Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January recap

It's payday.  I spent the first part of this morning paying my bills online and one check written out for our water.  We are on a private well and I send the owner a check every 6 months.  We've lived here over 20 years and the water is still $10 a month!  It is so cheap, but I'd so much rather have city water and pay for it than deal with the water issues we've had over the years.  Plus, when our power goes out - so too, does our water.

It was a pretty good month budgetstickingto-wise.  I budgeted to have $600 left over at the end of the month to put in savings/EF and I ended up with $500.  I am pleased, especially since I spent several months prior to December running out of money by the end of each month.  I still had trouble tracking it all.  I do great until about the 3rd week and then life gets in the way. December it was holidays and this month it was winter storms, power outages and being sick.  I'll try again for February! Maybe I'll just try Mint online again.

I now have $1522 in savings/EF, which is such a stress relief.  I should easily be able to add another $500 at the end of February.  I got an extra bonus with my paycheck today of $450, after taxes.  I gave Ds $60 to help him buy some more dress clothes for work and Dh just spent $36 on some t-shirts he ordered.  $5 bucks a shirt plus shipping, not a bad deal.  I still need the pair of shoes for work, so will probably get those this month.  I keep holding off buying them, as I'd rather save than spend!

I will also be getting our tax return done this week.  Dh keeps asking how much we are getting back. Usually he doesn't ask, but obviously he wants to buy something that costs a lot :-(.  I just keep telling him I haven't figured it out yet.  I know we are at least getting $1000 back, from the info I have entered so far, and  I haven't even put in our itemized deductions yet.  BUT, as I almost always do, I will probably tell him the return is about half of what it really is.  Every year that extra $1000 or so I "hide" from him has helped us get through part of the year with little Murphy emergencies that pop up. As I mentioned before, if he thinks there is money he will have it spent before I even get it. Dh even asked how much I made this year (he might have even said how much did "we" make, LOL).  I said it was around $72,000.  When I said it, it sounded like a lot, but it sure never feels like it!  I have one of those minds that still thinks things should cost what they did years ago - like to me $100 is still ALOT of money to spend on something, so my salary seems like a big number to me, but in reality it's not and probably a lot less than most families make.  And to offset the income we live in a very high cost of living area and we have to spend quite a bit on gas to get around anywhere.  Add in our extra-inflated house payment due to past re-fi's to get extra money to pay his business bills and no wonder we never have any money.

So......on to February!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A good couponing day, finally

I finally got my brain organized enough to do some coupon shopping today.  It's been awhile since I've used coupons much and for once all my purchases went through without a hitch.  I was going to take a picture of all my stuff, but Dd was putting it all away before I got a chance.  We shopped at Rite Aid, Walgreens and Target, with most of the purchases made at Target.

I got:
(2) John Frieda Foam hair color
Cake Pops baking kit
3 12-pk Mountain Dew
3 candy bars
2 Method dish soap
2 Quaker chewy granola bars
2 Nature Valley Thins
2 Special K Fruit Crisps
2 Ritz crackers
2 Beggin' Stips dog treats
1 Reach dental floss
3 Campbell's tomato soup
4 Campbell's Soup at Hand
2 UP & UP 35 ct. dryer sheets
2 Finish dishwasher tabs 20ct
3 Coffee-mate liquid creamers
4 Jello 6pks

Dd and I made a list of everything we had coupons for and quantity's to purchase.  Dd crossed off the list and I handed her the coupons as we put each item in the shopping cart.  Then I gave the cashier the coupons a few at a time, to make sure they all went through.  I used 21 coupons at Target! I think that's a record for me using that many at one time. Total spent was $54.42, including tax.  I used $70.47 in coupons (including $23 in Rite Aid UP Rewards). I also saved $2.41 using my Target Red Debit card and got another $4 in Rite Aid UP Rewards for a future purchase.  I saved 57%, not bad in my book, especially since I live in the land of NO doubling coupons.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A long week

It's been a long week for me.  Tuesday night I got hit with a stomach flu or something.  After there was nothing left of my insides I crawled back in bed only to hear the wind howling to beat all and then of course our power went out.....for another 10 hours.  Third time in a week.  I took a sick day Wednesday but HAD to get payroll processed and transmitted, but no power.  Dh hooked up the generater and IT boy hooked up the modem (we have Comcast, which luckily was still working) and I had internet.  Got the payroll done and went back to bed.

One of my "goals" is to not procrastinate so much and it paid off that day, as I had already completed the bulk of the payroll while at work on Tuesday.  It was an "extra" type of payroll as I also had to input all our bonus's for any unused sick days during 2011.  I also go our state business tax return completed on Tuesday, that was due Wedneday. I am so glad I didn't put these off until Wednesday, as I sure wouldn't have felt like doing them!

On a good note, I found out the results of my cholesterol recheck after 4 months of taking a supplement to see if it would help and am so happy that my cholesterol is down down in normal range! It had been 240.  My doctor told me to just keep taking the supplements and we'll check again at my yearly appointment in  August.

I am glad it's Friday and am ready for a weekend and also some normal routines again.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back from the dark

Boy, I get out of a routine of blogging for a few days and it's seems hard to get back!  We had no power for 2 hours on Wednesday and then from Thursday morning we were out for almost 24 hours.  There are still lots of people in our area that don't have their power back on yet.  Ds' s girlfriend still didn't have it last night.  Brrrr....it was cold, too!  We were dumb not to plan ahead and fill the tub or some water buckets with water so we could flush our toilets, as we lose water, too, when the power goes out.  We do have a generator and that sure was nice to plug in a couple of space heaters (though they weren't keeping up with the cold too much) and tv/dvd and a lamp. 

I still spent money :-(  A  trip to the only gas station open in the area (that corner had power, for some reason) and a LONG wait in line to fill up 3 gas cans for extra generator gas (they were predicting we'd be without power for several days) and just get snacks to eat.  When you are cold and hungry it's easy to just buy whatever sounds good, LOL.  Dd got a smart idea and we hooked up our little coffee maker to the generator power cord and heated up water for hot chocolate.  My boss and her husband were smart (and lucky they can afford it) - they went and found one of the few hotel rooms left.

The 2 closest grocery stores were still without power yesterday and running on generators. I was getting worried about getting one of dh's prescriptions picked up. He took his last pill on Thursday and the store was still closed.  They got back open on generator Friday, so I was able to pick up, but the store was so crowded and very few checkers so I skipped doing the full grocery shopping I needed and just picked up a few more things.  Yesterday I was able to get all my grocery shopping done and spent $150, still pretty close in my budget.  It's been hard getting around as still so many sections of the main road without power so the traffic is all backed up at the lights as four way stops (this is buys 4 lane road) and the lights that did have power were just flashing red, so no help there.

Hopefully we will get back to normal soon, I'm tired of this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When couponing bites you in the butt

or in my case adds 730 calories in one shot to my butt.....In the middle of our area's winter "blizzard" my kids decide to go to Dairy Queen last night to get ice cream.  In the old days (pre high cholesterol and I could eat whatever I wanted without gaining an ounce) I'd get a peanut buster parfait.  They asked if I wanted anything, well, of course I wanted a peanut buster parfait! I was "good" (unlike dh, who asked for the peanut buster parfait) and said just get me a small ice cream sundae.

But, my kids being my kids, of course had coupons and so the peanut buster parfaits were buy one get one free, and so they brought me home that instead of the small ice cream sundae.  And of course I had to eat it....all of it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let it snow!

I'm working from home again today.  We got a bit more snow last night and I could've made it to work but I really have a scare of getting stuck 30-40 miles from home since we don't know for sure when the next snow is coming. BUT, they are predicting 12 inches of snow tonight/tomorrow - we haven't have snow like that in almost 20 years!  So, I'm assuming tomorrow my office will be closed and I will have the day off all snug in my home.  At least I'm hoping that's what happens :-)

I only spent about $6 yesterday and had Ds stop and get some more milk when he went to pick up his girlfriend to bring her over for the sledding fun.  Dh was pulling the kids, and neighbor kids, around with a quad.  We almost spent $30 on a big truck inner tube but right after Ds left to go get it from the tire place our neighbor called back and said he had 2 tubes, so I got a hold of ds before he got to the tire store and he came back home.  I was ok to spend the money since I'm not spending any money on gas to get to work and we so rarely get snow like this.  They had fun, until the few inches of snow we had wore down to the rocks in our driveway and popped one of the tubes.  With our acre + and our neighbors 1 1/2 acres to one side, there was plenty of room for Dh to pull and slide them around.

I've got a pork roast and veggies in the crockpot and will get some bread baking in the bread machine soon. It always smells so good! Tomorrow's dinner plan is just tomato soup and grilled cheese.  If the weather is still undrive-able on Thursday, (dh's weekly take out night) he'll just have to have something from the pantry and freezer, since I really didn't plan a home-cooked meal for Thursday.  I think I have stuff to make spaghetti - that sounds yummy and we haven't had that in quite a while.

I started working at my desk at 6:30 this morning, so at least I can knock off by 2:30 or so.  With dinner already basically made, I plan to snuggle into the recliner with my Nook and read and stay warm.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow and boyfriends

The big news to happen in our little household this weekend is that Dd went on a date with a boy from school and so now she has a boyfriend! Dh is having a hard time letting his little girl go....and is acting like a real redneck in the process. The sad part of it all is she is so totally trustworthy and mature that I know it makes her feel bad that her dad is acting like this, but she is also strong-willed and is going to grow up whether he likes it or not!  She has been friends with this boy for 3 years, so it's not like she just met him, though he is a year older than her. 

We're a bit snowed in today with more on the way apparently.  I decided to work from home today (and probably will end up tomorrow, too) rather than spend 2-3 hours trying to get to work and then end up leaving early because more snow is predicted early this afternoon.  I would not want to get stuck in it 40 miles from home.  Not sure we want Ds out driving in this to go to work - like Dh said - his $12/hr part-time-seasonal job isn't worth wrecking a car over, especially since he has to do a lot of driving around to different offices for his job. The roads are pretty icy this morning and it only takes a few minutes of hard snow to mess up the roads (at least in this neck of the woods, where it's hilly and we don't get much snow).  On Saturday Dd and I were walking into Walmart and a few flakes started coming down. We were literally in the store 5 minutes and when we came out it was snowing like crazy and the roads were already covered. We only had a mile to go home bit still lost traction trying to get up a little incline on one of our side streets.

At least a day like today makes it easy to stay out of a store, so no spending. I anticipated the snow they were predicting and made sure I got my groceries stocked up for this week, though I should have bought more milk.  When everyone is home they drink it up fast.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pay Day!

Today is payday, so I am starting a new 1/2 month period on the January budget.  The first half went pretty well.  I ended up being $65 over budget on groceries, but as previously posted I did get started on stocking up on some sale items and am really hoping my 2nd half of this month reflects that (though I'm not holding my breath!) I was $40 under budget on gas for the cars, which rarely happens and only happened because I got to stay home and work the week between Christmas and New Years.  I was over $30 budgeted for take out (ACK!) and over $15 on home repairs (darn toilet seats!).  I was also under $30 on Ds's textbooks.

My EF is sitting at $1022 (got lowered a bit by giving Dh some money to buy that shop table) but I am on track to make another deposit at the end of this month, after I see what is left.  It just feels so nice to have that $1000 in savings in case something comes up.  I'm looking forward to seeing how well I can stay on budget for this pay period.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday mutterings

It's been a pretty boring week so far.  I got up earlier this morning so I could get some work done for my side-job - with the holidays and such I'm a bit behind on paperwork.  I made a pretty good dent in it and will hit it hard again on Friday morning for a couple of hours. 

When I grocery shopped for the week, there were 2 meals I had planned that were out of stock at the store.  One was a pre-made "skillet meal" and the other was a pork roast kit.  I was just going to get the stuff to make the pork roast and veggies from "scratch" but Dd said it wouldn't taste as good (huh, so much for my cooking!)  So, on my way home from work yesterday I am realizing I really don't have anything for dinner the next 2 nights.  I contemplated fast food and then pulled into a grocery store parking lot instead and picked up the skillet meal and some rolls.  Spent $6.68 and we still have enough rolls for another meal.  At least that was a little cheaper than fast food.  Looking through the cupboard today, I am just going use up some chili in the cupboard and make chili dogs and cornbread. 

I got my electricity bill for December and had another month lower than budgeted! I budgeted this month (and January) the highest, at $325, but it came in at $272.  Maybe the caulking we did to paint the house did help out or probably it's just because we've hard a very mild winter.  I might end up lower on the cost of Ds's textbooks, too.  I am still waiting for him to figure out what he needs for sure.  One of his instructors has an e-book he let him use for free, so that saved $50, but one of the other classes books might end up being $50 more than I planned.  I budgeted for an e-book price, but he might end up getting the actual book.  He needs to get this figured out pronto, as his classes started this week.

Ds job is going well and he is getting a lot of hours the past month - nearly 40 each week.  When hired he was told he'd get about 25-30 hours.  Plus, he was hired by one of the company's franchise owners to do their IT work for his handful of offices he owns(I guess the franchise office owners have to pay their own IT support) and will get a few extra hours/money from that.  These offices are right in our area, so will be close to home on that work.

I got on the ball today and made Dd's sports physical appointment for this month.  I'm usually such a procrastinator that I'd forget and have to do it last minute.  She doesn't need it until the end of Feb, when tennis tryouts start, so I am happy I got it set up and it will be out of the way long before tennis starts. I'm sure she'll make the team - she made varsity as a freshman last year, so odds are good :-) Our new insurance covers physicals, so at least I won't be out of pocket any on that. Now I just have to make the call to the Oral Surgeon to have a consult on getting her wisdom teeth out.  That I will have to pay partial for - I think 30% (ouch), if I recall correctly from what I paid on Ds - I think I had to pay around $900....but Dd only has 3 wisdom teeth in her head, so should be a bit cheaper.  I'm tempted this time to "shop around" for a better price, but this doctor is really good and Ds's went so well, he didn't even end up with any bruising and very little swelling after having 4 impacted teeth removed.

I also need to get myself into my doctor's office for a cholesterol check. I should have done it last month and just keep putting it off.  I plan to do it tomorrow morning before I head up to work.  I promise.

I got a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card using MyPoints, so I could buy something to read on my Nook....and now I have absolutely no idea what to buy!  Buying books seems like such a waste of money to me, when I can borrow from library. But, I was all excited to have my new Nook and wanted to shop with it, so I used my points to get the gift card.  Now that I've downloaded some books to it from the library and gotten a couple of the free ones from B&N I'm not so antsy to shop online.  So, I guess I'll let the $10 sit there until something comes up I just really want.

That's my week, so far.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend recap

Yesterday wasn't much of a productive day for me. I spent the morning on the computer, reading blogs, while everyone else slept in (well, except for Ds, he was up and gone by 8:30 am).  Then I went to Target to get a few things.  I did pick up 2 good deals with coupons:  2 boxes 35 ct. UP dryer sheets for $.36 ea and some reach dental floss that was free after coupon. - made up for the expensive John Frieda shampoo and conditioner Dd bought!  She has thick, curly, hard to manage hair and this stuff works for her so that's what we get her.  We do usually try to only buy it during sales and w/coupons.

I did finally get one of my small "to-do" list things done.  I cleaned out the small linen closet in the bathroom the kids use.  It was stuffed with years of unused bedding and some small floor rugs. I'll bet I got rid of half of what was in there! And now I had room to put my Thanksgiving and Christmas table covers, placemats and napkins and still have room left.

Other than that I finished a book on my Nook reader and started a new one (downloaded from library).  I did order a pizza and breadsticks for Saturday night (I was having a pizza craving).  That totaled $15 and fed 5 of us.  We have pizza once every 2 months or so and the pizza place is about a mile away. I had always had it delivered but realized I could save $4 by picking it up myself - $2 for the delivery fee and $2 on the tip. 

I am about $70 over on my food budget for this pay period, but most of that is due to the dog food I bought (I didn't really need more until next pay period) and the other things I stocked up on.  I am hoping to see the result of this spending reduce what I spend down the road.  Stocking up takes time so I might be over budget for another month or so.

Back to work this week - a full 5 days - how will I manage! ;-)  The past 3 weeks have all been partial weeks. I am ready for it to be Spring.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My deals from this past week

Here are the deals I found this past week using coupons, sales and store rewards:

Rite Aid deal #1:
2 bottles Pantene shampoo
1 Dawn dish soap
1 $5.95 fee to purchase $100 Vanilla Visa gift card
Used $3 UP Reward from previous week towards total
Out of pocket $11.43 (not counting the $100 spent towards the gift card - which I used today at Walmart to purchase my groceries)
Got back $20 UP Reward and $2 UP Reward

Rite Aid deal #2:
2 bottles Pantene shampoo
Used $2 UP Reward from above towards total
Out of pocket $2.65
Got back $2 UP Reward

Rite Aid deal #3:
1 Physicians Formula Tinted moisturizer (75% off)
1 Physicians Formula compact w/mirror and brush (75% off - will save for Dd stocking stuffer)
Used $2 UP Reward from above towards total
Out of pocket $3.97
Got back $5 UP Reward

Total out of pocket $18.05 (including tax) and I still have a $20 UP Reward and $5 UP Reward to use, so basically a $6.95 Money Maker for me!

For building my stockpile (very slowly) I got at local grocery store:
2 120-load Surf powder detergent $8.99 ea
2 - 24 can Mtn Dew cubes $5 ea
5 - Campbell's Tomato Soup $.60 ea

I had 2 $1 off coupons on the Surf...AND forgot to use them!! The sale is still going on until Tuesday, so I might stop and get 2 more boxes - AND use my coupons this time.  $7.99 ea would be really good price to stock up on some more.

And at PetSmart they had the 38lb bags of Purina One our Labrador child eats on sale for $26.99 (regular $31.99) and I had a $5 off Purina coupon that had printed on my receipt the last time I purchased Purina cat food there, so I got the big bag for $21.99.  This should last about 6 weeks or so.

I've been looking at the sales and deals for next week, but not finding much yet I can take advantage of and stock up on

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'll give it a shot

I'm secretly (shhhh!) trying to do Carla's No (Low) Spend January, but I haven't officially declared myself because I just know it's going to be a fail.  Well, I could do it myself, but I know there is no way Dh would do it and I know I'll end up spending on stupid stuff that he suddenly thinks he needs.  But I'm gonna try!!

Just to toot my own horn for the first 5 days:
1st - $11.43 (shampoo, dishsoap and fee for Visa gift card, but I'm getting back $20 Rite Aid UP Reward)
2nd - $0
3rd - $17.10 (milk and toilet seat)
4th - $1.09 (noodles)
5th - $10.87 (Dh's take out and 2 more bottles of Pantene)

College Textbooks

When Ds started college I just about went into cardiac arrest seeing the college bookstore prices for textbooks.  I think we purchased the first quarter's books at the bookstore, but by the time the second quarter rolled around I decided to do some online checking into alternative ways to purchase.  Boy, am I glad I did!  I'm sure I have saved a minimum of 50% over the cost at the bookstore - of USED books, to boot.

My favorite tool to use to research prices is DealOz.com.  Just type in the ISBN number of the textbook and up pops numerous places to purchase.  The search can then be sorted various ways, by price, new, used, etc. I have saved so much money using this website and have purchased his textbooks through several different sites over the last 2 years -Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ebay, along with renting books on several occasions.  Textbookstop.com has been my favorite to rent from - they made it the easiest to return, by sending me a prepaid envelope to mail back the book in.  Chegg and the other one I used (I can't recall who it was off the top of my head) for renting, I had to find a box of my own to send back in, even though I was able to dowload a prepaid return shipping label.

Even if you don't use this resource, Amazon.com is great for textbooks much cheaper than the college bookstore.  Ds prefers his computer course books (his major) to be new (but has used e-books on some classes) because he wants to keep the books for reference.  For his general courses, we have either purchased used or rented.  Our neighbor just spent $900 for textbooks for her Physics major classes! But I commented to her on Facebook to check out online prices and she found a couple of the books much lower, so is returning the books purchased at the bookstore, and buying the books online now.

For example - the 3 textbooks Ds needs for this quarter came to $294 new or $221 used at the school bookstore.  With the online search I have found I can buy the 2 computer class books and the English class book for $130 total.  This would be e-books for 2 of the books and an actual textbook for the other class.  Even if I got him actual books for all 3 classes, the total would still be quite a bit less than the bookstore, at $156.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Money In, Money Out

I got the checks yesterday for my two side jobs December work.  I made an extra $400 from what I usually get when I took a vacation day from my full time job (I had a couple of days of vacation unused from last year, so no biggie) to drive the 3 hours to visit the company of side job #2.  It took all day, plus I was reimbursed the 300 miles.

I totally miscalculated a week or so ago when I thought I was going to end December with about $400 leftover.  I forgot a $200 check I had written that had not yet cleared my bank account! I hardly ever write checks anymore and am so used to everything clearing my bank right away using my debit card.  The other $200 leftover went to gas in Dd's car, Christmas clearance things, home repairs, etc.  And then I let Dh use $200 (out of savings) to buy a big workbench type thing he found on craigslist (he got it for $180 plus $20 for them to deliver it). It's huge - like 12 ft long, stainless steel with shelves underneath. It fit perfectly along one wall of our shop/garage.  It's given him lots more storage space and he's been having fun reorganizing things out in the shop - which gives him something to do.  He still likes to spend, but he's definitely come a long way the past 5 years or so.  He would NEVER have bought anything used.  About 5 years ago his best buddy made him realize pretty much anything he wants can be found on craigslist or ebay in like new condition for usually less than half new.  Thank you Best Friend! His finally convincing dh of this has saved quite a bit of money over the past 5 years.

But, of course, in true Dh style - he waited until after I gave him the $200 for this bench to tell me he also needs to get the transmission flushed on his pick up - which he estimates to be about $200.  Well, at least he did tell me he needs this done in advance (I think he's not planning to get is done until at least a couple of weeks or later this month) instead of the day before, like he usually does. 

Another curve ball thrown at me is I added Dd to our insurance policy as a "rated" driver now that she has her license and it increased my monthly insurance expense $57 - some of that cost is offset by that fact that she can drive herself to school now, making one trip back and forth a day, instead of two trips, when we had to drive her and pick her up -that probably cost us $30 in gas a month. 

I got a nice little surprise last night when I went to pick up one of Dh's prescriptions.  It's always been a $15 co-pay but now it was $10.  Not sure why. I couldn't find anything on the insurance website saying the co-pay amount had changed.  I also got a letter last week from the insurance company regarding the cholesterol medicine Dh takes (which the insurance doesn't cover - it only covers generics) stating that because he is "pill splitting" he will qualify for their new program "Cut the Pill, Cut your Bill" and might see a reduction of up to 50% of co-pay or co-insurance amount. I'm not really sure how this will affect what I pay.  I think I get some sort of discount off the total price of the medicine.  It ends up being $71 but then Crestor gives me a discount each month of $50 so I end up paying $21.  I guess I'll see next time I refill that if it goes down any.

All in all, though, after re-budgeting for the transmission flush expense and paying for Ds's textbooks (around $150) I should still have more than enough to replace the $200 in savings and add to it - hopefully to get me up to $1500.  At the end of January I will get another little bonus.  We get paid $100 a day bonus for any unused sick days during the past year.  I only took a half day of sick time last year, so will have $650 (less taxes) coming at the end of January.  That extra money will help in February when I have some additional expenses for Dd to play tennis (starts end of Feb).  She will have a $90 fee to pay to the school and have to buy a team shirt.  At least she already has the sweatshirt and sweatpants from last year she can wear (they don't have the year on them) and with the 2 skirts she has from last year and the new one I got her for Christmas she should be pretty set up. Now that she can drive herself I won't need to drive to the school every day at 5 to pick her up from practice. She will just be able to stay after school for the practice and drive herself home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Just rambling.....

It was so nice having today off work.  I got a chance to sleep in a bit.  Got the kids bathroom cleaned and then helped dh replace the old wooden toilet seat that had broken from it's hardware.  Then just now realized the toilet seat in our master bath has done the same thing! So, guess I will be buying another toilet seat - or possibly I may just be able to get only the hardware on this one - the seat is fine. I'll have to swing in the hardware store on my way home from work tomorrow and see if I can just buy the hardware to attach the seat to the toilet. I emptied the dishwasher, tidied up the kitchen, dusted around the house and then sat down and read on my Nook for awhile, than took a short nap (still not making any headway on the exhaustion yet).  There is currently a meatloaf baking in the oven and along with that we will have green beans, applesauce and crescent rolls.  Plus, I love meatloaf sandwiches from the leftovers.  Dh will eat that for lunch, if available.

We had a nice quiet New Year's Eve at home.  Watched a movie with Dh and Dd, then watched some regular tv and I even managed to stay up until midnight. I haven't done that in years. We went and got Chinese takeout but since there was just the 3 of us I was able to just get one meal, so our whole dinner only cost $11.48.  A good deal in my book.

I haven't been up to the office to work since December 20th! Tomorrow I'll be back at the office and no more holiday's off until Memorial Day.  That always seems like a long wait to me.  Might have to sneak in a couple of vacation days between now and then :-).  Our weather has been quite warm the past couple of weeks, near 50 degrees during the days, so I am hoping that will make a big difference on the heating bill.  It's nice we've been having a mild winter. 

I did get  my "immediate" goals accomplished last week.  Took the old clothes and stuff to Goodwill (and I now have more room in my closet), but forgot to take the lamp - darn it!  We got all the decorations and outside lights down, so the house is back to normal.  I found some new jeans at Ross and they were only $10! I had budgeted $20 for jeans so that kind of covered the unexpected $10 toilet seat purchase (though now I probably have another one to buy).  

I'm slowly working on the stockpile.  I got 2 bottles of the Pantene shampoo I use for $1 ea and tomorrow I am going to stop at Safeway to pick up 2 boxes of detergent they have on sale when you buy 2 - and I found a $1 off coupon online, so I printed out 2. I can get 2 of the 120-load powders for $7.99 each. This deal is good for 10 days, so I should probably print off a couple more coupons from one of our other computers and stop in another time and get more.  Dh does the laundry and he's brand loyal to his Surf detergent.  I think the cheapest I usually get it, at Walmart, is $10.99.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Couponing frustrations

I just can't seem to get into a rhythm with coupons and store deals lately.  I have been couponing for years now but the past couple of months has just been annoying.  Every time I try to use coupons or attempt to get a deal with store rewards something goes wrong.  Today, for instance, I pay $2 for a newspaper and it is missing the Red Plum inserts.  The deals I am trying to work list what insert the coupon is in - I go to find them in my stack of inserts and my inserts do not seem to have the coupons.  I never used to have this problem and my newspaper is from a major city paper.

Then I go to RiteAid to take advantage of the $20 UP Reward when you spend $100 in participating items.  According to several coupon blogs I read regularly, the Visa Vanilla $100 card, with $5.95 activation fee qualifies.  There was even a sign at the display of the Visa Vanilla gift card stating this!  So, for $105.95 I get a $100 Visa gift card and a $20 UP Reward coupon to use on future purchase at Rite Aid (a $14.05 Money Maker).  But, NO $20 UP reward prints out on my receipt. GRRRR!! The manager had no idea why and corporate office was closed when she tried to call.  I give up!  It's getting disheartening to spend so much time trying to find these deals and then either the coupons did not come in my inserts or the deal just doesn't work right for some reason.

Happy New Year!

  Happy New Year to All!  I hope everyone's 2012 is everything they wish for and more :-)