Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Many Happenings

We had a wonderful weekend with our children and grandchildren. My granddaughter is so tall and such a wonderful young lady. Her parents have raised her to be so polite and considerate. I just love chatting with her. I hated to see her go home yesterday.

I cooked 7 meals over the weekend and we ordered pizza and wings for carryout for the 8th meal. I would have loved to have taken my family out to dinner but I am leery of crowds and people hacking and coughing in restaurants with so much flu around. I was taking a chance getting the carryout. But I told my family that next time they come, we will take them out to dinner.

Shortly after they left yesterday, I was racing around the house stripping beds, gathering towels to wash and just some general picking up. I was racing down the hallway and I slammed my baby toe into the board that our railing is set in. I broke my toe. You ought to see it today. So many different colors and so sore. I knew I wanted to do errands today but it was too painful to put my sneakers on. So I put on my loafers which were a little easier on the toe. But now I am resting it and writing to you.

I went to CVS, Aldi's, Walmart and Top's this morning.  At CVS, I purchased cashews, M&M's, and 2 boxes of Puffs. After using $8.00 in ECB's that were expiring tomorrow and a 25% off regular priced product coupon, I paid $ 2.39 including tax. Hubby had been wanting cashews for a long time but they are so expensive that I kept waiting until I could get them on sale. Needless to say he is very happy today.

Next door to CVS is an Aldi's so I stopped in and bought potato chips, a 3 pack of peppers, tartar sauce, 1/2 and 1/2, a 3lb. bag of mandarins and 2 bags of semi-sweet morsels. My total was $ 14.03.

Next I went to the pick up counter at Walmart. Hubby had ordered 3 brush refills for his Waterpik toothbrush. They come out of the $100. Other budget this week.

Last, I went to Top's where I purchased celery, 2 Philadelphia cream cheese, 2 lbs. of bacon, 4 yogurt, 2 baking mixes, and 2 fresh mozzarella balls. My total was $ 26.35 after sales and coupons.

So far this week, I have spent $ 42.77 of my $ 75.00 budget. I doubt that I will shop any more this week. My toe does not like it. 

We got our gas and electric bill today and it was $ 238.60 for one month. Yikes! It is amazing what cold weather will do to a bill. We keep our heat at 71 because Hubby is always cold. Because of this our heating bills have been very high this winter. I am just happy that we have saved and invested over the years so that we can afford them. 

Since I will most likely be home bound the rest of the week, I will just do some cleaning and organizing around here. I am also working on a lowest price list for all of the foods that I buy. As I am building my stockpile again, I am marking the prices I pay and that way I can see what the lowest prices are that I purchase things at. If I have enough for three months or more in my stockpile, I won't even look for more until the last month of my stockpile and then I will look for the lowest price on that item.

My toilet paper stockpile was getting low so I ordered this at Amazon. It is 80 rolls. This is thin toilet paper which is what most people who have septic tanks use. It works out to about $ .008 a square foot which is a stock up price. We use it on the recommendation of our Roto-Router man who unclogged the elbow in the sewer pipe out near the road for us when it got clogged. Roto Router is expensive so I will take his advice and try to avoid another clog. It is still on sale if anyone needs it.

On that note, I am off to cut up veggies for our taco  meat salads that we will have for dinner tonight.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Hit Up the 50% Off Valentine's Candy Sale and Other Things

It has been a busy week filled with such anticipation of my family arriving. I can hardly wait. So I have been trying to keep busy planning menus, etc.

This morning I went to Walmart to make a return and hit up the 50% off Valentine's sale. I was only interested in candy for baking and Halloween. I just freeze it for those purposes. It actually keeps without freezing it for a long time. Happy that I went early because they did not have much and I was shopping for us and my DIL. So I bought a lot of chocolates to make cookies, cupcakes, muffins, party mix, etc. I paid with grocery money that I roll and a Walmart Gift Card. 

While I was up that way, I stopped at Home Depot to pick up a 3 way LED bulb. Until I researched online, I had no idea that they made them yet. I paid full price for one because our regular bulb died last night. I paid with a Home Depot gift card that Hubby got for Christmas. I will be looking for a sale on them so that I can replace the other 3 way bulbs that we use.

I also stopped at Panera Bread and used one of the $400. worth of discounted Gift Cards that I got a year ago from supermarket deals to buy bagels to go with breakfast on Saturday.

My last stop was at Dollar Tree to make a return and get the product replaced. I picked up 4 small bags of Valentine candy that were marked $ .50 each. 

Hubby has been busy the last few days trying to get our Homeowner's Insurance cheaper. He finally decided to go to an agency that handles a lot of companies. They can check companies and prices a lot easier than we can. Our homeowners which is due in March went up $ 140. this year alone. Since we bought this house almost 8 years ago the premium gone up 150% and we have never had a claim. Our auto policy, we just paid in December and that has risen rapidly also. We knew that we wanted to consolidate them but we did not want to take a hit for cancelling the auto policy so soon after we paid the annual premium. So the agency checked all of that for us. They found out that our company that we are with now does not charge a huge fee for cancelling early. They just pro-rate it and give us the money back. So we are considering a nationwide company who will insure us for the exact insurance that we have now on both policies and consolidate them so they both come due on the same time. We do not insure for the minimums. We carry hundreds of dollars worth of insurance on both our home and our SUV. The new company is charging us $200. less for both policies combined. Now of course, we run the risk of that company going up on renewal but so will the other one go up. And we can always have the agency look for a cheaper policies again on renewal. We also checked each companies BBB rating and they are just about the same. So we will make our decision in the next couple of days. 

My son and granddaughter are arriving mid morning tomorrow and not leaving until Monday. So I will be back posting on Tuesday. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This Week's Shopping and Solving a Dilemma

I hope you all had a good weekend. We spent ours indoors watching the Olympics. With the exception of Hubby snow blowing the 11 and 1/2 inches of snow we got, we never went outside.

Today, I did the weekly shopping. I put my $75.00 in my wallet and spent almost all of it. I spent $72.32. I was totally out of bacon so I picked up some regular and some turkey bacon. I always need to keep breakfast things for our Sunday family breakfasts. I am needing more for this weekend but more about that later. The hash browns are also for this weekend along with the ice cream and Hershey's syrup.

Our ground turkey was gone. It was on sale but only at 33% off which is not a great price so I only bought 2 lbs. However the sirloin tip roasts were on sale for $ 3.99 a lb. so I purchased one to cut up for stew meat.

I purchased one extra newspaper because there were 3 inserts this week. I always need Half and Half. So I got 2. The Kleenex, oatmeal, veggies, and Kikkoman sauces were great prices after sale and coupons. So they will go in my stockpile. The soy sauce sale was just in time because I only had about 1/2 inch in my last bottle.

I only spent $38.00 last week so I have $ 37.00 that I could spend if I do need something since I have lots of company this coming weekend.

Yes, my son is coming out on a business trip on Friday or Thursday evening depending on the weather. He is bringing my granddaughter and they are staying until Monday. We are so excited. We didn't think that we would see them for another month or so.

And my grandson is coming at 11AM on Saturday and staying until noon or so on Sunday. That was a previous date that we had on our calendar. So that left us with a bedroom dilemma. We only have three bedrooms. My granddaughter will stay in one and my son in the other spare room. 

My grandson likes to stay up all night talking and my granddaughter likes her sleep. We tried sleeping them in the same room once and that did not work out well.

So my son is bringing my grandson's air mattress and sleeping bag. But where can we sleep him? We can't do the great room because we adults will be up in there until midnight. There is no room in our bedroom.

So Hubby and I thought about it and this is what we came up with. We will put him in our office. It's pictured above. Excuse the mess but Hubby is cleaning it. We will move the writing table over in front of the windows and take the chair out and that will give my grandson a large spot in the middle of the room for his bed. 

However we have French doors on that room and they are not great for the privacy that a young man needs. Remember that large roll of paper that I purchased to wrap presents a long time ago. Well, Hubby cut two large strips of it and taped it over the windows using painter's tape so that it wouldn't hurt the paint on the doors. 

All we have left to do is find our extra nightlights to put in that room for him.

He should be very comfortable sleeping in there for one night.

The grandchildren are very excited that they will get to spend time with each other for a day. They don't see each other very often.

And of course, Grandma has to spoil them while they are here. That is what the ice cream and Hershey's syrup is for. I will bake some brownies and make brownie sundaes for dessert on Saturday night. We will top them with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. I am also considering ordering pizza and wings for dinner that evening. It will be easy for me and the kids and we adults will love it.       

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Some of the Most Important Things That I Have Learned Over My 50+ Years of Marriage

First, I have to apologize for being so slow answering your comments. I just replied to them. It looked like my cold was returning this week so I was resting more and on the computer less. But now it seems to be going away again.

So now for the more important topic, in no particular order:

1. I have learned that saving is more important than spending. Saving for a rainy day and to keep you and your family debt free is most important. Anyone who has ever had debt and paid it off can will tell you that spending beyond your means(income) is a big no no. Eventually that bubble will burst unless you change that pattern and pay off that debt.

2. No one needs a stockpile of food larger than 3-6 months. This is a lesson that I learned over the past year or so. The more you have, the more you have to take care of, rotate, and risk losing to freezer burn. I don't worry too much about expiration dates on pantry items because most of the dates are just sell by dates. You must keep an inventory of what you have so that you use it up. 

3. A stockpile, besides being a supply of food, lets me decide how much to pay for a product rather than the store deciding for you. When you buy at rock bottom prices and track those prices, you always know what price you are looking for to buy at. For example, if I buy a few lbs. of ground beef on sale at $1.99 and then see it at $ 1.69 a lb., I will buy enough to get me to the next sale(usually a 3 month cycle). I will be looking for that $ 1.69 price as my buy price but if I am almost out, I can buy at the $ 1.99. Doing this allows me to never pay the regular price of $3.99. 

4. It also let's me continue to use up and resupply my pantry using the best sale prices matched with coupons.

5. You can eat healthy and use coupons. There are many companies who put out coupons for healthy products. 

6. Buy meat that is reduced because it is getting close to the sell by date. If you can combine it with a manufacturer's or store coupon, even better. Use the meat right away or freeze for the future. I have only had 2 reduced for quick sale meats be bad when I went to use them in all of these years. So I am always on the hunt for marked down meat.

7. The amount of money you can save(or don't spend) is a factor of how much time and effort you are willing to put into it. Think of how much money you could save if you spent it researching and planning how to do it and then do it, rather than watching TV or playing computer games all day.

8. If I put the time and effort into finding ways to save on my gas and electric bill, it will pay off month after month after month. The same goes for insurance bills, cellphone companies, gasoline costs, and cable companies. That is time well spent.

9. I can save a whole lot of money making a restaurant type meal at home rather than eating out. Plus I have always said, "I know where my hands have been." That is especially important today with the flu everywhere.

10. My husband and my sons and their families are the most important people in my world. I do my best for them every single day. Their needs and your needs are more important than anyone elses.

11. Stay busy and healthy. Do things every day for your mind and your body. Take that walk, jump on that bike or treadmill, eat healthy and read a book.

12. Be optimistic every day. It is so important for your mind and body. Give up being pessimistic because it will only make you sick.

13. This one is a biggie:  Learn something new every day. That is what I have always done and I love it.

14. Be charitable and you will get it back in your life twofold.

15. Don't stockpile so much in your freezer that you can never defrost it before it develops ice. Because now I have to go down and put all of this food in ice chests so that I can do it. See picture above.

16. Don't save just to save. Plan out your goals for the next year, 5 years, 8 years, 10 years, etc. Then make a commitment to those and you will get there.
I am young at heart and I have many goals for the next 10 years. So don't ever stop making them.      

16. Lastly, for today, we are continuing to eat out of our freezer so that I can eventually have room for the 40 lbs. of chicken from Zaycon Fresh that I ordered.

What have your most important lessons been?


Monday, February 5, 2018

A New Category

I have had to add a new category to our budgeting. We have always lumped drugs, Dr. appointments, any procedures, hospital bills, labs, tests and dental appointments into one lump category. 

However, since we have no dental insurance, we have had to give Dental it's own category. Nothing brought that more to my attention than our dental cleanings and checkups this morning. It is just too large to lump in within everything else. Our dental bills yearly have run anywhere from $ 5,000. to $21,000.(the year I got the bridge and two crowns).

So this morning, we each had a checkup and cleanings. I had my yearly X-rays and the dentist filled a very tiny cavity in between two front teeth. He said he wanted to fill it before it got worse and he had the time this morning. I was in shock when we went to the front desk to pay and get our 4 month appointments. The bill for this morning for both of us was $961.00. $ 277. was the tiny filling.  I used to pay with a check. However a while ago I realized the cash rebate that I could get by charging the dental bills on my credit card.  So I always do that now and pay the credit card when the bill comes.

Knowing that Hubby has to go back to get a filling replaced and a possible new crown, we decided to start funding a separate category for dental. So we will start it off with some of the money that we have built up in the medical category and from now on we will fund the dental category with $417. every month. 

We have looked into insurance but it doesn't pay much on what we get and it is so expensive that it is better for us to fund it out of pocket.

I just wish that dentistry wasn't so expensive. My dentist is building a brand new building for his dental practice in a more expensive area and hiring much more staff, a new hygienist, and bringing in another dentist. I expect when he moves there this summer that prices will go up again. We really like this dentist but I just wish he was cheaper. Oh well, it is what it is.

While we were there this morning, the hygenist gave us a bag of "freebies". They are shown above. I wonder if the dentist pays for these things or if they are free to him samples. I may call them freebies but I feel like I paid for them many times over in the price we paid today.

Does your dentist give you "freebies"? Do your doctors? I never had a doctor that did but on this last appointment to my primary he gave me an entire 30 month supply of a prescription drug so that I didn't have to purchase it. I was very surprised.

Today has been a day of appointments. Hubby had to take his hearing aid back because it is not working right. He just got it repaired by the company that makes it a week and a half ago. Now it is has so much static that it is useless. So back it goes again.

The hearing specialist that he has to take it to is located in a doctor's practice. He told me that the doctor's practice was so crowded that he barely got a parking space. He had to park against a huge snowbank. The minute he came in the door and told me this, he said he was going to go wash his hands really well and sanitize them. I just sanitized every doorknob he touched coming in the house, hanging up his coat, etc. I also went out and sanitized the door handle inside and out on the SUV and the steering wheel. The last thing we need in this house is the flu.

I will be making chicken parmesan for dinner tonight. We haven't had it in a long time. It is Hubby's favorite. What are you cooking tonight?

I hope you all have a great evening!   

Friday, February 2, 2018

This Week's Shopping Trip

At the end of last week, I had $ 6.49 left in my grocery shopping budget. On Sunday I added this week's $75.00 for a total of $ 81.49.

I showed you yesterday, my Rite Aid shop which totaled $ 17.36 which left me $ 64.13 for today's shop.

I shopped at Top's and this is what I purchased:

1 dozen Top's Large Eggs - $ 1.99

4 Brown and Serve Sausage $1.00 each =$4.00

5 -2 ltr. Diet Coke - $.99 each = $4.95 + bottle dep.

3 Chobani with a hint of flavor yogurt -$1.00 each- used 3- $.50/1 Q's dbled = All Free

1 Arnold Rolls - $3.69 - $ .55/1 Q= $ 2.69

1 Top's Sandwich Bread - $ .99

1 Pkg. of Romaine Lettuce $ 2.99

1 Apple $ 1.15

3/4 lb. of Turkey Breast - $ 5.24

.53 lbs. of Provolone Cheese - $ 3.70

7.54 lb. Turkey Breast at $.99 lb.= $ 7.46
4 Hellmans Mayonaise - $2.99 each - used (2) 1./1 Q's and $1./1 CTC Q = $ 8.96 and earned a $2.00 Catalina Good on My Next Shopping Order

2 International Delight Yogurt $.125 each - used (2) $ .75/1 Q's = Both Free

2 Frank's Hot Sauce - $2.50 - $. 75/1 Q = $1. for one and $2.50 for the other and a $1.00 Ibotta Rebate for buying 2.

2 Ritz Crackers - $ 3.49 each - used $ .75/2 Q = $ 5.48 and a $.25 Ibotta Rebate

2 Ortega Good Grains Blue Corn Tortilla Shells $ 1.25 each - used $ 1./2 Q = $1.50 

2 DelMonte Refreshers -$2.00 each - used (1) $.75/1 Q = $ 2.50 for both

2 Kettle Chips -B1G1F = $3.69 for both- $ 1./2 Q = $ 2.69 and a $1.00 Ibotta Rebate

I also used a $ 5./ 50. Tops Q so my OOP was $55.81. I have Ibotta Rebates of $ 2.25.
After this trip we have $ 8.32 left for this week.

Now let me show you how I messed up. The Extra Large Eggs were on sale for $.99. I picked up the Large by accident. 

Also there was a $1.00 Lady Alice Ibotta Rebate. I know I picked up the right apple. However, it looks like it had the wrong sticker on it.  

So I may or may not go back and try to exchange the eggs and the apple. It depends on if I get back that way for something else.  

We were on our last jar of mayo which is a sacrilege in this house. So I bought 4 to get us through until the next sale. I would have loved to buy more turkey breasts but I only had room for one which I will cook soon. I am trying to make room for my $ .79 a lb. boneless chicken breasts that Zaycon will bring the end of March. I needed the eggs and free yogurts. Hubby asked for the Ritz, cold cuts, soda, rolls, lettuce, and hot sauce. The rest are for Super Bowl Sunday. 

I hope you all got great food sales this week. Enjoy the Super Bowl. We are looking forward to that on Sunday and we will have our grandson for the weekend so lots of fun.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Hair Salon Dilemma

Well, today is my hair salon day. I counted my money in my "Other" category and I do not want to spend all of it on my hair. I love my hairdresser but she is expensive.

Usually I get a cut, color, highlights and style which has cost me up to $140. Sometimes I just get roots done along with the cut and style. What she charges is never consistent. We will see what she charges today.

Today I am focused on what I can get done so as to not spend all of the money in my "Other" category. I definitely need a cut and style and roots done. But I think I am going to let the highlights grow out. 

Then I will see if I like the color of my hair this time. If not, I may experiment with coloring it again myself. If that works out, I may just get a cut and style every 6 weeks. So I will be on the lookout for a great deal at one of the drugstores on hair color. 

I am also going to quiz her on what she charges for roots or a full color. I am going to admit to her that I am on a budget. Honesty is always the best policy.

I am off to the hairdresser now and will report back to you when I get home. 

What do you guys spend on your hair at the salon? Am I paying the norm? I am not sure. 

I am trying to build up my "Other" category, not spend it down every month but it is hard with the cost of the hair salon.

I'm back after a side trip to Rite Aid which is right next to my hair salon.

My hairdresser colored my roots today, cut, and styled my hair. She charged me $ 75. and I gave her a 20% tip of $15.00 so total OOP was $ 90. Am I tipping too high?

I usually get my hair cut every 4 weeks but I pushed the next appointment out to 6 weeks. We will see if the roots last that long. If not I have root spray that I can use. I feel like I am addicted to going to her. She does such a great job. I did decide to grow the highlights out and let her know.  

While I was right next to Rite Aid, I stopped in and did a couple of great deals. For all of you who have husbands who use Gillette Mach 3 razors, the Day Logic razor 3 blade, 5 ct. fit them. They are on sale this week for $8.00 each and when you buy one you get $8.00 in bonus cash to use next time you buy something. The deal is limited to 2 so I got them both at once. So tomorrow 2- $8.00 bonus cash credits will show up on my account. So next week, I can use it toward an $8.00 order after my coupons are applied. I can save the other one for the following week or do a $16.00 plus coupon order. I love free money from the drugstores. Just always remember to give the cashier your Plenti Points card after your coupons have been scanned. The $8.00 automatically comes off when your card is scanned so I don't do it till the end of the order to make sure I am at $ 8.00 or a bit over. Rite Aid is supposedly trying to fix this so that you have more control over when you use those credits. You must use any credits though within 60 days of earning them. 

The candy bars were on sale for $ .50 each so I used 2 of the $ .50/1 Q's from our Smart Source this past weekend making them free.