Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017 Food & Toiletries Spending.....September Update

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

Here are my FOOD BUDGET spending totals for SEPTEMBER 2017.

I have posted September's totals on the Total Grocery Savings Page located HERE and have updated the Totals there.
I am listing subtotals for each store I purchased from in September.  If you aren't interested in that much detail, just skip to the bottom for the Totals Sum.  My spending includes Food, Toiletries/HBA, Cleaning Products, Paper Goods & tax where applicable. We are a family of 3-4(3 at home this month). No kids under 21.

OOP  $2.00
Value  $4.98
Savings  59.84%

OOP  $50.36
Value  $83.39
Savings  39.61%

OOP  $0.00
Qs/Ads/PPs  $146.17
Value  $146.17
Savings  100%

OOP  $135.58
Qs/Ads  $105.87
Value  $241.45
Savings  43.85%

VA TRIP(various stores)
OOP  $36.12
Value  $42.98
Savings  15.96%

OOP  $143.93
Qs/Ads  $129.44
Value  $273.37
Savings  47.35%

My best 3 Store Savings Totals were Rite-Aid at 100%, the Dollar Tree at 59.84% and Weis Markets at 47.35%.  My WORST savings rate was at the Various Stores in VA shop at 15.96%.

I shopped at 6 different stores this past month.  

TOTAL Out of Pocket..........$367.99
TOTAL Coupons & Store Sales Savings...$451.58
TOTAL Value of Items Purchased............$646.17
TOTAL Savings of ..................................47.26%
Total Value of Items Purchased w/Rite-Aid....$792.34
TOTAL Savings with Rite-Aid items..........53.56%

This closes out the September food/toiletries spending.

THOUGHTS & COMMENTS for this month.....
I wanted to stay under $350 spent in September and I ended up $17.99 over that mark for the month.  I blame 1 of those 3 pork butts I bought to smoke for later.  ;-)

The monthly food spending savings percentage went DOWN by 1.73% in September to 53.56% compared to August's 55.29% savings average.  We still have over a 50% savings rate so it's all good.

With 9 months accounted for, I have spent a Grand Total of $3128.33 on food/toiletries in 2017 which is a 68.09% savings rate for the year to-date and averages out to $347.59 spent per month so far in 2017.

LOOKING AHEAD To October........with the various deals for the Holidays coming up I am going to give myself $400 for food shopping this month.  If I go over a bit($50 or so)I won't be too upset.  With 3 smoked pork butts going into the freezer I won't have much room for stocking up on frozen items so I don't think we'll go over the $400 limit but you never know. ;-)
Since I buy 99% of our food on sale/discount/use a few coupons too, I always look to the "long game" because day to day you never know what will be a deal so I try to be prepared.  Sometimes this means going over budget on food in one month but eventually I have a inexpensive food month and it all evens out in the long run to give me a nice grocery savings overall.

If you have other ideas or guidelines you follow please leave a comment and share yours with us all.

*  How much did you spend on food/toiletries in Spetember?
*  Do you track your yearly food spending?
*  What was your savings percentage buying on sale and/or with coupons vs. buying at regular retail price last month, if you track that sort of thing?
*  What are your methods for keeping your food spending in check?

Is anyone out there up for tracking expenditures and trying to spend less but still eat well?


Friday, September 29, 2017

Frugal Friday.........the September 29th Edition

Let's see what frugal things happened around Chez Sluggy last week..............

*  I turned this........
Into this.........

 As the 'poo was free or a moneymaker after Plenti Points/sale/Qs that $9 was all profit.  8-)

*  I received a liquor rebate.......

$5 back for drinking.  Getting rebates on liquor is really hit or miss in PA thanks to the draconian laws surrounding alcohol so I was glad to actually get this one.

*  We got the deck cleaned and sealed before the cold weather set in..............

"Before" shot of it after cleaned, bleached and sanded.  I forgot to get a "real Before" shot with the mold and grossness on the wood.
Yes we could have hired someone else to do this but Hubs has nothing but time on his hands(and two good knees)so we kept our money in our pockets.
The sealant was purchased using free Lowe's gift card earned from c/c points and the few sundry items he needed(like sandpaper)were purchased at the local hardware store for $14 and change.

The "After" shot.

Luckily we had 4 days of unseasonably warm(highs near 90F)so it dried the wood out quickly and then the sealant too.
The dog now has her backyard back(She's had to do her "business" out on the front lawn while this project was in progress.).

*  I already shared my few grocery deals.........

Loving my 3 boxes of decaf tea bags for .97¢ after the $3 Catalina that printed out! ;-)

*  And not frugal yet but I got this flyer while out yesterday..........

Big Lots is having their Friends & Family Sale this weekend.  It is the last one of the year as they don't do this around the Holidays.
You need to be a Buzz Club member(have their loyalty card)to avail yourself of the 20% off on Saturday and use the flyer on Sunday(don't have to be a member of the Buzz Club on Sunday).  Usually Big Lots will advertise/have a coupon in the Sunday sale in the Sunday newspaper locally too.
I know my brother likes to buy all his paper goods for a few months at a time at these 20% off sales.  Big Lots prices on those items are generally good plus another 20% off makes it even better.  I have been known to pick up pantry staples and usually slippers during one of these sales so Hubs and I will head over sometime this weekend to see what's worth stocking up on.

Have a great weekend and stay frugal my friends......


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Making a New Asian Recipe

I got a great deal on broccoli late last week at the Shursave market so what to do with it?
I decided to try my hand at Beef and Broccoli for the first time.
Even though I am not a fan of her cooking usually I tried the recipe HERE.

                        Picture from the Food Network website.

The worst thing time wise with making this was all the prep work.  The beef has to be sliced thinly and a marinade/sauce put together and the veg has to be chopped.
Actually cooking time was minimal plus it only used one pan on the stove top so good here on Tuesday when the weather was unseasonably hot.

I served it over ramen noodles since we have quite a few packets of that here and I put the water on to boil for that when I started quick cooking the broccoli.
I didn't put the beef stock in my version but just water as the recipe called for so much cornstarch that the sauce tightened up too much.

I didn't have mine over noodles as it was hearty filling enough without and it was tasty.
Even though I used a low-sodium(sort of an oxymoron, isn't it?lol)soy sauce I still thought this was way too salty for me!   Hubs thought it was borderline salty(his tastes have changed to be more sensitive to sodium since I cook everything he eats)but Daughter thought it was fine as to the saltiness.

I plan to keep this in the meal rotation but next time I'll use/do one of 3 things instead of soy sauce........1-try coconut aminos(gives you that umami quality w/out any salt), 2-make a soy sauce substitute to use or 3-sub half the soy sauce(still using low-sodium one)for rice wine vinegar, water or more sherry.


Deals at Grocery Stores This Week

Last Friday I got this at Weis..........

7 x Campbell's soup on sale .77¢ each=$5.39
1 x Campbell's soup price for cans over 7=$1.19
3 x Tetley tea bags on sale $1.99=$5.97
Subtotal of $12.55
I used 2 x .80¢/4 Campbell's IPQ(which each doubled to $1 off)and a $2/2 Weis bookletQ=$4 off=$8.55 OOP

Then the Catalina machine spit out this Q.......

$3 off your next shopping trip so basically .97¢ for 3 boxes of tea bags.

I also picked up my freebies with electronic Qs at the Shursave Market on Monday..........

2 lbs. of onions and a box of brownie mix=Free.

That's about it for grocery deals from me for now.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Giveaway Results!

I numbered all the valid entries(81)and had Random dotorg pick the winner and it was entry #26 so the winner is............

Jen G.!

I need some new tweezers!

Jen G. (I'll send my email address.)

Congratulations to Jen G.
You have 48 hours to email me from the email addy you used to enter the giveaway to claim your prize.
Please send me your full name and snail mail address and I'll get this box 'o goodies out in the mail to you asap.

Thanks to everyone who played along this time and come back soon as there will be another fine box of things to win next month(sometime next week if I can get my proverbial sh*t together!).  8-)))


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Last Chance to Enter the Giveaway!

Today is the last day to enter my current Giveaway so hop to it.
Entry time closes at 11:59 pm ET tonight.
I'll pick a winner on Wednesday and hopefully get the info I need to ship this box of goodies out before the week is out.

Here is the LINK to go enter or use the Link on the right hand side bar.
Good luck to all!


Monday, September 25, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "There is Handicapped and Then There is 'Handicapped' " Edition--

Here is another clueless person parking in a none parking spot at a Walmart in WV.  Yellow cross marks are NOT a parking is the space BETWEEN the parking spaces.
Why is this so hard to understand?
Heck next thing you know these folks will be just pulling their cars up to the doors onto the sidewalk and leaving them there. lolz

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Leftovers(or Eating-Out while on the road)
2. Monday--Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
3. Tuesday--Leftover Beef Pie
4. Wednesday--Leftover Haluski
5. Thursday--Leftover Ham, Sugar Snap Peas
6. Friday--Leftovers if still available or ?
7. Saturday--Leftovers if still available or ?

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--We ate a late lunch on the road and no dinner
2. Monday--Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
3. Tuesday--Leftover Beef Pie
4. Wednesday--Leftover Ham, Potato Salad, Sauteed Cabbage
5. Thursday--Fish, Glazed Carrots, Cheddar Biscuits(Hubs cooked!!)
6. Friday--Fend for Yourself(I had a pbj)
7. Saturday--Pork Tenderloin, Cauliflower in cheese sauce

Last week saw 3 nights of home cooked dinners(or mostly home cooked), 3 nights of leftovers, 1 night of eating-out(for me and Hubs)and 0 nights of Take-Out.  

When I made Halushki the week before, it only used up half a huge head of cabbage.  So I sauteed the other half with onions and added some bacon for a side last week.

I made 1 trip to Weis Markets, 1 trip to the Shursave Market  and with what I bought in VA last week, it brought the weekly food spending to $68.67 last week, and bringing food spending in September to $276.99 so far.  I have $73.01 left to stay under $350 spent for the month on food and 6 days left in the month.  I should stay under that budgeted amount unless I find some pork butts to smoke.  ;-) 

My savings percentages last week and for the month to-date?   Last week's percentage was 57.36% and the monthly ends up at 48.72% as well(without Rite-Aid trips added in). 

Leftovers going into this week.......a hunk of baked ham, Halushki, Potato Salad, Sauteed Cabbage, Pork Tenderloin, Cauliflower in Sauce, Beef Pie.

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--Roasted Chicken with Roasted Veggies
2. Monday--Tuna Noodles Casserole, leftover Cabbage
3. Tuesday--Beef and Broccoli over Rice
4. Wednesday--Something with Ham, Roasted Asparagus
5. Thursday--Mac and Cheese w/Ham, Sugar Snap Peas
6. Friday--Leftover Pork Tenderloin, Leftover Cauliflower
7. Saturday--?

This week will see 5 new meals cooked, 1-2 nights of leftovers and ? nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out.
I'll be trying to find ways to use up that ham hunk this week.  I am still clueless about what to serve on Saturday and am hoping inspiration hits between now and then. lolz

What I need to buy for this menu?  Nothing really as I have all the ingredients I need to make this lot.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Transitioning Period--Adjustments Personal and Financial

* Just a post on my thoughts and ideas as we adjust to our new financial reality. *

So with Hubs retired and we are back from our grand road trip adventure, we have settled into our "new normal".
And so far, this new normal isn't too different from the old normal. 8-)

Especially until the 401K becomes available to us in October we needed to be seriously conscious of ALL our spending, especially the types that are discretionary to some degree.

Grocery spending and electricity and water usage have been scrutinized plus all "want" spending as well.  I've made a concerted effort to only run energy hog appliances during off-peak hours(after 5 pm to 7 am).  Not having to use heat or a/c has also gone a long way to keeping the energy bill down.

Hubs had a "light bulb" moment a week ago Friday.  When he worked, he use to get $ out of the bank every other Friday, $200 a pop of WAM(walking around money).  This is money he doesn't have to account for how and where it's spent.  I gave up a long time ago with trying to get him to save me receipts so we could track all his cash spending.

When we had our retirement budget meeting back in June we agreed on $100 per person per month of WAM.  Now that he doesn't need to buy coffee and/or lunch at work, plus he doesn't need to chip into office gifts, get as many haircuts and basically doesn't go anywhere, he really just needs a hundred a month for his wallet.  If he needs to buy gas or something for the house, etc. or I send him to the grocery store for something he is suppose to use his credit card.

So he was telling me that Thursday that he was going to the bank tomorrow I just looked at him and asked why.  Hubs said to get his WAM.  I just looked at him and said, "You've already got your WAM.  What? Are you out of money already??  I've still got my whole $100.".
He then went on to deny that he agreed to only getting $100 a month for WAM so I showed him the paper we wrote the retirement budget down on.  I guess he thought I wouldn't remember or something. hahaha
I guess he finally realizes that his financial day-to-day has been impacted by retiring.

One thing I did when we got back from our trip was take an inventory of our canned/jarred/boxed food/toiletries/HBA/paper goods. 
Here are the things we don't need to buy for the immediate future(I'd say we can safely hold off all this spending until 2018)---
* shampoo
* toothpaste
* tooth brushes
* mouthwash
* razors
* soap/body wash
* OTC meds
* hand soap
* dish soap
* dishwasher tabs
* laundry detergent
* bleach
* toilet paper
* facial tissues
* drinks
* cold cereal
* corn meal
* pasta
* canned tomatoes
* coffee
* olive oil
* peanut butter
* salad dressing
* croutons
And now includes tea bags after the Deal I gt on those on Friday.

Unless one of the items above is free, I am not buying them for the time being.

We've gotten quite a few projects completed or started around here since getting back from our trip.  Other than having to purchase supplies for some of these projects it has been a low expense month in some ways. (Not counting paying school taxes and the healthcare insurance premium.)  And speaking of premiums, we have also finally received 3 months of healthcare premium reimbursement.  Yay!!!  Going forward we will be submitting for reimbursement monthly so I don't have to use regular savings or monthly annuity income to cover this cost. 8-)

I am also staring a Sinking Fund for next year's irregular bills.  In the old days, back when Hubs was earning a nice paycheck I could just cash flow all these bills without having to dip into savings.  Now though we are living on half of what he use to bring home per month. In order to have enough saved up when each one comes due a Sinking Fund makes sense.  It's sort of like your mortgage company requiring you to pay more than your actual mortgage each month so they can also pay the real estate taxes for you too.

Here's my list of  irregular bills--

* home owner's insurance x 2(until the LA house sells)
* car insurance(semi-annual)
* garbage bill(quarterly)
* real estate taxes(annual)
* school taxes(annual)
* sewage(annual)

Presently this all accounts for $7654.77 worth of bills per year.  Break that down monthly and I need to put aside at least $637.90 per month to cover these costs.
Starting in October I'll be putting $650 of our annuity into this Sinking Fund.  I am figuring with deposits monthly and how our irregular bills flow month to month I'll be able to cash flow from this sinking fund through the end of 2018 if I start it in October which gives me a few extra months of putting cash aside(for a big bill due in March).

Here is how the Fund will play out(if no bills rise in 2018)......

October deposit $650-$84 irregular garbage bill=$566 carried forward to Nov.
November deposit $650+$566=$1216-car insurance $864.65=$351.35.
December deposit $650+$351.35=1001.35 with no irregular bills due.
January deposit $650+$1001.35=1651.35-garbage bill $84=$1567.35.
February deposit $650+$1567.35=$2217.35.
March deposit $650+$2217.35=$2867.35-$1371.85 real estate taxes + $430.68 sewage=$1064.82
April deposit $650+$1064.82=$1714.82-$84 garbage=$1630.82
May deposit $650+1630.82=$2280.82-$864.65 car insurance=$1416.17
June deposit $650+$1415.17=$2066.17-$1016.63 house insurance(if the house isn't sold yet)=$1049.54
July deposit $650+$1049.54=$1699.54-$84 garbage bill=$1615.54
August deposit $650+$1615.54=$2265.54-$668.00 house insurance=$1597.54
September deposit $650+$1597.54=$2247.54-$2102.31 school taxes=$145.23
October deposit $650+$145.23=$795.23-$84 garbage bill=$711.23
November deposit $650+$711.23=$1361.23-$864.65 car insurance=$496.58
December deposit $650+$496.58=$1146.58 with no irregular bills due.

I figure I'll be able to carry over $1146.58 of Sinking Funds into 2019 at which time we'll revisit paying the irregular bills that way.

February and December I have no irregular bills due.  Not having any bills taken out of the December and then the February deposit helps me get ready to pay the real estate taxes in March.
Once we sell the LA house June will also not have any irregular bills due that month(and this will help a bit with paying the school taxes in September from then on).

Financially things are going ok for now.  I suspect the electric bill will start it's inevitable climb in October once the heat goes on and won't let up until next April. Oh of the joys of living in the North East. ;-)  We shouldn't have a problem though covering the high electric months of Winter.

I am hoping I may be able to keep our monthly spending down within our monthly annuity payment for normal expenses long term.  This would mean just tapping the 401K monies for things like trips and the high deductible at the beginning of the year for the health insurance that we need to pay OOP before any benefits kick in.  Thus the 401K monies would last even longer than we thought they would.

That's about all I can think of now on this subject.  If other thoughts come up I'll address them.

Do you have Sinking Funds?  Have they helped you stay on track with your money and bills?
Was there something that happened that made you realize the finances are different now once you retired?
Are you adjusting to retirement?  What have been the challenges for you with it?  What have been the unexpected benefits?


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sometimes You're the Windshield & Sometimes You're the Bug

So remember when I bought those Shell gas cards to use on our Summer road trip back in May?

I earned $30 in Plenti Points buying these.

Fast forward to Day 2 of our trip, July 19th.  While passing through lower IL before we hit the Missouri border we stopped in New Baden IL to get gas at a Shell station.

Hubs swiped one of the $50 gift cards and started pumping gas into the rental car.  When Hubs hit $2.98 worth of gas the pump shut off.  He tried to swipe the card again and it now indicated that the gift card had no money left on it.

A station employee was outside emptying the garbage receptacles at the pumps so we asked him what was wrong.  He took the card inside to check the balance and indeed it was now empty, no money on it.
So I asked him to check a couple of other gas cards I had(all of which had had $50 of value put onto them)and they all had no money left on them.
We ended up using our Mastercard to finish filling the car and continued on with our travels.

Since I didn't have the receipts with me from when the gas cards were activated at Rite-Aid back in May and we didn't have a secure online connection while staying at motels there really wasn't much I could do about this situation until we returned home.
So I carted these gift cards across the country and back home to PA.

Once we got home I went up to Rite-Aid and they said to contact Shell first.
I just saw this turning out badly, with Rite-Aid blaming Shell and Shell blaming Rite-Aid me being out $300. 8-(

Well I found where to contact the company that issues these Shell cards online(it's not Shell!)and called their customer service line.
I spoke with "Linda"(in India)and after about 20 minutes of going over it all and giving her my card numbers, because she had to check each gas gift card, a definite pattern of fraud emerged.

Card #1 was emptied on July 7th in Highland California.
Card #2 was emptied on July 8th in Highland Caliifornia.
Card #3 was emptied on July 9th in Fontana California.
Card #4 was emptied on July 11th in Fontana California.
Card #5 was used/emptied on July 15th in Fontana, Carlton and Riverside California.
Card # 6 was used on July 18th in San Bernardino California.  They left $2.98 on this gas card and that was the one we attempted to use on July 19th.

All these towns are located in San Bernardino County in CA.
Let me add that I have never even been in San Bernardino County. 8-(

I then had to scan all the cards and the receipts from when I bought/activated the cards and send a very long email to dispute the charges on all 6 of the gift cards.
After not hearing back for over a week they finally responded to my inquiry and said they would send me a secure gas card with the $298.02 of value that was stolen from me, which I received.
And yes, this card works and so far, so good, and nobody has siphoned off any funds.

It was disappointing the hoops I had to jump through, plus we don't really have any Shell stations around here so I can only use this card when we travel.  But then again, it came in handy when we went to see our eldest son late last week for a few days.

But at least the company made good on the gift cards but the worry in the back of my mind the whole trip did take away from my enjoyment(ok, a little but not a lot lol).

Hopefully when we travel in the future we'll be able to find Shell stations to use this gift card at.
But I will think twice in the future about purchasing gift cards.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Frugal Friday......the September 22nd Edition

*  Eldest son experienced a change in life status recently so we went down to Va to assist him in finding bedroom furniture for his apartment.  Eldest is a not very well paid new teacher and he just bought a car(after being car-less for an entire year)so money is real tight for him right now.  There would be no perusing expensive furniture stores for a matching bedroom suite.

While he worked on Friday we visited many, many thrift stores scouting out the furniture prospects.
At the Goodwill no furniture we could use but I did find College Boy a Xmas present.........hehehe

We found 3 candidates for a bedroom night stand in our travels.  We took some photos and after viewing them later, Eldest picked this one to go and purchase on Saturday.......

It has some style, was "real wood" and sturdy and the best part it was only $8.

After about 6 thrift stores and no luck we saw this dresser sitting out in front of a junk store across the street from a thrift store we checked out........

Again, real wood and fairly sturdy and large enough to hold his stuff.  Knowing it was a deal at $55 I went ahead and paid for it and we went back on Saturday to arrange for delivery.

After checking out some mattress stores Eldest decided on a temper-pedic type foam mattress and a platform type bed frame/headboard.
The "discount" mattress store wanted upwards of $3500 for a queen sized 14" foam mattress and frame/platform.
No wonder people have to make payments and buy a bed on time at those prices!

So it was either buy a cheapy regular mattress and box spring at a store, or get a good mattress for cheap online.
He opted for the good mattress online where his dad and I got ours along with a platform bed frame/headboard.
He's all good in the bedroom department(mattress/frame/headboard/dresser/night stand)for a grand total of $770.

*  Remember all these that I have been collecting(mostly at Rite-Aid for free)all year........

This past week I turned it into this..........

$80 in cold hard cash.

*  While in Va we got Domino's for dinner on Friday using an old gift card so no new money OOP.

A Stormtrooper was riding shotgun for that delivery driver.
"Keep calm and join the dark side" as the back window suggested.

*  Almost free razors at Rite-Aid, free barbecue sauce at the Shursave market, and a few items bought while on the road to VA and back as shared already are my grocery finds.

*  In Goodwill I also scored a stocking stuffer for one of the kids and it was that week's 50% colored tag so half price off a thrift store price.  Rah!
In Walmart in WV I scored some clearance clothing too.......

Sleep tank tops for Daughter for $1 each.
I also found Daughter something I had already bought at the local Walmart for $4 cheaper so I bought it and will return the one that was more $. ;-)

A Summer nightie for me for $7.

And a Wonder Woman sleep shirt for me for $3.
Because I am "Fierce" when it comes to saving $. lolz

What have you done lately that is frugal?


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shopping This Week

Here's the little bit of shopping I did since last Thursday.

While in Virginia over the weekend I picked up a few things to bring home...........

Some Walmart brand mayo when we did grocery shopping with Eldest son.
Hubs and I hit Ollies(Good Stuff Cheap!)while Eldest was working on Friday and I picked up some applesauce and mandarin orange cups and 2 bags of rice.
Then on the ride home we hit a Food Lion along the way to look for discounted meat deals and I picked up 4 containers of bouillon cubes for cheaper than I can find them for at home.

I also got a pork butt for $1.29 lb...............

I would have bought more(3 more I think)if we had brought the large cooler with us, but alas, we only have the small handheld one.
I want to smoke some butts, cut them to size and then put them into the chest freezer.  That way, we can have barbecue pork anytime we want this Fall/Winter.  You just can't smoke outside here once teh cold hits.  My smoker isn't electric, it's charcoal so the wind and cold keep you from regulating the smoking temperature.

Moving on.........

On Tuesday I had to go to Rite-Aid for drugs so I also picked these up.......

2 x Daylogic 3 blade razors on sale$5=$10.00
Add tax of .60¢ and this came to $10.60 which I paid for with PPs.
I earned back $10 in Plenti Points so .60¢ spent down in points for two razors.

The local Shursave market had a One Day sale(today)so I stopped in and picked up a few things..........

Their private label Greek yogurt was .50¢ a cup today only so I picked up 10.  I get the plain ones and use them to mix with sour cream in recipes(and dips)to bring calorie count and fat content down.  I also use these for breakfast, with the additional of a little honey or fruit and granola and flax seed.  I find the already fruited ones just too sweet.
The turkey breast are half price all week, .99¢ lb. with a limit of 2.  This makes for a cheap protein for dinners.

Cauliflower heads were .99¢ today only and the broccoli crowns were .99¢ all week.  The barbecue sauce was free with the e-coupon attached to my store card.

I am hoping to find a good deal on pork butts/shoulders this weekend or early next week as I'll be smoking said butts/shoulders then.
It looks like no tomato canning or relish making will happen this year.  We missed the peak of tomato picking at the farm we go to since we were gone the end of last week and the weekend.  I could still pick peppers for relish but I am just not "into" it right now.

I haven't been sleeping well so I am going to go attempt a nap, if the construction workers building a massive garage down the road stay on break long enough for me to conk out.

Did y'all find any good loss leaders at the stores this week?


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Frugal Cooking

While down in Virginia to see our Eldest son late last week I did a bit of cooking for him.  We didn't want to spend on Eating-out much and didn't want Eldest to pay for that either(Eldest is quite generous and will splash out for meals without being asked to pick up a tab.)  Plus cooking is one of the few things I can do for him at his age.  ;-)

He needed to go grocery shopping so I picked up a few items as well at Walmart when we went with him.  Eldest always grocery shops at Walmart as he isn't into hunting the best price and can't be bothered to go from store to store so he shops at "the Mart" as it's convenient and he uses their Savings Catcher feature.

Eldest loves leftovers and his usual MO when cooking is the prepare a large container or two of some food and eat off of it for dinner all week.  He cooks well but he really doesn't want to spend his precious free time during workdays making meals so this works for on weekends and eating the leftovers during the week.

I purchased a small beef roast, a package of 4 boneless pork loins(prepped like a cube steak and discounted), a pack of hamburger rolls, a head of lettuce, 2 lbs. of whole mushrooms, a canister of panko bread crumbs, a bottle of ketchup and 1 onion.  I had also picked up a container of sour cream at Aldi's when Hubs and had gone there the day before while Eldest was working.
I spent $30.09 on all this.
I also had at my disposal, back at his apartment, cooking oil, flour, spices, rice and mayo.

Before we went out on Saturday I prepped the beef roast by halving it.  I cut one half into bite-sized pieces and used them in a large pot of Beef Stroganoff along with the whole 2 lbs. of mushrooms(which got added later).  The ratio was 2/3 'shrooms to 1/3 meat basically.  It cooked away in a crock pot most of the day and was served over rice that evening.  This fed the three of us handily(Eldest had seconds)and also left him at least 3 additional meals worth for later.

On Sunday I prepped the pork pieces, first by flattening them more, then salting and peppering them.  Each was coated in seasoned panko and sauteed in a skillet, then drained on paper towels.  Add lettuce(slice of raw onions and tomato optional)and mayo on a warm bun and you've got a filling pork tenderloin sandwich, something I developed a taste for in the Midwest a few Summers ago.

I had planned to serve these for lunch on Sunday but Hubs and I decided to bug out on Sunday rather than Monday so I prepared these for breakfast on Sunday instead.
By flattening the pork slices I was able to get 7 portions(3 were large enough to cut them in half after pounding them)that would fit on a hamburger bun.  After we ate our fill, Eldest was left with two portions to eat at another time.

The other half of the beef roast was frozen for later use.  I told Eldest he could season it and put it in his crock pot to cook while he was in school and just throw a potato and some other veg in the microwave when he got home and have dinner ready in short order.
I also recommended the leftovers of his roast could be cut up and with the addition of carrots, onions, garlic, and any other veg he preferred(potato, green beans, etc.)in his crockpot he could have a nice stew later on.  I figure using that hunk of roast this way would get him at least 3 more servings from it.  Adding it to a stew with vegetables would extend how many meals it would make.

All totaled I spent $30.09 on 14 helpings of meals(both the ones we ate then and the ones that will be eaten later).
Plus Eldest got to keep half the container of sour cream, most of a bottle of ketchup, most of a head of lettuce, 3 hamburger buns and half a canister of panko crumbs to incorporate into future meals.

If Eldest had all 14 helpings for himself this would have fed him for lunches and dinners for a whole week.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Frugal Friday....September 15th on the 19th

Finally getting a chance to do a frugal update.
Here's what we did Frugal last week.

* We didn't do any Eating-out or Take-out.

*  I used up leftovers and foods we already had at home to meal plan.

*  Did laundry during off-peak rates.

*  Mostly we stayed home and did chores/projects around the house.  Sanded and repainted front porch posts, had the driveway seal coated.  Proactive maintenance costs less in the long run.

We didn't have anything out of the ordinary or noteworthy the previous week that was frugal beyond the same-old, same-old.  No Rite-Aid freebies at all and just a couple grocery store deals.

Just a boring old week in frugal land........


Monday, September 18, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The "Traveling Again" Edition--

Hubs and I went down to VA for a few days to help Eldest son deal with some "stuff" and hang out with him.
It was a great visit and so nice to see him again.

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Cuke/Tomato Salad
2. Monday--Beef Pie
3. Tuesday--Ham, Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Cornbread
4. Wednesday--Haluski
5. Thursday--Leftovers
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Spaghetti and Meatballs, Cuke/Tomato Salad
2. Monday--Beef Pie
3. Tuesday--Ham, Brussels Sprouts, Leftover Corn and Leftover Zuke Casserole
4. Wednesday--Haluski
5. Thursday--Leftovers/Eating-Out
6. Friday--Leftovers/Take-Out Pizza
7. Saturday--Leftovers/Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff over Rice, Grapes

Last week saw 4 nights of home cooked dinners, 3 nights of leftovers(or 5 nights of home cooked dinners, 2 nights of take-out/eating-out for me and Hubs) and 0 nights of Take-Out.  

Hubs and I took an unscheduled trip down the Eldest son's apartment to help him on Thursday so we weren't here the last 3 days of my menu plan.  We left Daughter tons of leftovers(plus a couple of tv dinners in the freezer)and she was suppose to eat on those if she didn't feel like cooking.  Daughter cooked a small ham shank I had in the fridge and ate a few leftovers but didn't finish anything(sigh)so we'll be eating on those leftovers this week as well.

I made 1 trip to Weis Markets and 2 trips to the Shursave Market which brought the weekly food spending to $59.62 last week, and bringing food spending in September to $208.32 so far.   

My savings percentages last week and for the month to-date?   Last week's percentage was 39.53% and the monthly ends up at 45.05% as well(without Rite-Aid trips added in). 

Leftovers going into this week.......1 kielbasa hunk(which Hubs will have for lunch on Monday), a hunk of baked ham, Beef Pie, Halushki, Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Here is this week's "food plan".....

1. Sunday--Leftovers(or Eating-Out while on the road)
2. Monday--Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salad
3. Tuesday--Leftover Beef Pie
4. Wednesday--Leftover Haluski
5. Thursday--Leftover Ham, Sugar Snap Peas
6. Friday--Leftovers if still available or ?
7. Saturday--Leftovers if still available or ?

This week will see 0-2 new meals cooked, 5-7 nights of leftovers and 0 nights of Take-Out/Eating-Out.
Depending on how long the leftovers hold out I may not be cooking at all this week, just reheating leftovers and adding a tossed salad or veggie side to augment the leftovers.
If needed I have all the makings to do a lasagna or fix pork tenderloin sandwiches if we need "new" food this week.

What I need to buy for this menu? Nothing.  Daughter needs some lunch meat but I don't plan on getting anything much beyond that as the grocery ads are "bleh" this week.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Friday, September 15, 2017

Frugal Friday.....September 15th Edition.....Delayed

So I don't have a Frugal post today because I am on the road again.
I might or might not have time later to work on this today......or this weekend.....or Monday.
There are more important things in my life right now than posting like family stuff.

Back when I can.
Have a good weekend if I get back later rather than sooner.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Last Week Rite-Aid & This Week at Weis(PMITA)Markets

So like I said I'd probably do, I went back to Rite-Aid last Saturday and did another round of dental freebies and the cheap light bulbs..........

After Sale prices/Plenti points earned and Coupons used all 4 Dental items were free and the pack of GE LED light bulbs was $1.35(with tax)paid in Plenti Points.
$42.35 in retail items for $1.35 in PPs.  All of this will be coming to a Giveaway box soon.

This week I've been trying to eat from the pantry/stockpile plus I haven't been very inspired by the sales ad at Weis.
But I did go to check on discounted meats(got 1 package of ground turkey)and do 1 round of the Buy 6/Get $3 off Mix and Match items.........

2 x Minute Maid OJ on sale=$4.98
2 x Daisy cottage cheese on sale=$4.98
1 x Huggies diapers on sale=$6.99
1 x Huggies wipes on sale=$1.99

Coupons Used
2 x .50¢/1 Daisy product IPQ(doubled to $1)=$2.00
1 x $1.50/1 Huggies diapers ManuQ=$1.50
1 x $1/1 Huggies diapers WEis bookletQ=$1.00
1 x .50¢/1 Huggies wipes IPQ(doubled to $1)=$1.00
Coupon Total......$5.50

$18.94-$5.50=$13.44-$3 M and M Deal=$10.44
$10.44 for all 6 items.

I'll be able to sell the diapers for between $5-$6 locally so that brings my total down to between $4.44-$5.44 for the other 5 items I'll keep and use.

Plus there is that Minute Maid OJ Catalina running at Weis until Dec. 31st(buy 5 OJ/Get a $2 Catalina oyno)so I have 2 cartons toward earning another Catalina.

So what good deals did you find recently?


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Are You a Serial Debtor?

Getting into debt seems to get easier and easier to do.
That's how most financial institution make money off of the public, by getting and keeping them in debt.  These entities grow rich on fees and interest.

Take the big automakers.  It came out years ago that the reason they offer in-house financing is because they make the bigger profit not on the sale of the vehicle but on the interest they charge you to finance said vehicle.
Let that sink in for a moment......

With most banking institutions they only way they will give you "free" checking accounts is if you keep X amount of dollars in either your checking or one of their other financial products(savings, money market, cd, stock portfolios, etc.).  But then again, your checking account isn't "free" really, is it?  Since the bank has access to the money in your financial product to move around, lump it with other folks' money on deposit and shuffle it all around(as one big freaking pile of cash!)to turn a profit for themselves...something a lone investor/person with capital can't possibly do on that  massive level.

Businesses encourage John Q Public to go into debt in many ways because it puts money into their corporate pockets.
Corporations love debt and use any trick they can think of to keep you mired in debt.

Refinancing schemes are one way they do this.
Refinancing can be a great way to get out of debt.  If you can't handle the payments of your debt by consolidating and restructuring them you can A-make them more manageable for your income level and B-lower the rates in a refinancing plan.

But be very careful!

Yes, you can lower the rates but if you don't see the "extra" cash left at the end of your month(if there is any extra cash) as "extra" and spend it on wants.  You are just inflating your lifestyle and won't actually extract yourself any faster.  And if you use that "extra" cash to extend yourself into a new financing scheme(put something on time and use the "extra" cash for a downpayment)then you have just mired yourself further into your quicksand of debt.
Also, most refinancing schemes while they lower your interest rate also extend how long it will take to pay off that debt.  Don't fall for this ploy either.

The only way I would ever refinance a debt(if I had a debt and my back was against the wall)would be to get a 0% balance transfer credit card and move debt from one instrument to that one.  Of course all 0% balance offers do have an end date by which the 0% interest terminates and usually balloons up quickly to a large rate of interest you are required to pay on the remaining balance so watch out for that(and some refis also make you responsible for all the interest you thought you got out of IF you had paid the loan off before the 0% rate expired).  And don't EVER do a 0% balance transfer and then use that credit card to make new purchases!  If you do, you have just negated any financial good that transfer did you and you'll be in worse financial shape very quickly.

There are folks who don't "get it" at first, but then wake up one day and realize, "WTF!?! I am in debt and how do I get out?!"and make plans to extract themselves from said debt.

Most people "gets it" about debt at some point in their adult financial life.
But then there are those other folks.

You know.....the ones who get into various types of debt and then have an epiphany one day and get serious about extracting themselves from their predicament.
But they go overboard and tighten down their spending too much and start throwing all their money at their debt.
And then at some point they just can't stand not spending on something they "want" another minute because they are too restrictive and go off the deep end and go spend with wild abandon.  And usually this wild abandon period equates to buying something big like a car, a pool, an RV, a pricey cruise, etc.

And when they do this they usually undo any good their previous financial fasting has done them and then they are right back to the same level of debt as before or sometimes a larger level of debt.

Then the guilty or remorse or whatever you want to call it sets in and they severely tamp down their spending again and throw themselves into debt pay down and the cycle starts all over again.

I have seen a few folks online who fit into this category.  They cycle in and out of debt or cycle from moderate debt to massive debt to moderate debt but never truly get out of their debt.

Beyond their own self-defeating "get out of debt disorder" add in that emergencies happen that also need their ready cash at some point in the cycling and basically nothing ever changes in their lives beyond the change in the level of debt they are mired in.

They will never break the debt cycle until they deal with the deep seated psychological reasons behind their money/debt issues.  Some issues are easier than others to address but this type of serial debtor needs to take a good hard look at why they are in debt and can't get out.

Are their debts just too large to get out from under?
Do they not understand the difference between a need and a want?
Can they not say no to themselves or others when it comes to money?
Do they have no self-control with their finances?
Are they not mature enough to understand delaying gratification?
Do they need some rudimentary budgeting lessons?

And add a spouse or significant other who isn't on the same page with money, and the psychological games couples play about finances, and there is just more baggage to deal with to break out of this cycle of serial debt.

This ARTICLE may explain it better than I can.

It's never too late to face up to your finances and change how you deal with your money if what you have been doing isn't working for you.
Money is a great tool to get you where you want to be in life......IF you use it wisely.
Used recklessly and it can make your life a living hell.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Back to the Giveaways!.....Come Enter

This is the sixth Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway for the year.
Come on and enter.
Somebody has to win and it might just be YOU!

Here is what you can win if your entry is picked.  Lots of "girly girl" type stuff this time and chocolate......

1 x Colgate Optic White Toothpaste
1 x Clean Shampoo(trial size bottle-Total Care)
1 x Pantene Smooth & Sleek Shampoo(w/Bonus Airspray)
1 x Dove Women's dry spray Deodorant
1 x Revlon Nail Polish(clear)
2 x Sinful Colors Nail Polish(Chopstick, Dusk)
3 x Sally Hansen Nail Polish(Green w/Envy, The Real Teal, Purple Potion)
1 x Revlon Matte Lipstick(Nude Attitude)
1 x Cover Girl Eye Shadow(Swiss Chocolate)
1 x Revlon Eye Shadow(Violet Starlet)
1 x Cover Girl Brow and Eye Pencils(w/sharpener)
1 x L'Oreal Infallible Lip Liner(Plum)
1 x Rite-Aid Nail Clippers
1 x Revlon Tweezers
1 x Ace Disposable Cold Compress
1 x Oral-B Toothbrush(Battery operated w/Replaceable Head)
1 x Raio citrus mint Body Lotion(sample size)
1 x Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner(sample packs)
1 x Clear Total Care Shampoo & Conditioner(sample packs)
1 x Conair Hairbrush
1 x Mentholatum Nighttime Vaporizing Rub sample
1 x Banana Boat SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
10 x Cadbury Chocolates(6 x Dark Choc. w/Sea Salt & Caramel/4 x Milk Choc. w/Raisins & Almonds)

Over $60 in regular retail of goodies.

Closeup shots of the goodies up for grabs......

I'll leave this giveaway open until Tuesday, September 26th, at 11:59pm Eastern Time, so that gives everyone a full 2 weeks to enter this one.  On September 27th I'll mark all the valid entries and use Random dotorg to pick a number and that corresponding person's entry wins.

*Please note the rules*
I'll post the name/Id of the winner on this blog and that person has 48 hours from then to contact me privately via email(my email addy is listed on my "About Me" page).
If I am not contacted via email I'll attempt to contact the winner via the email they supply with their entry and if that email is not responded to within another 48 hours I'll pick another winner.

There are three ways to enter--1 Daily and 2 One-Time Only........
1. Leave a comment every day.
2. Be a follower of this Blog(Hit the "Follow" button on the right hand side bar.) Let me know if your comment for this entry the name you follow under to verify.  You can do this entry once.
3. Post on your own blog(or on your Facebook page)about the Giveaway and leave a link in your comment/entry to where I can find it.  You can do this entry once.
In your Daily Entry tell me in your comment......something like what here is the thing here you most would like to win, or what your Fall plans are, will you be vacationing and where, what thing/place you'd most like to see in your life or just tell us something about yourself.

Disclaimer--This giveaway is open to those with mailing addresses within the US only.
As the cost of postage to foreign countries has gotten to high I am sorry to say I can no longer afford to mail boxes outside the US.  These giveaways are not sponsored by any companies, I pay for it all(cost of items given away and the postage to mail it all)out of my own pocket.

Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you in your comment.

If you're not a registered Blogger User with your contact information on your User page, please put your email addy in your comment or email me your email addy privately when you leave a comment so I can get a hold of you. If your Blogger associated user profile is a GOOGLE one with those Google Circles nonsense I CAN NOT CONTACT YOU as Google Circles doesn't show your contact info.

If I can't contact you then you can't win.  I have had to disqualify more readers than I care to due to this issue and I sure don't want it to happen again.  Thanks!

So let's get this started!