Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hershey's Chocolate Pieces Candy PROMOTION at KMart....Better than FREE CHOCOLATE!'s a great deal for anyone who loves Hershey's chocolate before I run off for the day to do some errands.

Starting Sunday, 1/31, KMart is running as one of it's weekly sale items the new Hershey's Pieces Chocolate for $2.50 a bag.

Wait, it gets better......

Kmart is running a promotion as well on this item!
When you buy 4 bags you can get a $10 KMart Gift Card.  The form for the rebate will print on the bottom of your receipt if it doesn't print from the Catalina machine.

And to make this deal a moneymaker.....
There is suppose to be a $1/1 Hershey Pieces Coupon in the Smart Source insert on Sunday(1/31).

Take 4 of these Qs with you to KMart.
Buy 4 bags 4 x $2.50=$10.
Use your 4 $1 Qs  $10-$4Qs=$6 OOP.
Send for your rebate.
Wait what seems like forever to get $10 back.
You spent $6.00 and got back $10, so you made $4 on this deal.

Now who wouldn't want to get paid $4 to eat chocolate??


Friday, January 29, 2010

LEFT BRAIN MAN....Don't Argue Pork Products with a G.R.I.T.S.

First off, let me say that I am married to a wonderful man.
Ok....some days I want to strangle said wonderful man, because who among us hasn't been there?....but he is wonderful nonetheless.

he is also a "Left Brain".

If you have no idea what I mean, go check out THIS before you read further.

So one morning this past weekend, I asked the family what they wanted me to cook them for breakfast.
It was a rare day when we, most of us were up early enough to eat breakfast.

#2 son asked for sausage patties.  Other than his sister's 'special' turkey sausage patties I said we were fresh out.
Left Brain chimed in that we did indeed have a roll of sausage meat in the freezer.
I sweetly replied that he was mistaken, that there was no sausage meat appropriate for serving at breakfast.

With that gauntlet flung down at his feet, he marched into the garage, rummaged around in the freezer(there goes all my organizing!)and came back triumphant with 2 rolls of sausage meat.
I looked at the first roll and said, "Now you can't fix that, it's italian sausage."

Hubby has a large dose of Sicilian blood coursing through his veins but after I mentioned it, even he realized that Italian sausage may not be quite socially acceptable before noon....outside the borders of Italy.
So he holds up the second roll, secure in his feeling that he was still triumphant!
Yes, it is JIMMY DEAN SAUSAGE printed on the wrapper but it also said SAGE SAUSAGE on the roll.
I shook my head.

I had to explain.....
"Honey, this sausage has SAGE in is for making Stuffing, not for eating with your pancakes and syrup."

He just looked at me like I had spoken in Portugese.....not comprehending.
"But why can't we have it for breakfast?", came the reply eventually.

"Because it's full of SAGE!  It's not seasoned for breakfast eating."

He wouldn't back down, insisting this sausage would be a tasty treat with eggs and french toast.

I finally had to put my GRITS foot down....

"HONEY!.....Where I come from, You don't eat SAGE SAUSAGE for Breakfast!  I'm from the SOUTH.....I KNOW my pork products!  No self-respecting Southerner would eat this stuff for breakfast....It's just not done!!"

With that bit of throwing the Hog around, he backed down.

I guess my Left Brained Yankee husband saw the better part of valor by not provoking me further and escalating this into one of our Battle Between the States Discussions that always ends with  yelling, slamming doors and threats of sleeping on the sofa.

Southern GRITS Gal....1


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rite-Aid Transaction This Week.....And a Change to the Coupon Policy

Here's my 1st trip for the week and for the February Single Check Rebate period at Rite-Aid....

1 x Nivea Body Wash=$5.99
2 x Nature's Bounty Vitamin C BOGO sale=$9.99
2 x Nature's Bounty Vitamin D BOGO sale=$4.99
2 x Hall's Refresh Drops=$4.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 Purchase(available from RedPlum online)=$5.00
1 x $2/1 Nivea Body Wash ManuQ(1/3RP insert)=$2.00
1 x $2/1 any Skin Care item over $2 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $5/1 Nature's Bounty Vitamins Rewards Program IPQ=$5.00
1 x $2/1 any vitamin item over $2 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Nature's Bounty Vitamins Rewards Program IPQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 any vitamin item over $2 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x BOGO Hall's Item In Store Flyer Q=$2.49
Coupon Total....$22.49

$25.95-$22.49=$3.46+$.11tax=$3.57 OOP

I have $5.99 toward a $15 purchase of Nivea, to qualify for a $5 Rite-Aid Gift Card(SCR#56) and the Vitamins purchase counts toward another Rite-Aid Gift Card(SCR#550)....purchase $25 worth of products/get a $10 gift card or purchase $50 worth/get a $25 gift card.  Of course, we will shoot for the $25 card. ;-)

Things did NOT go as planned on this trip however.

I had emailed Rite-Aid Corporate back last summer to obtain a copy of their coupon policy.  This is what I've been following when I set up my scenarios.  The email I have states that with a BOGO deal, you can use a ManuQ on each item, so 2 ManuQs total.  And since Rite-Aid lets you stack a store copy(In-Ad, Wellness, AdPerk) with a ManuQ it follows that you could use 4 Qs total on a BOGO deal(2 ManuQs and 2 StoreQs)....right?

Well, when I went to check out the Night Supervisor happened to be at the register.  And she refused to let me use any Qs on the item that was free with the BOGO deal(I bought 4 vitamins and was only allowed to use 4 Qs--2 on each not-free item).  My understanding from the copy of the coupon policy was that I should have been allowed to use up to 8 Qs...or at the very least 6 Qs(since a ManuQ was allowed on the free item and if they wouldn't take the second Store Q stacked on the ManuQ on the free item). I was going to use 6 Qs--4 ManuQs and 2 StoreQs(on the 2 Not-free items)...which would have given me a $1.57 OOP.
Follow me?

The Supervisor said NO coupons are allowed on the free item in a BOGO situation! 
Since I didn't have a copy of the policy on me(stupid me....didn't have any problems with management EVER so I just stopped bringing my copy of the policy with me!)and she had no authority to make an exception nor did she seem like she paid and went home.

The next day I printed out the emailed coupon policy and read it again.  Since it was from last summer, before Wellness and AdPerk Qs, it didn't address some grey areas on coupon usage.  So I called Corporate Customer Service and had a loooong talk with a Rep.  Seems that the coupon policy has changed from last summer(and he said it is always changing)so he is going to snail mail me a new copy. 

Here is the new interpretation of the policy.....
On a BOGO Deal--you can use TWO Qs BUT....both Qs have to be used on the Item that is NOT free.
This means you can now only use ONE ManuQ on a BOGO Deal, not One ManuQ on each item.  Both Qs used have to be on the non-free item, meaning you can use a ManuQ(either from an insert/IP/peelie/blinkie/home mailer)and the Second Q has to be a Store-type Q and is applied to the item you pay for, not the free item.

So....if I buy 2 Vitamins on BOGO.
I can use 1 ManuQ and 1 Store-typeQ.
2 Items and 2 Qs.
Not 2 items and 3 or 4 Qs.

Seems to me that this new policy is not better than the old one when you could use up to 2 Qs on a BOGO Deal.  They haven't expanded how many Qs can be used(since the old policy didn't address non-ManuQs really), they have just changed what type of Qs you can use in a BOGO situation and not changing the number you can use.

You can however, still use a BOGO Q on a BOGO Deal and get both items free.

I have to admit I did get a tad pushy with the much for flying under the radar

After I receive my new copy of the Q policy I will go have a private chat with this Supervisor.  If I was inadvertently in the wrong, I'll apologize for being testy with her.  She'll probably look at me like I have 7 heads and 1 eyeball but hey, at least I'll have done the right thing.


Duggars.....Can You Hear Me Now?!?

For the record.....
I am all about the nuclear family.
And I would never dain to get between a person and what they perceive their deity &/or religion to be(if they hold to one).  And I don't go around knocking people's belief system even if it involves 7 wives or husbands or wearing black nikes with $5 bills tucked inside and taking poison to get back to the 'mothership'.
What you believe is between you and your deity(or lack thereof) long as it doesn't impinge on the way I want to live my life.

Having said that.....
I do believe that the Duggars deity is trying to tell them something at this point in their lives.
And since the Duggars have declared to the world, often and in a very public way that they do have a close personal relationship with their deity, which involves speaking with each other, I do think the Duggars are just not listening to their deity or following his/her advice.

Duggar #19 was brought into the world in December. 
That's a wonderful thing!
Brought into the world 3 months early via emergency C-section.
Oh, now that's not so wonderful.

Brought into the world weighing 1 pound, 6 ounces.
Thank your deity for Neonatal Intensive Care Units and the miracles of modern medicine Duggars!

So far, #19 is doing ok.....but down the road the chances are high that this child will have some kind of problem, or lots of problems as she grows.

The reports I have read for the last few years all say that Mrs. Duggar has needed to have a Cervical Cerclage(a procedure where the cervix is sewn shut when it doesn't stay closed fully, to keep the baby from being born too soon)with each recent pregnancy to keep the baby inside and safe until it was full term. 
After so many pregnancies and wear and tear on ones reproductive system, cervical incompetency is bound to happen, ya think?

Do you know what carrying 19 children in one's uterus does to the muscles of one's pelvic floor?   Women are prone to to put this genteelly.....urine leakage issues after only carrying a couple or so pregnancies to term.  I have this feeling that Mrs. Duggar will be exchanging all those baby diapers for a life of adult diapers as she ages.

Do you think perhaps your deity is trying to tell you in a fairly strong way that maybe you should practice a little self-control and stop letting nature take it's course?  Maybe avail yourself of some other miracles of modern medicine if Mr. Duggar can't prevent himself from showing how much he loves his wife in that particular way, so much and so often?

After bringing baby #19 into this world the Duggars really need to stop talking to their deity(and the media endlessly)and listen to the message He/She is sending them.
IMHO they have been blessed many times over with a gaggle of children.....but they are now moving into "pushing their luck to it's limits" territory.
You are both only human.
Leave being Superman/Superwoman to your god.


Marcal Giveaway at COUPONERS UNITED

The Blogger over at "Couponers United" is holding a Giveaway for a Marcal Small Steps Prize Pack.

If you know me, you know I am all over anything more sustainable.  By using recycled paper products to make their paper products instead of massive logging like most paper manufacturers, Marcal is ahead of it's time and so relevant to today's world.  And to think that they have been following this business principle for the last 50 years!  

Go over and check out the Giveaway HERE and then head over and check out Marcal HERE.


Chocolate Cheerios Giveaway....Go Sign Up

The Blogger over at "Who Said Nothing In Life is Free????" is holding a Giveaway for a Chocolate Cheerios Prize Pack.
Anything Chocolate is worth signing up for, right?
Go over and check it out HERE.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Has your Money lasted longer than January has?

Dave agrees with me(LOL)that a Budget is a neccesity to WIN WITH MONEY!

Give him a listen.....and then start telling your money what to do.
I do.
And most times the money listens to me!
Unlike my kids.....


Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway is Now OPEN!

The 1st BORING BLOG BOX OF FUN GIVEAWAY of 2010 is Ready!

Here is what went into the Box today.....

1.  A set of Stationery Folded Notecards.  These have Arctic Animals from a Series of USPS postage stamps designs on them.
2.  3 Tubes of Mentos Sugar-free Gum.
3.  a Sample of Head & Shoulders Shampoo.
4.  a Glade Candle(Clean Linen scent).

If this is your first time, please go read all the rules for these Giveaways on THIS POST.

Time to enter.....You can enter this week from today, January 27th through Saturday, February 5th. (I'm giving ya'll an extra few days the first week to enter.  The rest of the weeks will be strictly Saturday to Sunday, 7 days.)

1. 1 entry per person per week.  Leave your name/email addy and a comment for a valid entry on THIS POST only.
2. MUST be a follower to enter.
3. MUST still be a follower at the time the the winner is posted.

There are 2 ways to get extra entries each week....

4. Blog about my Giveaway on your blog or on a Message Board.  Leave an extra comment for this entry on THIS POST only with a link to your blog post or the message on the board.  You can earn an extra entry each week by reposting about the Giveaway.
5. Put my blog on your blog's Blogroll.  Leave an extra comment for this entry on THIS POST only with the URL of your blog. You can earn an extra entry each week by keeping my blog on your roll.

I'll post again about this Giveaway when the new week is here(Feb. 6th) to remind ya'll it's time to enter again.

Any questions?  Just email me at

Happy Entering!! 


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Almost Shorts Weather in January....Well, Except for the Deluge!

Yesterday was some wild and crazy weather here in northeast PA.
First off, it was unseasonably warm.  Ok, so I won't complain about that much!lol
#2 son had his braces put on his teeth yesterday morning, so we had to be out and about in wind-driven rain most of the day.  As we passed the bank sign on the way to the Orthodontist's office the temp. read 59 degrees...and that was at 9 in the morning!

We ran errands and went to use a free Birthday meal certificate at Red Robin for lunch and then it was off to the Oral Surgeon with #2 son.  He's getting FIVE teeth pulled(including a Wisdom Tooth)on Friday in conjunction with the braces deal, so keep us in your prayers later this week.  I'll be a mess but he'll be fine after the anesthesia and later when the vicodin pills kick in at home afterwards. 

The local streams and creeks were raging yesterday as all the snow pack melted within hours with the warm temperatures.  Add in 2 inches of rain that fell yesterday and now the Susquehanna River is over flood stage.  Roads are closed and people down by the river and nervously watching and waiting for it to crest and recede.
I hope they don't have to put up the Flood Walls on the bridges here.  We need to go back over the river Friday for the Teeth Extractions and swimming across to get there if the bridge is closed would be a tad

Here's what I found when we got home yesterday around 3:30pm.

It's my metal swing.  It was on the opposite side of the deck from where it lives.
And here is what it was attached to.....

The metal frame.
It was laying on it's side halfway down the steps to the yard also on the opposite end of the deck from where it lives.  At least daughter righted it and drug it back onto the deck so the doggies can do their business in the yard again.

Today, it's flurry-ing and the temperature is dropping quickly.  We'll be in the teens by tomorrow night.
I'm thankful that it was warmish and that 2 inches of rain was RAIN and not 2 FEET of SNOW!

It's certainly been a weird Winter so far!


Cheap Finish Dishwasher Detergent at Rite-Aid

If anyone still has any of those $2.50 off Finish Dishwashing Detergent Coupons left that expire on Sunday, 1/ might want to think about using them at Rite-Aid.  Depending on what Finish is priced at there(I haven't been in to look yet myself), you can combine the $2.50 off Q with the $1/1 Q at AdPerks Finish Q AND the $1.50 SCR #94--

With $5 off after rebate($2.50+$1+$1.50), it might be worth picking some up at Rite-Aid if you can't find a better deal on Finish at some other store.  Just remember that the SCR is a limit of 1 per person/address so if you need to use multiple $2.50 Qs keep in mind that only your first purchase will qualify for the $1 rebate.   ;-)


Free Oreos.....well not REALLY Oreos IMHO

Not to sound ungrateful.....ok, with an opening like that, you KNOW this is going to sound

Did you get in on the FREE bag of OREO Cookies yesterday on Facebook?
Since there were something like MILLIONS of people signed up to the Fan page for the Free Oreo Deal on Facebook and there were only going to be 150,000 bags of cookies given away starting at 3pm EST, I figured when #2 son and I got home from the Orthodontist and the Oral Surgeon around 3:30pm EST yesterday it hardly seem worth trying to get online for the cookies.

I thought all 150,000 bags would be scarfed down in mere seconds.....
But I went online and tried anyway and low and behold.....

I got through and I gots cookies!!

After I finished and got the "Congratulations-the Cookies are on their Way" Page, I noticed something.
They are sending these......

THOSE aren't Oreos.....

THESE are Oreos!

Ok, so they are BOTH MADE by the same company, but an Oreo has to have that DARK almost BLACK Chocolate Cookie!  You can monkey around with the filling.....creme, peanut butter or even mint.....add Double the filling even, but the Cookie part defines an OREO as being an OREO.

These Vanilla Cookie things are just imposters!!  They may be in the same shape and design embossed on the cookie but the FLAVOR of a Golden Oreo is NOT an Oreo!

I am so disappointed.....

But free cookies are free cookies after all.
There will be NO DUNKING in MILK with these "Oreos" but someone here will surely be adding to their waistline using them

So how do you feel about "Golden Oreos"?
Are they clever imposters in your mind or are they REAL Oreos?
Leave a comment and weigh-in on this 'heavy' debate!


NEW Wellness Coupons Available....Expire 2/06/10

If your area has the Wellness Program, there are some good coupons available for you to make your Rite-Aid deals even sweeter!

New Coupons good until 2/06/10....
--$2 off any vitamin item with a price of $2.00 or more
--$2 off any skin care item with a price of $2.00 or more

And the return of these coupons.....also good until 2/06/10....
--$3 off any $15 non-prescription purchase
--$1 off any candy item with a price of $1 or more
--$.50 off any greeting card item with a price of $.50 or more
--$2.00 off any beauty costmetic item with a price of $2 or more
Just go to the Rite-Aid website and sign into your account to access these 4 coupons.

Some thoughts on using the new coupons this week....

Maybelline is 40% off this week, making the regular mascara product $3.11(reg. price of $5.19).
Use the $1/1 Maybelline Mascara AdPerk Q with the $2 off beauty cosmetic Q and pay $.11 AND qualify for SCR #61 for $2.00.

Buy a Wet n' Wild item for $3.99 or higher and qualify for SCR #71 for $2.00. Use a $2 any beauty cosmetic item Wellness Q and after rebate the item is free.

Sugar-Free bags of candy are on sale this week for $1.50.
Use the $1 off candy item to get these for $.50 each.

M&Ms are BOGO(reg. price $3.99 ea.)this week.
Use 2 of the $1 off candy item wellness Q and pay $1.99 for 2.  Then submit for SCR #97(purchase 2 M&Ms bags including seasonal) for $1.00, making it $.99 for 2 after rebate.

Various Lotions are on sale this week.
Pare the sales with the various ManuQs and the $2 off skin care Q to get a good deal on lotions this week.
There is a $5 RA Gift Card (SCR#56)WYB $14 of select Nivea products.  There are various Nivea Qs to pare with the $2 any skin care Wellness Q to do this cheaply., espcially if Nivea goes on sale in the coming weeks.

The $2 off vitamins also would make a good sale pared with various ManuQs &/or the AdPerk Nature's Bounty $1/1 Q.  Some Nature's Bounty bottles have $1/1 Peelies on them too.

There is also a new SCR offer...Healthy Heart 2010 #552 that includes many vitamin items.  Purchase $25 in qualifying items, get a $10 Rite-Aid Gift Card, or purchase $50 of qualifying items, get a $25 Rite-Aid Gift Card.  Use ManuQs, sale and Wellness $2 off any vitamin over $2 Qs to get in on this deal.  This SCR deal runs until 3/27/10.


Good Deals at Weis this Week....1/24/10-1/30/10

As far as using Coupons this week at Weis, there aren't many good deals to be had.  A lot of Weis or house brands featured and the usual 'junk' foods like soda, chips, cookies, etc.(which I don't pay much attention to).

There are a fair amount of BOGO deals this week at Weis, but few that have matching coupons so I am not impressed.

One FREEBIE that I can see...IF you have the right coupon.  Let me know if you see something because I have gone blind looking for them this

And of course, NO CATALINA Deals least I might be able to stay out of the grocery store this week since it's so abysmal.

Here are the CHEAPIES....

Helavu Good Cheese blocks  BOGO (off reg. price of $2.89) $2.89 for 2
--use $1/2 ManuQ(12/13RP insert) and pay $1.89 for 2-less than $1 per block

Baked Lays $3.00
--use $1/1 ManuQ(1/3SS insert) and pay $2 **It's in the database at AFullCup as $.55/1 so the $1/1 is regional...if your Weis doubles, the $.55/1 will still get you $1 off a bag.

Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggies or Boxed Veggies in Sauce $1.00 each
--use $1/2 ManuQ(1/10SS insert) and pay $.50 each WYB 2.**Again, the database lists this Q as $.50/1 so the $1/2 was regional.  If you got the $.50/1 and your store doubles, you get 1 box/bag for FREE instead.

Nabisco Crackers assorted $2.00 a box
--IF the Crackerfuls are included in this sale, use the $1/1 ManuQ(1/10SS insert)to get a box for $1.00
--use $1/1 ManuQ(1/24SS insert)to get a box for $1.00
--use the $1/2 ManuQ(12/13SS insert)to get 2 boxes for $1.00(.50¢ each)

Archway Cookies $2.50
--use the $1/1 ManuQ(11/22SS insert) to get it for $1.50**Again, the database lists this Q as $.55/1 so if your store doubles, still get $1 off 1 bag.  NOT a steal, however these are really good

Friskies Party Mix Cat Treats $1.25 each
--use the $2/2 ManuQ(11/15SS insert)to get 2 for .50¢(.25¢ each)
--use the BOGO ManuQ(1/24SS insert)to get 2 for $1.25(.625¢ each)

And that is about it for Good Coupon Deals.


Gorton's Seafood Items 40% off
--use the $1/2 ManuQ(1/24SS insert)to get 2 for ?

Pink Grapfruit $1 each.--about as low as you are going to see at Weis this winter unless they need to unload what doesn't sell fast and offer a 'real' sale on them.

If anyone sees any other good buys this week at Weis, please leave a comment and let us know!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Meal Plan Monday.....January 25th Edition....Still looking for the back of the Freezer

Last Week's Menu Postmortem...
We started out the week well but by Thursday the plan fell apart.  So the Fish, Pizza and Tacos move to this coming week.  Now I only have to come up with 4 more meals for the week. Yay me!lol

This cleaning out the freezer deal is taking A LOT longer than I had expected!!  I still have a Turkey(not very old really)and a big Ham in there(this is much older).  I guess I need to bake that Ham next month and invite the relatives over to eat a big chunk of it so it doesn't go bad once cooked.  I would never come up with enough ways to use it up in recipes that the family would eat so I need to serve it first to a bigger crowd and hope some of those people want to take a chunk home with them. 

Here's what I will be serving our family of 4 this amazing recipes this week, just the quick and easys....sorry.

MONDAY--Assorted TV Dinners-found a stash in the freezer we need to use up
TUESDAY--Tacos(freezer/stockpile), Corn(freezer)*need to buy lettuce
WEDNESDAY--Stuffed Shells(stockpile/freezer)*need to buy ricotta
THURSDAY--Easy Chicken Alfredo with Vegetables(freezer/stockpile)
FRIDAY--Battered Fish(freezer), Rice(stockpile), Veggie Melange(freezer)
SATURDAY--Chicken and Dumplings(freezer)
SUNDAY--Birthday Meal out-delayed a week
SNACKS/DESSERTS--Pineapple(stockpile), Brownies(stockpile), Birthday Cake(stockpile)

Last week I spent $40.37 on food/toiletries....$14.99 at the Independent Grocer, $25.38 at Rite-Aid.  Of course, after the rebates from Rite-Aid, the $25.38 is covered and then some.  For all intents and purposes, I spent $14.99 on food last week. I kept it under $20 like I had wanted.  1 quick trip to the small Grocery for milk, produce.  No stocking up at all this past week.
Are you shocked?   I

This week my shopping list consists of lettuce, parmesan cheese and ricotta cheese.  I'll probably get some things to use up some coupons expiring in Jan. if I find good prices/sales on those items as well.  And I need to hit up the Bread Outlet this week(did that today) and get deli sliced cheese for the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Teen.  I'm thinking $25 should cover all this plus milk.

Food Waste Report....I had to throw out about 1 cup of chicken meat picked off a carcass that the dog feeder didn't give to the doggies before it "turned the corner".  Otherwise, not a bad week for spoilage.

Check out ORGANIZING JUNKIE to see what other Home Cooks are serving this week.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

2 More RITE-AID Runs & the END of JANUARY Totals....Big Moneymaker!

2 more runs to Rite-Aid Saturday.....

1/23  Saturday morning

2 x Nyquil/Dayquil on sale $3.99=$7.98
1 x Puffs Tissue=$2.49
2 x Clorox Bleach on sale $1.99=$3.98
1 x Secret Flawless Deodorant=$4.99
1 x Bayer Aspirin on sale=$1.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Nyquil/Dayquil ManuQ=$4.00
2 x $2/1 OTC Cough or Cold Meds Wellness CRT Q=$4.00
1 x FREE Puffs Tissue WYB2 Vicks=$2.49
2 x $1/1 Any Household Cleaner over $1 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$19.49

$21.43-$19.49=$1.94+$.12tax=$2.06 OOP

SCRebates qualified for.....$1 WYB 2 Clorox, $2 WYB 2 Secret Flawless(bought the other one yesterday)=$3.00
And $15.46 more toward BIL's P&G Visa Card Reward=$44.01

1/23 Saturday Evening

2 x Nyquil/Dayquil on sale $3.99=$7.98
1 x Puffs Tissue=$2.49
2 x Clorox Bleach on sale $1.99=$3.98
2 x Doritos on sale $2.49=$4.98 **Not Pictured**
1 x Pantene Gel Styler on sale=$3.00
1 x Bayer Aspirin on sale=$1.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $2/1 Nyquil/Dayquil ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $1.50/1 Nyquil/Dayquil ManuQ=$1.50
2 x $2/1 OTC Cough or Cold Meds Wellness CRT Q=$4.00
1 x FREE Puffs Tissue WYB2 Vicks=$2.49
2 x $1/1 Any Household Cleaner over $1 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Doritos AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
2 x $.50/1 Any Snack Item over .50¢ Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Pantene Styler ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Any Hair Care Item over $1 Wellness IPQ=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$23.99

$24.42-$23.99=$.43 OOP

UPDATE--I just noticed that the Clorox SCR can be done twice, so this Clorox purchase adds another $1 to BIL's  SCR total.
That additional $1 SCR now makes this purchase a $.57 Moneymaker!

The P&G purchases on these 2 receipts bring BIL's total over $50, so he qualifies for the $15 Visa Card now. (Since the P&G SCR runs for another 2 weeks(into the Feb. SCR period), I could still raise the BIL's Visa Card to a $35 if we make $40 more in qualifying purchases in this time period.)

I know, I know.....I've been spending a LOT of time at Rite-Aid and even IF you have one near you and you do the deals there, I am figuring everyone is pretty tired of reading me blabbing on about Rite-Aid.
But Really!....tell me what other store you can walk into and spend .43¢ and get over $30 worth of stuff on a regular basis And then have them send you back enough money in rebates that you end up making money to shop there?!?!
Wags and CVS have good deals and you can have a low or zero OOP & get back ECBs and RRs but that's only Cash if you spend it there.  You can do well at those 2 drug stores too but except for once or twice, I have never gotten paid a similarly large amount to shop with them like I have gotten straight cash monies back at Rite-Aid in the last few months.  I think with taking multiple stacking types of Qs(Manu or IPs, AdPerks, $x off $x total IPs, In-ad Store, Wellness, & now Game of Life Qs)Rite-Aid by far can be more lucrative than the others.  Heck, I've used 3 times the number of Qs as items in an order at Rite-Aid and it's all perfectly ok with the store.  I just stay out of the negative at the register when paying.  Going negative(which I could very easily do most transactions)is something they can't
Add in that I have 2, count 'em 2 Rite-Aids nearby that are so darn coupon friendly(not like the local Wags and CVS)and I'm just living in high cotton!

The FINAL Monthly January SCR Period OOP(before rebates)is.....$70.20

Money I am getting back--
Single Check Rebates qualified for(both persons)......$76.48
Other Rebates qualified for with Rite-Aid Purchases(Kraft,Olays, Lotions).....$91.23
Game of Life Winnings.....$2.00(well, at least it's something!lol)

Rite-Aid Gift Card.....$5.00
Visa Prepaid Cards.....$50.00 

A total of $169.71 Cash and $55 in Rite-Aid Gift/Visa Cards.

That's a $99.51 MONEYMAKER for January!
Plus $55 in Gift/Visa Cards.
And my guesstimate, if all the excess I purchased sells at the flea market, there will be another $150 ready cash to add to my Total profit for Jan.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not only is my Blog Boring, My 2010 GIVEAWAYS ARE BORING!

So I got this idea from Happy Mom of 5(check it out-her blog button is on my right sidebar).....and she in turn got the idea from someone else's blog(sorry, I can't recall whom or I would rep you).  I thought it was a neat idea.

I am going to host a Whole Year of Giveaways in 2010!

I'm calling it.....

And here is what you can win.....

And just WHAT IS THAT, I hear you ask??
It's the inside of a USPS Priority mail box of course!

It's empty just now.....
But it won't be when you win it!

Here's what I am going to do.

I am taking a Flat Rate mailing box.
And I will add prizes to it as the weeks go along and I'll post pictures of what I have added, when I add it.
And when it's full, I'll draw a name and one of my lucky readers wins whatever is in the box!

And just what are the prizes?
Glad you asked!

The prizes will be items I pick up in my couponing travels for free or almost free and/or samples I have requested from companies that I feel compelled to share with my readers.

These will NOT be company sponsored Giveaways!  No company will send me stuff to giveaway.
These boxes will be filled with items I have purchased myself.  Payment for the items and the postage is coming out of my pocket.  Ya see how much I must love y'all?lol

Now I have no clue how long it will take me to fill a box.  That will depend on how much/what deals I find and when.  We'll all get a handle on a timeline as we go along.

As soon as I ship off a Box to the Winner, I'll get another empty mailing box and start filling it and will continue doing this all year.

So what are the rules?
1.  You can enter 1 time per day.  I'll post that a New Box Giveaway is ready to start and then let the entering begin!
On the right side of my Blog, right at the top will be a LINK to the current Blog Post about the Giveaway  where you are to leave your entry/comment.

2.   Besides just saying, "Here's my entry" & leaving your email addy, you will have to post some kind of a comment in your entry.  Talk about an amazing deal you got that week, what a wonderful person you think I am(LOLOL), something that happened in your life, a goal you have or have attained, what your weather is like, a story or joke or a link to a website we might like.....just post Something!

3.  You MUST be a follower of my blog to enter AND when the Giveaway Winner is announced, you must STILL be a follower.  No following, entering and then unfollowing.  If the name I draw is not a follower,  then I will draw another winner.
If you don't know how to follow, just look on the right sidebar for where it says "followers" and there should be a FOLLOW BUTTON you can click on.  If you are still having problem, email me at and I'll try to help you sign up to follow the blog.

4.  Extra Weekly Entries for Bloggers.  There are 2 ways to get an extra weekly about my Giveaway and/or put my blog on your blogroll.
You can do both of these each week or only do one.  Each will give you 1 extra entry.  
If you blog about the Giveaway, leave an extra comment and the link/url to your blog post.
If you put me on your blog roll, leave an extra comment and the url to your blog.

5.  Since the box is being mailed Priority FlatRate mail, you must live where this can be mailed to.....meaning only people with US mailing addresses.  Sorry if you are in Canada or overseas but I would need a home equity loan to pay the postage outside the USA.

6.  When the Prize Box is full,  I'll post a LAST CHANCE Post with the last date/time to enter for the current Giveaway.  After the Giveaway is closed,  I will use Random Generator to pick the Winner of the Giveaway.  

7.  After the Prize Box has been awarded and sent, I'll post a new Giveaway Post when a new Prize Box is ready.  Please wait until the new Giveaway Post is up to enter.

8. I reserve the right to change or amend the rules or end the Giveaways at any time.   It's my Giveaway so I'm in charge. ;-) 

I think that covers everything that needs covering.

So look for the 1st Prize Box Giveaway to begin soon!


Friday 1/22 Rite-Shopping to Finish off January's SCR Period

First off let me say Thanks! to everyone who wished me a Happy Birthday.  I appreciate it very much. ;-)

I didn't do a darned thing yesterday!  I slept as long as the hounds would let me and then I sat around in my nightgown most of the day just puttering around the house relaxing.
No shopping for this gal!
Are you shocked?lol
No cooking either!  Hubby insisted I was NOT to cook on my Bday, so it was Subway Sandwiches all round.  Not the healthiest but it was tasty.

So today after getting together bunches of paperwork so I could start the dreaded T-A-X-E-S, I did some calculating to see what I still needed to purchase at Rite-Aid to finish off some open deals and rebates there.
I needed another Secret Deo for the $2 SCR, more SCRs for BIL, I had some stacking Qs for John Frieda 'Poo that was B1G150% this week to get it for $.75 a tube, Free Bayer Aspirin & NyQuil and more cheap snacks too.
As I sat and worked on some scenarios I thought I might end up getting at least to the $5 level for BIL on the P&G Prepaid Visa SCR deal as well.

So we hit Rite-Aid this evening.....

Transaction #1

1 x Secret Deodorant=$4.99
2 x John Frieda Luxurious Volume 'Poo B1G150%=$10.48
3 x Bayer Aspirin on sale $1.99=$5.97

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2.50/1 JF Lux. Volume 'Poo IPQ=$5.00
2 x $1/1 JF Lux. Volum 'Poo AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Any Hair Care over $1 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
3 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$6.00
Coupon Total....$20.00

$21.44-$20.00=$1.44+$.09tax=$1.53 OOP

This purchase qualified me for the SCR for the $2 WYB2 Secret Deodorants, so $70.23 SCRs.

Transaction #2

1 x Olay Make-up Cleanser/Remover clearance 50%=$4.99
2 x John Frieda Lux. Volume 'Poo B1G150%=$10.48
1 x Doritos on sale=$2.49**This store rang up $2.49, not $2.50**
1 x DayQuil on sale=$3.99
1 x Crest on sale=$2.99**qualifies for the $1.25 SCR but not for the P&G Visa Card Deal

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $3/1 Regenerist Olay Cleanser ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $2.50/1 JF Lux. Volume 'Poo IPQ=$5.00
2 x $1/1 JF Lux. Volume AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Any Hair Care item over $1 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Doritos AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
1 x $.50/1 Any Snack Item over .50 Wellness CRT Q=$.50
1 x $2/1 DayQuil ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Any OTC Cough/Cold Med Wellness CRT Q=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total.....$23.50

$24.94-$23.50=$1.44 OOP

SCRebates BIL qualified for.....$1.25(Crest), $1(Dayquil)
And if I add the Olay Regenerist on this receipt to the 3rd one I bought on Sunday(on a separate receipt from the other 2), BIL can send for the $15 Regenerist Cleanser Rebate now.

That brings the Monthly January OOP(before rebates) to.....$63.71

Money I am getting back changes--
SCRebates qualified for(both persons)......$72.48
Other Rebates(Kraft,Olays, Lotions).....$91.23

And 1 more Transactions on the way home.....

Transaction #3

2 x Old Spice Red Zone Deo $4.29=$8.58
1 x Secret Flawless Deo=$4.99
2 x Pantene Shampoo on sale $3=$6.00
1 x Luden's Drops on sale=$.99
3 x Chocolate Roses $.88=$2.64**  Not Pictured-#2 son took them for his girlfriend

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Old Spice Red Zone Deo=$1.00
1 x FREE Secret Flawless WYB 2 Old Spice Red Zone ManuQ=$4.99
1 x $3/2 Pantene ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $1/1 Any Hair Care Item over $1 Wellness IPQ=$2.00
1 x $.25 Luden's Drops GOL Q=$.25
3 x $1/1 Any Seasonal Item over $1 Wellness CRT Q=$3.00
Coupon Total.....$19.24

$23.20-$19.24=$3.96+$.04tax=$4.00 OOP
While the Old Spice is NOT the one that qualifies for the SCR, the P&G items purchased in this transaction and the previous one give BIL a total over $25, so he qualifies for the $5 Level of the Prepaid Visa Card.

**The Chocolate Roses were $1 each but my Wellness card took off $.12 on each one.  Neither the cashier nor myself noticed the items were now under $1(I just noticed while writing this up), and the coupons didn't beep, so my OOP is .36¢ lower than it should be.

That brings the Monthly January OOP(before rebates) to.....$67.71

Money I am getting back--
SCRebates qualified for(both persons)......$72.48
Other Rebates(Kraft,Olays, Lotions).....$91.23
GOL Winnings.....$2.00
Rite-Aid Gift Card.....$5.00
Visa Prepaid Card.....$40.00 

A total of $165.71 Cash, a $5 GC & $40 in Visa Cards.

That's a $98.00 MONEYMAKER for January!
Plus $45 in Gift/Visa Cards and lots of flea market goodies too.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Johnson & Johnson $10 Rebate....Last Week's Deals at Rite-Aid to Bring My Monthly Total Forward

I never did post the rest of the transactions I did for the Johnson & Johnson $10 Lotion Rebate.
To refresh your memory, I did the 1st transaction on 1/13 and it's posted HERE.  That transaction put me at $16.66 toward BIL's Lotion Rebate.

**Warning.....this is looooooong.  If you just want the Grand Total figures, skip to the bottom.**

So I did another Transaction on the 14th... to finish off his Rebate....

2 x Lubriderm $4.29=$8.58
1 x Clean and Clear=$5.49
1 x Theraflu on sale=$4.99
3 x Ramen Noodles on sale=$.99*I got eaten before I could take a*

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Lubriderm IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Rite-Aid Lubriderm In-Ad Q=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Clean and Clear IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Rite-Aid Clean and Clear In-Ad Q=$1.00
1 x $2/1 Theraflu IPQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$16.00

$20.05-$16.00=$4.05+$$4.11 OOP
Another $19.06 makes the total $35.72 so he qualifies for the $10 Lotion Rebate.
The Theraflu also has a SCRebate from Rite-Aid of $3.00.

Monthly OOP....$27.91
Other Rebates(including $10 Lotion)...$20.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

Then I decided I needed some Glade Candles and TP....

4 x Cottonelle TP on sale $1.99=$7.96
2 x M&Ms BOGO=$3.99
2 x Glade Candle Tins on sale $2.49=$4.98
2 x Glade Refills on sale $2.49=$4.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $1/2 Cottonelle TP ManuQ=$2.00
4 x $.50/1 Cottonelle TP In-Ad Q=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Any Seasonal Item over $1 Wellness CRT Q=$2.00
1 x $3/2 Glade Items ManuQ=$3.00
2 x FREE Glade Refills WYB Candle Tin Blinkie=$4.98
4 x $.50/1 Glade In-Ad Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$20.98

$21.91-$20.98=$.93 OOP

Monthly OOP....$28.84
Other Rebates(including $10 Lotion)...$20.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

Thursday afternoon, I received an emailed 'reward' coupon from Scott.  I had sent for a rebate and it arrived just in time for me to use it at Rite-Aid this week.  The coupon was for $2 off any Scott purchase and Rite-Aid had 4 packs of TP on sale for $2.99 PLUS a $50 off In-Aid coupon in the sales flyer, which would make my TP packs $.49 each!  And I was able to print that coupon 4 times....WOOT!
So Friday I said, "Oh heck!  I have to go use these Scott Qs, so let's do this Johnson & Johnson Rebate again for me this time!"
And off I went to where else?....Rite-Aid!
My local Rite-Aid was out of Scott TP so we hit up a different store.....

1/15 Store #1

2 x Scott TP on sale $2.99=$5.98
2 x Lubriderm $4.29=$8.58
1 x Aveeno=$3.49
2 x Hershey's Miniatures BOGO=$3.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid Purchase AdPerks Q=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Scott Reward IPQ=$4.00
2 x $.50/1 Scott In-Aid Q=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Lubriderm IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Lubridern Rite-Aid In-Ad Q=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Aveeno IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Aveeno Rite-Aid In-Ad Q=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Any Seasonal Item over $1 Wellness CRT Q=$2.00
Coupon Total....$21.00

$22.04-$21.00=$1.04 OOP
And $12.07 toward the $30 Lotion Purchase

Monthly OOP....$29.88
Other Rebates(including $10 Lotion)...$20.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

And then this Transaction to finish the Lotion Rebate....

1/15 Store #2-where the evil cashier lurks

2 x Scott TP on sale $2.99=$5.98
2 x Lubriderm $4.29=$8.58
2 x Aveeno $3.49=$6.98
1 x Clean and Clear=$4.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 Rite-Aid Purchase IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Scott Reward IPQ=$4.00
2 x $.50/1 Scott TP In-Ad Q=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Lubriderm IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Lubridern In-Ad Q=$2.00
2 x $2/1 Aveeno IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Aveeno In-Ad Q=$2.00
1 x $2/1 Clean and Clear IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Clean and Clear In-Ad Q=$1.00
Coupon Total....$25.00

$26.53-$25.00=$1.53=$.10tax=$1.63 OOP
Add $20.55 more to the $12.07 Lotion purchases=$32.62, so another $10 Lotion Rebate to submit.

Monthly OOP....$31.51
Other Rebates(including  2x $10 Lotion)...$30.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

On Saturday I decided to use up some more Qs I had to get really cheap Valentine's Candy, more TP, some Riceworks chips(since #2 son loves these)and a mess more Glade Candles. 
I would  have to spend more OOP and lower my percentages but for chocolate, tp and #2 son, it was worth the extra $  Plus I can always take the Glade to the flea market in the spring and make back that $3 and then some!  Even at $1 a candle, I'll still come out with at least a $5 MM for these 2 next transactions.

1/16 Transaction A

2 x Cottonelle on sale $1.99=$3.98
3 x Riceworks Chips on sale $2.50=$7.50
2 x Glade Candles on sale $2.49=$4.98
2 x Reese's Candy BOGO=$3.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/2 Cottonelle ManuQ=$1.00
2 x $.50/1 Cottonelle In-Ad Q=$1.00
3 x $1/1 Riceworks ManuQ=$3.00
3 x $.50/1 Any Snack Item over .50 Wellness IPQ=$1.50
1 x $3/2 Glade Items ManuQ=$3.00
2 x $.50/1 Glade Item In-Ad Q=$1.00
2 x $1/1 Any Seasonal Item over $1 Wellness CRT Q=$2.00

$20.45-$17.50=$2.95 OOP
2 more Glade candles for the sell pile.

Monthly OOP....$34.46
Other Rebates(including 2 x $10 Lotion)...$30.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

And at another store......

1/16 Store #2

6 x Glade Candles on sale $2.49=$14.94
4 x Hershey's Chocolate BOGO=$7.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Rite-Aid AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
3 x $3/2 Glade Product ManuQ=$9.00
6 x $.50/1 Glade Product In-Ad Q=$3.00
4 x $1/1 Any Seasonal Item over $1 Wellness CRT Q=$4.00
Coupon Total.....$21.00

$22.92-$21.00=$1.92 OOP
6 more Candles to take to the Flea Market.

Monthly OOP....$36.38
Other Rebates(including $10 Lotion)...$30.00
GOL Winnings....$2.00
RA Gift Card.....$5.00

Now let's add in 1/17, Sunday's 5 trip totals.....
Total OOP for 1/17.....$25.89
Rebates qaulified for these trips....$48.48($2.25SCR/$46.23Olay) & a $35 Visa Card

And we are up to......

Monthly January OOP(before rebates).....$62.27

Money I am getting back--
SCRebates qualified for(both persons)......$68.23
Other Rebates(Kraft,Olays, Lotions).....$76.23
GOL Winnings.....$2.00
Rite-Aid Gift Card.....$5.00
Visa Prepaid Card.....$35.00 

A total of $146.46 Cash, a $5 GC & a $35 Visa Card 

That's an $84.19 MONEYMAKER(plus $40 in GC/Visa Cards)!
And lots of goodies for the flea market(which I will estimate the selling price of after Saturday).

And I still have what I bought Friday night to add in AND there is Saturday still before the SCRebate period ends for January.  I might have to get some more free and cheap goodies! ;-)


Thursday, January 21, 2010


Yes, today is the day I blow out the candles!
No telling how many candles however.....

Send all the Good Karma you can to me today.
This Aquarian can use every happy wish I can get!

Birthday-ed Sluggy

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My 2010 "Hopes" List

I finally finished my List of Things I Want to Accomplish in 2010.
Notice I didn't say resolutions. 
Resolutions are just begging to be broken, are they not?

So like Carol on The Compact List said, I am making "Hopes".
You can call them Goals or any old thing you want, I like "hopes".

Here is the Big Hairy List.  These are all BIG Hopes each in their own right.  As I get to one, I'll probably break it down into smaller steps so I can get it done and crossed off.

1. Put more money into savings than was put away in 2009.
--$23,865.36 was banked in 2009.  I will be shooting for $30.000 in 2010, barring any unforeseen personal economic crisises.

2. Pare down the stuff I need to eBay by sending more of it to the Thrift Store or sell it on Craigslist.
--Get off my rump and get stuff SOLD!  And what I can't readily sell, send it off to a Thrift Store.  I have had enough of boxes of crap hanging around my living room.  It's time to actually USE that room in the manner it was intended.

3. Get rid of my last storage unit!
--This goes hand in hand with #2 above.  If all the crap goes, I won't need to pay for a storage unit any longer.  I went from 2 to 1 units last year.  It is time to let this one go as well.

4. Plan and implement my garden better so I have a chance for it to be more productive this summer.
--Last year's garden was lame.  I need to be more proactive and get things planned and going earlier this year for it to be successful.  Every bit of work you put into a garden will pay dividends in increased health from eating better and  money saved on food spending.

5. Do the taxes and complete paperwork for #1 son's schooling.
--This will be the first Hope accomplished as is needs to be completed by mid February.  It could also be a big PITA as we have added tax implications for 2009 due to an estate/inheritance issue.

6. Decide on and install a hew heating system for the house before the rate cap expires and heat is needed this fall.

--This one is VITAL and it must be completed by September!  

7. Rethink how and how much I coupon/rebate and reorganize my freezer/pantry/stockpile.
--With my 1st year of extreme couponing and stockpiling over, now is the time to step back and see what I did well, what I need to improve upon and what needs to go. 

8. Continue to meal plan and retool our diet, including cooking for scratch/semi-homemade.
--This will involve making better choices with food, will depend partly on how successful  #4 is, and will  require all of us to change some old habits.  It's probably going to be the most difficult Hope to accomplish.

9. Decide on and complete 1 major house remodel project.
--Once we decide what it will be, it's just a matter of pulling the trigger on the job, as the money is there waiting to be spent thanks to our savings challenge of 2009.

10. Complete all the unfinished craft and sewing projects!!
--This Hope is my own personal one that doesn't involve any other family members directly.  I need to just put my head down and plow through all these started projects OR make a decision to release them to someone else who wants to complete them.  This should take a good part of the year to accomplish.

You'll see this list again in the coming year on my blog, as I work on tackling these "Hopes".


Wednesday Already?...& A Life Update

This week seems to be flying by, doesn't it?

Here's a picture I snapped on Christmas of the wacky teens in our family.....the 3 I spawned and the nephew.
From left to right are....The Unibomber(minus his sunglasses and hoodie), Mr. Mall, SkaterPunk and My Face Will Crack if I Smile Girl.

Gee, aren't they just the cuddliest crew you ever saw?
I don't know....I just wanted to share the love.

I am finally feeling like I am getting into my old groove here after the madness and mayhem of the Holidays.  I tell ya....having #1 son home from college, the other 2 sullen teens out of school as well, plus hubby home for the week after Christmas and then hubby's sibling here for the whole week after that the usual insanity of too many dogs in the house AND add in bad weather with no sunshine for almost 2 Weeks and you get a very BIG case of Cabin Fever all 'round!!

But #1 son has been deposited back at school, the other two balls of "teen angst" are back in class as well, hubby is back at the salt mines and the relative has scurried home, so I have my peace and quiet back(well, except for 3 slobbering/baying hounds), so I can commence to concentrate on being the Haus Frau Extraordinaire I've always pictured myself to be(in my own mind at least).

I have soooo much I want to do(and even more I DON'T want to do, but I need to do)and so many things I wish to blog on.

I don't know about you but I am worn out from all the December shopping fever!  Not that I just shopped and shopped myself, since I don't do that mindless consuming thing anymore like many in our society.  But even at Christmas, I do buy a few things for my loved ones, otherwise they would have me drawn and quartered if they didn't get something, right?  For the kids(and the nephew) I did mostly money or gift cards this year and we cut back and simplified most everywhere else.

I am just worn out from watching and hearing about everyone else's Shopping Frenzy in December!
I just don't know how most people do it all.....and even more, I don't know how I did it all when I was a mindless consumer!lolol  I guess I was on auto-pilot or something.  I do remember in years past when I was a full-on Consumer that come January when the Shopping Madness ended, there was always a big let down....and I would fall into a pretty big depression for awhile.  Since I stopped the Cycle of Manic Holiday Shopping and have simplified my life in that area I find I don't experience such lows anymore. 

Anyway......onward and upward into a New Year I say!

Here's what you can look forward to on my blog in the coming week.....
*A Product Review
*A Recipe
*A Post on to start and how to organize it all
*News on a New Series of Giveaways!
*A Weekly Meal Plan

*The Usual Real Life Mayhem

And as always.....maybe a Shopping Trip to Rite-Aid!lol

Ok....hopefully I can keep up with this Schedule of Events and you want to come back and check things out.
So what is on your agenda for this coming week?  Leave a comment and tell us all about it...or if you have a blog, give us some tantalizing tidbits to get us all to come take a peek at ya!

Have a great Hump Day!!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Make a Budget 101

I am NOT a financial expert, nor do I play one on the internet.  This post is merely my own personal experience and thoughts on Budgeting.   If you have serious concerns or problems with your money, it may behoove you to seek the advise of a trained professional financial counselor.

So, are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck?
Tired of running out of money before the month is over?
Do you make a decent salary but you never seem to have enough to pay all your bills or have any left at the end of the month?

Then maybe you need to put yourself or your family on a B-U-D-G-E-T!
Many people see the word BUDGET and start shaking and sweating.
They have been led to believe that a budget is an evil thing.
It is something to FEAR!!
Some think that being on a budget is like a diet....neither of them let you have any F-U-N.
But that couldn't be further from the truth!

A budget is simply a plan you write down for your money to follow.
If you have a clear plan for your money then you don't have to worry where it goes because you KNOW where it's going, because you are PURPOSEFULLY telling it where to go.
When was the last time it was a GOOD THING to tell someone where to go?teehee

But where to start?
How do you go about making a budget?
You can buy books, or better yet borrow budgeting books from your local library.
You can pay a large sum of cash to go to seminars or hire a professional money person to assist you in coming up with a budget.
It doesn't matter HOW you go about it, you just need to STOP procrastinating or ignoring your finances and  MAKE A BUDGET.....NOW!

Don't be intimidated, just jump right in.
The only mistake is NOT doing anything.
If you make a blunder, that's fine.  Just learn from it and make a new budget next month and so on until, through trial and error, you come up with a Budget that works for you!

Here's a pretty simplistic way that I went about setting my first budget. 

I use 1 month as the defining format as most bills are due monthly, so my Budget is a Monthly Budget.

First thing is, you need to write down how much money you have to live on each month.
You can't possibly Live Within Your Means if you don't know what "Within Your Means" is!

Add in all income for the month--your total net income from paychecks in a month, any child support(if you can count on that)and/or alimony per month, monthly pension monies, government payments(like SSI), any side jobs/weekend jobs and hobbies that bring in income, etc.

Now, once you have a total of what cash you have coming into your home each month you know how much you have to live on.
For now, don't count any other savings or checking account money other than this month's income.

Let's say You have a monthly income of $2,500 after taxes.  That's your net income.
Remember that....gross income=before income=after taxes.

Now, on a different sheet of paper start listing your bills.
There is a definite order in which you should pay your bills.

**I know some people tithe to their church or other religious group.  I am not addressing this issue here.  If you tithe, be sure to allocate the proper percentage of your income first, if you follow the "First Fruits" concept.

I see 3 Levels of Spending in a Budget.
*Primary Needs
*Secondary Needs

*Primary Needs
1. In a perfect world and especially if you don't have any of your income going directly into savings BEFORE you get your check, take the 1st 10% of your income and and designate this your Payment to Self.
Before you pay ANY other bills, pay yourself!
If you make $2,500 net, pay yourself $250.  Put that first $250 into your savings or in a coffee can in your closet, I don't care right now where.  Just put it aside and DO NOT SPEND IT on monthly bills!

2. Next list what you pay for shelter(rent or mortgage-mortgage includes any taxes, PMI, etc.). Let's say you rent and that costs you $900 month.

3. Next list what you pay for utilities(electric, heat, gas, water, sewage).  This one is harder to figure as it can vary from month to month or from season to season.  If you can gather your utility bills from last year, find the average monthly amount you paid for last year, then add 5% to that to allow for any rise in the cost of these bills, because we all know, the cost of everything keeps going up.  Let's say you have heating/cooling/electric/water/sewage bills that average out to $240 a month.

Let's add up what you have spent so far of your $2,500 income.
$250, $900, $240=$1390
You have $1,110 left to spend.

4. Next list what you spend on food per month.
Another one that can vary.  Let's say you think you can feed your family for $250 a month. (Don't forget to include the money you spend at lunch when working and the money your kids spend at school if they don't bring their lunches too!)

That $250 leaves you with $860 remaining in your monthly income.

*Secondary Needs
After you pay yourself, your housing, utilities and food, you can allocate the rest of your income into any other Secondary Needs.  You can rank these other Spending Needs according to how important you feel it is to fund them.
Examples are....
*Insurance(health, medical, dental, home or renter's, car)
*Transportation(either bus/train/subway passes, car payments/car fees/car costs such as gas/maintenance, taxi costs, any other costs that are required to transport you to your job or out for pleasure)
*Medical/Dental/Pharmaceutical/Vision Co-Pays
*Credit Card Payments....hopefully you don't have any of these!And if you do, hopefully you are paying MORE than the minimum payment amount on them.

Let's say you need $400 to fund these categories per month.
This leaves you with $460 of your monthly income left to spend/save.

*Wants Spending
Once you have all your NEEDS met, then you can budget for your WANTS.
Wants would include, but are not limited to....
*Cable(tv, internet, etc.)
*Entertainment(such as eating out or take-out--unless you put that under your Food Budget, movies and concerts--don't forget to figure in the food or souvenirs, bowling, drinks out with friends, taking kids to an event that charges money and magazine and dvd subscriptions.  Note that I did NOT include shopping as entertainment. ;-)
*Home Decor
*Charitable giving--this is not a physical "need" but a spiritual one and not a want really but it's a good use of extra money.
*Any other thing you want to spend money on that is NOT a need.

Between the cable bill, Netflix, and buying clothing, let's say you requires $250 a month for the Want Categories of Spending.

After allocating money into all your categories, you end up with $210 Leftover at the end of each month's income.

Having a bit leftover is a good thing.
In case something unexpected happens one month, you have a small emergency cushion.
And you all know that emergencies WILL happen.

So take that leftover $210 and stash it into a safe place, like a bank account or your wall safe.  You want it safe but you also need it to be relatively liquid.  Don't stick this leftover cash into a bond or cd or the stock market where you can't pull it out if needed quickly without having to pay interest penalties.  Once you have built up a sizable emergency fund, then you can stash any leftover funds each month into something that bears some decent interest.

Once you have the Budget written down and set, your work isn't done yet.
Oh NO!
Go get a notebook.
Here's mine.  It cost me .10¢ on sale.  You can get a fancy smancy one if you want to spend a lot....but make sure you add that cost to your budget under a WANTS don't NEED fancy....

Now every time you spend money this month, tuck the receipt or the stub from a paid bill or the invoice into the back of that notebook.  
At the end of the month, take all those receipts out and write the amounts into your notebook.

I write on each line--the date the money was paid, then where or what was paid, then list the amount.
(IE: 1/12/10   Water Co.   $60.24)

Start with #1-the payment to yourself.
Then write in #2-the rent/mortgage payment.
Then #3-the utility payments.
Next is #4-all the food receipts.
Continue listing, in the order you Ranked your Spending Categories, all your receipts....Primary Needs, Secondary Needs then Wants.
Then add up all your spending for the month.

If you stayed within your Budget framework, congratulations!
You have a good working Budget.
If your spending exceeded your Budget, go check each category and see where your Budget wasn't accurate.
As long as you are NOT spending more than you make, you are still in good shape.  Your spending may just need to be adjusted in some categories.  See which one(s) you need more cash for and which ones you had budgeted for more than you spent and move the income allocation around.

If you ended up spending more than you had coming in for the month, you need to closely examine what you are spending on and cut however much you are overspending.
And since you wrote down EVERYTHING you spent this month, it is easy to see where your money went!

My suggestion when looking for places to cut spending is to examine the WANTS categories first.
After that, look to your variable spending categories, like Food, Entertainment, Gifts, Donations to Charity, etc.  Next try to see if some creditors will give you a special rate or deal.  Call the utility companies and see if there is a special package or bundle rate, call the credit card company and see if they will lower your interest rate or transfer your balance to a new account that offers 0% interest for a limited time, etc.  It can't hurt to ask and you just might get them to give you a lower price!

If you don't have enough money to live within your means you have 3 options.....
*Increase your Income
*Cut your spending
*A combination of both

DO NOT put living expenses on a credit card if you run out of money!
This will only put you into debt or put you into MORE debt.
And it will KEEP you in DEBT!!
You need to bring more money in somehow &/or spend less.

Good luck on Finding the Budget that works for you!


My 5 Transaction Moneymaker at Rite-Aid.....The Final Report In

Here are my Transactions from Sunday, 1/17, at Rite-Aid.
I went to 3 different stores and did a total of 5 Transactions.  I had planned on 4 but found I needed a 5th trip to get everything purchased for the deals.
The important thing I had to remember was that I had 3 separate Olay Rebates to send for and needed these on 3 separate receipts, I needed to purchase the corresponding Olay products in 3 SEPARATE Transactions!
That was the foundation when writing out my scenarios.  Otherwise, it was just building on these purchases with other items, to get to the $20 or $25 mark so I could use a $X off $X Purchase coupon on top of the individual items' coupons.
The "filler" items were things that qualified for the SCRs &/or items I wanted/needed that were cheap or free after coupons.

And the best advise I can give Anyone who coupons is to BRING A CALCULATOR WITH YOU TO THE STORE!  It is sooo handy in avoiding dumb math mistakes while shopping!!

Transaction #1

1 x Olay Regenerist UV Cream stuff=$29.99 YIKES!lol
1x Olay Regenerist Eye Roller 50% sale=$10.99  What the hell is this thing??

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 Purchase IPQ=$5.00
2 x $3/1 Olay Regenerist ManuQ(1/17PG)=$6.00
1 x $20 Gift of Savings Rite-Aid Certificate=$20.00
Coupon Total....$31.00

$40.98-$31.00=$9.98+$.96tax=$10.94 OOP

Qualified for Olay $20 Rebate HERE($9.06 Moneymaker)AND am $40.98 toward the Rite-Aid SCR#551 $35 prepaid Visa Card.

Transaction #2
2 x Olay Regenerist Cleansers on sale B1G150%off=$11.98
2 x Bayer Aspirin on sale $1.99=$3.98
2 x Doritos on sale $2.49=$4.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks Rite-Aid IPQ=$5.00
2 x $3/1 Olay Regenerist Cleansers ManuQ(1/17PG)=$6.00
2 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Doritos AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
2 x $.50/1 Any Snack Item over $.50 Wellness IPQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$18.00

$20.94-$18.00=$2.94+$.42tax=$3.36 OOP

Qualified for Olay $15 Rebate HERE($11.64 Moneymaker)AND am $11.98 More toward the Rite-Aid SCR#551 $35 prepaid Visa Card($52.96).

 Transaction #3

2 x Olay Lotion B1G150%off sale=$11.23
2 x Old Spice Deodorant on sale $2.50=$5.00
1 x Secret Deodorant=$4.99
1 x Bayer Aspirin on sale=$1.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Olay Lotion ManuQ(1/17PG)=$4.00 **Though they are correct, tese Qs beeped but she pushed them through.
1 x $1/2 Old Spice Deodorant ManuQ(12/27PG)=$1.00
1 x B2Old Spice/Get Secret Free ManuQ(12/27PG)=$4.99
1 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$16.99

$23.21-$16.99=$6.22+$.38tax=$6.60 OOP

Qualified for Olay TRY ME FREE Rebate HERE($4.63 Moneymaker)AND am $21.22(Old Spice/Secret/Olay) toward the Rite-Aid SCR#551 $35 prepaid Visa Card($74.18).

Transaction #4
4 x Pantene Shampoo on sale $3=$12.00
1 x NyQuil on sale=$3.99
1 x Oral B CrossAction Toothbrush on sale=$2.99
2 x Bayer Aspirin on sale $1.99=$3.98

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
2 x $3/2 Pantene ManuQ(12/27PG)=$6.00
1 x $2 Nyquil ManuQ(1/17PG)=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Oral B Toothbrush(12/27PG)=$1.00
2 x $2/1 Bayer Aspirin AdPerks IPQ=$4.00
Coupon Total....$18.00

$22.96-$18.00=$4.96+$.06tax=$5.02 OOP

Rite-Aid SCRs qualified for....$1.25 Oral B and $1 Nyquil AND $18.98(Pantene/Nyquil/Oral B) More toward the Rite-Aid SCR#551 $35 prepaid Visa Card($93.16).

I needed $6.84 more to get to $100 P&G purchases and that $35 Visa card.  Someone also wanted me to pick up some Soda for them so here's what I did....

Transaction #5
4 x 12packs of Pepsi brand sodas on sale $3.33=$13.32
1 x Olay Cleanser on clearance 50%off=$4.99**
1 x Oral B CrossAction Toothbrush on sale=$2.99
1 x Doritos on sale=$2.49

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $20 Purchase AdPerks IPQ=$5.00
1 x $3.33 WYB 4 Pepsi Products 12 packs Rite-Aid in-ad Q=$3.33
1 x $3/1 Olay Regenerist ManuQ(1/17PG)=$3.00
1 x $1/1 OralB Toothbrush ManuQ(12/27PG)=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Doritos AdPerks IPQ=$1.00
1 x $.50/1 Any Snack Item over $.50 Wellness IPQ=$.50
Coupon Total....$13.83

$23.79-$13.83=$9.96+$.60tax(on soda)=$10.56 OOP
MY OOP(after soda reimbursement of $9.59)= Negative $.03!

The soda buyer got a free 12 pack because I used a coupon for them and I was able to use a $5 off $20 coupon on my stuff because the soda purchase brought my total up over $20.

Though I can't qualify for another $1 OralB SCR, I have $7.98 More toward the Rite-Aid SCR#551 $35 prepaid Visa Card, giving me a $101.14 Total.

**Now since I have another Olay Regenerist Cleanser item with this transaction, if I can find a second of this brand/type that is inexpensive, I can send for this $15 Olay Rebate again for my *ahem* brother-in-law*ahem*.  Depending on what I spent OOP on the second Cleanser, I can add to my Moneymaker Profit with that purchase/rebate.

Total OOP for these trips.....$25.89
Rebates qaulified for these trips....$48.48 & a $35 Visa Card

$25.89-$48.48=$22.59 Moneymaker & a $35 Visa Card!
Plus some Olay stuff to sell on eBay and other stuff to take to the Flea Market in the Spring, so I'll get more $$ back too. ;-)

When I was sitting in the car out front of  Rite-Aid #3 figuring out what to buy in Transaction $5 to get over the $100 mark for the Visa card, I realized I had screwed up something.  The Old Spice Deodorants I bought were NOT the correct ones to buy to A-use the FREE SECRET Q I used and B-to qualify for SCR #74(another $2 in rebates).  I had another set of Qs to do this deal again and looked in the Rebate catalog to see what else to buy(yes, I carry this to the store with me!lol) and saw this #74 SCR and noticed the goof.
The cashier didn't notice my goof up and the Qs scanned into the register without a peep anyway.  The correct Deodorants are $4.29 so it should be another $1.79 a piece($3.58 more for 2).
I am torn about what to do.
I want to return them and buy the proper will raise my OOP, er....I mean lower my Moneymaker amount overall but that's not my concern.
My concern is returning them and rebuying without totally confusing whichever cashier or manager I am dealing with.  It's not simple to do since many coupons where involved the first go-around I don't know how they will handle this(return/rebuy a diff. product and not have the Qs returned for the rebuy?).  When it's all over, I might end up paying much more for them all if they just don't let me pay the difference and exchange for the higher priced Deos.
Exchanging them and paying the difference will let me apply for the #74 SCR, so after rebate only another $1.58 more to pay, and it's the right thing.  But the returning process could be a horrible mess when the dust settles.
Or I could just let it go and hope I pay closer attention next time....
Oh, decisions, decisions....

Anyway, that was how my game plan went down.  I had a whole scenario written down but once I got to the stores, some of the stores were out of things so it was a matter of substituting items from one scenario into another.  I also brought extra Qs and had other items to use if I couldn't come up with enough products in my scenarios that were available at these particular stores.  I could have bought more Nyquil or Pantene or even gotten Always pads/tampons(with BOGO Qs)if I had needed to.
Things never go as planned totally with multiple scenarios but by being ready with alternatives and keeping your mind open, you can be flexible enough to figure optional plans out. 

Now it's off to fill out some rebate forms and do some record keeping....