or $1.38 per bag average.
Not too shabby. ;-)
Some of it is whole bean coffee so it will stay fresher longer and we can always throw some into the freezer to keep if it gets "old" sitting on the pantry shelf.

* Ok, I am serious about id-ing this mystery flowering tree!
Reader Tina left a comment Monday(thank you for that!)about it being a Saskatoon Serviceberry tree.  I looked and the photos I found are not quite right plus it does not grow berries. sigh.
So here is a better up close shot with my lovely whitest white woman hand in the picture......


The flowers are small(about 1.5 inches diameter)and have thin petals.  Most of the flowers are now past their prime bloom and you can see the leaves are beginning to sprout.  It's an oval leaf much like a beech tree I think?

And it's definitely not a bush or a short/dwarf tree.....



The two trunks behind the swing are the tree in question so it's as tall as our 2 story house + another story +.


This is a photo standing under it looking up.

And here are the petals that it sheds all over the yard........


I looked around while I was driving to Weis this week and noticed about 4 more of this same tree along the roads on my route.  None were in anybody's yard so I couldn't just go up to a door and ask them if they know what was growing in their yards.....because you know, if I got desperate enough, I'd do just that.  lolz

So I am off to work on my End of Month Grocery tallies, a blog post or two(1 geneaology, 1 road trip)and get that Sallie donation sorted out.

What's going on in your world today?

Sluggy

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Rite-Aid Run

I bopped up to Rite-Aid for some Rxs and also put together a non-Rx transaction.
The card had a "Spend $30/Get $5 back in Plenti Points" on it.



3 x Suave 'Poo $3 ea. on sale=$9
2 x Garnier Whole Blend 'Poo on sale=$7.00
2 x Right Guard Dry Spray Deo BOGO50%=$10.93
2 x SalonPas Pain Patch BOGO=$2.59
2 x Swedish Fish bags on sale=$3.00
1 x Sweet Stripes mints (rain check)=.99¢
SubTotal..........$33.51

Coupons Used
1 x B2B1Free Suave ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $2/1 Garnier Whole Blends ManuQ=$4.00
1 x $3.50/2 Right Guard Extreme Dry Spray Deo IPQ=$3.50
Coupon Total.....$10.50

$33.51-$10.50=$23.01 +.78¢ tax=$23.79

I used $23.79 in Plenti Points to pay and earned back $15.00 in new PPs($5 wyb $30 Offer, $2 wyb2 Suave, $2 wyb2 Whole Blends, $2 wyb2 Right Guard, $2 wyb2 SalonPas, $1 wyb2 Swedish Fish, $1 wyb Sweet Stripes mints bag)so I spent down my points by $8.79.

Except--
A $3 Load2CardQ also came off(it looks like it was for one of the shampoo brands?)so my total was $3 less(or $20.79 instead of $23.79)or $5.79 spent down in the end.


I also applied for and received a $1.20 Checkout51 cash rebate for buying the Swedish Fish candies and a $1 SavingStar rebate for buying the Right Guard deo, making my spend down now $3.59.

But....and isn't there always a but? lolz........there is a Right Guard Mail-in Rebate to try this new dry spray for free which got mailed out today.
Not sure how much I'll get back on that because A-I bought two and one was half price on sale so do I get back the full price one, the half price one or an average of what I paid for both? and B-the rebate form says they deduct any coupon used on the item on what they send you back, but the Q I used on these items isn't identified on the receipt so how will they know of the four Qs on the receipt if one was used on this product?
Good luck on them figuring this out! lolz
So I'll either get back $7.29, $5.46, $3.64, $3.79, $1.96 or .14¢. 8-)

Whatever it is will be fine.  I'll either have a nice moneymaker here or I'll have spend down as much as $3.45 in PPs.

I had almost $100 in points on this card so I can afford whatever happens. ;-)

What good deals have you gotten this week or plan to get this week?

Sluggy



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Road Trip Plan so Far

Planning this thing is going so slow because we are covering so many states/so many miles.
Plus I have to let Hubs have input about where/what/when.  It would go so much faster if "I" just planned it, but what can ya do.  ;-)

Here is the state itinerary to date in order of when we will be passing through them.....

Pennsylvania
Ohio
Kentucky
Illinois
Missouri
Nebraska
Colorado
Wyoming
Montana
Idaho

Then Back from Idaho by way of.....

Montana
South Dakota
North Dakota
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Michigan
Ohio
Pennsylvania

Right now it's 6,833 miles door to door and will take about 30 days to complete(depending on how soon some folks get tired of us).  8-)))
And that's not counting any side excursions.

We have on the excursion agenda so far--

Mt. Rushmore
Little Bighorn Battlefield
Fort Laramie
Great Platte River Road Archway

Those are the big touristy type things we'll stop at.
There are lots of little attractions along the way we are considering too.


I am already tired and we haven't left the driveway! lolz

Here's a visual of our route so far on a map of the US.........

Ok, so I am not so good at drawing freehand a straight line. lolz  But this is the basic route so far.

Once we get to MN on the way back we aren't sure which route to go from there-either WI, IL, IN, MI, OH to PA or WI, IL, WI, MI, OH to PA.  We'd like to see the UP of MI so the second route would accomplish that plus have us avoid Chi-town(which is always a good thing!lol)but it's longer.

We will be stopping to see 3 folks definitely(and as many as 6 more).
If you are along the route I've mapped out so far and would like to hang out with Sluggy and Hubs(or give us lodging for the night too)email me.

Sluggy


Monday, April 24, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "The Mystery Tree" Edition--

 This is that tree with white flowers that only leaves out once all the flowers drop off it.  The flowers are white.


This is the best close-up(blurry)photo I could get with my camera.
I have ruled out dogwood, Bradford pear or a crab apple.
It's a tree and rather tall, not a bush or shrub.
Once the leaves come I can take a photo of those and maybe go down to a local nursery and id it finally.

Anybody have a clue what it is called?
Bueller??
Bueller???

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Ham, Beans, Rolls, Deviled Eggs
2. Monday--Tacos
3. Tuesday--Leftovers
4. Wednesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Onions, Beans or leftover Mac Salad
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Chicken Cordon Blue, Mixed Veggies
7. Saturday--maybe Take-Out Subs?

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Ham, Beans, Rolls, Deviled Eggs
2. Monday--Leftovers
3. Tuesday--Subway sammiches
4. Wednesday--Tacos and/or Taco Salad
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Pizza, Salad
7. Saturday--Chicken Cordon Bleu, Creamed Spinach, Pierogies(not for me)

The Kielbasa meal didn't happen and moves to this week.  I bought two cheap-ish pizzas at Weis on Friday but that purchase will count under Take-Out/Eating Out budget.  We got subs on Tuesday instead of Saturday.  Everything else planned did get served last week.

Two trips to Weis but a dent in the food budget of $39.76.   This brought my April food spending total to $212.03.  There are 6 days left in the month.  Other than buying lots of bags of coffee(unless I need to get rain checks)I don't foresee much in the way of food purchases this coming week.

My savings percentages last week was 52.78%. 

Leftovers going into this week....... Ham, Rolls, Roast Chicken slices, leftover pizza slices and Taco filling.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Manicotti in Sauce(from freezer), Salad, leftover Garlic Bread
2. Monday--Quesadillas(using leftover chicken and/or taco meat), Corn
3. Tuesday--Kielbasa in Rolls, Beans
4. Wednesday--Mac and Cheese w/Ham, Brussels Sprouts
5. Thursday--Steak, Baked Potatoes, Sauted Veggie(TBD)
6. Friday--Breakfast for Dinner(Daughter is making this.)
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 6 new meals cooked, 0 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 1 night of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Some fresh veg for Thursday's dinner.

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, April 23, 2017

Back to Rite-Aid for a Little More

So I printed off 4 coupons plus brought up 2 coupons I forgot to use on Friday's trip.......


I had 2 x $2/1 Qs for the Max Freeze I "bought" on Friday so the cashier did a "post-coupon" transaction and I got $4 cash back for them

Then I "bought" 2 more V-8 drinks for .88¢ each and 2 boxes of Advil PM, which came to $7.99 each after 20% Wellness discount.
$17.74 and then I used $12 in Qs(2 x $3/1 Advil PM stacked with 2 x $2/1 In-Ad Advil PM Qs, 2 x $1/1 V-8 drinks)

$17.74-$12=$5.74 + .11¢ tax=$5.85
I used $5.85 in Plenti Points to pay and earned back $1 in new PPs($1 wyb2 drinks)so I spent down PPs by $4.85.



But there are $5 worth of Advil PM cash rebates on SavingStar I had activated so in the end, I converted PPs to cash and got paid .15¢ to bring $22.36 worth of goodies home.
Plus $4 back from Friday's trip.

Sluggy

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Rite-Aid & Weis Quickie!

Went to get my rxs at Rite-Aid and found a few freebies..........

2 x Aqua balls on sale but Wellness disc. less .80¢=$1.60
1 x Max Freeze on sale=$5.00
SubTotal=$6.60

I used 2 x .40¢/1 Aqua Balls IPQ=$.80
$6.60-.80¢=$5.80 + .05¢ tax=$5.85


Paid with Plenti Points and earned $6 in PPs back($5 Max Freeze, $1 wyb2 AquaBalls)so this was a .13¢ moneymaker.  ;-)

Then I did this on my card......


2 x V-8 energy drinks on sale .88¢=$1.76
2 x Max Freeze on sale=$10.00
SubTotal=$11.76

I used 2 x $1/1 V-8 Energy drinks IPQ=$2.00
$11.76-$2.00=$9.76 +.11¢ tax=$9.87


I paid with Plenti Points and earned $11 in new PPs(2 x $5 Max Freeze, $1 wyb2 V-8 drinks)so this was a $1.13 moneymaker.

Then it was up to Weis Markets for cheap coffee..........


They didn't have any Caramel Macchiato which is College Boy's favorite so I got the above.
BOGO at $5.49 for 2=$10.98-$5.50 in Qs=$5.48 for 4 bags.
Nice!
If they don't get any of his flavor in by the end of the sale I'll get a rain check or five! lolz

I may print off some more V-8 Qs today and go back for more better than free drinks.  My R-A doesn't have these drinks tagged as being part of the sale so they have a lot left.  ;-)

Nothing else planned for today.  It's coldish and rainy so I can't spray dandelions so I guess I'll clean some inside, move some money in my accounts(so it earns a few extra pennies lol)and work on planning our Summer trip some more.

What have you got on your agenda today?

Sluggy

Friday, April 21, 2017

2016 Road Trip......Time in LA May 12th-14th

Since the Daughter worked until Saturday we had a lot of time the next couple of days to just hang out.
But Thursday morning, May 12th, we rose early and headed for an appointment here......


The lawyer's office where we began the process of buying Daughter's house from her.
Since the rest of her college funds had been used to buy the house, and she now wanted to return to school and finish her degree, she needed to sell the house.  Not being able to wait for someone to buy it on the real estate market and then move home and start school, we bought the house from her.

Things went well and we returned the next day with Daughter to sign all the paperwork and became 2nd home owners.

Then we hit the local World Market store and Hubs needed new sandals so we hit up a SUPER Target(which I had never been in one of those before)....

Besides the sandals, we got some Abita beer(I still find it funny being able to buy liquor in a grocery/department store!)and some mayonnaise.
Not just ANY mayo......

Blue Plate mayonnaise!  Besides Duke's(which I was raised on)this is the "go to" mayo.  But they don't sell it around here(except at the Army commissary about an hour away from here and we aren't military)so when we head down South I pick it up as a "souvenir".
Yes, I am weird like that.....

We met up with Daughter that evening when she got off work and had dinner together.  I just had a basket of fried okra bites and iced tea.


On Friday we headed back to the lawyer's office, meeting Daughter there to sign papers, then over to the insurance company to write them a check for coverage on the house.
We bought a house!

Then back to the house to have the showdown with the Daughter's boyfriend's parents, who had taken up residence in what was now, our house.
It got ugly for awhile but when all was said and done they became our tenants.
yay us......

Then Daughter went to work and we just hung out at the hotel to recuperate from all the drama on the monring, swam in the pool, napped, ate lunch, and watched tv.


There may have made a run to the liquor store that day as well.  This is just the part of my haul that made it home to PA.
I have no knowledge of other liquor that may have been consumed before we got home.  ;-)

Daughter came over that evening to swim and Hubs went around the corner to get us burgers.....
Not just any burgers though.....


Nothing says vacation like a local burger and beer, right Hubs?


With our business dealings taken care of we were left free on the weekend for fun.
So we drove to the little town of Blanchard.....


to take part in their Annual Poke Salad Festival.


See me poking Hubs? and pointing to the word "POKE" on the sign in front of us?
Yah, I am a real card sometimes.........

And if you aren't from the South, this is what Poke Salad is....


But never NEVER eat raw poke salad!  It is a nightshade family member and the raw leaves are toxic so it must be cooked and prepared to be edible.  When cooked it should be referred to as POKE SALLET.  I won't go into the reasons here but if you are really interested you can look it up.

Here is the famous song from 1969 about this Southern delicacy, a la Elvis.........



And here is the originator of the song, Tony Joe White, performing the song with Johnny Cash......





This photo reflects what I was really feeling that day.  It was hot as blazes(it's May people!?! WTF?)
and muggy to boot.  There was nowhere to sit and I had walked a mile from the street and was glad for at least this railing to lean on.


Blanchard is a dry town evidently.  Good luck getting that law changed!  This is the South people and things don't change fast around here. lolz


The Poke Salad Festival was not much.  A separate area with carnival rides across the way which we didn't even go to, a few food vendors of crappy fair food(though that ice cream cone looked sweet and beckoned to me because of the muggy heat)......


There was entertainment under the Poke Salad Pavilion.  While we were there is was a Cheering Team and then some Children's Singing Group performing.  I guess the "good" entertainment was slated for later on in the day.

So we wander over yonder to where the folks selling "stuff" were set up.....at least there was a bit of shade over there and one of them was giving out bottles of water too.


There was an informational, nature group and they brought along a baby gator.

This photo is for my eldest son.  It's handmade wooden bow and arrow sets. I was finally going to let him have a bow but he's too old for this now.  Inside joke people!


I thought of a couple of friends when I saw these handmade signs........


There was a booth with a guy in full-on Confederate uniform handing out brochures about joining the SCV(Sons of Confederate Veterans).  I didn't take his photo as he didn't look very friendly(must have been the heat and the fact that his side lost that war)but I took a couple of leaflets.


While I can't join this group(it's for guys only)both my sons could if they wanted to.  Of my 8 2nd or 3rd Great Grandfathers on my maternal side who would have been of age to fight for the Confederacy I have only found proof of enlistment for 3 of them. (One of the 8 was a federal Postmaster so he couldn't join up without losing his job and jobs were hard to come by in the rural South.)
But I do have scads of "collateral" ancestors(Great Uncles)too that I could use if my sons wanted to join.



After sweating our balls off for about an hour+ we headed back down to the road to find the car and leave.  This was the road were we passed the fenced off ride area.
Though we had missed the Poke Salad Parade which had kicked off the Festival there were still tons of strands of Mardi Gras beads along the road(some of which were even intact)so we grabbed a few of those.


And, what do you know?!, I saw a road kill armadillo on a road heading back toward Shreveport!

So what do you do after all that excitement......how do you top that?
You go to the Great Raft Brewery in Shreveport, that's what you do.

We sat outside on the loading dock area as it was quieter.  The bar area was filled with either a bachelor party or a pre-wedding groomsmen party.(They were all in suits and ties so I think it was the later and it was just after noon.  Steeling themselves for the big ceremoney with drink? lol)

Corn Hole, anyone?
I remembered that the benches weren't weighted done well so I didn't go sliding off one onto the floor this time.


A wall of growlers.  A craft beer drinkers wet dream if only they were all filled......

After Hubs and daughter had a couple of drinks we headed to the other side of the river for food at TOM + CHEE.


This is a must stop when in the area.
Gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches?
Yes please!  I had one with Swiss and 'shrooms + a cup of tomato soup.


I talked the Daughter into getting a "dessert" grilled cheese, which consisted of two doughnuts with a filling of blueberry compote, bleu cheese and lemon mascapone cheese.


I think her eyes rolled back into her head when she bit into that one.  And she tried to NOT share a bite with me....humph!

So what do you do after that?

Well, if it's American Craft Beer Week you hit another craft brewery, that's what!



It didn't take any convincing at all to get Hubs to go to Flying Heart Brewery in Bossier.


They were having a special event that evening so it was not crowded yet but dang was it hot!  The building there is an old fire engine house with big bay doors and they had them all open and no a/c on.  I guess for mid May this weather was considered "cool" by Louisiana standards but man!  It was hot!!


A craw fish food truck was setting up while we sat and Hubs had a few.  Big D's Who Dat Shack is a favorite 'round these parts.  Unfortunately we had just had lunch so we passed on mud bugs this go around.


Back to the hotel to nap off the beer and the lunch.
But first another trip to a liquor store to see what they had.........


I found Hubs a great deal on Laphroaig 10 yr. old Scotch at Thrifty Liquor.  This particular store was having an overstock sale-$39 a bottle which is a great price for what we can get it for here in PA.
I can't believe Hubs only bought 1 bottle!

At another liquor store I didn't even go in but there was entertainment outside while I was waiting in the car.  I watched an old drunk woman stagger down a road from a trailer park to the store and inside to get her fix.  The entertaining part was how many times she stopped, swayed, staggered and almost fell tits over ass to get there, all the while talking out loud to herself.

On the way back to the motel I saw this sign......


A Lord of the Rings themed bar!  

More swimming, drinking and tv watching happened that evening.  But it was early to bed because we had another jam packed day on Sunday.

Sluggy