Friday, February 27, 2009

CVS This Week-Clearance & MIR Finds

I had yet another $10 off $50 coupon to use at CVS. They were out of Beggin' Strips dog treats, J&J First Aid Pads, 7-Up & trial sized cotton rounds or pads AND I forgot my Lindt Truffles coupon at home, but I was able to put together an ok scenario.

And the Renuzit TriScents Kit for $5.49 with 2 Extra Care Bucks that you can use the $4 Sunday paper insert coupon on, was just the Refill kit, not the Refill kit with the Unit that plugs into the wall. That one was $9.99! No point buying the refill kit if you don't have the plug in thing, right?lol
I didn't buy it as I don't use air fresheners anyway, especially ones that require you to use Electricity, as THAT is NOT frugal. I am a COMPACT list devotee & don't buy what I am philosophically at odds with so no Renuzit TriScents for me.

Anyway, here is what I hauled home.....
1 Bag of T-Bonze Dog Treats(also on sale with the Beggin' Strips)$3.50
4 Boxes South Beach Bars $2.50 ea.x 4=$10.00
5 Bags of Stacy's Bagel Chips on Clearance for $1.65 x 5=$8.25
1 Bag Stayfree Pads at $3.89
1 BodiHeat Pads at $3.99 No Peelie Q on it! 8-(
1 Extreme Energy Shots at $4.99 for the oldest son
2 Neutrogena Acne Face Soap Bars at $3.19 ea. x2=$6.38
1 Organix Shampoo on sale for $4.99
2 bags of Valentine Chocolate 75% off $.99 ea. x2=$1.98
3 Valentines grow your own lavender pots 75% off $.37x3=$1.11
2 Shower Relief Tablets on clearance for $1.00 x2=$2.00

Coupons used.... $10 off $50 CRT Q
$3.00 off IP Purina T-Bonz MQ
$2.00 off IP South Beach Bars MQ x4=$8.00
$1.50 off Stacy's Chips MQ x5=$7.50 $2.00 off Stayfree pads CRT Q
$30.50 Total Coupons

Extra Care Bucks used....
$19.99 Total ECBs

Total AFTER coupons & ECBs.....

$.59 put on CVS Giftcard
No out of pocket.

I received Extra Care Bucks....
$4.99 for the Energy Shots $3.99 for the Bodi Heat Pads
$10/$50 Coupon-another one!
ARGH! I have a love/hate relationship with's nice to get that $10 off but it's a PITA to put together a $50 order, especially when the store is out of stuff or it's a week when there is not much I want/need.

So I have $8.98 in ECBs but I spent $19.99 in ECBs. The Neutrogena bars didn't print the $10 ECBs, darn it. That would have made the trip better but #2 son can use the bars since he's a newly minted teen and is experiencing the Joys of Acne

I also have a Mail In Rebate for the Organix Shampoo so I'll be getting $4.99 cash back too.
This is something to look for in the CVS....TRY ME FREE MIR Tags on the Organix and Vitamin brands of hair products, PLUS they are on sale this week(see my previous post on the blog about this).

It pays to just look around the store too. That's how I found the Stacy's clearance and I just happened to have my coupons for those in my purse! 15 cents per bag for bagel chips?......I'll take it! Woohoo!!

Check out how other Thrifty Divas are saving this week at the "Cents"ible Sawyer CVS SUPERSTARS Page.
Please leave me a comment if you get the chance. I appreciate all ya'll who read my Boring Blog.


MIR at CVS on Hair Products

If you frequent CVS drug stores, be sure and check out the MAIL IN REBATES available currently for ORGANIX & VITAMIN Hair Products there. Most all varieties of these brands qualify for a MIR when you mail in the cash register receipt w/the product circled and the TRY ME FREE Hangtag. (Make sure you get one with a Hangtag, I took mine off of the Organix bottle before I shot the photo.)
And if you hurry in before this week's sale is over at CVS, you can get these brands on sale for $4.99. I know, I say, "I'm already getting them free no matter reg. or sale price when I do the MIR." I say, "Better to be out of pocket initially $4.99 rather than $6.99, until the rebate comes in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dinner Revealed leads to eBay Rant

I made Crockpot Pot Roast.
Just cut your veggies; the traditional mire poix(celery, onions, carrots), red potatoes, mushrooms and red bell peper is what I used.
Throw them in your crock, salt and pepper your roast(or season whichever way you like it)& add the meat. Then pour in a can of a carbonated cola beverage. I would use a can of cane sugar JONES Soda but I didn't have any, so good ol' HFCS Pepsi has to do in a pinch.

Put the lid on, turn on the crockpot, and as my husband's relatives might say, "fuggettaboutit"!lol Seriously, let it cook all day.

When done, I hack the meat up into chunks, throw some of the onion in a pan to carmelize, then throw that on top of the meat. Make a roux with the juices and flour and seasoning and pour over the meat. Serve the veggies alongside and maybe a little crusty garlic bread or make some garlic masheds out of the potatoes you cooked. Mmmmm.
I made extra this time, so I have enough for Pot Roast Sandwiches, which will be a quick & easy dinner for Saturday.

After cleaning up from dinner I toddled back up to the grocery store and finished my cheese buying marathon. 48 blocks of cheese! Good grief.
It should last us oh.....3 Kidding......4 weeks. *snort*

I just looked at the new ad and I'll be able to use the leftover bacon Qs I didn't use a couple of weeks back when they were on sale there before. The Qs expire Saturday so I have a couple days if I can find any more room in the freezer. Heck, with the artic cold here I could just put them in the garage until spring but the Beagles would find a way to get it if I did that. Beagles never met a meat they didn't like and ours are no

I still have to haul in the bags in the car from my CVS trip this week.
It's been quite busy around here between the oldest son's schedule for high school & college, his job and #2 son's 2 different band practices & daughter's play practice. Now I have to get the dr. to fit in appointments for the younger 2 for physicals for the track & field teams they want to join because practice starts Monday. At least no one wants to do baseball too!

I've GOT to get some more revenue coming in via eBay in I'm going to have any hope of getting somewhere near my Savings Goal Challenge. As with all other parts of the economy, eBay sales are really slumping. The Holidays season is good for making some money on eBay, but usually I have great success after the Christmas Holidays on there....people are flush with gift money and go out and buy what they want themselves, instead of spending it on gifts for others. I can say with authority that this winter has been the WORST for sales on eBay in the last 10 yrs. All the sellers that I have talked to are complaining. It just mirrors the real world and what is going on with the economy.

I just feel sorry for anyone who sells on eBay for their livelihood. It's turning into a buyer's market online. I've got things it would profit me more to just donate them and take a tax write-off than to sell them now. The fees just eat you up between auction management/picture services, eBay & paypal. And the shipping!....don't even go there. Shipping has gotten so high in the last few yrs. that I now have people leaving me Neutral feedback for something I have NO control over-shipping costs!

And the international shipping rates! I realize that the USPS rates were so NOT commensurate with the private carrier rates & needed to go up but it has totally KILLED my overseas sales. When the dollar's value lowered against the euro before Christmas 2007, I saw a modest resurgence in sales from Europe but last spring when the USPS raised rates again, the overseas sales took a nosedive. This new package postal rate hike in Jan. finished off any business I had left.
Between the fees for postage and the spectre of customs fees that my overseas buyers have to worry about, it's just not worth it anymore to buy from US sellers on eBay for them.

I wonder how much longer until eBay goes belly up for good?

Egads, this turned into an eBay rant, didn't it?
It's late and I'm tired and cranky now. This temporary filling on my tooth hurts and now I've got to call the dentist and get it looked at asap.
Off to go find some oil of clove so I can get to sleep.


Guess What's for Dinner?

Ok, anybody? I'll post a photo of the finished product later tonight with my recipe.
Today is the last day of the Weis/Mr.Z's grocery store sale. All the other grocery stores run sale ads from Sunday to Saturday, but this regional chain has to be different and run ads from Thursday to Wednesday. Go figure!
Anyway, like I posted a few days back, outside of a few ingredients I need for my meals, I am using the bulk of my food budget this week to stock up on things we use often.
Weis is running a sale on Heluva Good Cheese at $2 a block. Pretty decent price for cheese lately. I traded for Heluva Good coupons worth 50 cents off/1 when I saw the sale-50 coupons. The nice thing is Weis doubles everyday up to $1. So I've been buying cheese for $1 a block! We eat A LOT of cheese in this house as I have a 13 yr old Grilled Cheese addict living here. I also have freezer space to store large bring it on!
The problem is Weis only double 4 'like coupons' per I've had to make lots of trips to the store over the course of the week.
I try to go to the self check-out if I'm only getting the cheese. That way I can get 12 blocks & break up the purchases into separate transactions of 4 blocks of cheese each and get ALL the coupons doubled without hassling a cashier and holding up her line. The self check-outs around here are hardly ever used. People in this town are afraid of change so the idea of handling your own transactions without a cashier is weird to
The only bad thing about this cheese sale is the fact that the grocery store doesn't carry mozzarella cheese in this brand. Gee, I don't even know if they make mozzarella! If I could get mozzarella for $1 a block, I would have gotten 100 coupons.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meal Plan Monday

Last week was a good one for the food budget. I used up a lot of foodstuffs I had on hand. I hope to do the same with this budget so I can concentrate on spending the bulk of the week's money on stocking up on sale items. The only items I'll need to buy for this menu are shrimp for the grits and some carrots & celery for the Pot Roast.

I do still need to come up with a monthly/weekly food budget for the year. I've never operated on a written down food budget in all my 26 yrs. of marriage. Even in the early lean years, hubby & I always ate well. We spent extra on food before most any other 'want'.
After Feb. is over, I'm sitting down with my Jan/Feb. receipts to see what our average monthly food costs are so far this yr.
Here's what is on the Menu at Sluggy's house this week.

Monday-Pretzel Dogs, Macaroni Salad, Corn

Tuesday-Chicken Parmesan, Spinach Salad

Wednesday-Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables & Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Thursday-Shrimp & Grits, Sauteed Cabbage

Friday-Tacos, Spanish Rice

Saturday-Pot Roast Sandwiches, leftover Macaroni Salad, New Pickles

Desserts for the Week-Lentil Brownies, Ice Cream

Organizing Junkie is the home to Menu Plan Monday. Go see what's on her and many other Home Cooks' Menus for the week at Organizing Junkie's website.


Chicken Wing Pizza

We had homemade Pizzas last week for one of our dinners. We hardly ever buy take-out pizza anymore. We find the quality of a homemade pie is so much better. Plus buying take-out pizza is somewhat limiting in topping choices for us. We are 5 different people here, with very different ideas of what tastes G-O-O-D. Oh, for the days of old, when the kids were little and Pepperoni and Cheese was good enough for them all!

And the cost of a good Take-out Pizza seems to be rising faster than the yeast in the That use to be the lure of Pizza-it was cheap, quick & easy to eat. Now a pizza will cost you $10 and the frozen ones in the grocery stores are not much less than that!

Making pizza at home can be a most frugal of meals. If you don't have the time or bravery to make your crust from scratch & have a pizza parlor nearby, ask to buy a hunk of dough from them. Usually they will sell you a piece large enough for a couple of pies for $1 or so. If you have to, use a premade crust from the grocers. Boboli is pricey but there are other regional quality crusts a bit cheaper and just as good. Heck, grab a loaf of foccaccia at the grocers bakery dept. or your local bakery if you are blessed enough to live near one. If you have leftover pieces of other breads-english muffins, bagel halves, french bread chunks, etc. In a pinch, most any bread product can be used as your pizza base.

Don't buy premade jarred pizza sauce either. Save yourself some money here and make your own. Have you looked at what's in a can/jar of pizza sauce? All you need is a can of tomato paste, some italian herbs, garlic and a pinch of sugar. Dump the paste in a bowl, along with 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder & italian herbs to taste. Add enough water to the mix until you have the consistency of pizza sauce. You have just made pizza sauce! If you like your sauce chunky, add some diced or crushed tomato pieces, either canned or fresh.
Why pay double the price for something you already have the ingredients to make, that takes 1 minute of your time and costs so little?

You can top your pie with most anything you like. Be creative with your toppings. It's a great way to use up bits of produce or those couple of stray pieces of lunch meat in the fridge. Got a Hickory Farms beef stick laying around from a Holiday gift you got from your Uncle Bob? Slice it up and you've got a meat topping. 5 Mushrooms left in the produce bin?....marinate them for an hour in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and you've got gourmet sliced mushrooms for another topping. Sauteed onions or peppers are other tasty & cheap toppings.

At the family's request, I made Chicken Wing Pizza last week. It was a great hit!
Well, after they doused it with MORE hot sauce....YIKES!
Here's the recipe. It's not really chicken wings, but any chicken you have on hand. You can use fresh shredded breast meat or even breaded chicken like nuggets or filets. Just make sure it's cooked before putting on the pie. There is no tomato products in this pizza either so you don't even have to make your sauce. Just crack open a bottle of blue cheese salad dressing....or ranch will do in a pinch.

Chicken Wing Pizza
Makes 1 Large Pie

1 Pizza Shell or Dough to make 1 Shell
1 & 1/2 cups chicken-shredded, cut, torn up or diced
3/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1/8 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Hot Sauce
3/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Olive Oil
Bleu Cheese crumbles, Optional

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Mix the Butter & Hot Sauce. Set aside.
Coat your pizza pan with Olive Oil. Place your shell or spread out your dough to cover the pan. Apply a 'glug' or two of oil on the top and rub into the shell.
Put chicken pieces into your butter/hot sauce mixture to coat.(If you like it real spicy, use more hot sauce in your mix.)
Spread blue cheese dressing evenly over your shell.
Arrange chicken pieces on your shell.
Layer Mozzarella cheese over your shell.
OPTIONAL-Sprinkle more Hot Sauce on top of pie. Sprinkle crumbled Bleu Cheese pieces on top of pie.

Cook in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Pair with any Salad Greens splashed with a Vinaigrette Dressing and Mange!


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rite-Aid Weekend Goodies...OOP $1.76, for now

So I made 2 trips to Rite-Aid this weekend. It's a good thing the store is just down the road from me, huh?

I had a 2 day only, $5 off $20 coupon so I took it up on friday to build an order.

Transaction #1
Dishwasher Detergent reg. price $4.99
2 huge jars of dry roasted peanuts on sale Buy 1/Get 1 (reg. price $5.99)
4 Speed Stick Deodorants on sale for 4 for $9.00

Total with tax=$26.75

I used....

$5 off $20 Rite Aid coupon
Buy 1,Get 1 Free Peanuts $5.99
Free Certificate for 1 jar of Peanuts(value up to $5.00)
$1/2 Manu.Coupon Speed Stick Deodorants

Total $11 in coupons + $5.99 Rite Aid B1G1 sale


I used the $10 Gift Card from the Buy $25, get $10 back Kimberly Clark Deal at Rite-Aid in Jan, so NO OOP with 24 cents left on the GC.

PLUS, I get $2 for the Dishwasher Powder & $5 for the Deodorants in my RA Rebate check for Feb.

Transaction #2
This week(2/22-2/29)Soy Joy bars are 50 cents each at Rite Aid. Buy 10(for a $5 total) and you can get a $5 rebate in your Feb. rebate check. That's 10 FREE bars after rebate!

I also used a $3 off 10 bars coupon from one of the Jan. coupon inserts, so I paid $2 for 10 bars(20 cents a bar) and I'll get back $5 next month, making this deal better than free. It's like the store said, "Here, take these 10 bars and these 3 $1 charge!"lol

$5-$3 coupon-$.24 Gift card=$1.76 Out of Pocket.

Grand total....
$25.76 merchandise value(reg. price value of $45.61)
-$14.00 in coupons
-$10.00 on gift card
=$1.76 cash OOP +12.00 additional cash in my Feb. Rebate check

I figure I'm UP $10.24 on these 2 transactions.

Go check out the good deals the other Drugstore Divas are finding over at The "CENTS"SIBLE SAWYER!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Gettin' Paid to Bring home Toiletries

So hubby drove me over the river to return something and I went into the CVS drugstore while I was around that area to try to get up enough stuff to use a $10/50 coupon that was expiring on Sunday. Plus I had toothpaste coupons expiring today to use. Here's what I bought....

2 Natural Dentist Mouth Rinse-$9.99 ea.=$19.98
4 Herbal Essence Shampoo-$2.99 ea.=$11.96
2 Stacy's Chips- $3.00 ea.=$6.00
2 Dole Fruit Cups- $1.67 ea.=$3.34
1 Colgate Total Toothpaste-$2.99
1 Earinse- $7.99
Total $52.26

Coupons used...
$10 off $50
2x Natural Dentist Rinse=$4.00
2x $3/2 Herbal Shampoo=$6.00
2x $1.50 off Stacy's Chips=$3.00
1x $.75 off Dole Fruit=$.75
1x $1.00 off Colgate Toothpaste=$1.00
Total -$24.75

I used CVS Extra Bucks of...
$1.99 (from Children's Aspirin bought earlier in the month)
$7.99(from Earinse bought earlier in the month)
$16 in other assorted Extra Bucks


I also took in an older prescription to transfer it to this pharmacy. It's something I only use seasonally for allergies, so it's not something I need refilled often. I had a coupon for a $25 gift card to transfer an Rx. So I used that gift card so NO out of pocket!

They were out of the other items(except more toothpaste)I had planned to build a second $50 order on AND hubby was getting impatient in the car, so I just left the extra toothpaste coupons on the shelf for a special gift if someone else came along to buy that item. My random act of kindness for the day I guess...

I received Extra Bucks(EBs)....
$7.99 for the Earinse
$2.99 for the Toothpaste
$8.00 for the Mouth Rinse
$4.00 for the Shampoo
And a MIR for $10.00
And ANOTHER $10/50 coupon

$61.18 Value for F-R-E-E.
I used 25.98 EBs, got back $22.98 and $10
Plus I have a $23.47 Gift Card and I know how to use it!

Not a bad CVS day here.

Check out how other Thrifty Divas are saving this week at the "Cents"ible Sawyer CVS SUPERSTARS Page.


Saturday among the bored

I've been in a grand funk since Wednesday. Between teenagers (times 3), the windy/cold weather, the 3 dogs, the lack of action on my things up on eBay, all this tax & pre-college paperwork & my computer biting the dust YET AGAIN!!!, I just haven't felt like my peppy self.....well, not that I am EVER

Hubby had to go pick up his glasses today, so I tagged along just to get out of the house. I almost fell asleep in the car waiting for him to get his glasses. It was so warm in the car from the sun and it took so darn looooong!

You can't just run in and grab your glasses and go, can you? They make you sit there while they clean the lenses a couple of times and fit them onto your head, then adjust something here or there on them.....then reclean them once again.....then tighten something else, or loosen something else, or bend something, then wipe the lenses again....argh! Good lord, put them on your face and if you can see through them without falling down, just LEAVE already! ;-)

Anyway, after my snooze, we snuck off without the 3 hormonal alien zitsters we call our children for some chinese food. They switched the pans on 2 kinds of shrimp entrees and I wound up with a mouth full of Pepper Shrimp instead of a non-spicy Shrimp with Veggies. Everything tasted sort of 'eh' to me today, except the pan sauteed Dumplings. I should have just stuck to a pile of those and some soup instead of the sampling of lots of the dishes.

If you're interested in the extreme couponing shopping I did, read the next post, if not just close this window now and move along, as there is nothing more to see here. 8-))


Monday, February 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Here's what is on the Menu at Chez Sluggy this week.

Monday-Roast Turkey,Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Sauteed Green
Beans, Gravy...Thanksgiving Dinner but without the Pumpkin Pie!
Tuesday-Homemade Pizza(Chicken Wing Pizza & Veggie Supreme Pizza), Salad
Wednesday-Turkey & Rice Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Souffle
Thursday-Hamburgers, Baked Beans, Carrots
Friday-Baked Fish, Seasoned Baked French Fries, Harvard Beets, Peas
Saturday-Pork Chop with Apricot Glaze, Carrots & Broccoli in Cheese Sauce, Wild

Desserts for the Week-Apple Pie & Chocolate and Butterscotch Cookies

Organizing Junkie is the home to Menu Plan Monday. Go see what's on her and many other ladies Menus for the week at Organizing Junkie's website.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Nothing Says Love like Bacon!

We love us some bacon in my house, nasty old nitrites and all. I used coupons today to save a substantial amount of cash on our food bill.

My local little grocery market ran a special on a certain brand of bacon this week, $1.99 a package. I traded for 20 bacon coupons. The manufacturer published this brand of bacon coupons 2 states over but not here, thus the trading. I crossed my fingers the coupons would arrive before the sale ended tonight.

The coupons arrived yesterday, so I spent Valentine's Day morning up to the market using my coupons to buy TWENTY packages of Bacon. Remember, I said we LOVE us some Bacon. I was Not kidding!

This store doubles coupons up to $1.00 total, so my 55 cent coupons were each worth $1.00 off a package, which was on sale for $1.99 each.

$3.99 bacon x 20=$79.80 reg. retail value.
$1.99 bacon sale price x 20=$39.80 cost.
$1.00 off coupons x 20=$20.00 off.
$39.80-$20.00=$19.80 for 20 packages of bacon....that's 99 cents each.

Savings of $60.00 off of reg. retail price.

Having the freezer stocked with Hog Love=Priceless.

Happy Valentine's Day All!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Sluggy...OOP $1.97

I am new to this stuff but I had a pretty good day at CVS this week. You can see that our dog Peanut heartily agrees that I 'done good' on the dog food score! (Peanut is a 'Bagel'-half Beagle, half Basset Hound & all eating machine!)

It went down in 2 transactions. I had a $10/50 crt coupon so I had to do a large one, even though I didn't have some coupons to do some of the deals I wanted to do. Here is what I could do....

Transaction #1
Purina Dog Chow x 2 @$4.99 ea.=$9.98
Gillette Gamer Razor @$7.99
Tums QuickPack x 3 @$2.85 ea.=$8.55
Natural Dentist Rinse x2 @$9.99 ea.=$19.98
Bodiheat Packs @$3.99

Used Coupons
2x $4/1 Dog Chow IP=$8.00
Gamer Razor $4/1 MQ=$4.00
3x Tums $2.25/1 IP=$6.75
2x Natural Dentist $2/1 IP=$4.00
Bodiheat $1/1 Peelie Q=$1.00
TOTAL Coupons=$23.75

Used Extra Bucks
$10 EB
$5 EB
TOTAL Extra Bucks=$25.00

$50.49-$23.75-$25.00=$1.74 Out of Pocket
Plus earned $15 EB ($8 Natural Dentist/$4 Gamer Razor/$3 BodiHeat)& another $10/50 EB
And I have a $10.00 MIR for the Natural Dentist

Transaction #2
Mylanta Cherry (the one marked down, I found 1 bottle)@$3.75
2x BodiHeat Wraps @$3.99 ea.=$7.98
Hershey Bar(filler)@50 cents

Used Coupons
2x $1/1 Peelie Q=$2.00
(Wish I had a Mylanta Q with me)

Used Extra Bucks
$10 EB
My total was $9.73, after the Peelies were deducted. I had a $10 EB to use, so I was forced to buy that chocolate bar. Oh, the horrors!lolol

$11.73-$2.00-$10.00=$0.23 Out of Pocket
Plus earned $9 EB ($3 Mylanta/$6 BodiHeat)

Used 25 EB & $10/50, got 24 New EB, $10/50 & $10 MIR
Total Value of Products $79.98
Total Value w/Sale prices $62.72

For more CVS savings, visit the "CENTS"ible Sawyer's CVS Superstars!

Be Careful What You Say...

...You may live to eat your words.

No sooner did I post & rejoice in my January $aving$ Total then some unexpected/large/forgotten BILLS started popping up in February's budget.


On Monday, I remembered that I have a large CREDIT CARD bill coming due at the end of February. Yes, we have a credit card. No, we do not run a balance on it, it is paid off each month. It's used mainly as a tool to keep a record of expenses and the Gift Card Rewards we earn are an extra bonus. I had forgotten that along with the usual expenses we put on it each month, we ordered new KITCHEN COUNTER TOPS and the store charged us for them a couple of weeks ago. Yuck!

On Tuesday, the CAR INSURANCE bill arrived.

On Wednesday, we picked up my car from the AUTO REPAIR Shop, along with a bill for a tune up/oil & fluids change AND an unexpected repair that totaled almost $800.

On Thursday, the LOCAL & COUNTY TAX bill for 2009 arrived. Ok, that's not due until April 1 but psychologically, getting it when I did, it was disheartening.

I am dreading going to the mailbox today!

A quick calculation of this month's expenses and estimating expenses not billed/paid yet for Feb. and we are going to be SHORT about $250 on February's income.

I did just sell a bunch of old toys to a guy over in Europe, so after eBay/Paypal fees, that eat it from the ass in, that will be another $175 toward the shortfall. Between the rolled change I can scrounge around the house and coming up with a little bit more eBay cash before the 28th, I will probably be able to just squeak February out without having to dip into the January $aving$!

So the February $aving$ Total may be a big 'ol $0.00.

But ya know what? I am NOT stressing out over the extra money spent this month because I HAVE that nice lump of CASH saved from January that I can dip into if I have to.
Having a cushion of Money in the Bank makes for a Serene Slug.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

And Speaking of Peanut Products....

The Hershey's Corporation does NOT buy peanuts from the Peanut Corporation of America, the company that caused all the salmonella deaths in the US lately. From what I have seen and read, the president of the Peanut Corporation of America, Stewart Parnell, is quite unethical and in very deep legal trouble for running his business as he did. Not only has he caused the deaths of now 9 people, he has sicked many more consumers, as well as caused economic loss for a lot of other businesses that used his products in their products. It's so bad that companies that NEVER used products from PCA in their foods are suffering huge losses in their sales....upward of 25% for the entire industry.

I saw a news segment last night about the LANCE know, the company that makes those ubiquitous neon orange cracker sandwiches with peanut butter filling. Lance's founder claims to have invented the Cheese/Peanut Butter Sandwich Cracker in 1916, and the Lance Co. has practiced impeccable quality control since their founding. LANCE is losing about 1 million dollars a month in sales and have had to spend TONS of money on marketing ads to get the word out that Lance Crackers are okay to eat and NOT affected by the peanut butter recall.


Like dropping a stone in a pond & the ever expanding rings it makes, your one small action or decision can affect so many more people into infinity, in either a good way or a bad way.

I hope there is a Special Tainted Peanut Covered Circle of Hell just for Stewart Parnell.


What does 66 Candy Bars look like?

You are getting hungry, VERY HUNGRY......

Yep! That's what's in that picture. It should be 80 Candy Bars but first things first.

I went out to run errands yesterday.....drug store, grocery store, post office, the usual stuff. I had 40 coupons for those new Reese's Candy Bars called WHIPPS. It's like a MILKY WAY Bar but with a layer of peanut butter on the top, instead of caramel. The coupons are $1 off of 2 bars. RITE AID has Hershey bars on sale this week, 2 for $1. So my mind began to plot....

I planned my errands around every Rite Aid store I could think of in the area. I hit 5 Rite Aids that way and basically wiped out their stock of 2/$1 Whipps Bars within a 10 mile radius of my house. Except for the Rite Aid located in my town, which had NO WHIPPS! Hmmph

It was so annoying buying them though, as the manager had to be called to override the register at each store. Seems the registers just don't like giving stuff away for FREE! teehee

I have since learned a local grocery chain has Hershey Bars 2/$1 this week so I'll keep the 7 remaining coupons in my purse, just in case we happen to drive by


Monday, February 9, 2009


I've been busy around the house today, cleaning up from having the whole gang home all weekend and enjoying the peace & quiet. Well, if you can call listening to 3 dogs

I'm going to try to do a Weekly Dinner Menu each Monday. I am a kind of the 'spur of the moment, wing it by the seat of my pants' kind of gal when it comes to putting a dinner together and then actually cooking it, but I am sooo tired of the hubby & kids pestering me as soon as they get home from work & school with, "What's for dinner?", over & over again.

So Sunday, I posted a Menu for the week on the fridge.

Monday-Boston Baked Beans, Cornbread
Tuesday-Chinese Takeout
Wednesday-Homemade Mac & Cheese, Vegetable Melange, Harvard Beets
Thursday-Spareribs, Southern Potato Salad, Leftover BBBs
Friday-Broiled Salmon, Tuscan Vegetables, Leftover Mac/Cheese or Potato Salad
Saturday-Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato Soup
Vegetable packed Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes w/Onions, Leftover Veggies from Wed.

So far it has cut down on the nagging. I can just cut them off, mid-sentence, and point to the list on the Now I'm getting the, "Ewww, I don't like that!" comments.
*Sigh* Ya just can't win.....

Instead of navy beans I am using Maine Yellow Eye Beans in the Baked Beans. I carted a couple of bags of these home, I bought at a farm stand on our trip to Maine last summer. These are native Maine beans. They may look small but they bulk up in water quite a bit! A Maine Lumberjack Breakfast often included Baked Beans using this or another Maine variety of bean. I hope they taste as yummy in my recipe as in the one we tasted while on vacation.

The only dishes I am not making from scratch are the Tuscan Veggies, the Tomato Soup and the bread for the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches....and the Chinese Takeout, of course.
I am feeling ambitious this week. We'll see how much ambition I still have left come Saturday!lol


Sunday, February 8, 2009


On Feb. 15th, BEST BUY stores located in the US will be starting a fulltime Electronics Recycling Program. Before now, only select stores held these Recycling Events and only for a day at a time.

There will be a $10 recycling fee per unit, to participate and a limit of 2 Units per Day per household. Participants will instantly receive a $10 Best Buy gift card. So if you buy things at Best Buy anyway, you can consider the e-cycling a freebie!

Not all electronics are eligible for this program however. They will not take any appliance with freon(fridges,freezers, a/c units), microwave ovens and televisions over 32". But it seems like it would be a great way to dispose safely of old computers and peripherals. I know I have an old dead computer stowed away in my about you?

Be sure to ERASE all that data from your hard drive before you turn in the old laptop or desktop computer to the junk heap. You never know who might gain access to all those family photos, passwords or 'questionable content' sites you may have peeked at, that your old machine still has a record of deep in it's electronic bowels. WIPE IT CLEAN before you ditch the machine!

As a Frugalista with a green side, I think it would be nice to know exactly how they will be disposing of all the electronic components they will be collecting. I can't seem to find the details on that point just yet. I do hope they do the responsible thing and not just dump it all in a generic landfill. I bet there are parts that can be repurposed or melted down to create something useful. Call me skeptical, but I tend to believe that no mass retailer does anything without an ulterior motive.

Check the Best Buy website for more details on this program as we get closer to the Feb. 15th starting date.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

CVS Deals Feb. 4th

I have a $10/50 coupon &ECB that were expiring soon, so off to CVS I trotted.

2 Contour Monitors $30 ea.=$60
4 SpeedStick Deodorants $2.50 ea. =$10
3 Lady Speedstick Deodorants $2.50 ea.=$7.50
1 Earinse $7.99
1 CVS Children's Aspirin $1.99

Total $87.48

$10/$50 purchase
2x $30/1 off Monitors
3x $1/1 off Speedstick
2x $1/2 off Speedstick
$12 ECB

$87 in ECB & Coupons

OOP- 48 cents

PLUS-I got back $5 ECB (for buying $15 worth of Mennen Speedstick), $1.99 ECB on the Aspirin & $7.99 ECB on the Earinse. I used $12 ECB and came out with $14.98 ECB.

AND I got another $10/50 coupon!

I know.....not much in the finesse dept. by doing multiple transactions but a good outcome all the same. I could have used the 2nd monitor as the base to do another $50 order but I did not have enough time to do more shopping and wait in the very long lines at this CVS. Oh well...
I hope they have enough good deals before the 10/50 expires so I can use it for a big purchase to roll into some more ECBs.


Friday, February 6, 2009

A Smelly Solution

If you have pets, you probably have smelly stains in your home. Even if your dog or cat is housebroken/uses the litter box, your four-footed friends are NOT perfect and can urinate in the house at times. Or maybe you have a puppy/kitten or senior dog/cat who just can't always hold it long enough. Even if you get the stain out of the carpet, the odor remains. This odor keeps your pet returning to that spot to do their business in the house. This is CHERRY, one of my THREE smelly stain makers.

At any rate, here is is a great recipe for a homemade Urine Stain SMELL Remover. It also takes the smell out of old dried on stains in your carpeting, as well as the fresh ones.

You need:
1 Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide
1 Teaspoon of Liquid Joy Dishwashing Soap
1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
A Plastic or Glass Bowl to mix it in
A Plastic Spray Bottle

**Before you use this on your carpeting or upholstery, dab some on a hidden area to make sure this won't bleach out the color in your carpet. It does contain Peroxide, which has bleaching properties, so be sure to check the colorfastness of your carpet.

Mix the ingredients in the Bowl, using as much of the Peroxide as will be needed to cover the area on the carpet that you are treating. Then place mixture in the Spray Bottle. Saturate the stains with this Peroxide solution. Do NOT blot it up or dry the area with a cloth. Let the solution sit on the stain until it air dries. If you have "scotch guard" treated carpets it may take longer for the solution to soak in.
After the area has completely dried, vacuum up any white powdered residue(from the baking soda)that remains. The peroxide lifts the urine to the top of the carpet and the oxygen molecules release the odor into the air.

To find old dried in smells without resorting to having to put your nose down in the carpet to smell them out, use a black light. They sell them in pet stores(named something like "Stink Finder") and even on eBay. Or borrow a black light from the hippie down the street. Darken the room and switch on the black light. Any pet urine stains will glow.
Locate, then eradicate!

Another note of caution-only mix up as much solution as you will use. Putting Peroxide and Baking Soda together causes a chemical reaction...remember those lave flowing Volcanoes from Elementary School Science Projects? If you leave this Solution laying around, you might find that it keeps bubbling over and if kept in a closed container, it may explode. Make a new batch each time.

And the BEST thing about this homemade Odor Remover's very inexpensive. You can find the ingredients for well under $2 and that would make multiple batches of the Solution. Reuse an old plastic spray bottle(an empty Windex or other Cleaner spray bottle, as long as you WASH it well first!) and you don't even have to buy a container. No nasty toxic chemicals either which also makes it good for the environment.

$2 for Ingredients sure beats paying $10-$30 in the Pet Store for a premade Remover Solution!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I found this skit from a Saturday Night Live episode of a few years ago funny. It's also poignant in light of the path our society has chosen to follow in terms of spending, saving and credit.

I am a child of the 60's. My parents applied for their first credit card in 1969. They were 35 & 37 yrs. old. Having grown up in the Depression era, PLUS having the wisdom of 30+ yrs. of life experiences you would think that my parents could have managed their finances responsibly and not succumbed to over-extending themselves with credit.
They both struggled with staying out of credit card debt over the rest of their lives.
Some people would point out that maybe since they didn't grow up in a world of credit, they were too naive about handling it well.

I applied for my first credit card when I was 24, years after I graduated college. I was young, but I had a job. I was turned down, for a lack of "credit history". You can't have any credit because you have no credit history.
How do you get credit history?
By using credit.....but you can't have credit because you don't have credit.
That was a common Catch-22 of credit back then but it kind of made sense NOT to take on someone who was a Financial Risk.
I got angry, but I got over it and obtained a credit card eventually.

Then in the late 1980's, the Credit Card Companies realized a new way to make money off of people. They could make lots more money by charging FEES. Besides the Annual fee for the honor of carrying their card, now you had Over the limit fees, late payment fees, pay by phone fees, expediting fees, cash advance fees, currency conversion fees, online payment fees, etc.
The list goes on and on.
They play with grace periods and monkey around with formulas to complicate how your interest rates are calculated. They then lay in wait for you to mess up paying the right amount on time just oncee and....GOTCHA! Your rate shoots up to 28% and you are in payment hell until you die.....or pay them off.

Fast forward to the last decade.
18 yr. olds arrive on college campuses and have to literally run a gauntlet of credit offers. Table after table of smiling recruiters offering these young adults free t-shirts and music cds, just for signing up for this credit card or that credit card. Offering Credit to KIDS, who have no credit history, let alone money or a J-O-B! Whatever happened to not giving credit to people who are a risk? I guess it went the way of that dinosaur, the Ethical Lender.

These kids with credit cards routinely get into financial trouble. They have grown to adulthood surrounded by parents using & abusing easy credit. Are they not paying attention to how easy credit is ruining our society? Can't they see the deep holes of debt their family members have dug using those MasterCard and Visa shovels?
I guess not. That would mean turning off the MTV or putting down the Wii controller(which was probably paid for on a Visa card).

We have a generation or two now of people who have grown up in our Easy Credit American Society. They have never had to save up or wait to buy something. They have no self-control when it comes to money. It's funny but sad that there are probably people out there, who are just like the Steve Martin & the Amy Poehler characters in this skit and don't 'get' not spending money that you don't have.


Monday, February 2, 2009

JANUARY $AVING$ Challenge Total

I have to admit, I deserve a pat on the back for what I was able to save in January. We did have an extra pay period this month, so that helped my total immensely.

How I figure my savings is to take what comes into the house for the month & subtract every check we write. Pretty simple, huh?lol

Between all income sources we have a net gain this month of ....... $3374.64!
That includes my $50 of Christmas money, $26 in rolled coins & $465.31 from things I sold on eBay.
It's not $5000, which is my target amount to meet my $60000 goal for the year, but I'll take it!lol

Now I need to physically take that money out of the checking account and put it somewhere....but where?
I'll need to do some online research for the best place to plant this seed money. Feel free to leave suggestions in the Comments.


Just call Me Bonnie!

Yes, I am a Bonnie in search of her Clyde. I know, I know.....a pretty lame, obscure reference to bankrobbers. I didn't exactly rob a bank but I did walk out of my local drugstore(with their blessings) loaded with the stuff in the photo, for which I paid...... $7.38-and most of that was just paying the tax on the taxable items. This is about $125 worth of merchandise! Plus, the store rebate program is sending me a check for $15.99 at the end of February.

Now is this craziness or what?

This is all because of that Extreme Couponing I've been trying out lately. The point is to buy stuff that is on sale/you have coupons for/there are rebates on and to get things for as close to free as possible. Sometimes if you have enough coupons/rebates/sales then the store ends up owing YOU money for buying their items!

And before any of my Compact brethren chastise me for Buying New, it's all been consumables, except for the Glucose Meters-which were FREE and I am donating to a local free medical clinic.

After a week of reflection, here is what I've learned the past couple of weeks about Extreme Couponing.

1. It is a SUCKHOLE of your Time! The hours you spend finding the coupons, browsing the sites to find the best deals, organizing your coupons, actually shopping with coupons, and then organizing all the stuff you BUY when you get it home, takes a load of energy and time and space(for the goodies).

2. EC is VERY addictive! Scoring a deal can release Endorphins that can rival most any other High you can experience. I find myself wanting to check the couponing blogs often to see what deals other people are finding if I can't be finding a deal myself at the moment. I think I might have an addictive personality. 8-)

3. It's hard to just stick to 1 store to do deals in. You want to go to ALL the stores that have deals(see #1 time suckhole). In trying to simplify my life, I am all about NOT shopping.
Spending more time in stores puts me in more contact with STUFF that I shouldn't and don't want to buy. Being around STUFF can wear down my resolve. Therefore, extreme couponing could be dangerous for me.

4. Since you get a high from getting a deal, it's easy to buy items that you don't actually need/ those Glucose Meters. It was a High to get them for Free but I don't need them.....well, maybe I need one, but NOT THREE!lol
At least with these I have a plan to send them to where they can be put to good use. But what if the next deal is for free Make-up I don't use or a free Radio, etc.? It's a slippery slope back to buying STUFF I don't need, that will someday get dumped into a landfill.
I think some of the folks doing the Free Item deals don't actually use/need what they are buying. After I carted those Meters home I resolved to just do the Freebie Deals that were consumable or that we need.

Now I would LOVE to be able to get FOOD for free or close to it. But because of where I live I will never be one of those ladies with a cart full of almost or free food due to her couponing savvy. The fact is I live somewhere that doesn't have Grocery Stores that run amazing sales. There is no Kroger or Publix(the 2 stores I have noticed people paying low prices for items)here. The 2 grocery stores in my town(as well as the chain drugstore) won't even take Internet Printed Coupons! Even ones printed from their companies own website!lol Super Kmarts & Super Targets take internet coupons but we don't have any of those stores here either.

I have noticed that alot of what the Extreme Couponing Mommas get Deals on is overly processed foods or junk food. The kids & hubby love them some soda and chips and cookies, etc. but I don't want to spend my precious time getting deals on marginally nutritious food, not to mention all this food with High Fructose Corn Syrup hidden in it.

Nope, I don't think I am cut out to be an Extreme Coupon Queen.