Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween....Are You Ready?

Except for the string of pumpkin shaped lights framing the front porch, this is all we could muster up to greet the Trick-or-Treaters this evening.
My dying potted mums(gee, the purpled ones never even bloomed fully before the cold got them)and 2 'fake' light-up jack o'lanterns.

We are pathetic....

No one got the 'umph' this year to get a real live pumpkin and carve it.  The teens are at the age where they hardly care about this kind of thing anymore....the Daughter has to work and the #2 son just wants the "Halloween Loot"....perferably Twix bars.

But our lack of Halloweenie spirit won't deter all the little and not-so little hobgoblins in our neighborhood from darkening our door as soon as the sun dips below the horizon this year. 
You see, we have a "rep" in reputation around here.  We are on the list of "best houses to hit" for Trick-or-Treating.
That's because we give out BIG CANDY!
No little bite-sized pieces of candy or even worse, that generic stuff in the plain wrappers.
We give out full sized candy bars and full packs of gum.  And this year, we also have, for the lucky few, KING SIZED candy bars, thanks to Rite-Aid's candy deals.
We get hit early and hit up often for "loot" and often have to turn out the light because we run out before the parade of kids is done for the night.
I would go broke if I had to pay full retail price for all that candy!
Sigh....What I do to be popular for one night a

And when I got home from my trip to the farm on Thursday with eight pie pumpkins Hubs started stroking his chin and sizing them up as carving material.  I looked him in his beady eyes and told him these are not decorating gourds, so no one lays a piece of cutlery on these babies unless the end result is to make pie, so back off Michelangelo! 

Here's hoping that only the nice ghouls and goblins surround you this year.
Happy Halloween!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Rite-Aid This Week

So no surprise I made a couple more trips to Rite-Aid this week, right?lol

There are also 3 12-packs of Mountain Dew that are not pictured here.

I won't bore you with the nit-picky details on this one since it turned out to be a colossal mess!
The employees were super busy and one started my order and another finished it.
Then things rang up crazy amounts and add on that the meter got price checked and then NOT rung I didn't pay for it and had crazy overage and couldn't make heads or tails of my receipt when I got home....and then I had to schlep everything back to the store and get it all fixed and actually PAY for the meter and pray that whomever was on that night didn't think I stole the meter, or even think I was a nutjob when I tried to explain it all.  I was even tempted to just put the meter back on the shelf and not try to explain all this because I didn't want the cashier to get into trouble for just making a mistake, but the meters are right under the pharmacy window so there was no way I could have taken it out of a bag and put it back on the shelf without someone noticing.

Oy vey...what a mess!
Let's just say I spent $.50 OOP on the rest of the stuff and put it on my gift card in the end, shall we?

3 things here I want to mention....
1. The Colgate Sensitive, though it is the correct size to qualify for the BOGO sale this week and nothing in the ad disqualifies it from being part of that sale, does NOT ring up BOGO.  I didn't feel like fighting about it at the store level(goodness knows I don't NEED more toothpaste personally!lol), nor did I feel like calling Corporate on this, so I just returned it(something I hardly ever EVER do!).  Well, since I was there to explain my ...ahem, stolen meter and pay for it, adding in a return on the same receipt(that the meter should have been on)just complicated the devil out of this bizarre transaction. lolol
2. The Hormel Chili is indeed giving an unexpected/not advertised $1 +Up Reward.  Add in that the AdPerks/VV Chili coupon is NOT serialized(meaning you can print and use as many as the store will let you at one time-1 coupon per can)and your can of chili on sale this week will cost you $.75 and give you back a $1 +Ups.
3. The Maxell CD pack(which I had to scramble to add to my order because I "thought" I had misjudged my couponage and turned out to be the meter not getting rung up)were a good deal for me with my 20% off discount. week this item, reg. retail in my store of $21.99, is on sale chainwide for $12.99, so a much better deal than the 20% wellness discount cost.  And if you have a Flu Booklet, there is a $3 coupon in there for this item, PLUS there is a $3 Single Check Rebate for November on this item.  So your $21.99 price CD pack will cost you a mere $6.99 when all is said and done.

So let's move on to Transaction #2 from the following day when I went back after the truck from the warehouse brought restocks.....
Let me explain that I have been in search of the Alka-Seltzer Fast Powder Packs all week.  They are on sale this week for $5, there is a $3/1 coupon from this past Sunday's coupon inserts, each one gives a $2 +Up, plus if you purchase $30 in select Bayer products this week, the register also spits out a $10 +Up.  So theorectically, if you purchase 6 of the elusive Alka-Setlzers, use 6 $3/1 coupons and a $5 off $25 purchase coupon, you'll pay $7 OOP and receive $22 in +Up Rewards.
The key factor here is IF you can find 6 packages of this item.
Needless to say, no Rite-Aid had enough of this product to satisfy demand this week and all the shelves around here have been bare of this product since roughly 9:05am on last Sunday morning after the sale started.

And our store did NOT get any restock of this item.
So I procured a raincheck for 7 boxes...that's how many I would need to do this deal with my 20% wellness discount.
And let me tell you.....trying to explain to the cashier how she needed to write this raincheck out made me NEED this product immediately!
What a mess.....
She sort of got it, and wrote it for a sales price of $3 per package since that's the price AFTER the +Ups it won't be giving after this week.  But then I tried to explain that since I would be buying 7 and my total would be over $30(before coupons and the +Ups she was discounting from the price), I should also get $10 off the total purchase.
Her eyes glazed over and she couldn't wrap her brain around how to add that into the price I was to be charged, so she wrote, "Spend $30 Get $10 Up.  Figure out at time of purchase." and signed it.
Ah, perfect!  Pass the headache onto whoever rings these puppies up in the future.....
It probably is all for naught though, since the chances of finding 7 of these items on the shelf in the next month before the raincheck expires is highly improbable.

So I went ahead and did a Bayer Deal using what was on the shelf.  I wanted to try these Bayer AM things anyway, since they are aspirin and caffeine, which is basically what "migraine" labeled formulations contain and migraine promoted products are pricey.  With my wellness discount, coupons and the +Up Deal, it was better than free.

4 x Bayer AM ($7.29 reg. retail)w/wellness discount $5.83=$23.32
1 x Bayer 50 ct.(also part of the deal)w/wellness discount=$4.55
1 x Alka-Seltzer Cold on sale=$4.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25=$5.00
5 x $3/1 select Bayer product In-Store Ad=$15.00
2 x $2/1 Bayer AM ManuQ=$4.00
2 x $1.50/1 Bayer AM IPQ=$3.00
1 x $1/1 Bayer product ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Alka-Seltzer product IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Alka-Seltzer product AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Alka-Seltzer product Peelie on package=$1.00
Coupon Total....$31.00

I used a $1 +Up, so $1.86-$1.00=$.86 Out of Pocket put on a Rite-Aid gift card.
And I received a $10 +Up Rewards.

Spent 1 +Ups, got 10 back, making me 9 "Up" for this transaction.

*A word about stacking a ManuQ, a StoreQ and a PeelieQ on one item.
Technically Peelie coupons ARE Manufacturer's coupons and you can't use 2 manufacturerer's coupons on a single item.
However, at Rite-Aid you can stack a peelie on the product with your own Manu. coupon.
Now I don't know if this is a chainwide policy or not.
But it is done in this region at all the Rite-Aid stores I have bought anything at.  The first time it happened, the cashier was the one who noticed the peelie and went to scan it for me.  I reminded her that I had already used a ManuQ on the product and she said that they were told to let customers use any peelies on the products they were buying at the point of purchase, regardless if they had other coupons OR if the peelie coupon was past it's expiration date.  This policy has been confirmed to me by employees at two additional stores I shop at since that happened.
I am curious to know if any of my readers who shop Rite-Aid have encountered this policy for themselves?  Please leave a comment if you have.

Anyway, back to the numbers....I won't add in the toothpaste that I returned or the meter debacle to the value of items.

THESE TRIPS Total Spent....$1.36(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$78.49+$41.34=$119.83
SCR qualified for...$3.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$15.00
+Up Rewards spent...$1.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$39.00

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......5
Total Spent....$2.74 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$258.31
SCR qualified for....$3.00
Other Cash....$0.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 10/24....$24.00
+Up Rewards spent....$14.00
+Up Rewards earned....$32.00
+Up Rewards left....$39.00


Friday, October 29, 2010

Simplifying the Holidays....Define YOUR Celebration

So what do I mean exactly when I talk about simplifying the Holidays?

What I mean is to make a deliberate plan of action this Holiday Season on how to fill your time, keeping in mind that there are only 24 hours in a day and realize that you can't do everything that is available to do, and you can't spend beyond your means.
By cutting out some activities this Holiday time, you will have more time for enjoying the ones you choose to keep and everyone around you will feel calmer for the slower pace you proceed at.

The specifics of Simplifying your Holiday Season will mean something different to every person because after all, everyone has their own likes and dislikes, family situations and amount of cash to spend available to them.  I can't tell you HOW or WHAT to include or not to include in your Holidays....that is your job to decide.  I can bring up some topics to explore and get you thinking about what you do now for the Holidays and/or consider changes you may want to make in your life.

But before you can enjoy your Holiday Season, you need to make a plan, a master list of how you plan on celebrating this year.  Even though you have a plan, remember that you still need to be flexible and open to changes if "life happens".

Yah, I know it's still Oct. but sit down and really think about what you want your Holiday Season to be like before the Yuletide craziness starts.

Ask yourself....What do you like about this time of year?
If you could celebrate exactly how you wanted and not how everyone else thought you should celebrate, what would you do/participate in this year?

Is it the shopping and hunting for just the right gift that you love?
Or do you think about the shopping & gifting part is just way too much hassle and money spent for no good reason?

Do you like to decorate.....the tree, the rooms, the lights outside and everything else you can think of to drape garland over?
Or do you prefer a few well placed festive touches in your home or nothing special at all?

Are you all about throwing or attending parties?
Or do you prefer to visit one on one with close friends or like to hold up on the couch watching old movies alone with your dog, sipping on a mug of egg nog?

Are you the Holiday baking Queen and your kitchen emits scrumptious smells as you create food with love?
Or do you keep your favorite bakery or caterer on speed dial for your eating pleasure?

Face it--if you tried to do Everything at the Holidays, you would kill yourself from the work and the stress.
You would not enjoy anything because you would not be present in the here and nowYou would be going through the motions alright, but your mind would be thinking ahead to the next thing you needed to cross off your list...your very long list!

People set themselves up for failure by trying to do it all at the Holidays.  There are only so many hours in the day you can devote to the added strain involved in craving out time for celebrating.
The laundry, the cooking dinner, the cleaning, the regular errands of life, the homework supervision still needs to get done.  Now you have to add all those Holiday things on top of your life?
When you try to do too much, nothing will live up to your expectations.
It's better for you and your family if you pick and chose specific activities and rituals to participate in this year instead of rushing head first into Holiday overload!
It will help restore a bit of sanity to your life by scaling back the scope of your plans.

So find a few quiet minutes in your day in the coming week and realistically figure out what shape your Holiday Season will take.
Choose the rituals you feel speak the Holiday's language for you....

Send cards?
Give gifts?
Bake treats or special meals?
Church/Synagogue services and fellowship?
Christmas Tree...Deck the Halls?
Volunteer or Charity Donations?
Holiday Trips?
Special Activities with the young people in your life?
Winter Sports?

Don't forget to consult your spouse or significant other too!  Hash out a list for the Holiday Season that is realistic and that you both can live with.

I suggest once you have a list, to go back and number the items on it so you set up a Priority system.
That way you have a clear idea of which items are more important than others and if time runs short and you find you can't do everything on that list, you know which items are the most important to accomplish in the time you have available.

Next time I'll share my Holiday To-Do List with you.
Feel free to share your List or any Questions/Ideas for me in the Comments section.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Want Caaaandyyyy!....Back to Rite-Aid for Chocolate

I still had some BOGO candy bar Qs in my pocket so I went traipsing back to Rite-Aid yesterday....

I won't bore you with the nit-picky figures.
Total before Coupons....$31.11
Coupon Total.....$21.03
Used $10 +Ups received for buying last mound of candy bars....$10.00
$31.11-$21.03-$10.00+Up=$.08 Out of Pocket.
And that 8¢ was put on my handy dandy free Rite-Aid gift card.

I should have bought 1 less $.50 candy bar and the OOP should have been $.18 but....
the cashier rang the 1st BOGO candy bar coupon for $1.59 and not the max. amount it allowed which was .99¢.  I caught it and told her so she rang the rest up correctly but she didn't go back and change that 1st one.
So I had an extra 50¢ to cover and threw in another 50¢ candy bar.
Oh, I received another $10 +Up Rewards for buying another batch of $25 worth of chocolate/candy advertising in the sales flyer.
So I basically just rolled that $10 +Up into more free candy bars and added a $1 +Up for buying the 2 Oatmeal boxes!

My teens are just thrilled to pieces with me lately!....I wonder why?  ;-)

Then I went back to the local store to pick up my Rxs last night and got this.....

2 x Quaker Oatmeal on sale $2.50=$5.00
2 x Pistaschios on sale $2.99=$5.98
2 x Colgate Toothpaste on sale BOGO=$3.79
1 x Lady Speed Stick Deodorant on sale=$2.95
1 x Aveeno Shampoo on sale=$5.99
2 x NYC cosmetics(1 Lip Gloss/1 Nail Polish) on sale BOGO=$1.99

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 from activating my wellness acct. online IPQ=$5.00
2 x $2/1 Quaker Oatmeal IPQ=$4.00
2 x $1/1 Pistachios IPQ(all you website)=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Colgate Total Toothpaste ManuQ=$2.00
2 x $1/1 Colgate product AdPerks/VV IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Speed Stick AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Speed Stick Flu Booklet Q=$1.00
1 x $4/1 Aveeno Hair item AdPerks/VV IPQ=$4.00
1 x $1/1 NYC item IPQ(all you website)=$1.00
Coupon Total....$22.00

Used $3 in +Ups....$3.70-$3.00=$.70 Out of Pocket put on my Rite-Aid gift card.
I received $6 in +Up Rewards back....($1 WYB 2 Quaker, 2 x $1 Pistachios, $1 Aveeno, 2 x $1 NYC items)=$6.00
So I spent $3 +Ups and received $6 back.

A few comments....
*There is a AdPerks/VV Q that can be stacked with the In-ad Q to make the Deodorant $.99 OOP. The Deodorant Q is NOT serialized and can be printed and used more than once...but you have to print the number you want to have at once since you can't go back and print them again later once you have printed them.  The non-serialized Qs end with 122510(that's the expiration date for the Nov. viewed AdPerk/VV Qs).

*The Buy 1 NYC item, Get 1 NYC nail polish prints 1 $1 +Up Rewards for each item, even the free nail polish item.  Be sure to select the $1.99 nail polish and NOT the $.99 nail polish if you want the +Up to print.  The $.99 polishes do not produce a +Up Reward.

*It has come to my attention that you can use more than one AdPerks/VV Q in your order, even the serialized ones, which you can only print and use once.  You can only do this by accessing/having more than 1 AdPerk/VV account.  You can have other people print Qs from their AdPerk/VV accounts and give them to you to use in addition to your own AdPerk/VV Qs.  However you can only use 1 AdPerk Q per item(besides stacking ManuQs with them).  For example, I bought 2 Colgate Toothpastes.  I had 2 $1/1 Manu Colgate Qs, one for each tube.

I also had 2 $1/1 AdPerk/VV Colgate item was from my account, one was from my BIL's account.  I stacked one of these Qs with each of the ManuQs for the toothpaste.  1 Adperk Colgate Q was in his name, 1 in mine.  Both scanned through with no beeps or problems.
I hope I made this point clear as mud. ;-)

THESE TRIPS Total Spent....$.78(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$87.60
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$16.00
+Up Rewards spent...$13.00
+Up Rewards left to spend....$24.00

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......3
Total Spent....$1.38 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$138.48
SCR qualified for....$0.00
Other Cash....$0.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

+UPS Totals for Nov. SCR period
+Up Rewards carryover from 10/24....$21.00
+Up Rewards spent....$13.00
+Up Rewards earned....$17.00
+Up Rewards left....$25.00


Drawing a Life Lesson from Spider-man

The Coupon Goddess has again brought up a Reader Issue for debate.  Go read about it HERE.
Basically it involves instituting Couponing Skills Courses for Food Stamp recipients.

If you've been a longtime reader of my blog, you'll remember that I partook in a Food Stamp Challenge back in June of this year.  I spent that month exploring the issues surrounding Food Stamps as well as living off of an average full monthly allotment of snap benefits(food stamps)in my daily life.
You can search back in the archives of June 2010 to read up on what I talked about then and see how we did with that challenge.
So this issue is not something I haven't considered long and hard before.  And over the intervening months I've continued to mull some of these same issues over in my own head.

Here is my very long response to this debate.....

"With great power comes great responsibility"--Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-man

First off, I am older than dirt and have "been around" on this big blue ball many many years and seen a lot of human nature.
We are fascinating creatures, are we not?

Requiring 'courses' of some kind by social service agencies has been tried off and on over the years since the modern day food stamp program began a long time ago.  Anything from mandated lessons on nutrition to shopping skills to cooking skills have been held.  States are in charge of implementing, modifying & setting rules within a standard frame for their individual Food Stamp programs so nothing has been tried on a nationwide scale.

The result of all these courses overall? 
Unless attendance was required to get the food benefit, most people in the program did NOT go.  While I'm sure you have recipients with legit reasons why they couldn't attend, it is human nature to keep doing what you are doing and not step outside of your comfort zone and try new things.  Most people are not motivated to make the effort it takes, even though they would reap many benefits in the life they lead from partaking of something like these courses.  Some people would be against being told to attend from the word "go",  since grown up people don't take kindly to being treated like a child and being told what to do is seen as condescending by many.  Then the Food Stamp employees would be dealing with a whole lot of passive-aggressiveness on their part when dealing with these clients.

If efforts are made(and additional monies in the program's budget spent)on ideas that only a few take advantage of(like courses), those in charge end up discontinuing those services.  Obviously, the courses are NOT cost-effective from an accounting standpoint.  Also when budgets are cut if these kind of services are in place, they are the first thing to be cut(even if the clients utilize them),because the funds need to go for actual food benefits and spread out to cover the largest group of recipients it can.

It's sad really, that people as a whole don't take every advantage or help offered to them, and that we keep cycling through plans like this...start a course, have it met with indifference by the majority, discontinue that service and years later, after that service is forgotten have a new set of program directors try what is basically the same idea again.  Sad and frustrating.

That being said....I do feel that these sort of nutrition/cooking skills/shopping skills courses ARE a good thing.  And if it helps just one family break out of a cycle of poverty and/or diminished health, it was worth attempting.

I took part in a Food Stamp Challenge this past summer where I attempted to feed my family on the avg. monthly snap benefit amount those on full food stamp allotments receive.  With my couponing/cooking/budgeting skills I was able to complete it fairly handily without altering the diet I fed my family much.  If I had shopped/cooked like the average American, I doubt that I would have completed the task as handily.

As a part of this FS Challenge, I also researched the history of the program, the statistics, the shopping habits, the rules, and how to augment your scrip with other resources available to the general public and how to make frugal workarounds to stretch that money further.  I talked to people in the grocery store who used snap benefits to get some 'real' feedback to my 'phony' poverty.

In all this I found that the majority of snap benefit recipients have NO CLUE that you CAN USE COUPONS WITH FOOD STAMPS!
I was floored to find this out frankly.  The ones I talked to were equally surprised that they could combine the 2 forms of payment as well.

Now, I do see that using coupons if you are on food stamps is problematic, since if you are on food stamps, you are economically disadvantaged.
The majority of food stamp recipients don't have either extra money available or the resources to gather coupons.  If you don't have enough money to buy food for your family, how can you justify spending money on multiple newspapers for the inserts or paying for a coupon clipping service to get coupons?  Also, if money is tight, where do you get the cash for crazy expensive ink cartridges as well as paper to print out the coupons available online(if in fact, you have access to a computer WITH a printer)?

Here is what I would like to see happen.  It would NOT require any additional monies in a state's food stamp budget to be spent on non-food stamp benefits NOR would it require any added payroll funds.
1-Have every social services employee who deals with the public in the FS program make each recipient of the benefits aware that coupons CAN be used with Food Stamps in payemnet at the stores.  If handouts could be printed off at a small cost, then also give each recipient something in writing to take away when they come in to the agency.
Knowledge is power.  Those who are pro-active in their lives will take that power and use it, I hope. ;-)

2-Somehow get manufacturer's to supply their coupons(for food products only) to food stamp recipients for free.
I don't know who this could be accomplished, but by putting the coupons in the hands of those using snap benefits you take away one more stumbling block to stretching your food scrip dollar further.  I am sure that giving free coupons to the govt. agencies who handle the FS programs would be viewed as some how wrong(think companies using that 'in' supplying coupons directly to these consumers as a form of advertising and drumming up business and profits for those companies), perhaps some one can find a happy compromise that offends no one's sense of fair play.  An independent clearing house to receive the free coupon supplies, in charge of distributing said coupons to those in need.  I'm unclear on the actual 'how to' to get this accomplished.

3-While most govt. social service agencies are resistant to new ideas and people coming in off the street offering them help, try this at your local food bank or soup kitchen--a non-govt. entity.  If you coupon and have the bent or ability to teach others, go to said private entity and offer to hold a couponing class free of charge to anyone who wants to attend.  It may take some convincing but hopefully if you are persuasive and have a good argument for why it's a VERY good thing, and someone in charge will give you a chance to do something to help their clients outside of handing them a bag of food or a plate of hot food.
Or at the very least, approach these same independent entities about starting a Coupon Box at their location.  This would just be some system(a box in a corner or something more elaborate if wanted/needed)where someone could get free-to-them coupons to use.  Get a group together to donate coupons they won't or can't use to this effort.  File the coupons by category and make it available at the food bank or soup kitchen, etc. so people can take what they need.  It would just require getting the approval and setting this up initially and then once a month, someone would need to glean through and trash the out of date coupons, maintaining the system as it where.  Low maintenance and BIG potential for rewards!

Now I am off to DO something to help someone here using my coupon smarts.
What can YOU do in your world to make a positive impact?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Open Letter to McDonald's

Dear McDonald's Corporation,

Since 1981, your company, McDonald's has been trying to get the world to eat the abomination of a sandwich you call the McRib.

It was a dismal failure the first go round so you quietly pulled this puppy from the lineup in 1985.
4 YEARS you had tried to turn a profit on this concoction of a ground pork patty, bbq sauce, raw onions and pickles on a bun.
Just makes my mouth water typing that......
Wait! I lie.....NO it doesn't.

And instead of taking heed of the world's lack of love for this sammie, you, McDonald's, have brought it back sporadically in some form or another to grace your restaurant menus for the last 25 years.
25 years.....haven't we all suffered enough already?!
And now it's back again.....just in time for Oct. a very bad Halloween prank gone wrong!

All that money on marketing wasted with no profits produced.
All that "food" produced that you end up not needing since the demand for this product is nil.
By the way, what do you do with all that food when you yank the McRib from your menus?
On second thought, don't tell will only make me throw up a little in my mouth.

The McRib has had more Farewell Tours than the Who.
Of the two, I think Peter Townsend looks better than the McRib for the wear.

And another thing......
Pickles on a bbq sammie?!?

I grew up in the South and take my word for it, McDonald's executives, because sauce runs through my veins.....
No self-respecting Southerner would put pickles on a bbq pork sandwich!
Ok, maybe Uncle Cleatus' third cousin Bubba who got kicked in the head by a mule when he was a kid.
And maybe those immigrant Cuban folks in Florida but that's a totally different pork sandwich and Florida is NOT the South. ;-)

So take my advice and just take the McRib out to the woodpile and put it and us out of our misery please!
You know what a woodpile is don't you McDonald's?'s that thing next to the Smokehouse and the Barbecue Pitt where real chefs cook/smoke real pigs before they put that real meat between a bun.

A little coleslaw on a real bbq sandwich is optional but definitely not pickles.

I think the McRib needs to go toward the light this time and stay there!
It would be in the best interests of our planet and mankind.
Stomachs across our world will thank you for your humanitarian efforts.


Sluggy, G.R.I.T.S.*

*Girls Raised In The South

Is That A Food Money Hemorrhage I Feel?

                                    (Images courtesy of

Well this month began as a fairly Frugal Affair.

Ok, we took a short getaway trip to Ocean City MD....but we did it on the cheap and thrifty side!
And I stayed out of the grocery stores for two+ weeks....let alone any other kind of store, not counting Rite-Aid of course!  But Rite-Aid doesn't really count since they pay ME to shop there and I don't ever actually spend money at that store. 8-))
We were content and happy to be using up some stockpiled and freezer goodies for meals and snacks as the month began.

And then it happened......

Three, count 'em three local grocery stores ran Catalina deals in the last 2 weeks, including that lovely Hormel Bacon Promotion(slurp).  Weis Markets had a couple of Cat deals but I didn't even get to that store to take advantage of them....yes, I am slipping in my old age.

This past few weeks, it's like a rare convergence of celestial bodies combined with a lining up of the planets to form a Bargain Eclipse!lol
*Cue the skies opening up and a bevvy of heavenly hosts descending around my head, plucking on tiny harps and raising their angelic voices.....aaaaaah, aaaaahh, aaaaahhh.....

And just like that, I went from a monthly grocery spending total of just under $50 for October to a bloated budget busting total of over $300 for food.

I know, I know.....$300 in monthly food spending for a family of 4 is NOT really  "Out There" compared to what the average American spends on groceries, but for me,'s HUGE!lol

While I budget for food each month, we aren't living paycheck to paycheck and we regularly live well below our financial means.
So when I find great deals on food or anything else we need, I have the flexibility to spend more than I've budgeted and take advantage of the deals without taking the funds from some other expense we need the cash for instead.
Having a little extra cushion of money is a great thing indeed!
I highly recommend it. ;-)
But still.... when you scribble that pencil down to a nub and see $300 staring back at you from your piece of paper, it tends to make you pause, draw a darn big breath and make you light in the head for a moment.
Or is that just me? ;-)

I did 4 transactions at Redner's, doing the ConAgra and General Mills Catalina promotions(each gave a $10 Cat WYB $25 of items).  I bought 48 assorted items(from tv dinners to cooking oil to whipped cream to canned tomatoes) and spent $51.59 total OOP.  And I have a $10 Cat left to use.
While $50+ sounds high, that was for $293.53 of reg. retail value of food.
That's a savings rate of just under 82.5%(not counting the $10 Cat I have left).

As for my Hormel totals at Price Chopper......
3 bags of Pepperoni
26 packages of Bacon
34 cans of Chili
Equals 63 items
$39.90 OOP + a $7 Catalina left to spend
$222.27 reg. retail price of items
Savings of 82% (not counting the $7 left to spend).

So now I need to apply a Financial Tourniquet to our spending and try to avoid the grocery stores and eat down on this pile 'o food.
Luckily the month is almost over and I get to start with a clean budget slate in 5 days. 8-))

So how is your food spending going this month?
Have you gotten any good deals on groceries lately?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New SCR Period at Rite-Aid...Sugar Rush!

I went and used my BOGO Candy Bar Qs Sunday evening before all the Rite-Aid stores are wiped out of the BOGO King sized Bars this week.....

And notice the spiffy new fall colors tablecloth too!lol

This transaction is easy....
32 x King sized Candy Bars on sale BOGO($1.59)=$25.44

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 purchase Q from my wellness acct.=$5.00
16 x BOGO Mars brand ManuQ(up to $.99)=$15.84
Coupon Total....$20.84


Used $4 in +Up Rewards...$4.60-$4.00=$.60 OOP put on free Rite-Aid gift card.

Received $10 +Up Reward for buying $25 in advertised Candy items.(lots of candy items qualify, check the sales flyer).

Many people on Sunday were reporting that the $10 Candy +Up didn't print for them.  It seems some of the candy items were not keyed in to qualify for this +Up and corporate was fixing it.  Not sure if it's fixed yet so check the Slick Deals board before you go try to do this deal.  If your +Up does not print, call Rite-Aid Corporate Customer Service at 1-800-748-3243

THIS TRIP Total Spent....$.60(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$50.88
SCR qualified for...$0.00
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$10.00
+Up Rewards spent...$4.00

GRAND TOTALS--November Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......1
Total Spent....$.60 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$50.88
SCR qualified for....$0.00
Other Cash....$0.00
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0.00

Nothing spent and I am "up" $6 in +Ups as I received $10 but only spent $4.

+UPS Totals for Oct. SCR Period
+Up Rewards carryover from last trip....$20.50
+Up Rewards spent....$4.00
+Up Rewards earned....$10.00
+Up Rewards left....$26.50*
*Updated +Ups Total....$21.00($5.50 of old total given to kids to spend)


The Last Rite-Aid Trips for the SCR Period and FINAL TOTALS!

Boring Rite-Aid trip post alert.....skip down to the bottom for the SCR Period Final Numbers for 9/26-10/23.

I had to get in a couple more trips.
After all....who can resist FREE TOILET PAPER!lol

1 x Scott 12 roll Toilet Paper on sale=$7.49
2 x Axe Shower Gel on sale BOGO 50%=$8.53
3 x Hormel Compleats on sale $1.99=$5.97
1 x Clearsil Cream 20% wellness disc.=$4.23

Coupons Used
1 x $5 off $25 the one from that newsletter in Jan.=$5.00
1 x $2.50/1 Scott TP IPQ=$2.50
1 x BOGO Axe Shower Gel ManuQ=$4.55 **
1 x $1/3 Hormel Compleast IPQ=$1.00
1 x $2/1 any Clearasil product In-Ad Q=$2.00
1 x $2/1 any Clearasil product IPQ=$2.00
Coupon Total...$17.05

Used $9 in +Up Rewards...$9.17-$9.00=$.17+$.06tax=$.23 OOP put on Rite-Aid gift card.

Received $7 in new +Up Rewards...3 x $1(Hormel), $2(Scott), 2 x $1(Axe)=$7.00

I 'lost' $2 in  the +Ups count this time but that's the price I pay for more
And I keep forgetting to stack the $1/1 Hormel Compleats Q from the Flu Booklet w/my IPQ ManuQ....ugh.

**Ok, the Axe was Buy One Get One 1/2 off, so I should have gotten only $2.84 off with my BOGO Q.
But the register showed each Axe as being $4.55....I think that was the price with my 20% off wellness discount.  So the cashier took off $4.55 instead of $2.84 and I didn't catch it until I sat down to type this out now.  Rite-Aid owes me $3 in +Ups that I never got around to calling Corporate about from 3 weeks ago so I guess in the end it all evens out. ;-)

And that evening I stopped in another store and got this.....

1 x Scott TP on sale=$7.49
3 x Hormel Compleats on sale $1.99=$5.97
1 x Oscillococcinum  on sale=$4.99
1 x Simply Saline  on sale=$3.99
1 x Ace cold pack w/wellness 20% disc.=$1.03
2 x Pepsi bottles w/wellness 20% disc.$1.27=$2.54

Coupons Used

1 x $5 off $25 the one from my wellness acct.=$5.00
1 x $2.50/1 Scott TP IPQ=$2.50
1 x $1/3 Hormel Compleats IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Hormel Compleats Flu Booklet Q=$1.00
1 x $3/1 Oscillo IPQ=$3.00
1 x $2/1 Oscillo AdPerks/VV IPQ=$2.00
1 x $1/1 Simply Saline ManuQ=$1.00
1 x $1.50/1 Ace cold Pack IPQ=$1.50-again they didn't adjust the Q down
1 x BOGO Pepsi bottles AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.27
Coupon Total...$18.27

Used $7 in +Up Rewards...$7.74-$7.00=$.74+$.02tax=$.76 OOP put on Rite-Aid gift card.

Received $5 in new +Up Rewards...3 x $1(Hormel), $2(Scott)=$5.00
Qualified for SCR #25($4.99) and #30($3.99)=$8.98

And while I "lost" $2 +Ups(used $7, got $5 back), I will received $8.98 in SCRs on BIL's account, so overall we are "up" $6.98 on this transaction.

THESE TRIPS Total Spent....$.99(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$80.34
SCR qualified for...$8.98
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$12.00
+Up Rewards spent...$16.00

GRAND TOTALS--October Rebate Period  FINAL

Number of Transactions......16
Total Spent....$5.70 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$725.56
SCR qualified for....$53.90
Other Cash....$1.94 cash refund
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....2 x $5.99NasoGel(Mfg. Rebates 1 for me/1 for BIL)=$11.98

I've spent nothing out of pocket(since the gift cards were free)and I'm getting back $65.88 in cash and have $725.56 in products.
Who can NOT love this kind of shopping! 8-))

+UPS Totals for Oct. SCR Period
+Up Rewards carryover from last trip....$24.50
+Up Rewards spent....$16.00
+Up Rewards earned....$1.00
+Up Rewards left....$20.50*
* I need to recount my +Up Rewards that are left, as I gave some to one of the kids to buy something and I can't find their receipt and don't recall how many I handed over to them.  I'll post the correct +Ups left total next Rite-Aid trip.


About Yesterday.....

Thanks to everyone who slogged through my little Pity Party and left me some life affirming comments!
I didn't mean for it to be a cry for attention and the lovefest that ensued.
But hey!, I'll take it!!lol

I truly was thrilled to get so many responses....though not hopeful I would.
You see, I have this very Very bad habit of NOT responding to comments that are left on my blog.
It's one of my many Achilles Heels....if Achilles had been me, he would have been an octopus I have so many shortcoming 'heels.'  ;-)

Please believe me when I say it's not intentional, this ignoring of my Commentators.
I read   Every.  Single.   One.
Many I read over and over again for the boost it gives my over-inflated ego.
And some I want to copy onto large sheets of paper and plaster them on the wall next to my computer desk, so that when my ungrateful offspring give me sneers and eye rolls, I can point to these precious comments and say, "Well at least THESE people seem to LOVE me, even if you little Sonsabitches don't!"

("Sonsabitches" is a word coined by my rather colorful Grandmother.  Grandma swore like a longshoreman & that was the term of endearment she used to call us from an early age.  I am just carrying on a family tradition here.)

I also read the negative notes and do post them unless they are personal attacks.  And I ruminate even more over those.  Like most women I tend to take the bad things people say more seriously than the praise.
It's that ingrained inner negative dialogue thing.
I still have that tape recorder of put downs from my youth on loop running in my head, though most days I can put it on mute.
Geez....that makes me sound like some psycho, doesn't it?
Ignore that last part.

Sometimes I don't respond to comments too because well, I just get distracted by other stuff blowing up here.  When things calm down I can't remember what I was going to write so I just let it go....sigh....

I've made some notes on various things and I'll be making a few small changes when I get a chance during my copious free time in Teeny Tiny Town.
But remember....I am a Slugmama and nothing around here moves at anything approaching a fast pace, except for the free floating anxiety in the air, so don't look for massive remodeling anytime soon.
Heck, I've been trying to get the walls in my living room fixed and painted for what?.....10 YEARS now!!lol

Please feel free to leave comments anytime &/or email me(the addy is on my contact page).


Monday, October 25, 2010

Whadda Ya Want From Me?

Forgive me for a bit while I whine and wallow in some "poor poor pitiful me-ness".

I am a 51 year old woman who still doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up.
In fact, at this point in my life, it seems doubtful that I will grow up! ;-)

I am having a difficult time blogging lately.
Or rather, I'm having a difficult time figuring out what direction to take this blog into.

Lots....ok, then, most blogs have a theme or a direction.
Not so much.
I started out just blogging to clear my head so I could cram different minutia into it without seepage occurring.
Seepage is never a good thing.
Then I got my first followers/readers.
Being an ex-theater person(see egotistical exhibitionist), I was hooked!
I <3 followers..... ;-)

So then I felt compelled to continue blogging because, need to satisfy your audience.
Maybe some one out there is having a shittier day than me and comes here to read something to give them the will to go on....ok, maybe not that, but at least feel better about their life compared to the junk that goes on here in mine.

So I tried to pigeon-hole my blog, so I could link it and promote it.  It's hard to know how/where to share your blog if you don't know WHAT KIND of BLOG you have!

I am a mom.....but my kids are alien-life forms or almost adults and all the blogs I could find who were mommy bloggers had small children and dealt with issues that I no longer have an interest in like potty training, food allergies, chore building, teaching, social interaction, pta helping(or avoidance), etc.
We have left that stage of life behind thankyouverymuch!
So I talk about what passes for my real life now.  It's fairly tame and as the blog title should clue you in....boring!  Maybe I need to go out and do some wild and wacky things, like naked bodysurfing, doing a year long pie-eating tour of all 50 states, parkouring across Manhattan or auditioning for the next installment of Project Runway?  Now that would certainly liven it up around here, huh?!

I am a spiritual person....but because of past experiences in my life I am not a proponent of organized religion.  A lot of the mommy bloggers I found are Christians(not that there's anything wrong with that!)and they sprinkle their blogs liberally with bible quotations and the messages that they have received via their direct hotline to g*d.
While I am an ethical and moral person(no, religions don't have the market cornered on morality), I don't wear my religion like a mantel.  I think you can be a good person without being a card carrying member of *fill in your religious affilication here* and I don't want to club anyone over the head with who I think is going to a good place or a bad place when they die.

I am a couponista, and most of whatever that entails....and I did try my hand at coupon-match ups and being a "deal" blogger.  But that didn't work out so well.  Most deal blogs are so boring, even more boring than me!
Don't get me wrong.....I appreciate what they do....I just don't want to do  It's long dry work, shifting through the sales flyers each week to find the good deals and then one by one, matching up the current coupons to post with the deals.  THAT, my friends, too closely resembles W-O-R-K!  Since I am not paid to sit here hour after hour and do this basic mechanical work, and I refuse to just copy somebody else's work and post it as my own(tsk, tsk), I would just as soon lick the inside of my eyelids....whatever THAT means!
I do post a lot of my shopping trips.   Again, this devolves down into snoozefest territory, especially if the reader does NOT shop at the store you are writing about.  I realize that my grocery trips are only relevant to local readers since we have no national chains here but I will continue to talk about local deals since there is no one(or almost no one)blogging about local deals.  If something I post helps someone feed their family better/for less, then it's worth doing. ;-)  I know the Rite-Aid stuff bores the unlucky peoples who can't shop there, but.....My name is Sluggy, and I am an feel free to just move along if you see a Rite-Aid shopping post.  I won't be dropping those.

I am a giveaway hound....I love to enter giveaways unless there are like 3 thousand entries at which point I laugh hysterically at the bad odds of winning and move on.  So I tried holding giveaways, and still do.  They say it's a great way to build a following/readership, even though after you have a drawing you do lose a percentage of folks when they don't win.  But participation in my giveaways is markedly down....except for a few regulars, most of whom would enter every day if I let know who you are! lol
But I am now on the fence about the whole Giveaway issue and whether it's 'prosituting your blog' when companies, who don't pay you a fee but just give you stuff to give away, use you to promote their brand.  And besides, strictly Giveaway blogs have nothing to offer you outside of 'stuff'....which leads me to my next thought....

I am a frugalista who is mostly anti-consumerism.....but talking about reusing baggies and compost and ranting about the overconsumption in this country only can be a yawnfest if one is not careful.  While not an ardent Tree Hugger, if I didn't have a spouse I would probably be more "out there" with modifying the house & "alternative" building projects around here to make us more green and cheap until our place resembled a hippie commune with an air of ramshacked-ness.  But I have a grumpy old man here who keeps my ideas from fruition and keeps our property values up. ;-)
I find I can be only so frugal since I love a good deal too!  These two sides of me....being frugal and deal-hunting seem to be at odds with each other.  It makes for a schizophrenic blog at times....."Don't fall for mindless marketing by going to the mall", is followed by "Hurry! Great deal on Widgets at Amazon today only!!".

I am into personal finance issues......but again, talking retirement calculators, bank rate deals, T-bonds and FICO scores, etc. only, will make all the non-geek's eyes glaze over and their brains turn off in a nanosecond.  So I tried to interject my personal experiences/examples as a way to liven the subject matter up and maybe inspire someone.
And again, I found that if you have mostly made all the right decisions with your finances(and been lucky) and aren't currently in a debt hole trying to shovel your way out, most people don't want to hear about your experiences.
You would think that people who want help/ideas about moving away from debt/bad choices would listen more to someone who has done it.  But it seems to me at least that people want to hear about those who haven't made the right choices(perhaps so they can feel superior to them?)and if you have done well with money and talk about it, you are viewed as just bragging....even if that is the last thing that crossed your mind when you blogged about it.  I guess I need to go broke a la Dave Ramsey first and then make a bazillion dollars and build a 4 million dollar house before anyone wants me to open my trap about money again. ;-)

So, after having whined about all of the above, you tell Adam Lambert and me.......Whadda Ya Want From Me?

*What do you like about this humble little blog?  Please, say you like something, ok?lol  Is there some particular subject matter or direction you like and why?

*What do you NOT like about the blog?  Be a nice way. ;-)  Go ahead and let me have it, I can take it.

*Why do you come here and read the blog? Try to come up with something more than I like your blog, ok?....even though saying you like my blog will earn you brownie points with me. 8-))

*How often do you drop in and read me....every day, week, month or did you just stumble in here and are frantically searching for the Exit?

* Is there something you would like to see here and what?  Do I talk about something you would like to read more about?  Do you have any suggestions about anything at all?.....from the physical layout(where stuff is visually, the ads-the placement or lack thereof, the colors, the photos/graphics, lack of professional web design, etc.)to subject matter covered(or not covered).

Here is your chance to sound off.  Any and all feedback is appreciated.

I've got my ear pressed to the web......go ahead and bend it!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Response to the Coupon Goddess's Recent Post

Mel over at The Coupon Goddess has a post today lamenting over the lack of Coupons being released for some particular items or types of items lately.  You can go read it HERE.

Go ahead over and read it.
I'll wait.  8-)

I was going to post a comment but I have so much to say....and I didn't want to break Blogger's comment function.....that I thought I'd respond over here in a full blown, if not half assed, blog post.
Now I know that even though I consider myself the Queen of the Freakin' Universe, the owners of multinational corporations that produce the products we buy don't give a hairy baboon's blue butt if I don't like the lack of couponage available for their stuff.
So I so 'get' what Mel is saying.

But!....I can use my frugalista super powers and find ways to deal with this problem.

So shall we start?

*Trash Bags
Once or twice a year one of my local Weis Markets has had a Catalina Deal including trash bags.  While there have been no current coupons during this deal, it has still been advantageous to my wallet to buy the bags during the Catalina period.  The savings when buying them during the Deal week, since it combines a sale price and the Catalina savings, has saved me more than the sad value of any coupons these companies release.

Rite-Aid often has Glad bags on sale, plus runs +Up Rewards deals on least once a month.  I can use my Rite-Aid Powers and work up a $25 transaction, using other items combined with other coupons and sale prices with a Rite-Aid $5 off $25 purchase, and get a box of bags for free or very inexpensively.

The other thing I do, is to think of ways around having to buy trash bags.  What can I use or reuse around here in lieu of a trash bag?  One thing that springs to mind is dog food bags.  When we buy those 20lb. bags of dog food, I save them and use them for trash.  There are other packaging/bags leftover from other products I use but you get the point.

*Cabot Cheese.
 I got nothing here. 
*Boar's Head deli products.
I agree that deli meats(and cheeses)have gotten to a ridiculous price point.   Holey head cheese Batman!
While the frugalness in me would never willingly buy this brand of deli product even with a coupon, deals with coupons at the deli counter on any brand are hard to find.

Again, I find a work around.  I have found that Redner's Markets deli by far runs the best weekly sales on deli items.  Ok, you are still at the whim of what they put on sale each week but if you stick to those items, you will save money on your deli bill.  It's usually NOT Boar's Head but then again, I guess my deli meat palate isn't so refined that I can tell the difference between BH or Sara Lee or Hormel brand lunch meats.

Besides just not buying deli meats/cheeses, my frugal work around consists of buying a whole 5lb or whatever size hunk of deli food at the local Restaurant Supply store and slicing said meat or cheese myself.
It's a little more work to buy a whole log of ham and slice it but if I save substantial money, I'm game.  Besides, that's what I had children teach meat slicing skills
If you aren't feeding a large family and can't eat 5lbs. of processed meats/cheeses before it goes bad, you can freeze these products, but I'd recommend slicing them up first, especially the cheeses.

*Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers.

I know many people find the second string brands of this product lacking in quality and taste.  When #2 son was  younger he was addicted to the PF goldfish.   No sure what "food crack" they put in these to get the kids to jones for them like a meth addict in rehab.....but they do.

To get "the fish" for cheap, find a PF outlet store within driving distance, rent a U-haul and go fill it up.
We have a PF outlet store about 1.5 hrs. away so anytime we use to find ourselves down that way, we would stop in and fill the trunk.  And yes, Goldfish crackers have a shelf-life equivalent to the half-life of plutonium so they keep.  Plus you can always throw these into the freezer too.

Another frugal option is to search out one of those taste-the-same recipes and get the kids to help bake their own crackers.  Again, teach them some life skills and it makes a great homeschooling long as mom has two or three glasses of wine nearby.

*Thomas' English muffins and *Bread.

Ok, I'll kill 2 birds with one stone here.

While Sara Lee breads are often BOGO here and that company releases decent coupons on a semi-regular basis, the Thomas English muffin & bread producing company does not.  They do however have amazing Bread Outlet Stores!
I heart my bread outlet store!
There is one 3 miles from my house so I am awash in Thomas English muffins, Entenmann's, Freihofer's, Arnolds, Stroehmann's and Boboli foods on a regular basis.  The most expensive items in the store are 3 for $5(must buy 3)for bread products while the Entenmann's baked goods are 3 for $6(must buy 3). Some brands are priced at 3 for $3(again, must buy 3).  Even better are the almost out of date items that are priced at $1, $.89 or even less.

It's a Gluten-y Gluttony Wonderland!
And if you life in 34 of the lucky states in the US, they have a similar Outlet Stores in your state!  So go find the one near you HERE.

And as for the Bimbo bread name?  It's pronounced 'beem-bo' and it's Spanish.  They are a massive multinational corporation(founded in 1945 by a guy in Mexico)and now largest bakery in the world.  They bought up the companies of many American brand names in the bread/bakery products line.  
We first saw the Bimbo bread this past summer at the Bread Outlet.  They gave out free loaves with purchases.  The name always makes my 14 yr. old cackle evil-y......I won't mention the nickname he has for this bread. ;-)


Great minds think alike here, don't they?lol  I was just lamenting the sad state of bacon prices/lack of product in my freezer just last week HERE.
Forget the roadtrip....I've already cleaned off the bacon shelves at Price Chopper so there is nothing left to buy. j/k

Though I haven't had to resort to a frugal work around on bacon in the past 2 years(knock on wood), in the past I would troll the meat counter at the local grocery stores for markdowns on meats that were coming close to their sell by dates.  If you are antsy about buying bacon that is close to a sell by date, don't be.  There are so many preservatives in most conventionally processed bacon that it can safely be used  after it's date.  If you throw the bacon directly into your freezer you can stop the clock basically on your bacon's date and give yourself some more time to enjoy it's porky goodness.  Even better, repackage the bacon into smaller portions using freezer bags or foil so you only thaw and use the amount you need.

*Peanut Butter.

We have only ever gotten the $1 off 2 Peanut Butter coupons here.  Even though the grocery stores double to $1 here, we've never had the good fortune of getting a $.50 or $.60 on 1 item coupon to double.  You can't miss what you haven't had, right?lol

The frugal work around?.....make your own in a blender using fresh peanuts.  Of course, this just means you have to find a deal on peanuts instead!lol   But then again, you can control what goes into your peanut butter(no preservatives and lower sugar content)so there is an upside here.

The 2 other comments I have on this *ahem.....sticky subject are to find a SuperValu owned line of grocery stores in your area and pray to the couponing powers-that-be that they run another Catalina Deal like the ones in 2009(in Aug. and again in the weeks before Thanksgiving)that included Skippy Peanut Butter with a double dip.  That's how I ended up with 32 jars of Skippy...I could have gotten more in the Nov. Catalina deal but this was plenty for us plus enough for some food bank donations.

And secondly, if you can find creamy Skippy at your local Rite-Aid store with the UPC #0 48001 00643 0.
Have the cashier price check it for you as it may have been marked down to 75% off clearance for .74¢.  If it hasn't yet, it will so watch it.  Plus it's been reported that many of the clearance items at Rite-Aid are being restocked from the warehouse(until the warehouse is out of them), so keep watching for those cheap food & cleaning items to reappear on the shelves.
Even without a coupon, peanut butter for .74¢ a jar ain't half bad.

*Fresh Express salad.

This brand of bagged salad goes on sale here often so we are fairly lucky in that.  However, I don't much care for bagged greens since if they have been sitting for any time, the sealed bag raises the condensation inside and that makes your salad cross over to the slimy dark side quicker.  Having to throw out wet gross green food into my compost pile is not cool.....well, the composting part is but not the spending money on compost part.
My frugal work around is to grow my own salad greens.  Since we can't do that year round(northern location and a lack of having a greenhouse or cold frames yet), we only buy the bagged stuff on good sale, buy whole heads of lettuces and make our own mix or just eat something else.
Someone told me once that if your grocery store has a self-serve salad bar, to buy your greens there rather than bagged.  Think about pay by the weight at a salad bar in store.  What weighs the least of things that go into a salad?.....the greens!  By comparison with the bagged stuff, your salad procured at the bar will cost less.

*Kraft Mac and Cheese.

Yah, the Kraft corporation has more money than g*d.
They also have a product(Kraft Macaroni & Cheese)that my kids refer to as crack noodles(long
I still have a stash of Kraft mac/cheese in my pantry from the Catalina Deal at Price Chopper in April when I got it for almost free.
Of course, as soon as I load up for free, my kids stop eating it....figures, right?lol
It's been awhile Mr. Kraft.
Time for some couponage.

So what do you think?  Leave a comment and share, won't you?


Friday, October 22, 2010

Congratulations.....And Welcome to the Poor House!

You may remember I ranted about Hubs letting Daughter apply to 5 colleges a week or so ago.
5 schools meant 5 application fees of between $30 and $55.

Five applications for a teen who may not even go to college now and enlist in the Air Force instead.
One day she can't wait to go away to school.
The next day she can't wait to go to boot camp.
The one common thread seems to be the "wanting to leave here" part.
Hmmm.....If I was the sensitive sort I'd take an affront to her wanting to leave us.

Quite the mercurial child, she is.
And no, it's not the alien teen life form hormones at play.
She came out of the womb not being able to make up her mind.

I can just see her now, after making her parents shell out $200+ to apply to schools, and getting into all 5 schools, and she ups and says forget it and joins the military.

After all, she took the Armed Forces Aptitude Test(the ASVAB)that indicates if you are smart enough to enlist and what jobs or career paths you qualify for.  The minimum score to join the AF is 36......a 36 won't be flying planes however. ;-)

And she scored a 93 out of 99 on it so she qualifies for about 98% of the jobs in that branch of the service.
So now she's trying to decide between dropping bombs from the plane she is piloting or performing neurosurgery at the US Air Force Academy Hospital for a living.
She still has the physical fitness test to take before she can sign up to be a Jr. Birdman, er....woman however.  The getting in-shape part is proving to be the harder side of things.

Unlike #1 son, who waited to apply to schools until Feb.(not one to jump right on a task, is he?), Daughter got motivated to apply to her choices by the end of September.  I think it was more of a "let's get this over with and fast" kind of deal with her rather than a 'get up and go' attitude.
And late last week, she heard back from the 1st of the 5 schools.....the University of Pittsburgh(PITT).

She was accepted into their Pre-Med program for 2011!

Not this Pitt....

This one....

It's no Harvard but the freshman acceptance rate is quite low so we are proud of her.
4 more schools to hear back from plus the Air Force keeps beckoning to her.
But if she decides to go to PITT, you can come visit me at my new address--

c/o The Poor House
13 Broke Lane
ArmPitt, PA

It could be worse.  Yes, Pitt is a public university but it's a lot pricier than the one #1 son attends.  Daughter will still need $$ after we kick in what we have set aside for her education.  Crossing the fingers she gets some academic scholarship monies or she'll have a substantial student loan debt when she graduates.

But Daughter has that all figured out too.  If she attends college first, she'll enlist after college and get the Air Force to repay her loans for her in exchange for her service in the armed forces.

That's my girl.....always thinking of a way to save money!
Now if I could just get her to fold her own laundry and put it away.....


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Starting Late This Week at Rite-Aid...But Catching Up Fast!

Well, I didn't get out to stop by Rite-Aid until Tuesday afternoon.
This store was completely out of Scott TP that is on sale....dangit!  But I found some other things to buy.....

 2 x Old Spice Body Wash on sale $3=$6.00  *BOGO Old Spice Body Wash ManuQ=$3.00
2 x Old Spice Deodorant/Spray on sale $3=$6.00  *BOGO Old Spice Deo/Spray ManuQ+$1/2 Old Spice items(used on the 2 items that weren't BOGO with the other Q)=$4.00
1 x Clearasil Face Wash w/20% disc.=$4.39  *$2 In-Ad Q+$2/1 IPQ=$4.00
1 x Simply Saline on sale=$3.99  *$1/1 ManuQ=$1.00
3 x Hormel Compleats on sale $1.99=$5.97  *$1 AdPerks/VV Q+$1/3 IPQ=$2.00
SubTotal....$26.35   *Coupon Total....$14.00

Subtract the $5 off $25 Purchase Q sent to my wellness acct...$12.35-$5=$7.35

Used $7 +Up Rewards.....$7.35-$7.00=$.35+$.15 tax=$.50  Out of Pocket put on a free Rite-Aid gift card

Received back $7 in +Up Rewards(2 x $2 Old Spice wyb 2 items, 3 x $1 Compleats)=$7.00
Plus I'll get $3.99 check back for SCR#30.

Spent $7+Ups and $.50 on gift card, earned $7 +Ups and get $3.99 cash back.

Then I stopped by another Rite-Aid on the way home.....

2 x Old Spice Body Wash on sale $3=$6.00  *BOGO Old Spice Body Wash ManuQ=$3.00

2 x Old Spice Body Wash/Spray on sale $3=$6.00  *BOGO Old Spice Deo/Spray ManuQ+$1/2 Old Spice items(used on the 2 items that weren't BOGO with the other Q)=$4.00

1 x Scott 12 roll TP on sale=$7.49  *$2.50 IPQ+$1/1 AdPerks/VV Q=$3.50
1 x Thermacare on sale=$2.99  *$1/1 ManuQ+$1/1 AdPerks/VV Q=$2.00

2 x Pepsi singles w/wellness disc. $1.27=$2.54  *BOGO AdPerks/VV Q=$1.27

SubTotal....$25.02   *Coupon Total....$13.77

Subtract the $5 off $25 Purchase Q sent to my wellness acct...$11.25-$5=$6.25

Used $6 +Up Rewards.....$6.25-$6=$.25  Out of Pocket put on a free Rite-Aid gift card
Received back $6 in +Up Rewards(2 x $2 Old Spice wyb 2 items, $2 Scott TP)=$6.00
Plus I'll get $2.99 check back for SCR#23.

Spent $6+Ups and $.25 on gift card, earned $6 +Ups and get $2.99 cash back. 

And while I was out yesterday, guess where I went?lol

Yep, you guessed it......

1 x Scott 12 roll pack TP on sale=$7.49  *$2.50/1 Scott TP IPQ=$2.50
1 x Oscillococcinum Children's Cold Medicine on sale=$4.99  *$2/1 Oscill. IPQ+$3/1 AdPerks/VV Q=$5.00
1 x OralB Vitality Electric Toothbrush on clearance=$12.49  *$10/1 OralB Vitality Tbrush ManuQ+$1/$10 Oral Care products Wellness Q=$11.00
2 x Hershey Candy Bars on sale 2/$1=$1.00  *$.25/2 AdPerks/VV Q=$.25
SubTotal....$25.97    Coupon Total.....$18.75


Subtract the $5 off $25 Purchase Q sent to my wellness acct...$7.22-$5=$2.22

Used $2 +Up Rewards.....$2.22-$2=$.22  Out of Pocket put on a free Rite-Aid gift card
Received back $2 in +Up Rewards Scott TP)=$2.00
Plus I'll get $4.99 check back for SCR#25.

Spent $2+Ups and $.22 on gift card, earned $2 +Ups and get $4.99 cash back.

THESE TRIPS Total Spent....$.97(put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$126.56
SCR qualified for...$11.97
Gift Cards earned....$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$15.00
+Up Rewards spent...$15.00

GRAND TOTALS so far-October Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......14
Total Spent....$4.71 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$645.22
SCR qualified for....$44.92
Other Cash....$1.94 cash refund
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....2 x $5.99NasoGel(Mfg. Rebates 1 for me/1 for BIL)=$11.98

So far this month, I've spent nothing out of pocket and I'm getting back $56.90 in cash and have $645.22 in products. 8-)

+UPS Totals for Oct. SCR Period
+Up Rewards carryover from last trip....$24.50
+Up Rewards spent....$15.00
+Up Rewards earned....$15.00
+Up Rewards left....$24.50


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mmmmmm.....Bacon! + Price Chopper=Love

Well the Couponing Powers-That-Be heard my whining last week about the price of bacon and the lack of any deals for said porcine goodness.

Price Chopper and Hormel have come to my rescue!!  *see Sluggy bat her eyelashes furtively at her heroes*

I don't have a picture but yesterday after hitting up Rite-Aids I cruised into Price Chopper to start the ball rolling, er, I mean the Cat rolling.
I bought 4 packages of Hormel bacon and half a dozen fresh bagels.
Not only is the bacon part of the Cat deal but did I mention it's on sale for BOGO?
So 4 packages of bacon was $10.98(reg. price $5.49)after the sale.  Unfortunately there are NO Hormel bacon coupons currently....*sniff*.
The bagels are on sale Buy 3, Get 3 free this week so my bagels cost $1.99 for 6.
Grand Total for my 1st transaction at PC was $12.97.  For this transaction the bagels cost me $.33 each and the bacon was $2.75 a package.  Even at that price it was pretty darn good.....but now it would get much MUCH better!

Because the machine spit out a precious $7 OYNO Cat Q for buying that bacon.

So I cruised over to Price Chopper this afternoon to roll it....

Transaction #1
4 x Hormel Bacon on sale BOGO=$10.98
1 x 6 Bagels on sale 1/2 price=$1.99
2 x Grands! Biscuits on sale $2=$4.00

Coupons Used
2 x $1/1 Instant Store Q on the Grands!=$2.00
1 x $7 OYNO Cat Q=$7.00
Coupon Total....$9.00

$16.97-$9.00=$7.97 OOP
And I received another $7 OYNO Cat Q.

Transaction #2

4 x Hormel Bacon on sale BOGO=$10.98
6 x Libby's Veggies on sale $.67=$4.02

Coupons Used
2 x $1/3 Libby's Veg. ManuQ=$2.00
1 x $7 OYNO Cat Q=$7.00
Coupon Total....$9.00

$15.00-$9.00=$6.00 OOP
And I received another $7 OYNO Cat Q.

Basically with spending $14.00, the bacon & whack biscuits were $1 a package, the veggies & bagels were $.33 a can/a piece.
Plus I've got the $7 Cat to keep rolling into more cheap bacon. ;-)

But first I need to clean out the freezer a bit so I have a place to put it all.


Monsters Revisited....

Remember the Youtube Video I shared awhile back?....This one HERE.

Well I found out this group of guys is a bonafide student a capella group affiliated with the U. of Oregon. 
They are called "On The Rocks".
And they have been around for some time.
They have released a few records....ok, I guess you don't call them records because they don't make records anymore, so they have released albums or recorded music or whatever the terminology is nowadays. ;-)

They also re-recorded this particular GaGa video with actual production values.
So if you liked these Monsters the first time, go have a listen to this version....

I still say one of the lead singers, the one in the baseball cap, looks a bit like a young Seth Rogen....

And I'm having a debate over which video is better with a friend.
Do you prefer the impromptu one or the cleaned up "professional" version?
Leave a comment and let us know which side you weigh in on!

I so hate you Joe because you have tickets to the tour!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simplifying the Holidays...How to Get off the Santa Express

Do you dread the approaching of the Month of December?

Do you tense up and stress out over all the extra work that is expected of you during the Holidays?

Do your kids turn into Self-absorbed Robots at this time of year, demanding a neverending list of toys?

Maybe you need to consider stepping off of the Madison Avenue Christmas Express and start destressing, reducing and simplifying how you celebrate the Holidays!

That American Popular Culture Christmas Express train you are on, makes stops in the State of Exhaustion, the Land of Disappointment, and ends up delivering you right to The Poor House in January when those bills come rolling in.
Make this season the one where you change up the game and play it by Your Rules, not Madison Avenues!

I'm going to do a little series about Simplifying the Holidays.  Each Week I will post about some aspect of the Winter Holidays where you could make changes in your life and in how you celebrate this year.

If anyone has any thoughts, questions or some aspect of simplifying your holiday season you would like to see me cover, just leave your ideas in the comments and I'll work them in and address them in subsequent posts in this series.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Randomly Yours Monday

**My sleep schedule has been off for a week now.
I am wide awake at the crack of unlike me.
Then I crash and nap by noon and wake up again around 2 or 3pm.
Then I am wore out by 9pm and crawl back into bed.....and it starts all over again the next day.

I know this schedule is like most people's out there but my usual schedule is to to go to bed between 2 and 7 am, sleep until 2pm, nap again around 7pm for 2 or 3 hours and then up by 10pm until 2am or later and start it all over again the next 24 hours.
I have always been a night person and find I am much more productive at night.

Anybody else have unusual sleeping/waking patterns?

**And no, I haven't been to Rite-Aid this week yet.....but the week is young yet!lol
Anybody else been yet?  What did ya get??

**I have a Meal Plan figured out for this week to as far as  Last week I hardly cooked at all.  Only one night getting take-out too.  Seems the teens have hardly eaten here all last week so when I cooked something it lasted for 3 meals or so for just Hubs and I.....meaning I didn't need to cook but 2 times.

**I just found 2 high value coupons over on AllYou dotcom.  1--It's a Scott products Q for $2.50/1 on the purchase of 8 or more roll package of Scott Extra Soft Bath Tissue or a 4 or more roll package of Scott Towels.   Print it now for any upcoming TP deals.  2--It's a $2.50/1 Kendall/AMD Wound Care Product(they make bandages, etc.) Q.  Rite-Aid has a sale/+Ups deal coming up on Kendall/AMD products in a week.

**After slacking off on the decluttering/donating the last couple of months, I sent 2 loads to Sallie's last week.  No pretty pictures though....

**And from the annals of "The Grocery Store Powers That Be Heard Me"......I saw a Catalina Deal in the Price Chopper(northeast) Sales Flyer from my Sunday paper yesterday involving.....BACON!
It's a Hormel Catalina.....Spend $10-$14.99/Get $3 OYNO Cat Q, Spend $15-$19.99/Get $5 OYNO Cat Q, and Spend $20 or More/Get $7 OYNO Cat Q.
Price Chopper has historically gone off of the reg. retail shelf price to figure spending threshold levels(not the sale prices on the participating items),but I haven't been in awhile so I'll be taking a trip to the store tomorrow to test the waters.  When my coupons arrive in the next couple of days I'll be all ready to stock-up then on some Pork Love. ;-)

**I got something rigged up for my Eggplant plants, in hopes that I could keep them alive long enough for the tiny eggplants to grow enough to be edible.
First I took a clear plastic gallon milk jug and cut the bottom off of it so I could put it over the plant.
That would have been quick and easy but the plant was too tall.  I then considered taking more milk jugs, cutting the bottom and tops off and leaving the sides(making a big plastic square)that I could duct tape together to make the 1st milk jug taller.  But that idea fizzled out once I started the

Then Hubs and I came up with this.....

We put a tomato cage on each plant.
Then we took a drum's a HUGE clear plastic bag(used to line metal drums, like oil drums).....and put it over 2 cages at a time. 
Then we used pieces of bricks to hold down the edges of the liner to keep out the cold and keep the liner from sailing off with the first stiff wind gust.
It turned out to be a quick and easy fix with no cutting or taping involved.  Plus we can reuse the bag. ;-)

Two days out and so far so good.
I don't know how much time I can by these eggplants though since we will probably get our first freezing night later this week. 8-(

**October is almost 2/3 over!  I was adding last week's grocery spending to my budget book and realized that.  Speaking of grocery spending, I spent $37.89 last week.....fresh fruit, produce, 1lb. of butter on sale and about 16lbs. of meat/chicken.  Ok...I also had an impulse buy and picked up a bag of cheese curls for $2 on the spur of the moment.  Yes, my one wild and crazy purchase for that week!lol  Sometimes junk food calls my name.....well, it seems to SCREAM my name loudly and often.....and I just give in.  Ah well......
Anyway, I haven't even broken $100 for food spending in October yet.  Yay for the freezer and the stockpile!! ;-)

So what has everyone else been up to lately??