Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What I Bought This Week at Rite-Aid

First off I had a Load2Card Q for "Spend $20 in Rite-Aid Branded Items, Get $5 Off Your Order" attached to two of my Plenti cards.

Daylogic(a R-A brand)razor blades are $8 and give back $8 in Plenti Points this week(limit 2 offers per card).
DreamHouse candies are also a R-A brand.

So I bought this...........

2 x Daylogic razor blade refills on sale=$16.00
2 x Dream House Jordan Almonds BOGO50%=$4.48

The $5 off $20 L2CQ came off....
$20.48-$5=$15.48+.72¢ tax=$16.20

I paid with $16.20 in Plenti points and earned $16 in new Plenti points back.
So all this "cost" me .20¢ in Plenti points.

The Daylogic refill blades fit the Gillette Mach3 handles and way cheaper than the Gillette Mach3 refill blades.
Daughter loves Jordan Almonds so I have already started collecting goodies for Christmas of 2017.  8-)))

My R-A only had 2 packs of blades so I'll try another location to see if I can do this deal again on my son's card(which also has the Spend $20/Get $5 off Q attached to it)to get razor blades and candy for .20¢ in points.


Monday, January 30, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Changes in our Daily Lives" Edition--

The BF pulled out of town on Friday.  Though we all were sad to see him go(and wish him only the best)this also means some savings in our household spending and I now have to rework our 2017 Budget.

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Birthday Steaks, Baked Potato, Caesar Salad
2. Monday--Fish, Cole Slaw, Sweet Potatoes, something Noodle for BF
3. Tuesday--Baked Potato Soup
4. Wednesday--Homemade Pizza
5. Thursday--Beef Pie
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Birthday Steaks, Baked Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Bday Cake
2. Monday--Salmon for us/Breaded Fish for the Kids, Cole Slaw, boxed Mac and Cheese for BF
3. Tuesday--Chicken Cordon Bleu, Broccoli, Stuffing(Mashed Taters w/Gravy too for BF)
4. Wednesday--Beef Pie
5. Thursday--Primo Hoagies(Take-Out)
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

6 meals cooked at home, 2 of them nights of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 1 night of Take-Out.
The sweet potatoes had gone bad so Brussels sprouts happened instead on Sunday. Work bought the BF had pizza for lunch his last day so pizza didn't happen here, we got subs instead(good but pricey).  Nobody wanted to potato soup so I made Cordon Bleu(premade/boxed)instead w/boxed stuffing and broccoli.

As for the grocery spending.....2 trips to Weis and a stop at the Surplus Outlet on the way back from taking College Boy back to school brought the food spending last week to $167.69 and brought my January food spending Grand Total to $551.27 for the month.
If I hadn't gone to Surplus Outlet I'd only be $14.26 over but I don't get the opportunity to go there often and I found a great deal on Olive Oil(plus the cashier forgot to ring 2 bottles up!)so I am not going to beat myself up over going over budget.

My savings percentages last week was 54.22%.  Anything over 50% is awesome. 8-)

Leftovers going into this week.......spaghetti w/meats, beef stew, beef pie.  Not much of any of these(only enough now for single lunches)so it will be a heavy "new food prep" week.

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

1. Sunday--Pork Chops, Stuffing(using leftover stuffing), Cauliflower in cheese sauce
2. Monday--Tacos or Taco Salads
3. Tuesday--Beef Stroganoff, Rice, Green Beans *
4. Wednesday--Hot Dogs on Rolls, Beans, maybe something else too
5. Thursday--Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
6. Friday--Pizza
7. Saturday--Leftovers

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

What I need to buy for this menu?  Mushrooms, Green Beans, Sour Cream, Cauliflower, Lettuce.

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?


Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending....January Update

* Posting my grocery totals a few days early as I am done food spending for January.  If for some reason I shop again before Wednesday, this amount will go onto February's spending.*

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for JANUARY 2017.

I have posted January'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 January.  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 4-5(5 at home this month). No kids under 20.


OOP  $10.75
Value  $54.90
Savings  80.42%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $873.20
Value  $873.20
Savings  100%

OOP  $50.74
Qs/Ads $27.28
Value  $78.02
Savings  35%

OOP  $37.01
Value  $102.01
Savings  63.72%

OOP  $0.00
Value  $66.46
Savings  100%

OOP  $452.77
Qs/Ads  $433.45
Value  $886.22
Savings  48.91%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, Target at 100% and the Bread Outlet at 80.42%.  My WORST savings rate was Shursave Market at 35%.
The bulk of my money was spent at Weis Markets in January and I had a 48.92% savings rate there.
I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$551.27
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$433.45
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$886.22
TOTAL Savings of ..................................73.25%
TOTAL Savings w/o Rite-Aid of ..............53.58%

This closes out the January food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I went into January wanting to spend $500 on food and toiletries.
I went over budget by $51.27 because of a few stock-up opportunities.

The monthly food spending savings percentage went UP by 4.79% in January to 73.25% compared to December's 68.46% savings average.  January's Rite-Aid haul of freebies after sales/coupons/points really helped raise the savings rate overall this month.

With 1 month accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $551.27 on food/toiletries in 2017 which averages out to $551.27 per month spent in 2017. 8-)

LOOKING AHEAD To February........

3 weeks into January and word came that the BF was going back to Louisiana to live.  For me, this means I can back down on my grocery/toiletries spending in 2017.  I no longer will need a $6K food budget for 2017. 8-)))
I should be able to do a $300-$400 food budget per month now so I am shooting for between $3300 and $4400 in food spending for the rest of 2017(or $3800 to $4900 for the full year).

For February I am going to try for a $300 grocery budget as College Boy won't be home this month.
Perhaps I can do even better by heavily relying on the stockpile/freezer in February?  Time will tell.

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 January?
*  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?


Friday, January 27, 2017

Frugal Friday Stuff

Here are a few frugal things around here this week.....

* An Annie's Deal at Weis I got this week.  After sale prices, coupons and $5 off instantly this all cost me .75¢ total.  But I forgot I had a .50¢ Annie's soup offer in SavingStar so now all this cost me a quarter.
Yes! ;-)
Daughter wanted granola bars for lunches at school, the chicken noodle soup is always a good thing to have on hand for colds/flus and I am sure she'll eat that mac and cheese at some point.

* Today was Fabulous Friday at Weis.  There weren't any one-day deals I really wanted so I stayed home and didn't go and spend money.

*  Still working on satisfying that $3K high deductible on our medical insurance.  Dr. said I could fill one of two prescriptions(similar drugs)depending on which one would cost me less money.  So I got the $378 drug instead of the $489 drug.
On another note--Hubs has an eye shot on Monday and the eye doc is trying a new drug for this so it is going to cost $3K, just for that drug for 1 shot. sigh.  We will have satisfied our medical deductible before January is over this year.
Double sigh.

I am so glad I keep about half of what we save in December and only put the other half into my Savings Challenge from December, and apply a portion to the medical deductible in the new year.  It keeps us from taking a $3K medical payment hit in January/February.  I know I have to pay the deductible but hate to have it all come at us at once.  I prefer to cash flow our deductible payments.

*  The BF left today to return to Louisiana.  For those who have asked, he and Daughter are NOT broken up by the move.  They are doing the long distance relationship thing for now.  When she has finished school and obtained her degree they will relocate somewhere together and restart their lives together.  We will miss BF although the good side of this is it will lower our costs on bills and Daughter will be able to focus on her studies better(at least I think so).  Time will tell how this all pans out.  I wish him only the best.

On the flip side, the frugal failings--

*  My sweet potatoes went bad and had to be composted.

*  There was more Eating Out/Take-Out in January that I wanted to see.  We got expensive take-out subs for BF's last dinner here as a treat.  If Daughter had her way, she's have me get take-out 3 or 4 nights a week.  This won't happen as long as I and her dad are footing the bill for meals.  We had a bit of extra money in January's budget since Hubs is still housebound and doesn't need WAM $(WAM=walking around money)so we aren't over.
February will be light on take-out eating unless I get sick again.

On a side note.....if anyone has emailed me and is waiting for a response(I know I owe a few folks one)it will be awhile before I get around to answering mail.
I have a Windows email program and it decided to shit the bed.  While I can still into my emails with a work around I can't send emails still.  It is driving me nuts!
Hubs will do some tech support on my machine this weekend so hopefully by Monday I'll be good as new.

Here's hoping everyone has a productive and/or relaxing weekend(depending on which you want!lol).
I'll be filing a year's worth of paperwork and pulling paper for taxes.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Nothing

I hate to not post but I really have nothing of value to say lately.
Just doing what I need to do to hold things together here.
Cleaning,taking out garbage, running to bank, drug store, grocery stores, gas station, rinse and repeat with a couple of doctor appointments thrown in.
I did buy Hubs a cane today at Rite-Aid.  His doc whom we saw yesterday wants him off the walker and onto a cane so he is getting close to being able to climb stairs now.  It's a very good thing but for me it means I now have to get the bedroom cleaned up(he hasn't been upstairs since the accident on Dec. 6th). lolz
Hubs also will begin working from home the first week of February(unless he has a set back of some sort with this injury).

The BF is leaving on Friday, today is his last day at his job here.  This will mean a few things leaving the garage and going back to Louisiana with him.

I got some good deals at Weis(PMITA)Markets today.  I usually go on Wednesdays(last day of the sales ad week and good day to look for discounted meats and bakery)and Friday(Fab. Friday sale items day and new sales ad week). Unless it can't be avoided I NEVER shop on Sat/Sun. or Tues.   The weekend is just crazy crowded(and the cashiers tend to be snippy or ditzy)and Tues. is "Old People Discount" Day and it takes forever to get through the store and finish your shop.

Anyway, there was an Annie's brand offer--Spend $15, Get $5 off Instantly.  The Deal worked off of regular prices but everything that qualified was on sale.
So 1 carton of soup, 3 bars of granola bars and 1 box of mac and cheese came to $11.25
$5 off=$6.25
I had 4 x .50¢/1 Qs and 1 x .75¢/1 Qs, which double up to $1 each so should have been another $5 off.  The cashier rang each Q twice since they wouldn't scan so w/the .75¢ Q I got an additional .50¢ so I got $5.50 total....$6.25-$5.50=.75¢ total for all 5 items.  I told the cashier the .75¢ should only double to $1 but she shrugged her shoulders and just kept going.  Oh well....

I've been binge watching old Project Runway episodes/seasons on Hulu.  I just finished Season 9 again.  I skipped Season 8 as I just couldn't stand the thought of watching the gal who won that Season, Gretchen again!  For some reason she really got under my skin. lolz  Tim Gunn and I still think Mondo should have won that season.

So here's some Michael Kors-isms to brighten your day....


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Feeling the Love

On Saturday after hauling College Boy back to school there was a card waiting for me in the mailbox.
On Monday there was another card in the mailbox.

Birthday wishes from distant family members?

Both were from online blogger/friends........

I just want to thank Lorraine and Rachel for their thoughtfulness and good wishes for the day.
So unexpected and so appreciated!

I very rarely get personal snail mail and these were a thrill to receive. 8-)


Monday, January 23, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "It's Ma Birfday!" Edition--

I spent my birthday driving College Boy back to school, taking him to Walmart for items he forgot,eating take-out food in his dorm room and returning home around 5 pm.
And the weather was crazy bad in a strange way.....no snow or sleet but warmer than normal temps and dense fog that never lifted, except for the last few miles near College Boy's school so 90% of the trip there and back was in pea soup.

Not the way I planned on celebrating my day.

When I got home nobody had made/thought of dinner so I paid for 2 nasty bad take-out pizzas(the only place that delivers here because Daughter and BF couldn't even go pick up pizza!)and then we had store bought birthday cake(that I had to pick up and pay for on Friday).

Yah, it was quite the party and celebration of ME. 8-(

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Meatloaf, Spinach Salad, Parmesan Noodles
2. Monday--Chicken Parm, Caesar Salad, Rigatoni
3. Tuesday--Country Fried Steak w/Gravy, Baked Potatoes, Asparagus *
4. Wednesday--Shrimp Scampi w/Linguine *
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--Fend for Yourself

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Meatloaf, Spinach Salad, Parmesan Noodles
2. Monday--Chicken Parm, Asparagus, Rigatoni
3. Tuesday--Chinese take-out
4. Wednesday--Country Fried Steak w/Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Caesar Salad * (I had leftover soup)
5. Thursday--Spaghetti w/Meatballs and Sausage, Tossed Salad, Garlic Bread(I had salad and bread only)
6. Friday--Beef Stew, Rolls
7. Saturday--Nasty take-out Pizza

6 meals cooked at home, 0 of them nights of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 2 nights of Take-Out.
Scampi didn't happen, Take-out on Tuesday and Daughter made Wednesday's meal as I was sick.  I added the leftover mushrooms from the Marsala from last week into Friday's stew.

As for the grocery spending.....1 trips to Weis bought the food spending last week to $98.18 and brought my January food spending Total to $383.58 for the month.
There is $116.42 left in the January food budget with 8 days left.

My savings percentages last week was 53.75%.  Anything over 50% is awesome.

Leftovers going into this week.......mashed taters, bbq boneless pork ribs, spaghetti w/meats and beef stew.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals
1. Sunday--Birthday Steaks, Baked Potato, Caesar Salad
2. Monday--Fish, Cole Slaw, Sweet Potatoes, something Noodle for BF
3. Tuesday--Baked Potato Soup
4. Wednesday--Homemade Pizza
5. Thursday--Beef Pie
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 2 nights of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu? Not much for dinners but Daughter needs bunches of lunch type food for school so that is on my list.  Maybe some carrots. And as always milk.

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?


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rite-Aid Haul Porn

This week at Rite-Aid, Buy/Spend $30 on select items and get a $15 Visa Gift Card.
I wasn't going to shop Rite-Aid this week but then Coupons dotcom release a $4/1 Almay Q and various $3/1 Gillette/Venus Qs,
Add in that the BOGO50% Sale on Almay items this week is also ringing up as 50% off for each item(until they fix it!)so instead of every 2 Almay items purchased being a .07¢ moneymaker they are a $2.72 moneymaker.  I printed off some Qs and jumped up to Rite-Aid today and bought this stuff in two transactions........

6 x Gillette Custom disposable razors(sale price $6.29 ea.)=$37.74
2 x Gillette Mach3 disposable razors(sale price $7.99 ea.)=$15.98
1 x Venus disposable razors(sale price $7.99)=$7.99
4 x Tic Tac Mixers(sale price $1)=$4.00
6 x Almay eye shadow(sale price $2.64 ea.)=15.84

Coupons Used
6 x $3/1 Gillette Custom IPQ=$18.00
2 x $3/1 Gillette Mach3 IPQ=$6.00
1 x $3/1 Venus IPQ=$3.00
4 x .50¢/1 IPQ=$2.00
6 x $4/1 Almay item IPQ=$24.00
Coupon Total.......$53.00

$81.55-$53.00=$28.55+$2.89 tax=$31.44 OOP
I used $31.44 in Plenti points to pay.
I earned back $2 in Plenti points(2 x $1 wyb2 Tic Tacs) so I spent down $29.44 in Plenti points.
But really I just converted Plenti points to 2 Visa gift cards, each worth $15 so in reality between the points and the gift cards this was a .56¢ moneymaker.
Nice.  8-)


Friday, January 20, 2017

Frugal Wins

Not much going on here in terms of frugal stuff this past week, other than just not spending money and sitting home.

* I got some good deals at the grocery store this past week--.38¢ a can for Progresso soups(plus I got another $1 off the entire soup purchase on SavingStar), 38¢ a bag for frozen Birdseye veggies, 2 boxes of spaghetti on clearance for 64¢ each, 6.14 lbs. ground beef for $2.75 a lb. after sale and instant discount sticker.  My best score was 2 bottles of Lysol bathroom cleaner, 2 bottles of Lyson toilet bowl cleaner and 2 boxes of Finish dishwasher tabs for $
Reg. price for all was $20.14, sale price was $16.98. $5 off wyb $20 instant discount worked off of reg. prices too.  I had $8 in Qs to use so $16.98-$8=$8.98-$5 instant discount=$3.98 for all 6 products. 8-)))  They also had a Buy1/Get2Free Deal on London Broil so I picked up 3 hunks of meat which came out to $2.75 lb.

* I ordered College Boy's book for this semester.  Usually I just reserve them at his school's bookstore, pay and he picks them up there.  But this time around the price of a few of them about gave me a stroke so I shopped around for cheaper alternatives.  The big problem this time was that none of what he needed was available in a used version at the bookstore.  ouch.
So I saved $300 or so on his textbooks buying from other sources.  They have all arrived and are packed to go back to college with him tomorrow.

* I declined to buy one of my prescription medications as it was going to cost $616 as we haven't satisfied 2017's deductible yet(We have no drug benefit on this medical plan until we spend $3K OOP on medical).  If I bought all my medications at full price in January just those alone would cost us $1690.93 OOP in one fell swoop.
I know I need these drugs but some I fill ahead in December so we pay 10% of the U&C price instead(as the deductible was satisfied long ago in 2016).  There is one drug I get in a different form until the deductible is reached which costs $120 less than the one I usually get and I prefer.  Another drug I need I can get from a different manufacturer for free(through their loyalty card program)for a few months before going back to the similar drug from the other manufacturer my doc prefers(which costs $489.99 OOP before our deductible is satisfied and $45 after deductible is satisfied).
This juggling drugs helps so that we don't take such a large money hit in 1 month.
Between prescriptions and office visits, Daughter's back injections and now Hubs' PT visits we'll hit our deductible by at the latest March this year.  Just paying full shift on my drugs we'd be there by mid February. ;-(

* The daughter's BF has decided to move back to Louisiana and will be leaving next Friday.  Though we hate to see him go it will be a frugal win for me, as our grocery, water and electric bills will be going down with one less person in the house.

* I bought 320 postage stamps this morning when out running errands. The price is rising so I saved $6.40 over the new .49¢ price going forward.  Not a big win but a savings nonetheless.

And there was one Frugal Fail this past week was I couldn't make dinner one night due to pain so we got Chinese take-out.  $48.20  But at least some of us got two meals out of our entrees.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

I am Alexander & am Having his Month

This new year has not been kind to me so far.

Besides having to carry all the chores Hubs usually does, having College Boy home(which is always a wild ride given that he is so absent-minded and flighty)and practically leaking cash(hello college bills and full price drugs and the electric bill will be insanely high because of Hubs this month), my HS is flaring not only in 3 usual locations but a new one, right underneath my left nipple.

It feels like mastitis but only in one breast. I was trying to wait this episode out(which started before Xmas)but had to see the doc on Tuesday and get pain killers and antibiotics for it.
And going on an internet message board convinced me this latest manifestation meant I have a tumor on my pituitary gland.  I need to stay away from online medical help.

Gosh I wish they had a cure for HS or even had a CLUE how to treat it effectively.
Add into the mix my post Holiday blues and Sluggy is having a horrible, no good, very bad month.

Did I mention that my birthday is Saturday? lolz

It's been hard to write anything other than what I already had in the pipeline as I've just been trying to get through the day lately.

And now I am out of material so postings may be sporadic for awhile.

I really need to go attack the disaster that is our filing system/important paper files upstairs.  Hubs' job is to file receipts and such and keep order there.  I went up to retrieve something we needed and it was such a mess!  Maybe mess isn't the proper word for what I saw but it looks like he hasn't done anything but make a mess up there for the last year!  Half the files aren't even in the filing cabinet but strewn about the room in piles and half those files aren't even labeled properly.

I will say he hates this chore so it's always a bit lacking in order but this time it's impossible and since I have to deal with it all now as he can't get up the stairs yet I just don't know where to start.
And yes, I am cursing him under my breath about this.

I was able to find enough to get College Boy's FAFSA done but now I need to start gathering all the tax stuff.
Double Ugh.

Plus with owning and renting out the house we have in Louisiana it just adds another layer of complication onto our tax filing.  I don't know if I am capable of doing our taxes anymore without some sort of soft wear program.  And I dread having to buy soft wear.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a program that is not so complicated and not expensive to purchase?  Let me hear about it please.

Ok, I am off to face the filing monster now.
Wish me luck.....


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Christmas Budget/Spending Autopsy

Ok, so calling this an Autopsy is not very festive or cheerful.
So call it "The Post Where I Talk About What I Was Going to Spend for Christmas and What I Actually Spent for Christmas".
Whatever works for you.....

I budgeted $1600 for Christmas spending in 2016.  Except for what Hubs spends on gifts for me, this is our entire spending budget for Christmas.
Last year I budgeted $1800.00 and we spent $1583.94.
So I based this year's Xmas budget on what we spent last year(plus a few dollars to round up to $1600).

I have been tracking our Christmas spending since 2010--
2010.........$1000 planned/$881.64 spent
2011.........$1300 planned/$851.32 spent
2012.........$1000 planned/$1020.48 spent
2013.........$1650 planned/$2164.77 spent
2014.........$1900 planned/$1742.87 spent
2015.........$1800 planned/$1583.94 spent

How do I arrive at a budget for Christmas?  Nowadays I look at what we spent the previous years(because I have a full accounting for the last 6 years or so on the blog)and see where we did well and where we did "not-so-well" with budgeting and add in any unusual things we plan to do and after some papers are balled up and thrown away and there is one sheet left with lots of writing on it(as well as writing scratched out on it), we have a plan and a budget. lolz

No, really.....I look at possible spending categories and what I think we will use.
I generally use c/c points to get gift cards for free(to either give as presents or use to buy the presents to give)plus I buy a bit here and there during the year when a deal presents itself and those items are cash flowed from our regular monthly income.  I have been known to reserve blogging revenue, rolled coins and/or cash rebates from grocery purchases during the year to pay for Christmas expenses.
I generally don't set money aside each month throughout the year(like a Christmas club account or actual money in an envelope earmarked for Christmas spending)since we had a large cushion of cash in our checking and savings accounts and I can just pull from those sources when I need money to spend on Christmas stuff.

But if you don't have extra cash lying around it is a good idea to take funds during the year and earmark them for the Holidays.
There are many ways to save ahead for Christmas.....make regular deposits to a dedicated account or a Christmas club at a bank, use a one-time windfall like a bonus or a tax refund, etc........so use whatever works for your situation.

The only unacceptable plan is to GO INTO DEBT for Christmas!
Better to not spend on Christmas than to endure the grief/angst/anguish/stress by going into debt buying crap at Christmas you can't afford and having to pay off the bills incurred sometime in 2017, or 2018 or beyond.

So we went into the Holidays with $1600.00 budgeted to spend.

Here is where the funds were allocated.......

Shipping gifts/mailing Holiday Cards  $35.00
Gifts for immediate family(includes any cash gifts)  $800.00
Gifts for extended family & friends  $50.00
Electricity for lights   $15.00
A Christmas eve meal and show or movie   $100.00
Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze)   $500.00
Charity  $100.00

And here is where the money actually went.....

Shipping gifts/mailing Holiday Cards  $28.27
Gifts for immediate family  $542.45
Gifts for extended family & friends  $56.00
Electricity for lights  $7.00
A Christmas eve meal and show or movie  $60.00
Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze)  $0.00
Charity  $100.00
TOTAL SPENT...$793.72

Here are the Spending Details....

$28.27  *Shipping/Mailing Holiday Cards & Gifts----
We sent out 32 cards and mailed 1 small gift to a friend and 1 package to my eldest son.  Stamps cost $14.85 and the cards I had already from previous Christmases.  
We had planned to see eldest and his fiancee at Xmas time so when we didn't travel at the Holidays I had to mail gifts to them.  The heavy stuff I didn't send and will hand deliver later in the year.
I did send 1 person who isn't family a small gift this year.  The actually gifts I either paid for from my food budget and/or I already had here so no costs associated with those gifts given, just the postage.

$542.45  *Gifts for family----Under by $257.55
Last year I spent $699.77 on gifts for family so I spent $157.32 less this year on the family's gifts.  Family included 8 people--Hubs, 3 kids and their 2 SOs, my brother and sister in-law.

Here is how I kept the cost of gifts a bit lower than it could have been this year--
* I cashed in points on my credit card and/or hotel program card for free gift cards to give or use to buy items to give. (I wasn't very successful at this strategy as in year's past but I still saved some by using it.)
* I bought items I was going to buy anyway and sent for premiums(free items). IE-$10 Best Buy gift card offer for buying 20 apples sauce packs. These type items cost me the price of a stamp to mail away for the offer.
* I used some Coke Rewards points to get a free $10 Amazon gift code to give.(Coke points were free to me off of bottles someone else paid for.)
*  Many items were bought at Kohl's online during Black Friday week and the weeks following.  I used $100 in gift cards I already had and paid for last year for some of these purchases, 3 items purchased gave me $36 in cash rebates(which brought the cost of those items to $7.99 each)plus I earned $60 in Kohl's cash on one order which I applied to a subsequent order.
*  I shopped sales, both in store and online.  I keep an eye out throughout the year for deals.
* Lots of stocking stuffers were items gotten at Rite-Aid over the course of the year for no money too.  I also bought 4 fragrance gift sets on sale at the Holidays at R-A, with coupons and cash rebates then I sold 2 of them which covered my OOP on all of them so I have/had 2 gifts to give at no cost to me.
More stocking stuffers were gotten at the grocery store for free after coupons and others gotten as giveaways/freebies from companies.

$56.00  *Gifts for extended family---Over $50 Budgeted Amount by $6.00
We spent a bit more on the nephew's gift this year since I gave him a Rite-Aid procured gift card(so I got Plenti points but paid full price for the card)instead of using some credit card points to get a gift card for free.

$7.00  *Electricity for Lights----Under budget by $8.00
Same stuff hung outside the house.
We used the smaller tree this year and put it up a bit later.
After Hubs' accident the outside lights didn't get plugged in much if at all since that is Hubs' "thing" and he couldn't.
 It's really not a category that I can nail down the cost beyond an approximation so I figure we used about half what we usually do on lights.

$60.00  *A Christmas eve meal and show or movie----Under budget by $40.00
With Hubs not walking yet I got take-out food and we didn't go to a movie.  Amount spend included a nice tip. 8-)

$100.00  *Charity----Even
Another donation to the local food bank but not in groceries/toiletries like I do sporadically throughout the year, but rather a nice sized check. 8-)

$0.00  *Christmas travel expenses(lodging, food, gas, booze, cash incidentals)----Under budget by $500.00
With the accident, we stayed put for the Holidays.

All totaled, this year I budgeted $1600 and we spent $793.72, so $806.28 under budget overall. Even when you take out the $500 for travel(which leaves us a $900 Christmas budget)we still stayed significantly under for the Holidays.

Thoughts for 2017--
I think I'll keep our budget at $1600 for next Christmas.  I am comfortable with this amount and am able to stay within it.  For our income and our needs, I think this is just the right amount to splash out on Christmas celebrating.

If you kept track of your spending for Christmas, how did you do?
Did you spend more. less or right about what you planned on spending?
Did you have any money epiphanies when you look back at the Holiday plan?
Do you see anything you'll change about your spending for Christmas 2017?

Leave a comment and let us know how you did and what you learned about yourself & money this year!


Monday, January 16, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Christmas Cookies" Edition--

Aren't these cute cookies?  These are some that Kim sent me last month.  They are a gingerbread type, at least that's what they tasted like.  I love the way she decorated them, very Scandinavian looking.  The red thing is a red hot cinnamon candy.  I think they could have had more of those for my taste 'cuz Sluggy is a red hot sort of gal.  ;-)

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Marinated Flank Steak, Green Beans, Au Gratin Taters
2. Monday--BBQ boneless Pork Ribs, Red Beans & Rice
3. Tuesday--Chicken Marsala, Sugar Snap Peas, Mashed Potatoes *
4. Wednesday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
5. Thursday--Beef Stew
6. Friday--Clam Chowder, Spinach Salad
7. Saturday--Enchiladas, Refried Beans

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Marinated Flank Steak, Green Beans, Au Gratin Taters
2. Monday--BBQ boneless Pork Ribs, Spinach Salad
3. Tuesday--Nachos Casserole(Daughter cooked this w/leftover taco meat)
4. Wednesday--Chicken Marsala, Mashed Potatoes*
5. Thursday--Fried Shrimp, Cole Slaw, French Fries
6. Friday--Fend for Yourself or Leftovers
7. Saturday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches w/Tom/Lett/Onion

7 meals cooked at home, 1 of them nights of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 0 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.
The stew and chowder didn't happen and the leftover taco filling became nachos instead of enchiladas but pretty much I stuff to the plan.

As for the grocery spending.....2 trips to Weis and 2 trips to the Shursave market bought the food spending last week to $187.76(counting $25 of splurge steaks for my birthday meal in as Hubs still can't go out)and brought my January food spending Total to $285.40 for the month.(7 transactions at Rite-Aid as well but nothing spent out of pocket there.)
There is $214.60 left in the January food budget with 15 days left.

My savings percentages last week was 43.07%.  Not great but still good.

Leftovers going into this week.......Marsala sauce w/mushrooms, mashed taters, bbq boneless pork ribs, small amount of flank steak.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals
1. Sunday--Meatloaf, Spinach Salad, Parmesan Noodles
2. Monday--Chicken Parm, Caesar Salad, Rigatoni on side
3. Tuesday--Country Fried Steak w/Gravy, Baked Potatoes, Asparagus *
4. Wednesday--Shrimp Scampi w/Linguine *
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--?
7. Saturday--Fend for Yourself

This week will see 7 new meals cooked, 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 2 nights of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu? Russet Potatoes  I don't foresee stocking up on much of anything this week either.

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?


Sunday, January 15, 2017

2016 Goals.....How They Turned Out

Let's see how I did with my 2016 Goals.


*  Save $40K of our income this year.  I did it last year so I am going to try to get to this amount in 2016.  Unless Hubs ups and retires during the year or we get hit with some other financial catastrophe this should be feasible.....a stretch and not easy but possible.  I just have to resist spending on "wants".  Easier said than done, right?  ;-)

After the Daughter and BF moved back in here every day bills went up so I had to back down my Savings Challenge Goal to $38K.  And even that looked like it might not happen but we managed to pull it off. 
Go us! 8-)

*  Attempt to sell some stuff we need to get rid of.  There are some items we need to let go off that are like new or in very good shape that could bring in a few dollars so I need to get back into selling mode.  This could bring in potentially enough to fund a few months of groceries and I will earmark anything sold for that.

The selling sort of happened and sort of didn't happen.  In the Spring I made $93 on the local yard sale F/B site selling some of the toiletry stash.  I also sold a fragrance set right before Xmas but all the other Xmas time selling I planned to do didn't happen after Hubs' accident.

*  Take care of all the paperwork/bills/financial stuff in a timely manner this year.
Track spending monthly so we can adjust/correct any overspending/bad decisions asap and not come out the other end of 2016 with financial messes to clean up.

I did well with keeping up with the paperwork/bills/financial stuff in 2016.  The only sore spot there was not filing paperwork the last half of the year.


*  Continue with my exercise program, add to it, and do it every month.  It's a well ingrained habit, in that, even on days when I don't feel so well I still get on that bike and pedal way.  I need to add other components to this.  Maybe I'll see about paying a trainer to push me if it's not too expensive?  Because left to my own devices I will slack off if not held accountable to someone. 8-(

While I did a lot better with other health issues in 2016 the bike habit fell away the last half of the year.  Mostly because the bike my Daughter brought home(which meant getting rid of the bike I was use to)isn't a good fit to me.  Even though, I have been moving more and walking but I do miss the biking.

*  Do more Gardening than in 2015.   I think we will dig up where the pool use to be and use that as gardening space this year.  It's already cleared and it's in the middle of the backyard so gets sun most of the day making it perfect if we can fence it off from the rabbits.  More produce grown=more produce eaten=better health.

More gardening didn't happen.  The pool area wasn't utilized and I did about the same amount of gardening as in 2015.

*  Do some canning.  Other than making some peach jam last year I didn't do any other canning.  I had no tomato crop so I couldn't make my relish(thankfully I still had enough so we won't run out before I can make some this coming Fall)or can any tomatoes.  I have plenty of jars so I just need to get the produce and do this....no excuses.

I canned my relish in the Fall/late Summer.  I also went and picked my own produce too so extra points for that. lolz

*  Lose 20 pounds.   While I am exercising on a regular basis since last March and we are eating better/less and feeling better overall I still need to drop some weight.  I have various health issues that keep me from doing more and medications that keep me from losing but I need to do something to make this happen. sigh.  Perhaps at my next dr. check-up I'l pick his brain on what I can try that is alluding me.

A change in my mix of medications, keeping up walking/some biking and more moving, plus working on smaller portions at meals and I have dropped 20 lbs. from last January.  The bulk of the reduction in weight has come since August after medication changes, I hit 20 lbs. off in November and I have kept it off up until now.
The hard work will be to keep it up over the Winter and not get lazy and go back to bad habits so I can keep seeing that scale needle get lower.


*  Paint 12 Items in my Ceramic Stash.  After ignoring the basement for so many years I am facing up to all the unfinished product down there now.  If I don't get anything else done this year I NEED TO PAINT this stuff!!!  And after I do I get to have to problem of doing something with all this newly painted stuff.  Unless I can talk 12 friends into coming to see me this year and then I will have presents for all of them to take home. ;-)

The Ceramic Stash is still there, unpainted.  I got so far as to clean out my paints and brushes and bring up 2 items to paint.....and then they sat for 6 months in the kitchen.  A total fail.

*  Sew and COMPLETE 6 Projects.  I completed 8 sewing projects on my plate last year.  I still have a couple "already started" ones and I will start some new projects to get my 6 done.

Other than some hemming projects for Hubs I sewed nothing.  I really need to do some more repair work on clothing items of mine so that's on the front burner.

*  Complete 1 crochet project.   I have the yarn and the hook I just need to sit down and do this.  Last year with the cataract surgery and all the eye problems this wasn't even feasible so it's back on the list for this year.

Totally didn't happen.
I suck. ;-)


*  Go on at least 2 trips for pleasure.   I am feeling like more of a homebody at the beginning of this year so I am not feeling that travel bug as much so I am thinking of ramping back the travel plans for 2016.  Only time will tell if I keep to this smaller amount of travel.   Perhaps no Family Reunion Trip this year and there will be no trips to find a kid an apartment and then back to move them.....so that's 3 less trips to make in 2016.   Maybe no trip to LA this year or we will fly out?  We have talked about going back to Maine this year as we haven't been in quite a few years and I really love Maine.  Perhaps I can stop in MA on the way and visit some family?
And then of course there is the invite to come see Kim in ID.  If Hubs retires unexpectedly this year we'll have the time to do that trip.  8-)

2016 saw a long trip to Louisiana again(but it wasn't much of a pleasure trip besides stopping for 2 side trips to see blogger friends), a vacation to Maine(with a stop in MA to see family)and a trip to the Family Reunion in Virginia.  Daughter and I also made a trip to VA in the Summer to see my eldest son and my brother and his wife.


*  Have 2 House Repair/Improvement Projects completed. 
There is still the bathroom redo/repair on our plate that we put money aside to complete this last year but never got around to doing it.  Plus we need to figure out which other Project we can tackle in 2016.  I am thinking window glass replacement as we have at least 5 glass seals that have broken.  Plus we need new window screens for most of our windows.  Not things we can do ourselves but things we can put money toward and get ticked off the repair list.  We just need to wait and see how much Hub's bonus will be this year to see how much we have to work with to pay for the 2nd project.

The master bath got a total redo in 2016 and used most of what we had saved/put aside for that.  The only other home improvement checked off the list was a ceiling fan/light replacement in the kitchen.  Just couldn't pull the trigger on any more projects for the year.

*  Get rid of 6 boxes of possessions plus some larger items that need disposing of.  I still have some "stuff" to get rid of in the house, even after sending 11 loads to Salvation Army last year.   I need to figure out how to dispose of most of my ceramic molds from when I had a ceramic business.  And I need to help Hubs go through the shed this Spring/Summer too.  I don't usually go in there but I took a peak back in the Fall and I can easily see many items we don't need to hang onto like old pool stuff and bicycles from when the kids were smaller.  I am sure there are many more things we can pitch or recycle in there too.

We did a total clean/clear out of the shed.  We also got rid of some furniture in the Spring when the Daughter and BF came here to live to make space for them.  Not much got taken to Sallie's this year otherwise.  I had plans for a few loads in December but Hubs accident put a kybosh on that.


*  I will try to blog 6 days a week as this is pretty much how much I do now.  I have my regular weekly and/or monthly posts--Monday's Weekly Meal plans/results, End of month Savings Challenge.  Food Spending/Budget, and Monthly Goal Update posts.  

I kept to a sort of blogging schedule.  I did 348 posts in 2016 which means 17 posts shy of 1 per day on average so I am calling this goal complete.

Ok, now I can put 2016 into the books.
Time to figure out where to go from here in 2017.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Last of the Rite-Aid Porn This Week

Since I had to go right by Rite-Aid this morning when I went out to Ollie's(Good Stuff Cheap!)to use a $20 gift card and a 10% off my order coupon they mailed me, I went ahead and got some things there on my son's card......

12 boxes of GM cereals@ $2 each
2 jugs of Gain detergent@ $4.94 each
2 boxes of Chloraseptic cough drops@ $5.29(BOGOF)
2 bottles of Visine allery@ $4.55 each

SubTotal was $48.27 before coupons.
Coupons came to $18.00.

$30.27+.35¢ tax=$30.62

I used $30.62 in Plenti points to pay and earned $23.00 in new Plenti points($20 when you spend $50-I had $1.94 tracking toward that before this transaction, $1.50 when you buy Chloraseptic drops x 2).
I also earned $2.50 in cash rebates at SavingStar and Checkout51($1 SS, $1.50 CK51)for buying assorted GM cereals-Lucky Charms x 1, Cocoa Puffs x 2, Any 2 cereals).

So in the end, I "spent down" $5.12 in Plenti points for all this.

College Boy wanted junky cereal to take back to school so 6 boxes will be going with him next weekend.  The Visine and the detergent will also go with CB back to school if we can fit all that along with his other crap into my car. lolz

In all likelihood I won't be frequenting Rite-Aid next week as there isn't much of anything I want on sale then.


Friday, January 13, 2017

2017....the Year of Austerity

2016 was a mixed bag financially for us here at Chez Sluggy.
I did reach my self-imposed savings goal of $38K out of the regular income put away for retirement but just barely.
(We also added to our actual retirement accounts automatically having cash taken out of Hubs' paycheck before we received it but my Savings Challenge is not about that, but the extra I put away for retirement.)

Then the Daughter moved back home bringing her BF in tow mid-year.....and a rather large dopey dog. ;-)
And she continued to have rather large medical bills with substantial OOP co-pays we needed to cover(she is still on our medical plan, as is College Boy)when she stopped working fulltime to go back to school.

Then Hubs had his accident.  While this hasn't cost us any extra or impacted our income yet, it will in 2017.  If he continues into disability pay past the first month, his pay drops by 30% in the second month.  Hopefully he will be able to work from home before the third month rolls around.
We had hit our family maximum OOP for medical bills by mid November(so this accident hasn't cost of anything OOP in 2016), but as of January 1st 2017 a new year starts for our medical plan and we pay the first $3K of charges before we go to paying co-pays on the next $4K of charges.
I am pretty sure we will hit $3K in bills before February ends between prescriptions for me(one of my drugs is $800 per month U&C) and Daughter's costs and PT/Ortho visits for Hubs.  And the next $4K in charges paid out in co-pays will probably be hit sometime in October this year if nothing medical changes going forward.

So between high medical costs($12K in charges OOP plus insurance premiums), increased costs for food/energy with more adults living here for a full year, needing to fund some more money into College Boy's college account, the county here raising property taxes this year, and a possible income drop short term, I am labeling 2017 the Year of Austerity at Chez Sluggy.

Our income can still cover all our costs but I just don't see how I am going to have even as much leftover to save as in 2016.
Therefore I need to reign in spending around here in 2017.  We don't waste much money on wants as it is(outside of vacations)but I am sure I can cut some categories.....

* Dining Out  I have a small stockpile of gift cards for dining.  By limiting a bit more in 2017 when we eat-out and using these gift cards when we do eat-out we can use up this stockpile and cut the OOP in this category.  I need to not treat these gift cards as "free eating out money" but use them judiciously like I would if I was paying cash.

* Alcohol  We have quite a stockpile of booze here as we tend to buy interesting or new drinks when we travel and Hubs gets a notion to wander up to the liquor store and buy stuff whenever he wants.  I'm going to try to get him to drink from what is already here and drink some of my acquisitions too as I just don't drink as much as I use to and someone has to use it up.

*  Clothing  Neither Hubs or I are "clothes horses".  We don't go out and buy clothes on a whim or on a fashion trend.  We prefer to wear out our clothing and replace anyway.  Heck, it's like pulling teeth to get Hubs to buy clothes or to get him to agree to let me buy him something.  His last pair of pants was bought a year ago last November and before I bought him new shirts for Xmas he hadn't bought a shirt in a good 2 years.
I have inventoried our wardrobes and we shouldn't need to buy any clothing in 2017(unless one of us loses more weight and goes down a size and I won't be sad about buying better fitting clothes then).  8-)

* Vacations/Trips  Last year, besides trips to drop-off or pick-up College Boy from school Hubs and/or I went on 4 trips plus 2 day trips.  May was a 2 week trip to Louisiana, July for a 1 week trip I took with the Daughter to VA, end of July/early August was Hubs and I for 9 days to Maine and end of September was 3 days to VA.  I day trip to see College Boy perform and another day trip to a brew pub.  We were slated to go to see eldest son at Christmas time for a week but that didn't happen due to the accident.
It's looking like we'll need to go down to LA again this Spring to deal with our "vacation" home but that might involve a flight down and not a road trip and only one of us will go so expenses should be lower for that type of trip. This won't be fun trip but a business one.  We still would like to take one nice, long vacation this year and will be looking for ways to keep the costs down for it.  Not sure yet on how many small trips we'll be able to do.  If we go to see relatives we can avoid hotel costs if we stay with them though.  Still working on how many trips this year and where.

* Stockpile  I have a moderate food stockpile but a rather ample toiletries, paper goods, household goods stockpile at this point.  I inventoried a few items recently and I have on hand--
421 rolls of tp
57 boxes of facial tissues
27 boxes of dishwasher tabs
100+ bottles of laundry detergent
100+ bottles of shampoo

Shocking amounts, right? ;-)
I had no CLUE I had so many laundry detergent jugs(the shampoo I knew was out of control)!
I'll stop stockpiling on some foods temporarily and on some non-food items longer(like tp, kleenex, dishwasher tabs, detergent and 'poo).  I'll also cull some 'poo and detergent to send to the food bank later this month or in February plus give some to the brother in-law and sent some aside for eldest son to take to him.
Not stockpiling just these items will lower my monthly grocery spending a bit for now.

With all this said, I am still  up in the air on a final budget for 2017 and how much spending I can actual cut.
I'm going to put it out there that I'll shoot for a $35K Savings Challenge amount this year.  It's a bit lower than 2016's goal and I see us getting there with some effort.

So what areas can you think of that you have cut your costs that might give me ideas where I can cut mine in 2017?


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

More Rite-Aid Haul Porn...So Far this Week

Ok, so I did this on my son's card on Sunday........

$36.66 w/tax paid in Plenti points and earned $30 in new Plenti points and earned a $10 Catalina for buying the diapers.

Then did the same transaction on my card.......

$26.79 w/tax paid in Plenti points(used the Catalina to bring the total down another $10)and earned $30 in new Plenti points and earned another $10 Catalina for buying the diapers.

So on Tuesday I bought the same stuff on Daughter's card.......

4 x $8.99 diapers=$35.96
2 x $7.99 lightbulbs=$15.98

I only had 1 $3 Huggies Q and 3 $2 Huggies Qs for this transaction and no lightbulb Qs, so $9 in Qs + the $10 Catalina=$19 off=$32.94 + .96¢ tax=$33.90 paid in Plenti points and $30 in new Plenti points earned.

Plus my third $10 Catalina printed.

Then my plan hit a snag....

First off I had planned another $50 transaction on my card which included buying Herbal Essence shampoos but alas, these aren't Starting Points items.  8-(

Secondly, I was under the assumption that $25 bought in Kimberly-Clark items in a single transaction would generate a $5 Catalina for that purchase.  Evidently this Catalina deal is regional and not available here.  8-((

So this is what my second $50 Starting Points transaction turned into.....

First off I saw I had 3 activated offers in my card's Plenti account--
1-$2 in points for buying Purex detergent(which is on sale for $1.99 this week). Can do this offer 2 x.
2-$1.50 in points for buying Kleenex bundle packs. Can do this offer 2 x.
3-$1.50 in points for buying Chloraseptic, Can do this offer 2 x.

I also had $1.94 tracking from my first transaction on this card so only need to spend $48.06 to get to $50 spent in Starting Points items.

4 x Cottonelle TP 12 packs BOGOF=$24.58
2 x Kleenex bundle packs BOGOF=$5.79
2 x Purex detergent=$3.98
2 x Chloraseptic BOGOF=$5.29
2 x Visine drops 20% discount=$9.10

Coupons Used
2 x $1/1 Cottonelle ManuQ=$2.00
1 x .75¢ Kleenex bundle packs IPQ=.75¢
1 x $1.50 Kleenex bundle packs R-A mailedQ=$1.50(can be stacked with IPQ/ManuQ)
1 x $1/1 Chloraseptic IPQ=$1.00
2 x $1.50/1 Visine IPQ=$3.00
2 x $2/1 Visine RA in-adQ=$4.00
Coupon Total....$12.25

$48.74-$12.25=$36.49-$10 Catalina=$26.49 + .36¢ tax=$26.85
I paid with $26.85 in Plenti points and earned back $30 in new Plenti points($20 wyb $50 Starting Items, 2 x $2 Purex, 2 x $1.50 Kleenex, 2 x $1.50 Chloraseptic). Even though 1 of the Kleenex bundles and 1 of the Chloraseptic were free they still generated the Plenti points for their purchase.

Altogether I spend $124.40 in Plenti points for all 4 transactions and I earned $120.00 back in new Plenti points.  This means all the items bought "cost" me $4.20 including tax so I basically "spent down" $4.20 of my points.
If that Kimberly-Clark $5 Catalina had generated this whole shebang would have been a .80¢ moneymaker instead.

And I now have 12 packs of diapers that I can handily sell locally for $5 or $6 a piece so I've got potential for making $60-$72 cash off of those.

I am probably done with Rite-Aid this week unless something else turns up.
I don't have the Purex or Kleenex Offers on the other cards but I do have the Chloraseptic one on one card.
Be sure to check and activate any Plenti Offers on your Plenti account before going in to buy anything.

So tell me what goodies you got for free or cheap at Rite-Aid this week.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sunday's Rite-Aid Haul Porn

So first on my son's Wellness card I did this.........

4 x Huggies diapers on sale $8.99=$35.96
2 x GE lightbulbs on sale $7.99=$15.98

Coupons Used
4 x $3/1 Huggies IPQ=$12.00
2 x $2/1 GE lightbulbs ManuQ=$4.00
Coupon Total.......$16.00

$51.94-$16.00=$35.94 + $.72 tax=$36.66

I used $36.66 in Plenti points to pay and earned $30.00 in new Plenti points($20 for buying $50 in Starting Points items and $10 for buying 2 x GE lightbulbs-the lightbulbs double dip on 2 deals).
And I earned a $10 CatalinaQ for spending over $30 on Huggies diapers.
So a bit of a moneymaker if I can roll that Catalina into another deal.

So then I bought all this, basically the same transaction, on my card......

4 x Huggies diapers on sale $8.99=$35.96
2 x GE lightbulbs on sale $7.99=$15.98

Coupons Used
4 x $3/1 Huggies IPQ=$12.00
2 x $2/1 GE lightbulbs ManuQ=$4.00*
1 x $10 CatalinaQ=$10.00
Coupon Total.......$26.00

$51.94-$26.00=$25.94 + $.85 tax=$26.79
I don't know why the tax was different this transaction as I bought the same items?!?

I paid with $26.79 in Plenti points and earned back $30.00 in new Plenti points.
And I earned another $10 CatalinaQ for the Huggies purchase.

$63.45 spent in Plenti points.
$60.00 earned in new Plenti points and 1 $10 CatalinaQ for my next trip.

When I was selling off some of my toiletries stash last Summer to make more room in the house for the arrival of Daughter and the BF, I found that I could easily sell packs of diapers for $5-$6 per package.  So why not pick up more diapers if I can get them basically free or for pennies and sell them and make a profit?
Every little bit of cash coming into my household is a good thing.....


Monday, January 9, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Foreshadowing" Edition--

You know how Facebook dredges up past posts you've made there and asks if you want to share them again?

Mid December my Facebook page brought up a photo I posted there 3 years ago around Xmas time, which I have posted above.  It was from Xmas 1962 and I am modeling a nurses outfit I had gotten from Santa that year.  I was almost 4 years old.

Funny how 53 years later I'd actually be playing "nurse" again at Xmas time. 8-)

I also should mention that having this ornament on the Xmas tree this year was very apropos given Hubs' accident......

Moving on......

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Xmas Dinner 2.0 + Corn Casserole
2. Monday--Roast Beef Hash from scratch, Scrambled Eggs *
3. Tuesday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Potato Salad
4. Wednesday--Chicken Chili w/Sweet Potatoes
5. Thursday--Quesadillas or Taco Salad(leftover Taco Beef)
6. Friday--Clam Chowder, Biscuits
7. Saturday--Spaghetti and Sausage, Salad, Garlic Bread

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Xmas Dinner 2.0 + Corn Casserole
2. Monday--Roast Beef Hash from scratch, Scrambled Eggs *
3. Tuesday--Chicken Chili
4. Wednesday--Fend for Yourself
5. Thursday--Spinach Salad, Broccoli Cheddar Soup
6. Friday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Baked Beans(I just had beans.)
7. Saturday--Leftovers(I had kielbasa which I didn't eat on Friday.)

7 meals cooked at home, 2 of them nights of leftovers or Fend For Yourself, and 0 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.
I used leftover Xmas roast beef and turned it into hash.  That was it for the leftovers from the previous week.

As for the grocery spending.....1 trip to Weis, 1 trip to the Bread Outlet, 1 trip to Target and 1 trip to the Shursave market bought the food spending last week to $97.64 and brought my January food spending Total to $97.64 for the month.(4 trips to Rite-Aid as well but nothing spent out of pocket there.)

My savings percentages last week was 65.02%.  The Bread Outlet savings rate and no OOP at Target(as I used gift cards that were free with credit card points)went along way to giving me such a high rate of savings. ;-)

Leftovers going into this week.......roast beef hash, chicken chili and taco filling.

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

1. Sunday--Marinated Flank Steak, Green Beans, Au Gratin Taters
2. Monday--BBQ boneless Pork Ribs, Red Beans & Rice
3. Tuesday--Chicken Marsala, Sugar Snap Peas, Mashed Potatoes *
4. Wednesday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
5. Thursday--Beef Stew
6. Friday--Clam Chowder, Spinach Salad
7. Saturday--Enchiladas, Refried Beans

If we have leftovers and/or I am not feeling up to cooking we may substitute one of the meals above with leftovers.

This week will see 7 new meals cooked, 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out and 0 night of Leftovers.

What I need to buy for this menu? Salad Greens
I think that's it.  I will do a stock-up on cheese this week.

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?