Friday, July 21, 2017

It's Just Not for Breakfast Anymore

As we are traveling at this point I've got nothing to add really to the blogging conversation.
I am off today(as I am most days!lol)experiencing new stuff and most of it will be revealed later, "In the fullness of time" when we get home.
I'll try to post a little something on here now and again until then and I'll be posting a few tidbits on Facebook so you can catch updates on there(after you friend request me).

Let me share my breakfast on Wednesday.  Ok, maybe not breakfast but it was waaaay before lunch time.

The crazed look on my face here is because I had already gotten soused at a Kentucky Bourbon tasting and was now eating ice cream laced with Bourbon Balls.


Sluggy eating Balls. *snort*
I think I slept the entire way to Missouri.......
Yesterday the temps topped 103F with a heat indexx of 110F.
Guess where that was?

Back with more as time/energy permits.

Sluggy

Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Best Deals Last Week at Weis(PMITA)Markets


Last Friday during the Fantastic Friday Deals I bought two ready made pizzas at the Deli counter at Weis.  They make a pretty good cheese pizza and on Fridays they are reduced to $6 for a 16" pie.
I took Hubs with me so we each bought 1 pizza so I could use two $1 off Weis Booklet Qs so our pies were $5 each after sale and Q.
Nice.
When we got them home I defrosted some pepperoni and threw it onto the pies and warmed them in the oven quickly.
It was a LOT of pizza as we still had some left on Tuesday(even with various folks eating on it over the weekend).

Remember this Q I got in the mail a few weeks back?


For a free bottle of Nestea.
It was also good for $1.79 off a multi-pack of Nestea.
This is how I used it last Friday, on a multi-pack as my grocery store didn't have single bottles available for purchase.

I had gotten on one of my trips to Weis a Catalina for $1.25/1 multi-pack of this product.
Nestea packs were on sale this past week for $2 each so I bought two packs for $4, used my $1.79 and $1.25 Qs and paid .96¢ OOP for both packs or .48¢ per 6-pack.
We haven't tried this tea yet but will let y'all know what we think of it once we have.

That's about all the noteworthy buys lately.
Pretty pitiful......

Sluggy

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Index Card-9 Rules of Personal Finance



Back in 2013 Harold Pollack, a social scientist at the U of Chicago, while interviewing a UK personal finance writer, Helaine Olen, struck upon an idea that all the Personal Finance advise you ever need could be written down on an index card.
After blogging about this idea, and getting requests from readers, he actually set down his 9 rules for Personal Finance on a 4 x 6 inch card.

The article I read about this can be found HERE.

This has proved so popular that he and Olen have collaborated on a book called The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated which came out earlier this year.  I guess personal finance wasn't as simple as listing 9 points on an index card after all, since they seemed to need to explain/elaborate a full book's worth of information.  ;-)

Here are the original tips Pollack wrote out--
1. Max your 401(k) or equivalent employee contribution.
2. Buy inexpensive, well-diversified mutual funds such as Vanguard Target 20xx funds.
3. Never buy or sell an individual security. The person on the other side of the table knows more than you do about this stuff.
4. Save 20% of your money.
5. Pay your credit card balance in full every month.
6. Maximize tax-advantaged savings vehicles like Roth, SEP and 529 accounts.
7. Pay attention to fees. Avoid actively managed funds.
8. Make financial advisers commit to the fiduciary standard.
9. Promote social insurance programs to help people when things go wrong.

So what do you think of these rules?

Sluggy

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Another Pillage at Rite-Aid

For some reason(maybe because I returned some Pantene last week and rebought it?)I had $9.95 toward another $30 Spent/Get $15 Back in Plenti Points on my Daughter's card.
So only $20.05 needed to be "spent" to get $15 back in PPs(that monthly P&G Deal).

I had Hubs take me to Rite-Aid on Sunday to buy all this...........



2 x Tampax on sale $3.99=$7.98
3 x Pantene 'poo 20% Wellness discount $3.99=$11.97
1 x Puffs tissue 20% Wellness discount=$1.83
SubTotal........$21.78

Coupons Used
1 x $2/2 Tampax IPQ=$2.00
1 x $5/3 Pantene IPQ=$5.00
1 x $2/2 Pantene RAQ(CatalinaQ)=$2.00
1 x .50¢/1 Puffs ManuQ=.50¢
Coupon Total......$9.50

$21.78-$9.50=$12.28 + .42¢ tax=$12.70

I paid with $12.70 in Plenti Points and earned $15 in new Plenti Points.....


So I got "paid" $2.30 to bring all this stuff home.  8-)

Sluggy


Monday, July 17, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Barbecue Pork 2.0" Edition--
You know those "Taco Bake Rings" folks make with crescent roll triangles and taco filling?  Well I had rolls of crescent roll dough and leftover pork barbecue so I made a BBQ Bake Ring last Sunday for dinner.  BBQ, add cheese and voila!
This baby disappeared very quickly!

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftovers(leftover Barbecue in Calzones)
2. Monday--Eggplant Parmesan
3. Tuesday--Hubs is cooking hahahaha
4. Wednesday--Ravioli or Pasta(using leftover sauce)
5. Thursday--Breakfast for Dinner
6. Friday--Daughter is cooking
7. Saturday--Marinated Beef Kabobs

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftovers BBQ in a Baked Dough Ring
2. Monday--Eggplant Parmesan
3. Tuesday--Ravioli w/Sauce, Green Bean, Garlic Bread(Hubs cooked)
4. Wednesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Onions, Potato Salad
5. Thursday--Marinated London Broil Sandwiches
6. Friday--Pizza, Salad
7. Saturday--Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies(Daughter cooked)

Last week saw 6 nights of home cooked dinners, 0 nights of leftovers and 1 nights of Take-Out.  The menu changed as the week went on.  the Ka-bobs didn't happen but London Broil did.
Hubs DID cook one night but I have to plan it for him and he can't do anything "complicated" so in the end, it's better if I do the cooking. sigh.
Maybe as time goes on he'll feel my adventurous and want to try something outside his "wheelhouse"(aka pasta). lolz

I made 2 small trips to the Weis Markets and 1 trip to the ShurSave Market, plus Hubs and I spent a little at Walmart and the Bread Outlet.   All totaled all the food spending came to $108.30 OOP.  This brings my July food spending total to $224.42.  There are 14 days left in the month. 

My savings percentages last week was 46.59% which brings the month's percentage to 46%. 

Leftovers going into this week........spaghetti sauce, 1 piece of London Broil, pizza, 1 chicken thigh, rice and stir-fry veggies.  All the 4th of July food is finally gone.


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

1. Sunday--Breakfast for Dinner
2. Monday--Not Sure, something using up the leftovers
3. Tuesday--No clue
4. Wednesday--No clue
5. Thursday--No clue
6. Friday--No clue
7. Saturday--No clue
Anybody see a pattern here? lolz

This week will see ? new meals cooked, ? nights of leftovers and ? night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Daughter will be grocery shopping for the next few weeks so it's not in my hands until later.

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

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Frugal Friday....The July 14th Edition on Saturday

Here are things I did to be frugal this past week.........



*  My car needed an oil change so Hubs took it up to a local auto center that provides this service.
I remembered I had $50 in gift cards(won at the church auction last Fall)for this auto place so the oil change/etc. only cost $11 OOP.  My car takes expen$ive oil so it's never cheap anyway.

*  We stayed close to home and no mindless shopping.  We did get take-out for lunch one day(Whoppers!)but I used coupons and a gift card to pay.

*  Like the proper Viking descendant I am, I pillaged Rite-Aid this week......

Just some of my loot.  There were two more transactions but I've already blogged about all this.
Same with my Weis(PMITA)Deals.......


*  I submitted for a .50¢ cash rebate this past week from Checkout51 too.  Go me. lolz


*  We broke down and bought an EZ-Pass transponder this week too.  I detest the corruption that is PA politics and getting caught in their bureaucratic net even deeper than I already am, but having EZ-Pass will save us both on this road trip(a bit) and on down the line(a lot) on toll fees.  Many states in the country from IL and east of there accept it and your tolls are substantially less(to half price)what you are required to pay the old fashioned way with a paper ticket and cash.  While it won't help us once we get out West on this trip, it will save us loads of money in the future going to see my brother in VA, going down to Ocean City MD, going to ME and going to see cousin Sonya Ann in IL.
At least we'll have no more of Illinois Toll Hell. Ever. Again!

*  I got an email from Checkout51 this week.  Seems I won a prize in some sweepstakes they were holding......


I won $50!!!   I got entered just by submitting a receipt during a certain time frame and got randomly picked to win a prize.  This was so random and out of the blue but hey!, I'll take it!!! lolz

This goes to show those little money wins/rebates I submit for(.50¢ here/$1 there)actually pay off.....sometimes in ways you don't expect.  ;-)

I hope you had some frugal wins this week too.

Sluggy

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Few Deals I Did Other Than Rite-Aid This Week

Not a lot of big grocery shopping trips this week.
Here are two items/deals I did well on.........


Lindy's Italian Ice(aka Water Ice) were BOGO at Weis(PMITA)Markets this past ad week.
While I had no coupons to use I did send for a .50¢ Checkout51 cash rebate which made both of these $2.99 total.
(They're empty because I take the cups out of the box before stowing in the freezer.)

I did this Mix & Match 6 Items Deal at Weis as well.....


4 x Chi-Chis Salsa on sale $1.99=$7.96
1 x Borden cheese slices on sale=$2.49
1 x TopCare bandaids on sale=$2.29
SubTotal......$12.74

Coupons Used
4 x .55¢/1 Chi-Chi's items IPQ(doubled to $1)=$4.00
1 x .50¢/1 Borden item ManuQ(doubled to $1)=$1.00
1 x $3 off wyb 6 select items=$3.00
Coupon Total.....$8.00

$12.74-$8.00=$4.74 OOP for all 6 items.

I also bought a 4 pack of store made burgers(Swiss and Mushroom)marked down and it had a $3 off Instant Sticker on it AND I had a Weis mailed .50¢ off Ground Beef of at least 1 lb. in weight.  My 1.64 lb. burgers cost me after all discounts $2.74 lb.
I also snagged a 1.31 lb. packaged of ground veal, marked down and with a $3 off Instant Sticker so it cost me $2.39 lb.
I picked up 2 small London Broil to marinated, grill and slice.  These were BOGO.
A gallon of milk, an 8 pack of hot dog buns and a bag of 50% Romaine hearts salad rounded out this shop.


$30.48 OOP with a savings over reg. retail of 52%.

Deals lately on items we use have been "meh" but I keep plodding along and do the best I can.
Any great deals at your stores lately?


Sluggy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

College Boy's Last Semester & Eating



This Fall will be College Boy's last semester basically.  In the Spring semester he will be working an internship away from campus so won't be attending classes or living at school.

The spending situation changes this coming school year too.  He is no longer living on campus but renting a room in an apartment two friends of his share....so basically subletting from them(with permission from the landlord).

So no $4,900 per semester housing cost(which is the approximately cost of a dorm room configuration he use to get per semester).
How these schools can get off charging that sort of money for a dorm room is beyond me!
But I digress.....

So we are going from rent of $1,225 per month for a dorm room to $300 per month at this apartment.  I know that $300 includes wifi/internet but even if we have to pay extra for electric and water(we don't have the deals on that yet), it's still a great deal by comparison!

As for his board(food)he no longer is required to have a meal plan.
We wasted so much money on meal plans over the last 3 years!

This child eats like a large snake.  He'll eat a massive amount and then not eat again for 2 days(sunning himself on a large rock in the interim is optional). ;-)  He also mostly eats at night and lives on coffee during the day.

He doesn't eat on a regular schedule and meal plans require you to do just that.
A 19 meals a week or 14 meals a week plan require you to eat many meals per week and if your student, say, only eats 12 meals in a particular week then you loose 7 or 2 meals(you are charged for them whether your student eats them or not). Meals on each of the 3 plans at CB's school(19 meals per week, 14 meals per week, 10 meals per week)equal out per meal to $6.12, $8.23 and $10.84(!!!)respectively.

We tried the 175 meal Block plan too which doesn't require to eat any particular number of meals per week.  You get 175 meals for the semester and you eat them when you want to.  The only problem with this plan is that he ran out of meals before the semester was over.  I'll add that the per meal price on this plan equals out to $9.10 per meal....expensive but at least you know the student will eat all of these overpriced meals.

The pricing on these meal plans is such that they basically force you to select the most expensive plan since the only difference between the high end and the low plan is about $300 total.
Here's an article on the ridiculous cost of college meal plans HERE.

So I sat down with College Boy to talk about food for the upcoming semester.
He wants to try to do the bulk of his eating/cooking at his apartment(bringing a sandwich from his apartment during class days)but I know he'll probably forget or be too rushed some mornings so I've got to allow for buying pre-made options on campus.

There are various options at his school for dining on campus--
* The regular all-you-care-to-eat hall
* The food court hall(downstairs for the "AYCTE" dining hall) which is basically burgers, pizza, deli sandwiches and salad
* A coffee shop in the Alumni Hall
* An Einstein bagels franchise on campus in a dorm building
* A prepackaged food cart in a building near the gym

At first I thought, since he bought the bulk of his dining plan meals at the Einstein bagels locale(they accept dining scrip)instead of giving him cash or signing him up for a Senior dining plan($500 of flex cash)I'd just buy him a discounted Einstein Bagels gift card, which would save me the most $$.

But then I sat down with him and found out why he ate most of his meals at Einstein's.  First off it was open until midnight whereas no other option(neither on campus or businesses off-campus)where open that late other than the bars.  He is a nighttime grazer this one and with his schedule he would rarely get time to eat until after 11pm.

Secondly, Einstein's was the closest on campus option to his dorm room so it was also a convenience issue.  Now that he won't be living in the dorms and nearby to the Einstein's I have to figure how likely is he this semester to eat there.

So we still have no ideal plan yet for the "buy your meal" part of this dining equation.
Sigh.
I thought perhaps buying his discounted gift cards to McDonald's and Pizza Hut as those are the two food places closest to his apartment for this Fall, but neither is open past 11 pm, even on weekends in this town.

The only grocery store option in town is Walmart(the town has NO grocery stores!)so that simplifies grocery needs.  I can buy him a discounted gift card for groceries.  The school runs a bus to Walmart and back so he can easily get there and buy what he needs.

I am thinking he "might" use the coffee shop options on campus and/or the satellite prepackaged "Simply To Go" locale for quick eats during the day as those two are near the building where he spends the bulk of his time(music building)so it would be worthwhile to buy him some school branded script instead of the "flex dollars".   Flex is only good for food purchases and expires at the end of the term, where as the Script is good campus wide(at the bookstore, for fees, etc.)and never expires AND you can get a refund back of any unspent funds when you leave school/graduate.

I just don't want to hand College Boy a wad of cash this semester, intending it to be spent on food, and he ends up buying vape juice and using it to drink in the bars instead.

So after our "sit-down" we have decided to do this-when we take him back, take him to Walmart for an initial grocery buy(to supplement what I am hauling to school for him from my pantry stockpile) then give him a Walmart gift card($100, bought at a discount online of course!), load him a small amount of School-Branded "money" to use on campus($50) and give him a discounted gift card to either McDonald's or Pizza Hut($25).
After a month is over we'll evaluate the plan, see what he spent/didn't spend and adjust from there and see what the best plan is going forward.

So I have the beginnings of a plan for the Fall.  We are "investing" $175 on his food needs to begin and will go from there.  And I can bring down the costs more by stocking him with goods from home that I got cheaply and buying discounted gift cards online he can spend at his discretion.

I feel better, and so does my wallet, knowing I won't be spending between $1593 and $1928 per semester so the boy can eat!
Hell, at the cost of the 19 meal-a-week dining plan a full year of school comes out to $3856 for food for 1 student!
That's close to what I spent a couple of years ago on groceries for my entire family for the year!!

Just curious to know, if you have a kid in college, what does their school charge for meal plans?

Sluggy


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rite-Aid Pillaging...Open Wide & Say "Ah"!

RUN, DON'T WALK to Rite-Aid this week for some Moneymaking Deals on Oral Care items(as well as some other things for cheap or free)!  There are freebie items this week and coupon and Plenti Points earned(Crest/Oral-B)that also double dip for the Spend $30/Get $15 Back P&G monthly Deal.
Also pair a $3/1 Oxi-Clean detergent Q(in last Sunday's inserts AND 1 on Coupons dotcom)for .99¢ detergent, a $2.50 Tummy Zen Q(in last Sunday's inserts)to get free antacid(after sale/Q/PPs earned)as well as free Colgate(after sale and stacking and In-AdQ with an insert Q).

I did all this on my card........


1 x Oxi-Clean detergent on sale=$3.99
2 x Tummy Zen antacid on sale($5)=$10.00
2 x Colgate toothpaste on sale($3.50)=$7.00
Now for the Crest items that double dip--
1 x Glide floss picks on sale=$3.83
1 x Crest mouthwash on sale=$4.00
2 x Crest toothpaste on sale=$8.00
2 x Oral-B toothbrushes on sale=$8.00
3 x Pantene 'poo(wellness disc. price $3.99)=$11.97
SubTotal.......$56.79



Coupons Used
1 x $3/1 Oxi-Clean ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $2.50/1 Tummy Zen(1 ManuQ/1 IPQ)=$5.00
2 x $3/1 RA Colgate In-AdQ=$6.00
2 x .50¢/1 Colgate IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Glide Load2CardQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Mouthwash Load2CardQ=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Crest toothpaste IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Oral-B toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Oral-B toothbrush Load2CardQ=$1.00
1 x $5/3 Pantene 'poo ManuQ=$5.00
Coupon Total....$28.00

$56.79-$28.00=$28.79+.56¢tax=$29.35

Only a $1 Load2Card also came off(I think it was a Pantene Q)so......
$56.79-$29.00=$27.79+.56¢tax=$28.35

I paid $28.35 with Plenti points and earned back $38 in new PPs(2 x $2.50 Tummy Zen, 2 x $3 Crest wash/picks, 2 x $3 Crest toothpaste, 2 x $3 toothbrushes, $15 wys $30 on select P&G items).

Spent $28.35 in PPs and got back $38 so a $9.65 moneymaker.  8-))

Then I bought this on my son's card.......


1 x Oxi-Clean detergent on sale=$3.99
1 x Tummy Zen antacid on sale=$5.00
Now for the Crest items that double dip--
1 x Glide floss picks on sale=$3.99
1 x Crest mouthwash on sale=$4.00
2 x Crest toothpaste on sale=$8.00
2 x Oral-B toothbrushes on sale=$8.00
3 x Pantene 'poo(wellness disc. price $3.99)=$11.97
SubTotal.......$44.95



Coupons Used
1 x $3/1 Oxi-Clean ManuQ=$3.00
1 x $2.50/1 Tummy Zen IPQ=$2.50
1 x $1/1 Glide Load2CardQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Mouthwash Load2CardQ=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Crest toothpaste IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Oral-B toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Oral-B toothbrush Load2CardQ=$1.00
1 x $5/3 Pantene 'poo ManuQ=$5.00
Coupon Total....$18.50

$44.95-$18.50=$26.45+.24¢tax=$26.69

Except again, a $1 Load2Card also came off so.....

$44.95-$19.50=$25.45+.24¢tax=$25.69

I paid $25.69 with Plenti points and earned back $35.50 in new PPs(1 x $2.50 Tummy Zen, 2 x $3 Crest wash/picks, 2 x $3 Crest toothpaste, 2 x $3 toothbrushes, $15 wys $30 on select P&G items).

Spent $25.69 in PPs and got back $35.50 so a $9.81 moneymaker.  8-))

On Monday I went back with Daughter's card and did this transaction.........




2 x Colgate toothpaste on sale($3.50)=$7.00
Now for the Crest items that double dip--
2 x Crest mouthwash on sale=$8.00
2 x Crest toothpaste on sale=$8.00
2 x Oral-B toothbrushes on sale=$8.00
3 x Pantene 'poo(wellness disc. price $3.99)=$11.97
SubTotal.......$42.97


Coupons Used
2 x $3/1 RA Colgate In-AdQ=$6.00
2 x .50¢/1 Colgate IPQ=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Crest Mouthwash ManuQ=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Crest toothpaste IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 Oral-B toothbrush ManuQ=$1.00(only had 1Q left)
1 x $5/3 Pantene 'poo ManuQ=$5.00
Coupon Total....$19.00

$42.97-$19.00=$23.97+.72¢tax=$24.69

I paid $24.69 with Plenti Points and earned back $33 in new PPs( 2 x $3 Crest wash, 2 x $3 Crest toothpaste, 2 x $3 toothbrushes, $15 wys $30 on select P&G items).

Spent $24.69 in PPs and got back $33 in new PPs so an $8.31 moneymaker.

Be careful if you have 20% off level Wellness Discount off of regular prices as some of the floss picks/toothpaste will make your total lower than sale price which, if you are trying to hit the $30 spending level on the P&G items will mean buying more than you thought to hit it.

Total items brought home for FREE--

9 x Pantene
6 x Oral-B toothbrushes
6 x Crest toothpaste
2 x Glide floss picks
4 x Crest mouthwash
4 x Colgate toothpaste
3 x Tummy Zen antacid
2 x Oxi-Clean detergent

Plus I "grew" my Plenti Points on three different cards by a total of $27.77.($8.31, $9.65, $9.81)

BOOM!

Sluggy

Monday, July 10, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "It's Almost Time!!!" Edition--
1 more week and we are heading West.  Gosh, I have so much to do.....so much to pillage at Rite-Aid before we go, etc. lolz

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftovers
2. Monday--Pork Tenderloin Sammiches
3. Tuesday--Hot Dogs, Burgers, Ribs, Mac Salad, Pie
4. Wednesday--Barbecue Pork, Rolls, Coleslaw
5. Thursday--Tacos or Taco Salad
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday-? Daughter cooking

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Leftovers
2. Monday--Pork Tenderloin Sammiches
3. Tuesday--Hot Dogs, Burgers, Ribs, Mac Salad, Pie
4. Wednesday--Leftovers
5. Thursday--Barbecue Pork, Rolls, Coleslaw
6. Friday--Leftovers or Fend for Yourself
7. Saturday--Leftovers or Fend for Yourself

Last week saw 3 nights of home cooked dinners, 4 nights of leftovers and 0 nights of Take-Out.
We had so many leftovers from the picnic on the 4th(and the pork I smoked for bbq)that we've just been eating leftovers most nights.

I made 3 small trips to the Weis Markets(largest trip was $13.70) and 1 trip to the ShurSave Market, added to the $52.95 I forgot to add in to last month, all totaled came to $116.12 OOP.  This brings my July food spending total to $116.12.  There are 21 days left in the month. 

My savings percentages last week was 45.42% which brings the month's percentage to 45.42%. 

Leftovers going into this week........hot dog chili, beef brats, barbecue, coleslaw and meat spaghetti sauce.  Not much left so there will be a lot of cooking this week.


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

1. Sunday--Leftovers(leftover Barbecue in Calzones)
2. Monday--Eggplant Parmesan
3. Tuesday--Hubs is cooking hahahaha
4. Wednesday--Ravioli or Pasta(using leftover sauce)
5. Thursday--Breakfast for Dinner
6. Friday--Daughter is cooking
7. Saturday--Marinated Beef Kabobs

This week will see 6 new meals cooked, 1 nights of leftovers and 0 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.  Daughter and Hubs are each cooking once this week so we'll see what dinners those nights turn out to be.

What I need to buy for this menu?  Some veggies for kabobs.  Can't think of anything else right now.

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, July 9, 2017

June To-Do List......Update

Let's take a look and see how I did with my To-Do List in June.

JUNE

* Pay Bills DONE  Everything paid and on time.  No late fees or charges.

*  Read 1, 2 Books DONE  I read these books......


I finally got through this one.  It was going swimmingly until the author got bogged down in the legal trial stuff which seemed to go on forever(and in real time it did).  It was a well researched book with much of the meat of it sourced from actual descendants of Hatfield and McCoy clan members.  And the true "feud" is complicated.



I was looking forward to digging into this one.  Ms. Gregory is an award winning popular current author and the subject matter is about two of my ancestral third cousins, Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr(and Henry's two daughters and one son, my fourth cousins).
The author really brought Henry and Kateryn to life in this book.  I was reticent when the book opened with a fairly descriptive sex scene, between Kateryn and Thomas Seymour-who she would go on to marry after Henry died.   Overall an enjoyable read about a tumultuous period in English history.  It got me thinking about what a dangerous thing it was to be in the King's social circle or in the upper echelons of English society.  Not only did Henry the VIII change the destiny of a country but he nearly tore it apart.  At times the way Gregory blended accurate history with fiction was confusing but the novel worked well on the whole and drew the reader in.  I even learned a few things along the way.  ;-)

*  Hold Giveaway  Yup!



*  Mail Giveaway  Mailed and received by the happy winner. 8-))

*  1st Load to Salvation Army for 2017  DONE



Just some of what I finally sent off to charity in June.  I've already started another load but it won't get taken in until August probably.

*  Contact Folks to Meet-Up in Jul/Aug  DONE  Everyone has been initially contacted and I'll be following up this week on the particulars.

*  Finish Road Trip Itinerary  DONE  I still need to nail down some details and side trips but the main route is mapped out.

*  Make all Motel Reservations  DONE  All reservations are in place.  17 nights in motels.

*  Sew two Shirts  FAIL  Well I wanted to make a couple of shirts for this road trip.  I spent most of June looking for my pattern for them(an old worn out shirt I took apart)and couldn't find it.  It didn't help that when Daughter and BF moved back in last year all my stuff got shoved places I couldn't remember. lol  I finally found the "pattern" 2 days ago.  My memory was faulty because the shirt never got taken apart, so now I've got to pick the seams apart before I can even cut the pieces out. Ugh.
And anyway, after hearing a weather report from Kim, I'll be living in dresses on this trip and won't be needing shirts.  It's going to be too hot for pants and shirts.
When I get back I'll still make those shirts but I don't have a big hurry now.

*  Post Tag Sale Site Items  DONE(sort of) I did post at the beginning of June my items to a lukewarm response.  Only a few responses and every single on wanted my stuff for almost nothing.  Didn't actually sell anything.  I think it's just bad timing as everyone is yard saling now and wants items for pennies(yard sale mentality)so I'll wait until the Fall and re-post it all so this item will come back on my list in September.

*  File Retirement Forms  DONE  Completed and turned in on time and we've gotten our first annuity payment already.

*  Attend Lunch for Hubs' Retirement  DONE  We brought home a TON of cake but the kids took care of most of it.  ;-)




*  Mend or Replace Swing Awning  DONE  



It didn't take long once I got my supplies downstairs.
And it's much better than having to spend cash to replace it too.
We'll get the rest of this season out of it and make a decision next year on what to do then.



*  Prepare front Flower Bed and plant it  DONE



I didn't actually do this.  I nagged first via long distance from Virginia and then in person until Hubs and College Boy took care of this.  Hubs spent minimally for some petunia for it and  the deer and bugs almost did them all in.  Most have recovered now though.

*  Go Over New Budget w/Hubs  DONE  We sat down last week and planned out our new retirement budget.  We only did a 3 month plan since we won't be accessing the 401K monies until October.  As much as possible we need to live off of the monthly annuity payment until then.  I'll go into more detail in a separate post on the new "financial normal" here.

*  Set up Savings Goals for College Boy  DONE  He's got his plan in place.

*  Implement Savings Plan for College Boy  DONE  I've been taking his money each week and holding it for safekeeping.  He hit a money threshold last week and ordered his new computer.....

We've now got another paycheck in hand so he's rebuilding his cash savings.  He's got no other big planned spending until he goes back in August and he should hit his savings goal by the time he wraps up his Summer job.
There will be no going back to this........


Spending willy-nilly on vape juice like last Summer.  That and the coffee drink here and energy drink there, plus eating out with his friends took care of the bulk of his earnings last Summer.

While I didn't have much on my To-Do List in June I feel good about what got done.

So did you get anything done in June?
Tell us about it!

Sluggy

Friday, July 7, 2017

Frugal Friday.....July 7th Edition

Not a lot on the frugal front to report this week, but here's a few.........

*  Hubs and I had lunch out on the 3rd when we went out to run errands.  We went to Bob Evans for a late lunch(after 2pm).  We used a 30% off your meal Q so paid $15.90 instead of $22.72.

*  Minute Maid juices is running a Catalina Promotion through the end of 2017 at Weis(might be available at your store too so worth checking out if you buy a lot of OJ).  For every 5 cartons you get a Catalina off $2 on your next order.......

Good thing is that these Catalinas expire 1/5/18!
I think what I'll do is hold onto them and cash however many I get the end of the year in at Weis for my Xmas dinner shopping.
Who knows?  I could save enough to pay for a nice hunk of roast or something! 8-)
And of course, I'll ONLY buy MM OJ when it's on sale to get them(and pair Qs with the sale when available).

*  I smoked a pork butt and two slabs of ribs from the freezer on Monday........

The ribs got wrapped in foil and finished off in the crock pot on Tuesday morning in time for our 4th of July picnic.
The pork butt got put into a larger crock pot on Wednesday night and cooked overnight on low and the resulting barbecue was eaten on buns with Cole slaw for dinner on Thursday night.  Mmmm!
Better and cheaper than going out to a BBQ joint here(MUCH cheaper as BBQ is a high falootin' deal in these parts).


*  We cashed in a Savings Bond that was no longer accruing interest.  Now we just need to sit down and decide where to put that money, hopefully somewhere it can earn more than .0001%.  8-(
Keeping fully matured SBonds is not smart.  Get your money and either use to pay down debt, a mortgage, etc. or stash it elsewhere where it can grow more money for you!


*  Last Fantastic Friday I bought a pack of Lemon Lemon and a pack of Izze drinks........


They were $1.99 per pack on sale.  I wasn't going to just buy 2 Lemon Lemon ones but there was a separate $1 cash rebate on Ibotta for both LL and Izze(limit of 1 per brand).  They had a lemon-lime variety of Izze so that's pretty close to what LL is.
And I had a $1/2 Izze and/or LemonLemon Weis Booklet Q too.

So it was 2 x $1.99=$3.98-$1Q-$2 in Rebates=.98¢ OOP or .49¢ per 8 pack.

*  I made WV hot dog chili to put on our July 4th picnic dogs.  It turned out mighty fine(I've never made hot dog chili before).  Much better than that canned runny slop they sell in the stores.
I also made Macaroni Salad which is also cheaper to make and tastes better than what they sell in the grocery store.

*  I have come up with a genius plan for food for College Boy for when he returns to school.
Since he is a Senior this next semester he doesn't have to take a meal plan from the University.
So no $1700+ to $1900+ food costs per semester. Ever. Again.
I'll reveal my ingenious plan in a later post but I will say I don't know why I didn't think of this before now!  Anybody want to guess my plan to save money on food for him?

That's all I gots.....
What about you?  What frugal feats did you achieve this past week??

Sluggy

Thursday, July 6, 2017

It's Done!

Hubs' career that is.
Friday was his last day at work.

The kids and I went to one of his two retirement luncheons/parties a couple of weeks ago.

After a buffet lunch at a nearby Italian restaurant, College Boy had to leave but Daughter and I waited in Hubs' cubicle until it was time to go down to the retirement "party".


Hubs' showed us his Perfect Attendance award for 1989-a paper clip holder. lolz


Then he showed us his "Sherpa" Award pins.
I bet you didn't know Hubs' was a mountain guide in the Himalayas, did you? lolz

His company had some kind of internal employee awards called this, for those who showed leadership and teaching skills or something.
Anyway, he has four of 'em.

Then it was time to head down to a room outside the cafeteria.


One of his coworkers had reserved the room and decorated.
And best of all, they bought a BIIIIG CAKE! ;-)


We sat around and his coworkers reminisced about the "good times".


A few folks stayed awhile but many floated in and out as their schedules allowed to say goodbye and eat some cake.


His bosses boss(pictured above)came from Corporate in Newark, NJ and made a short speech.
She had wonderful things to say about Hubs.
Don't go giving him an even Bigger swelled head now and then shove him out the door for me to deal with 24/7, ok?!!

A couple of coworkers made a short funny video about Hubs.
Before you watch it, let me tell you that Hubs' line of work was Retirement Services for Prudential.
He worked in contracts there so he was responsible for the wording of benefits contracts for your employer if you had Pru as a provider probably.  He worked with lawyers(both internal company ones and those working for the clients) and the Pru salesman who sold the products(don't get him started on them!lol).  He also had to remember/deal with all the federal and state statutes and regulations going back to the 1970's.

Some of the jokes many won't get but here is the video......


After a couple of hours Daughter and I took off for home.  Hubs still had work to do that day.

Hubs got another luncheon last week at the Woodbridge NJ Pru Retirement facility as he often had to travel there for work as well and had a lot of colleagues and friends there too.

And now it is done.

I still remember his first day back in March of 1984.  We were living in the basement of his parents' house.  He borrowed my car to go to the interview for a claims processing job at the Parsippany NJ Prudential Group Medical Insurance unit.
His English skills on the aptitude test they gave him got him booted over to the Contracts Department and he got an entry level position.
He worked in Group Insurance and started out writing those little booklets that your employer gives you to explain your medical benefits.

He spent a year early on in Marketing at Pru in Roseland, NJ but went back to Contracts.  After awhile he transferred to the Contracts department in Retirement Services and when Prudential opened a new building in Scranton, PA in the late 1990's he transferred there.
And the rest, as they say, is history.

 Sluggy

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

2017 Savings Challenge......June Update

Every year I keep a close eye on our monthly expenses and our monthly income.
Our income is mainly the salary my Hubs draws from his job.  We have money taken off each paycheck from the top to put into savings, before we even get our hands on it.  This money that's taken goes into various savings pots....life insurance, health insurance premiums, long term care insurance premiums, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings or these other categories.

Once the automatic savings amounts, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision premiums are taken out, it leaves what we get to "live on".  From this amount we budget for bills, both monthly and irregular bills(semi-annual, annual etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, clothing  etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into an interest bearing Savings Challenge account.

For 2017 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.
I have decided to lower the goal amount to save for the year to $35K.
Then Hubs decided to retire the end of June 2017, so this changes my goal again.

* I'm going to half my goal now, since I've got 6 months to get to the Savings Challenge Goal this year since Hubs is retiring effective June 30th.
This means the new revised goal is $17.5K for 2017 which was half of $35K.


On to the June report.....
I have posted my June End of Month $17.5K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $2,9916.66.

I have to report that we finished up June and the end of my 2017 Savings Challenge strong.
The extra amount we ended the month of June with?.......$2954.79

Income

We had $2570.23 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in June totaled $384.56.  This was interest made on non-retirement accounts, two stock dividend checks and two per diem reimbursements.

This brought us to our gain of $2954.79
Since we have no debt, this all goes into savings.

Outgo
As for the expenses this June, 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 cash withdrawals were $$349.50 lower than in May.  I only withdrew $60 for the whole month and Hubs kept to his budgeted amount for WAM.

HERE are the BAD THINGS

*  The water bill was $20.69 higher than in May.
*  The electric bill was $25.23 more than last month's mostly due to the washer/dryer running more and the kids turned on the a/c units in their rooms.
*  The gas credit card bill was $52.03 higher in June from May's amount.  This is due to Hubs putting less gas purchases on this c/c over the Master card.
*  The credit card bill was $630.71 higher in June than in May.  This was mostly May charges like VA trip spending.
*  The medical bills were $5.40 higher this month over last month's bills.
*  We had to pay 6 months of insurance on the LA house in June.
*  I paid a $178.20 dental bill which catches us up with what we owe on co-insurance to the dentist.

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

With 6 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2017 is $21,100.42.
We have surpassed our revised goal by $3600.42.  Woohoo!


FINAL THOUGHTS on June---
We had a fairly high expense month in June.  Most of our regular bills were  higher than in May(though overall only about $400 more)and then we had two irregular bills due(one of them over $1K)plus the credit card bill was over $1K for various reasons.  So in the end, not a terrible month but not a great one either.

Compared to June 2016 we saved $992.13 MORE to put into savings this June.  June always seems to be a higher expense month for us.

THOUGHTS going forward into July of 2017----
The regular bills will be about the same as in June since the credit card bill for our trip charges in July will come due in August.  I won't be here for half of July to monitor the kids aka "them that leave lights and a/c on when not in the room people" using the utilities(water/electric)so who knows how high they will be.
As for irregular bills, we have no irregular bills in July but, that being said, we will have bills associated with getting the LA house on the market(putting water and lights on in our name plus changing the locks and paying someone to repair stuff)this month.
Between the trip and putting the house on the market July may be a budget buster since we will be operating on a reduced income until October.  Things will still get paid though, out of our deep cash reserves until Fall.
It will all work out in the end once we start tapping the 401K account and we get this LA house sold.

So this marks the end of my regular Yearly Savings Challenge feature.  Since we won't have regular paychecks coming in as income I was going to discontinue this feature on the blog.  We won't have enough disposable income going forward to have savings each month to put away.
Or at least I don't think we will.
But I'll put the question to you, the readers.
Would you find it instructive/helpful/interesting for me to post about trying to save going forward in retirement now?
Let me know.


So how was your June financially?
  
Did you spend less than the income you had in June?
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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rite-Aid Porn This Week

Here is what I purchased at Rite-Aid over the last two days.

I would have bought it all in one big transaction but P&G has gotten snippy about using their coupons.  Check out the wording on them some time.  They use to say "limit of 4 identical/like Qs in one transaction".  Now it's "limit of two or ONE identical/like Qs per day per household" or something to that effect.
What?!?

Anyway, it's not that the Qs beep or anything if you try to use more than the limit stated on the Q.
It's just that the cashier may limit you if they are a stickler for reading every single line on every single Q you try to redeem.

So I had to do two transactions over the course of Sunday and Monday.
Sigh.....

I have discovered that everybody here(except me)wants to use Head and Shoulders or some other dandruff type shampoo(also my eldest and his finacée too and I supply them with 'poo sometimes as well).
Sigh.  So I have been on a quest to find it for cheap.
We also can use dish soap if it's cheap.
Daughter also wanted me to find her some "feminine needs" for cheap.

I paired all these wants/needs with a P&G Plenti Offer this week of "Spend $30, Get $15 Back in PPs"(limit of 4 Offers per card). * I think this Deal is a July monthly one, not a weekly one so maybe there will be good ways in which to utilize it later on in the month too.*



10 x Head & Shoulders 'Poo cheaper w/20% Wellness disc. than sale price($5.99)=$59.90
4 x Pantene 'Poo cheaper w/20% Wellness disc. than sale price($3.99)=$15.96
3 x Tampax Pearl tampons on sale($3.99)=$11.97
3 x Dawn dish soap on sale(.99¢)=$2.97
1 x Colgate toothpaste on sale=$3.99*not part of P&G Deal*
SubTotal.......$94.79

Coupons Used
3 x $5/2 Head & Shoulders 'Poo ManuQ=$15.00
4 x $2/1 Head & Shoulders 'Poo (3 ManuQ/1 IPQ)=$8.00
4 x $2/1 Pantene 'Poo IPQ=$8.00
3 x $2/1 Tampax tampons ManuQ=$6.00
1 x $2/1 Colgate toothpaste ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Colgate toothpaste In-AdQ=$2.00
1 x .25¢/1 Dawn Load2CardQ=.25¢
Coupon Total.......$41.25

$94.79-$41.25=$53.54

Except on the first transaction I did on Sunday a $2/1 Load2CardQ also came off too(I think it was for 1 of the bottles of Head & Shoulders)so I had $43.25 in Qs come off.

$94.79-$43.25=$51.54 + $2.74tax=$54.28.

I paid in Plenti Points and earned back $45 in new PPs.
$54.28-$45PPs=$9.28 OOP in Points.

Or $9.28 divided by the 21 items I purchased means I "paid" .44¢ per item.

"Paid" because no money changed hands and I "spent down" $9.28 in Plenti points.

That's my kind of shopping! '-)


Sluggy

Monday, July 3, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Together All The Time" Edition--



Like this pair of mourning doves which have taken up residence in my backyard, Hubs and I are now together all the time.  Yes, he retired as of Friday and now I have a shadow around the house 24/7.
Goodness what have I done? lolz


Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Lobster, Grilled Corn on Cob
2. Monday--Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad
3. Tuesday--Subway sandwiches using gift card
4. Wednesday--Steak, Fried Zuke, Corn Casserole
5. Thursday--Lemon Pepper Chicken with Zuke over Rice
6. Friday--Chicken Marsala over Noodles, Mixed Veggies(Daughter cooking)
7. Saturday-Fish and ?(Daughter cooking)

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Lobster, Grilled Corn on Cob
2. Monday--Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad
3. Tuesday--Chinese Take-Out
4. Wednesday--Steak, Fried Zuke, Corn Casserole
5. Thursday--Lemon Pepper Chicken with Zuke over Rice
6. Friday--Chicken Marsala over Noodles and Mushrooms(Daughter cooking)
7. Saturday-Fish and Stir-Fry Veggies in Teriyaki Sauce(Daughter cooking)

Last week saw 6 nights of home cooked dinners, 0 nights of leftovers and 1 night of Take-Out.
Nobody was feeling Subway so we got Chinese instead on the night Hubs wasn't home for dinner.

I made 1 trip to the Weis Markets for $32.93, a trip to Price Chopper for $52.49 and a trip to Maine Source for $53.33, which all totaled came to $138.75 OOP.  This brings my June food spending total to $535.03.  There are 0 days left in the month. 

My savings percentages last week was 52.41% which brings the month's percentage to 66.16%. 

Leftovers going into this week.......zuke in sauce, rice, corn casserole, salmon, stir-fry veggies, chicken Marsala w/fettuccine and mushrooms.
We've got lots of bits and bobs of leftovers.  With Hubs home now for lunch during the week I don't foresee anything NOT being eaten.  ;-)

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

1. Sunday--Leftovers
2. Monday--Pork Tenderloin Sammiches
3. Tuesday--Hot Dogs, Burgers, Ribs, Mac Salad, Pie
4. Wednesday--Barbecue Pork, Rolls, Coleslaw
5. Thursday--Tacos or Taco Salad
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday-? Daughter cooking

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 2 nights of leftovers and 0 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.  Daughter is cooking again this Saturday and I've got no clue what she wants to prepare.

What I need to buy for this menu? Ground Beef for hamburgers and hot dog chili, Cole slaw mix, buns and rolls, maybe a bell pepper and celery(the mac salad).  I am sure Hubs will want to pick up beer for the cook-out too.

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