Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Savings Total


Not bad, eh! I kept track of every way I saved or earned a little extra this month. This total doesn't include buying something on sale and writing down the price difference.......I always try to buy stuff on sale when I can. This is using additional methods to save extra or earn cash back or gift cards.

Here's the breakdown:
Swagbucks: $30.00 in Amazon giftcards (thanks to the great tips from Abigail at http://ipickuppennies.net/2014/07/swagbucks-beginners/ I was really able to increase my Swagbucks earnings!)
PayPal Debit rewards 1% cash back:  $20.61
Walmart Savings Catcher : $25.82
Discounted gift cards: $79.14
Coupons used:$26.81
Chase Debit Rewards: $2.59
Plink points redeemed: $10 gift card (forgot I even had this account and found out I had enough points for $10 gift cards!)

I also earned points with MyPoints, though not much, and I'm not going to count them until I redeem for a gift card.



Monday, September 1, 2014

I put it back

Willpower can be a hard thing sometimes! I ran over to a neighborhood store this morning. They were having good sales on their bedding and I also wanted to check out their 50% off garden decor items. DD still needs a mattress topper.  As I'm wandering the bedding aisles trying to find the mattress toppers (they didn't have anything I liked or in twin xl size) I come across this great deal on a king size duvet cover and pillow shams. It was in a nice bluish/teal color, with a bit of pattern in the fabric, that I thought would look great with my dark wood sleigh bed. $27 with coupon. The one I currently have is a light cream color (which does well to mix in with our yellow lab's fur color, LOL), and I have a brown blanket folded across the bottom of the bed.  I decided to buy it. I liked the color and wanted a change in the bedroom.

Then I wandered over to the garden center.  They didn't have much, but I did find a cute stepping stone with a hummingbird on it 50% off, for $6.50.  Then I stood there and looked at the duvet cover in my hand.....did I really NEED this? No, I do not. Plus, there are other things I need to buy that are NEEDS right now....like replacing the torn carpet on our frontdoor step. So, I put it back.

Got home and ordered the self stick carpet tiles I need, for not much more than the duvet cover. I feel much better now :-).  But I still kinda want that duvet cover.........oh and the new couch they had on display, that I just fell in love with! Haha!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finding the savings

I keep plugging along working at getting every penny of savings I can out of purchases.  Even if it's only .78 cents!  DH has one more building project to complete and gave me a list of what he needs. He is going to build a small porch cover over the french doors at the back of our house. We always have to cover in plastic late Fall through early Spring because it tends to leak a bit with hard rain and it helps keep the heat in the house. But, he is hoping the cover will keep the rain out and we can still enjoy our view of our backyard and new arbor.

One thing on his list was some little tool called a T-Bevel. He was nice enough to send me links straight to almost everything at Home Depot on his list. I had installed this nifty new plug-in on my browser that pops up on the top of my browser and tells me if something is cheaper at another store. This T-Bevel wasn't available in store, so was going to have to be an online purchase. The plug-in told me Staples had it too and also shipped free to store. I choose Staples instead since it's less than 2 miles from my house and also said it would be in within 2 business days. I also went through Swagbucks to make the purchase and earned 4 swagbucks per $ spent and found an online coupon code for Staples for another 10% off and then charged it to my debit rewards card for another 1% back. The tool was only $8, but hey, might as well save as much as I can on it.

The rest of the items and lumber on his list are all available at the store. I had all the prices of what he needs at it's just at $200, plus tax. I went to Giftcardzen.com and purchased 2 discounted e-gift cards, at 11.8% savings, that I could print out to take to the store. Total saved $25.95 plus another 1% ($1.95) using my PayPal debit rewards.

He ordered all the bolts he needed via ebay again and saved some there vs. buying them at Home Depot.

I also purchased Walmart e-gift cards at 3.3% discount and used on my grocery shopping trip. I only found one coupon for my stuff, so just $1 in coupon savings this week. I've submitted my receipt to Walmart Savings Catcher and am waiting to hear back on that, but so far, out of the 4 receipts I have submitted that have been processed I am up to $20.58 in Walmart credit. I like that! It's just too easy not to take advantage of.

Then I needed to buy the dogs flea treatment, which always seems cheaper online at Amazon than at the pet store. But thanks to that handy new price comparison plug-in I actually found it cheaper at Petco online, using a coupon code. This time the best "portal" to earn extra points through was actually my regular debit card that is hooked up via Chase's Ultimate Rewards program. I earned 4pts/$ back, which is the same as 4% of my purchases total. I can then transfer that as cash back directly to my checking/savings as soon as it's available. I had hoped I could find an e-gift card to also use at Petco online for this purchase, but no luck finding anything. They were all "in-store only" type gift cards.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Un)comfortably Numb

I was back at the dentist this morning to do the deep cleaning on my left side and to have the permanent crown set on my bottom right tooth. Another 2 hours of sitting in a dentist chair. Ugh! But, it's all done and I don't have to go back for 3 months -where they will evaluate and see how often I need cleaning, due to the gum issues.

The numbness is wearing off and I can feel the aching. About time for some more ibuprofen, thankfully. Hopefully, come January when my dental benefits reset, I'll be able to address what I really wanted to address with my teeth this year - getting the front tooth and the one next to it fixed and back to a normal tooth color. I hit this front tooth when I was like 7 years old. Never had any problems, but when I got in my early 30's the tooth started darkening a bit. I had a veneer put on it, which they told me would only last like 10 years. And now the tooth next to it is darkening too. Guess I need root canals on both and then crowns. One of these days I'll get my good smile back! I hate pictures the last few years because of the 2 teeth that show up darker.  I had really hoped we'd get bonus's at work this year, so I could pay for it easily with that, but doesn't look like that's going to happen this year. I'm already out of pocket a lot for the root canal in February, and now the deep cleaning and crown. Sigh.....

Looking forward to the 3 days off work (well, 3 1/2 days, my company closes at noon on Friday) this weekend. No special plans, just looking forward to a long weekend. Then I'm taking off a week off the third week of September - to spend with DD before she goes off to college and the last day to finish helping her move in.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Done and Done!

Late Sunday morning DH decided we'd get the arbors stained/sealed. I hadn't realized he was going to help me with this project. I figured it would just be me and DD working at it. But, he did the spraying and I went over it with a 2nd coat and touch ups with a brush. The sprayer was so-so. It was a cheap one (figured we could just throw out when done, if necessary) and I think the issues with it was more user error than anything, because by the second arbor he did much better with it.

It was still an all day project that was quite a bit of work! I'm glad he was able to spray the majority of it all. DD got home from work after he had sprayed the second (larger) arbor, so then she helped me put a second coat on it.

Happy to be done and I think they look beautiful!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saturday shopping

It was a shopping kind of morning. I took off by myself (gotta get used to that!) and first stopped at Rite Aid. I just wanted to see what they had on clearance for garden stuff. Didn't see anything I really wanted, but they also had all their "Fall" decor stuff 50% off.  I've never had any Fall decor before, so I bought this cute kitchen rug for $6.50

Then I saw these pretty colored kitchen towels.  $2.50 for all 3! and they aren't super thin and cheap, either.

Next stop was to Michael's to return the little frames I bought last weekend.  They just weren't quite what I wanted once I got them home and put my tiny little 2.5" x 3.5" watercolor prints of hummingbirds in them. They really needed matting around to make them look a little bigger.  So, I got these instead

I didn't really want black frames and I still might end up spray painting them a different color, but all in all I think they turned out really cute for the bathroom wall.

Then I went to Lowe's to pick up some indoor/outdoor carpet for our little front step at the front door. I have to re-carpet it every few years or so as it gets worn out. Now that our house is tan/browns I wanted brown carpet.  Do you think I can find any? Still looking......

Remember me talking about the John Deere lawn tractor that we have had borrowed from a friend the past 7 years? And last Fall he started finally getting his place ready to put a lawn in. So, we ended up buying a different used one....and friends lawn tractor has been sitting in our garage ever since. Friend's lawn in now in, but he decided he wants to sell the tractor and just get a nice push mower. Well, DH is a good seller of stuff (other's peoples, LOL). Several years ago we borrowed this same friends little old camper trailer for a weekend. He always used it for hunting. When we got it home I cleaned it all up and friend decided he wanted to sell it. DH sold it for him and got him $500 more than friend was going to ask if he had tried to sell it himself! DH listed the lawn tractor on Craigslist this week for $1400. It's about ready to pull out of our driveway, Sold, as I type.  DH said friend only paid $1200 for it 10 years ago LOL.  Friend will be very happy and we'll finally have a nice chunk of space back in our overcrowded (but very organized) shop.

DH has put a hold on staining the arbors. Pooh! But I'm sure it will get done in the next 2-3 weeks. Did I ever post a pic of our second arbor he built?  I don't see that I did.  Here is the other arbor at our front walkway

A good Saturday, so far :-)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday: Good and Otherwise

I have taught DD well :-)  She has even surpassed me in finding a good deals on textbooks. While wonderful Grandma is paying her tuition, DD will be paying for her own books. She got her list of textbooks and with all these "bundling" of textbooks, online access codes, work book,etc, it makes it hard to find this exact ISBN for sale anywhere but the expensive bookstore. But she persisted and at least found one of the bundled books online used. Bookstore wanted $130........she snagged it up for $13!  Four more weeks until she leaves for college life.

I just love her roommate and her mom! We had so much fun with them when they came for the weekend last April, then DD went and spent 4 days with them a few weeks ago and had a wonderful time. When they fly in for move-in day, roommate's mom has a hotel for a couple of nights. I was going to get a hotel for one night (after move-in, because I'll probably be too tired to want to spend 2 hours driving home after getting up early, driving up there 2 hours, going through  hours of move-in, etc) and roommate's mom offered to share her room with me that night.  Very sweet of her.

I am planning to try out my new sprayer and stain the arbors this weekend. I had already purchased the stain and sprayer a couple of weeks ago and then it rained for a couple of days and then it go too hot to want to be standing outside for hours. This weekend should be cooler and no rain in sight for at least a week.

Over the past year or two we have been dealing with steadily declining water pressure. It's been getting so bad that it's hit or miss whether we have an adequate pressure to even take a decent shower or use our dishwasher and washing machine. Forget about try to take a nice bath - by the time the tub can get filled up the water in it is luke warm because it took so long. The other morning, our neighbor who leaves for work at 6am, was trying to take a shower at 5:30 am and there wasn't even enough pressure to make a spray in his shower head.  That finally was the last straw for this very patient man. So, both of us called and complained to our exasperating 82 year old water well owner. We talked to her about this last summer.......where she tried to blame no rain for low water pressure...then she finally called her well repair company who told her at minimum she needed to replace the pump. It's reached the end of it's useful life and is also the reason her electric bills to run the pump  have tripled the past couple of years. She told me she needed a few months to come up with the money. So I called her again last December to find out when and was told she needed 6 more months to come up with the money. Called her this week, now another 9 months gone by, and "ohh....I just don't have the money. You'll have to just put up with it for another 6 months". Well, I'm done dealing with her. We at least need adequate water pressure to live a normal life. I reported her to the county yesterday, so we'll see what happens. Our good neighbor has offered twice now to take over the well from her, he will get it all repaired and maintained, manage the community well finances like it should be. But, no she thinks the well is worth $20,000 to sell.  Well, it's falling apart and most of it's components have reached or are reaching the end of their useful life (well has been in about 35 years now). According to the well company it would take about $30,000 to bring it all up to date and current code.

This is how stupid this well owner is:  she thought that the monthly electricity bill she gets from the power company, to run the electric well pump, was reporting GALLONS of usage each month on the bills! She says to me - "well my electric bill has tripled, so people must be using a lot more water than before. Back in 2013 it says 623 gallons, and now it says almost 1800 gallons".  I'm like "are you looking at your electricity bills? That is not GALLONS of water being used! That is the wattage of electricity being used to run the pump"  OMG she is such an idiot. There isn't even a meter on the well that would tell her how many gallons are being pumped. I told her that once she replaces the pump, that it working overtime because it is dying, her electric bills will go back down to normal and she'll start recouping some of that excess money she's spending every month.  Well, that and if she actually collected water fees from all 9 users, rather than just 3 of us, she would have reserves built up in order to pay for the repairs and maintenance. But that concept has always just eluded her.  Hopefully the county will take some action in some way.

I had this whole paragraph written how all my internet and vpn issses were resolved, but so far this morning I have been booted off vpn every few minutes, so that is still an issue. But, at least all our home issues are fixed - printer works and we can access the security camera system now. For now, IT guy has given me a temporary "work around" way to remote into my work desktop.  It will get resolved soon, I'm sure.

I am ready for this afternoon, be done working for the day and get on with the weekend!