Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dorm drama

DD just started her second quarter of college, but has already had to start thinking about housing options for next year and it's been stressing her out a bit. She has one thing she knows for certain - she does not want to live in a dorm room! She has quickly realized she is a more private person and needs at least a small private space to unwind in. The other thing she knows is that current roommate is not on her choice of future roommates. While she is nice and friendly, she is impossible to talk with about much of substance because she is always right and will argue it until you either give up or agree with her. She also only studies about 1 hour a week, while DD studies several hours a day, especially on weekends and roommate isn't the quietest. She also has a sneaky way of making DD not included when she is doing something with the other 2 suite mates.

Their current dorm situation is they have "suite-mates"  - 2 other girls who have a dorm room on the other side and the 4 of them share a bathroom in the middle. They all get along and go back and forth between rooms, which also makes it harder for DD to study, though she does really like the other 2 girls. DD has found a nice spot in the library and she will also go to a coffee shop on the waterfront to study and enjoy the view. She is looking forward to this weekend when her roommate and suitemates will all be gone for the weekend and she'll have the place to herself :)

DD has a couple of classes with one of the suite mates and really likes her.  The suite mates have recently realized what DD's roommate has been doing to exclude DD so they are making sure DD gets included in the group texts, etc, about their dinner plans, etc. DD has a very good friend from home who has spent the past couple of months trying to decide if she was going to switch schools and go to DD's school.  If that were to happen then DD would definitely want to share a place with her.  Well, she finally decided this week that she is just going to stay at the local college she is at.

DD's roommate has gotten very close with another girl on their floor and it's been becoming apparent that they plan to room together next year (which DD was fine with, she doesn't want to room with her anyway) but DD had hoped she'd be able to room with K and S (the suit mates) in a rented place off campus, though she hadn't talked with them about the possibility yet. At dinner last night (with all of them) K & S told DD's roommate (and the other girl from their floor) that they were going to be sharing a place with another girl.  DD texted me that she found that out and now doesn't know what she is going to do - other than I guess find a studio apartment she can rent by herself.

Then her roommate took off to go do something with her friend and the suite mates came and talked to DD - the "other girl" they said they were to room with.......there isn't one.....but they want one and they hope it will be her! They were just trying to keep DD's roommate and her friend from asking to all share a place with them next year (because they don't want to live with her either, but don't want to hurt her feelings) so they said they already had a 3rd roommate to rent a place with. Once DD found that out she was much relieved to have this figured out.  They are going to an informational thing on campus tonight that gives them info on housing options, including living off campus.

I think a 3 bedroom apartment will be a much better living situation for DD - she can have her own space for some privacy when she wants/needs it, plus she can cook for herself - which she much prefers over campus dining food. She has her own car, so she can get to school and the town isn't that big - pretty much everything can be driven to in about 5 minutes.

Other than that and the hard classes - DD is loving her college life and the town. She has taken up running and has a favorite route along the waterfront to do her 2 mile jog. I messaged her last night that one of these Saturdays (or Sundays) she and I will have to meet up half way (about an hours drive to meet halfway) and do some shopping and have lunch. She was like YES YES YES! So we are going to do that a week from this coming Saturday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I'm not a very crafty person

Is it Wednesday already?! I've really done nothing this week so far of interest. Went to the office and worked on Monday and worked from home yesterday and again today.  One good news is my boss sent out the annual self evaluation form, so I am completing that today and hopefully will have my review in the next couple of weeks.  Any salary increase will help cover the $160 a month I will now be paying for DH's Crestor medication each month. The past couple of years I had been getting it direct through the manufacturer's assistance program at no cost, based on our family size and income. They give you a years worth of refills and the last time I applied for it was actually based on 2012 income. Now that I have 2 dependents instead of 3 and the income with the bonus I no longer qualify for the assistance.  I was thinking it might be around $80 a month, but it's $160 - dang!  And that is with a $50 "Crestor card" discount.  I checked online and Costco is not any cheaper and it will be about another 14 months before it is going generic.

Sunday I went to Joann's to look at yarn for that arm knitting project. The next best suggestion someone on the lady's facebook page made, to use in place of the discontinued super chunky yarn was also sold out everywhere. I ended up getting as thick of yarn as I could find that was also in my color choices and doubled it. Watched the video instruction several times and tried to get started - over and over! I must have started the first row and pulled it all back out about 8 times. I was determined to figure this out.  Finally I watched a similar video (where she was actually using yarn similar to what I was using) and got it figured out and then I was going to town.  45 minutes to make a 5 foot throw blanket?  Finally it was past my bedtime and I just had to stop and find something to replace my arm. I sent DD a text that said "45 mintues my #ss!" I think I worked on it a good 90 minutes and this is as far as I got:

About 2 feet. I'm sure that is because the very thick yarn makes a larger size much quicker. I haven't started working on it again yet, because I know I'll need a good couple of hours if I want to try and finish it and not have to transfer it off my arm again, if I don't finish it. I think I'm going to need more yarn too (I made sure they had lots in stock in case I have to get more). It's definitely nothing like the super chunky yarn used in the video that I really wanted to make, but I think this will look ok across the end of my bed with my old cream colored duvet cover.  It's not perfect by far, but not bad for never knitting anything in my life.  I'm the type of person who needs to complete craft projects in a couple of hours or I lose interest.....probably another reason why I haven't finished it yet.  BUT I will finish it! Soon! I spent $40 on the yarn and might need one more skein at $8.

I decided not to buy the duvet set I had found online. In looking at it off and on I decided it definitely had a more "elegant" feel to it (and was very pretty) and I realized I was more attracted (by my pins on Pinterest - ha!) to a more cozy, warm, knitted look. I'd rather spend the $100 on making this and adding some sweater type throw pillows. A friend of mine made a very cute throw pillow for her bed out of a cable knit sweater found at a thrift store.  That might be my next project......after I finish this blanket first!

Friday, January 23, 2015


Help! I need something to watch on TV! I finished my latest watch of 6 seasons of Friday Night Lights and now I have no idea what to watch.  I'm looking for suggestions.  Preferably a show that has several seasons that will keep me busy watching for awhile. I'm not picky on the genre - I pretty much like most types of shows, but I do seem to prefer the hour long type of shows versus the 1/2 hour sitcoms.  I have Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video libraries to choose from.  Give me some ideas.  There really has been nothing on (except Downton Abbey) to watch on regular tv.

I think I'm going to have to spend a few dollars and get some new gadget to stream Netflix and Amazon on our tv. The Sony blu-ray dvd player we have had for a year is just not streaming. It shows it's connected to the internet and with a good connection. I keep resetting over and over and finally after a half hour of trying (maybe) it will finally log on. After about 5 minutes of trying I usually just give up and watch on my ipad mini. Looks like my choices are the Google Chromecast or the new Amazon Firestick. Anyone have one of those and are they reliable? Basically, I want something that I can turn on, choose my streaming service and pick a show or movie to watch. Not sit there and keep trying to log in.....I had thought the $50 blu-ray player would be a good choice for the streaming, as we could also watch a dvd (which that part still works), but apparently not :/

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday this and that

My poor co-workers.  The flu is really starting to make it's way through everyone. I did get a flu shot last October, but I guess you never know what strains are really out there at this time, so to be safe, my sweet boss told me to work from home today. Most people at work are really good about staying home if they are sick (or at least working from home) but I guess if you are contagious before you really start to feel the symptoms it doesn't help much. When the flu goes through our office, it always seems to hit a good portion of it at once.
DH hasn't felt well all week, either. Almost like the flu but no throwing up.  Most likely just a bad episode with his normal problems. So far, at school, DD has been ok - she just had that little flu bug early on near the start of school.

So, I'm taking a tiny break. I started at 6:30 this morning (thinking I was going to have an hour drive into work as part of my day), so if I work 8 hours straight (I rarely take a lunch break) I'd be done at 2:30.  While that sounds very appealing, there are usually emails and things to take care of between then and the office actually closing at 5, so I'll take a little 15 minute break now and maybe a little lunch break and finish my day up around 3:30 or 4. The postal carrier should be pulling up any minute now to deliver a package I am expecting: the work tote bag I ordered. If it won't fit into our parcel box she will drop it off, but if our gate is closed she will stop and give a honk, but I can never hear it from the back of the house, but I realized if I open the gate she will drive in and then I (and the dogs) hear her and I get my package and don't have to make a trip to the post office to pick it up!  Oh! it just got delivered :) It's super cute. A little smaller than my current bag, but it will work.  The files still fit in there.

I haven't ordered the duvet set I have been eyeing. One of my DIY projects I have been wanting to try for over a month now is to try and make this arm-knit blanket for the end of my bed:

But, I cannot find the yarn anywhere online. Everywhere is sold out, still, and I have been checking for a month. If I could make this, in this same color, I think I'd be happy with my current cream colored duvet and some similar shades of throw pillows and pillow cases. The yarn will cost about the same as the duvet set, but I just really want to try to see if I can make one! I've never knitted in my life. DD recently made some very cute boot cuffs using finger knitting.

I told DD her little love story that is unfolding reminds me of a sweet romance book that everyone loves to read :-) Her guy couldn't be more thoughtful or kind to her. It probably helps with him being older. Like I told her, most guys in her age group (and sadly even older guys) are still in that "it's all about me" stage of their life. I think he's even surprised himself at how much he's fallen for her. His friends and family that have met her have all told him he picked a keeper. It's also kind of sweet that they actually met each other a couple of years ago (he was with someone else and she was too young, really), but now is just the right time for them :)

Wow - just got an email via work that our major competitor in our market is closing it's business after almost 20 years. I know we have really taken a lot of their market share the past few years, along with the poor economy, but it's still never a good thing to not have competition and I feel for all of their employees (many probably long time employees) who will be loosing their jobs.   (Ok, I don't feel too bad for the short term employee we had who left us to go work for this company 2-3 months ago....that was a pretty stupid decision on her part and obviously she's kicking herself now!)

Ok, break's up. Back to the work day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I have a friend who's daughter just got engaged and is in the planning stages of the wedding.  I have to say, at this point, I am not envying my friend at all! While she and her SO (not the daughter's father) can afford to and will give her a very nice wedding, she still wants to have a budget! My friend makes a very good salary but she's also very smart with her money. She drove her old car almost 15 years. Her new car is nothing fancy or showy. Friend is not into showing off her money.

Daughter (who is 26 and makes a very modest salary) has very champagne tastes and friend is quickly seeing how this can all get out of hand quite easily and has had to put the brakes on once she started adding this all up. They went to a bridal show recently and she saw a dress she liked.......price tag (on sale) was $8500.  The venues she is looking at are pricey and many make you pick from their list of approved caterer's, etc.  Daughter and her fiance have a guest list already at 200, so I can imagine how much that would cost to cater a reception that includes wine and beer.

Then throw in a future MIL who is ALL about designer labels and what a fiasco I see this turning out to be. They took her with them over the weekend to look at venues. Daughter complimented her on her cute rain boots..."oh, they are Michael Kors...." (seriously?) At one venue they walked in and daughter commented "well, this wasn't what I expected it to be" and future MIL says "it's just gross" (seriously?). My friend (who at this point can still laugh) said she just had to turn her head and walk away to keep from laughing out loud! MIL has also told daughter she really should hire a wedding planner, too.  Well, there's probably another $5000. And then she made a comment when they were comparing prices of venues "well, that place is only $500 more than the other place, so I'd just go with that place".  Daughter did at least have enough sense to say back "well, $500 here and $500 there really starts to add up".

After this weekend my friend just sat her daughter down and said "ok, here is your budget (I don't know what the amount is, but I'm sure it's very generous). If you want to spend more, you and your fiance will have to pay the difference. If you want a wedding planner, it will have to come out of this budget amount".  Future in-laws (who have lots of money for $200 rain boots) are not contributing a dime (not even for a traditional rehearsal dinner) but apparently are having no trouble spending my friends money! What I also find very sad is friends ex (daughter's father) is also not contributing a dime. This is a guy who, as long as I have known him, makes very good money (usually in the 6 figures) and says he is flat broke and can't help.

I'm sure my friend is glad she only had one child, LOL.  I told my DD about all this and I said "sorry Charlie, but when you get married, unless you are older and can afford to pay for most of it yourself, you will have a very low budget/DIY type of wedding!".  DD said she has never wanted a big fancy showy wedding and wouldn't even know 200 people to invite.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A nice surprise

Yesterday turned into a partial holiday/day off from work after all. I got into work and one of the company owners had just sent out an email saying we were closing at noon and starting next year MLK Day will be a paid holiday for us all.  Nice! Just another reason why I love where I work so much. They are just always giving us nice little perks. So I left at noon, got home at 1pm and got to spend the afternoon with my DD before she went back to college after dinner.  A local friend had asked if she could give a ride back up to school to a friend of hers that was also returning to same school. It worked out great. They didn't know each other but got along well and DD got some gas money out of it :)

DD won't be home for my birthday (later in the month) so she gave me my gifts - a book to read, a Target gift card and the new Ed Sheeran CD. I looove Ed Sheeran's music :-)  Plus, I have a thing for redheads......(my first love was a redhead!)

Misty over at Digging Out from Our Mess does not like gift cards! And even though I didn't get a chance to comment on her post yesterday, I have to say I love getting gift cards :-) There is always something I either need or can find to buy. I received a very nice $100 Target giftcard from my boss for Christmas. As of Sunday it was all spent except for .40 cents. I bough the new sheets (a MUST have - I had ripped sheets and no replacement) and with the $36 left on the card I ordered this new work tote bag:
I've had my current one at least a couple of years, but it's getting out of shape with all the daily use and stuffing with files and my lunch bag. I'm sure if I bought a more expensive one to begin with it would last a lot longer, but since a Michael Kors bag isn't in my budget, this will do and it's not costing me any out of pocket money. I think this will be a great color for spring/summer.  See how easy that was to use a $100 gift card? LOL.

My mom also gave me my birthday gift really early - a nice little chunk of money. You know those ads that show up on the side of your facebook page....maybe from all the sheets I was looking at online a duvet set popped up and caught my eye. I'm getting ready to put my winter/xmas duvet set away and put back on my old cream colored duvet cover. I've been putting it off because it's pretty boring! It was very cheap ($35 on Amazon) and basically just like a soft sheet material and a light cream color. I bought it because it was what I could afford and I wanted something that the yellow dog hair wouldn't show up too badly between washings. But I don't love it at all! So, I clicked on the link on my FB page and eventually got to this duvet set  $99 and then I thought Hey! I can use some of the money my mom gave me to buy this. Then noticed my handy dandy "PriceBlink" price comparison gadget on the top of my screen said Walmart has this for $78! I went there and found the exact same thing (though under a bit of a different name). I haven't bought it yet, but I think I will. The rest of the money she gave me will be used to pay off the final couple hundred I have left owing on my CareCredit account (my no interest promotion is up next month and that is my last payment due.)

This is my dream bedspread!
But since I don't have $500 to spend on a King size one, I don't know how to knit, and my yellow lab, who practically lives on our bed, would snag it to shred's, it will have to remain in my dreams. It looks sooo cozy though!  Maybe I could just get the throw pillow..........

Monday, January 19, 2015

Just Me...

Janelle over at Facets of My Rich Life posted a question on her blog asking readers why they blog. My comment was that this is something I have been thinking quite a bit about the past month or so.

I have realized I very much miss just writing about my random (good or bad) day to day experiences! Not doing it has left me feeling a bit restless and like I've lost something I liked and enjoyed.  I am missing the more personal experience of blogging, which I realize is why I started blogging in the first place. When I made the decision a few weeks ago to just blog about less personal topics it wasn't a knee jerk/that day reaction. It was something I though about over a couple week period. A favorite holiday time with a detached (I can't think of a good word to use!) loved one was probably not the best time to be trying to think rationally, even if I did take a couple weeks to mull it over.

So, here's ME again - flaws and all! Good days and bad days. My life consists of an odd DH (ha! he can't be any weirder than my step-brothers wife....I think she has been to only one of our annual family get-togethers in the past 10 years! I don't even know her, really!), a missing son, a perfect daughter (ok, I know she's not really perfect, but darn close to it!), 2 dogs, 3 cats (somewhere out there are the 2 barn cats - at least I put food out for them), 2 parakeets, along with drug dealing neighbors and a great job.

So, what's been going on the past couple of weeks? DD has a boyfriend now! And quite honestly, Miss Perfect couldn't have picked a more perfect guy! I'm sure he has his flaws (who doesn't) but overall he is awesome. He is 5 years older than her, but I have always expected that out of her, when she finally decided she was ready to be in a relationship. He's mature and responsible, he has a good job with a major employer in our area, oodles of room for advancement and he's also trying to finish up his Bachelor's degree. He has a nice vehicle and still lives at home with his family (he's saving to buy himself a house.)  Oh, and he used a discount coupon on their first date! He is perfect, isn't he? LOL. He lives in our town, so with her away at school a majority of the time it will be a long distance thing.  I'm kind of glad it's not a boy at school that she'd see day in and day out, taking away from her studying. Dad approves, too :)

One night while she and I were texting, before Christmas break, she said that she and M had been texting each other quite a bit lately and I asked her if they were going to go out while she was home on break. She said he had mentioned getting together....."but Mom, he is like 24..." I replied "So? You are like 19 going on 30, so what's the problem?".  They started going out on some dates a couple of days after she got home, spent most of the month long break together and the day she went back to school they made it an official relationship. I couldn't be happier and more joyous for her!  He is soooo sweet to her. Who wouldn't want to wake up to a text every morning telling you (a different quality each day) what he likes about you? :-)

We haven't quite figured out what is going on with our drug dealer neighbors. We had (naively) hoped that the big drug bust on the house behind us (which has been dead quiet since that great day) would scare the crap out of them. It did for about 3 days and then the traffic to their house started doubling, as apparently all the other house's customers needed a new place to buy. Great. Not sure what has happened, but about Wednesday of this week it got very quiet. Little to none visiting this house and then Friday morning 2 cop cars showed to that house and stayed 45 minutes! From what limited view we have of their place/front door it appeared the cops went inside the house. We aren't sure why they were there or if they took anyone with them, but it has remained dead quiet over there and basically no one coming to their house. First quiet weekend we've had in ages.  One of the pre-bust arrests that was made of a car that had been at the house behind us, and resulted in drugs and a gun being found, has resulted in that car's driver being sentenced to 1 year in prison, so that was good news. Of the two dealers who were arrested from the house behind us during the bust - one, with the lesser charge, is out on bail.  The other, with a higher bail is still in jail, though the charge for distribution of drugs was already dropped! WTH?! But he's still in jail on the felon with a firearm charge as well as another lesser charge. I think their court date is next month some time. I guess the parents were able to bail out the son with the $7500 bail, but apparently the other one with $50,000 bail is staying in.

No news on when my job/salary review will be yet. I know my boss has been busy with a major contract issue, but I don't know if any other department managers have done theirs yet either. I haven't looked through payroll yet so see if anyone has gotten increases (we have a company that actually processes our payroll, so my boss doesn't usually pass that kind of stuff through me first). I just handle the timesheets and getting everyone's sick and vacation time reported. Good Lord it was an ugly payroll to do last time! I think just about everyone had some time off during the holidays that I had to record.

I made a bit of a change on my blog comment settings, to the same as I find when I comment on most other's blogs - I have to be signed in. Maybe I'll change it to moderation approval, if I find that necessary. If someone wants to be mean spirited, I guess they'll have to find some other blog.

Well, I have to work today - this is not one of our paid holidays, but at least traffic should be a little lighter. DD was home for the 3 day weekend and not leaving until after dinner, so I'll get to see her a little bit today before she leaves and then we probably won't see her again for about a month.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Shoe shopping

DH is really in need of some new everyday shoes. He has fairly flat feet to begin with, which causes problems, and add in his all over body/muscle pain and he could really use something with good cushion and support. Problem is he HATES to go shopping, and the last thing I want to do is try to go shoe shopping with him, so I always just end up buying him a regular pair of tennis shoes with as much arch support as I can find.

So, I decided to bite the bullet money wise and find him some better, orthopedic tennis shoes. Did some online searching and New Balance shoes came up quite often. He does wear that brand, but I've always just bought the cheaper models...usually $40 (on sale) to $60 range.  They are ok for awhile, but wear down the inside sole quickly and then aren't comfortable to him. I showed him some pairs online at a "foot store" that were $130- $200 range. He found a pair he liked the looks of that were $160. Of course I did some googling to find a cheaper price and found the shoes for $120.  $40 saved.  He also has an old pair of "boat shoes" he likes, because when he's walking around out in the wet grass scooping dog poops they tend to keep his feet drier,  and wanted a new pair of those. I have bought him a couple of pairs over the years. First pair was from Sperry Topsider and the second pair was a Kohl's version, that was cheaper.  Kohl's apparently doesn't carry this style of shoe anymore, so back to Sperry I went. The shoe was $60, as I figured it would be. Again, did some google searching and found the same shoe at for $35.

I was planning/expecting to fork out about $220 total for new shoes for him, but a few minutes of searching and I was able to save $65.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any coupon codes to go with the purchases, but both were free shipping.  Hopefully these new shoes will help ease his aching feet a bit.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Price comparisons

While grocery shopping yesterday morning I did some store brand vs. name brand price comparisons on some items I was buying. While looking at a 5# bag of flour the name brand was $2.48 and the store brand was $1.78. At first glance that doesn't seem like much of a difference, but it comes out to a 28% savings in price! And, while I am usually very conscious of pricing per unit, I was really surprised at the difference in price between the small 2# bag and the 5# bag. The 2# bag was 1.22 compared to $1.78 for the 5# bag. That's 2 1/2 times more flour for only 46% more price.

Here are a few others:
Sugar: $2.08 vs $2.58.  20% savings. Also interesting was the store brand was $2.38. But on the very bottom shelf was a very generic looking bag with really nothing on it except "Sugar". There was no price tag below it. I decided to buy it and it rang up at $2.08. Looks exactly the same as the sugar I added it to in my canister.......

Boil in a bag rice: $1.66 vs. 2.12.  27% savings
Small can of sliced olives: $1.22 vs $1.38. 11% savings
4 pack Greet yogurt: $3.38 vs. $3.78. 10% savings
Milk: $2.98 vs $3.38. 12% savings

While looking at the small picture, I only saved $2.62 total on these items, but doing this on items each week can add up over a year.  I also saved buying a store brand gallon jug of drinking water, but neglected to compare prices.

I haven't tried the store brand yogurt yet, so the jury is still out on whether that will pass the taste test! But it's worth a try.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Generic/Store brand vs brand name

I try to buy generic brands/store brands as much as possible, but there are some things I just won't buy generic because either I just don't like it or my family doesn't.  Peanut butter is one of them. Gotta be Jif! Though I do buy generic peanut butter for our dogs kong ball treats and have used it to make peanut butter cookies. I have tried generic canned veggies and just don't find them to be as good of quality (and I don't even really like veggies much to begin with!).  I've tried the generic crescent rolls and will stick with name brand. I stick with name brand cereals too, though I have tried generic Cheerios, etc.  Coffee I buy brand name because I have found a brand I like best. I also won't buy generic mayonnaise. Bread is another that I don't like store brands.

Things I buy almost always buy generic:
sour cream
cheese......though I don't see much point in buying Walmart's Great Value shredded cheese - it's only .02 cents cheaper than some of the name brands. I will definitely buy another local store's store brand when they put theirs on sale for 3/$5
baking supplies like sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, etc
Shredded hashbrowns (for a casserole I make)
Frozen veggies (for casseroles also)
I do on occasion buy some generic cookies
soups for cooking
dried pasta
ibuprofen and other OTC medicines
I have also bought store brand sodas in flavors like orange, fruit punch and root beer, but since I personally hardly ever drink soda, it's not very often. DH is stuck on his Mtn Dew.

Some of the brand name things I can end up getting cheaper than generics anyway, when combining a sale price and coupons. Like my coffee - there are often $1 and $2 coupons out there as well as it going on sale for $5 for a bag.

I should start paying more attention to all what generics are available and at to least be open to giving more a try. Plus I'm sure some differences in tastes would get acquired after awhile.

What things will you go generic/store brand on and what are some things you just won't?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sheets and dental savings

I woke up this morning deciding to just order a bottom fitted sheet in beige or something and Sherri and Sluggy's same suggestion sealed my decision.  Logged back into my Target order, which still had my other 3 items in my cart, and went back to the fitted sheets page, clicked on my brown color in King size just for the heck of it to see if it still said out of stock. It did not! My order, as originally planned, went through without a hitch!

My total savings I managed to get on this purchase was 32%:
Fitted Bottom sheet $19.35 (on sale)
Sheet set $59.99
Nate Berkus bath towel $8
Tissue box holder $12.91 (sale)
Total $100.25
Less $25 off $100 bedding/bath purchase
Less 5% pharmacy rewards discount code
Less 5% red card discount

All in all I think I did good with the savings and now I'll have 2 sets of sheets to use. I'm still not sure why I got the 5% red card discount since I paid with gift cards, but maybe because I logged into my account with the red card linked to it.  I had a little over $11 left on a giftcard I had purchased on Black Friday, that had been 10% off that day. The rest I used part of my $100 giftcard received from my boss as a gift.

And how did I save money on dental, you ask? I spent quite a bit of time at the dentist last year, getting lots of work done and using up my dental benefits and quite a bit out of pocket (which was put on my Care Credit card and will all be paid off next month - yay!). I have been under the impression for months and months now that my front tooth and the one next to it (#7 & #8) needed root canals. I had put this procedure off to take care of the other stuff first and wait until January rolled around and I'd have some benefits again to use up. We only get $2000 a year, which goes fast with 2 cleanings and even one procedure.

I went in yesterday for my 3 month cleaning (was supposed to be last month, but I didn't want to be out of pocket again, so I pushed it off 3 weeks) to see how it was going after my deep gum cleaning last Fall. All is doing well and then I said I was also now ready to take care of the two front teeth, that the endodontist, who had done my other root canals, said these two teeth needed root canals before the veneer or crown could be done (these teeth are a bit darker now than my other teeth. I injured them as a child and had a veneer done years ago that wore off with time). My main objective has been to get these two teeth back to a more natural color and I put it off for months because I thought I needed root canals too and just wanted to have some dental insurance cover most of it.

Well, the dentist said I do not need root canals! So, we are just going to go with porcelain veneers. I am so happy and relieved and excited to finally be able to get this done. Ok, so I really didn't save money by anything I did, haha, but I'm sure the root canals would have been a couple thousand.  It is most likely that insurance will not cover my veneers, since they will consider it cosmetic, but the office lady is going to submit anyway, just in case. If not covered I will have to fork out $1400, but way worth it to have a nice smile again and cheaper than also having to have root canals. I set my FSA amount for this year at $1600 so I can apply it to that and won't be out any money all at once.  Just the FSA amounts that will come out of my paycheck all year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The sheets saga

OMG! I really do hate buying sheets!  It's been one disappointment after another.

I finally decided what I was going to do to replace my torn sheet. Instead of spending $80 on Amazon for one set, I was going back to Target to buy a fitted sheet in same (or close to it) brown color as my still perfectly good top sheet from the set with the now torn fitted sheet.  AND I was going to buy another set (in same color) like I have.  That way I'd have 2 sets of sheets to rotate and hopefully last several years.

So, after I get done working (an at home day) I head on over to Target.  But no, they don't have my brown color in stock.  Just a "birch" kind of brown color. A fitted sheet in that color really didn't match my brown top sheet at all. I had already looked online (which was what gave me the idea to buy just the fitted sheet) and saw "my" brown color.  I went back home and got the fitted sheet and the sheet set in my cart and it came to $79.33.  I had a $10 off $50 bedding and bath coupon and a pharmacy rewards 5% off coupon, as well as my $100 gift card. But wait! There was also a $25 off $100 bedding and bath coupon.  I can do the math: If I spend another $20.66 on something I can get $25 off! So basically whatever I add to my cart is free, plus a few more dollars off my total.  That's a no brainer.

I've been wanting a new throw blanket in cream color for the sofa. Of course I wanted to keep it in this $20 range and of course the one I found I liked best and for a few pennies over what I needed to spend was out of stock. I either didn't like any of the other blankets or they were now in the $30 range or they were $19.99, which wasn't enough to get me to $100.

So, I spent another hour on the computer trying to figure out what to buy. I finally picked out a tissue box holder for the bathroom and another bath towel. Now my total was $100.25. Put in the $25 off code, my 5% off code (and for some reason it was giving me the 5% red card discount even though I had put in a gift card code) and got it down to $67.92. Hit submit and then it popped up that the fitted sheet item was removed and could not be shipped at this time. OMG!  Now it was showing out of stock.  I can't just pick a different color, because then I'd have a top and fitted sheet that don't match at all. I backed out and haven't ordered anything now.

To make matters worse I got out the old old sheet set and washed it so I could pull off the ripped sheet set and use it until the new set(s) came. But's so old style that my mattress is too tall for it and it won't fit on the mattress.  I had to remake the bed with the torn sheet on it because that is all we have to use right now!

I GIVE UP!  Tomorrow I'm just going to go buy one set in whatever color and be done with it.


I have to go buy a new set of bed sheets and I am not very happy about it. I don't think I've had this current set much more than a year and they have already totally ripped across the bottom area! I got these sheets at Target, so not super high quality, but they were their "luxury" highest priced sheets and sure should have lasted longer than a year.  They were the Fieldcrest Luxury Egyptian cotton 600 count sheets and for the king size set I think I spent about $70 (I remember they were on sale at the time).  I really liked these, too, they were nice and I liked the elastic on the sides along with the little tag that said "side" LOL.

Poo!! I guess I'll try finding some at Kohl's.  Better see what kind of coupon I can find to use there. I really wasn't planning to spend a bunch of money on sheets right now. At least I have an old old set I can put on for now until I can combine a sale and coupon.  It looks like Kohl's is only having a buy one get one for a $1 sale going on right now and I really don't want to spend $150, even if I will get 2 sets out of it. The best coupon I can find is only 15% off.  I'll have to think on this and will probably wait for a better sale.

I have a $100 Target gift card (a Christmas gift from my boss) that I am trying to figure out what I want to buy with it, but I don't want to use it on sheets, if their sheets are that crappy of quality, so I guess I'll be spending out of pocket for a new set of sheets. I really hate buying sheets - you can't really tell what they will feel like until they are washed and they are so expensive.  

UPDATE:  Well, it's been 2 years ago that I bought these sheets! Boy time files!  I remembered that I bought these when I bought the duvet cover, which was purchased on Amazon. I looked through my old orders and it was January 2013 and then I found this post I made about the sheets:

I don't feel quite so bad now that they have worn out - I did use these sheets the whole time (because I liked the color and feel) and only paid $50 for them on sale.  They weren't the brand I mentioned above - they are the Target Threshold brand. I'm still on the fence of what to replace them with. I am about to pull the trigger on an organics set on Amazon for $89 (less a $5 gift card I have available) but I might revisit the idea of using my Target gift card to replace this set with the same or maybe 2 sets.  Or.......even better...the top sheet is still good. I might try to find as close as color in just the bottom fitted sheet and then buy a 2nd full set so I can rotate.  Stay tuned.......LOL

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Feeding the pup

Our 2 1/2 year old mutt eats dog food that is about $25 a bag pricier than what our older dog eats. We originally tried him on the same food (Purina One) that our older dog has no problems eating and always has a nice soft shiny coat. He was just itchy all the time so the vet suggested trying a different food and we went with the more natural Blue Buffalo

A 30 pound bag costs about $55 at either Petco or Petsmart. They aren't sold at stores like Walmart or Target. Occasionally, they are on sale at about $5 off a bag. Unfortunately, when I need a bag, it's hit or miss whether it's on sale and in the past I have never had enough money in the monthly budget to buy 2 bags at the same time. Even though I could go buy 2 bags right now, I still have a hard time doing that. I don't know why. I guess I have a hard time forking out over $100 at one time for dog food. LOL. I always just hope I'll find it on sale and/or have a coupon at one of the stores when I need it.

I am trying to plan ahead for it more now, though.  I'm on the email list for both pet stores to watch for sales and coupons. I just received a $5 off $50 purchase coupon in an email from Petco. A new bag of dog food will need to be purchased within about a weeks time.

To plan ahead I went to my favorite discounted e-gift card site  While Petsmart is the closer store to me, their discounted cards are usually only 11-12% off.  I just bought a printable discounted Petco card for 17% off. I purchased it with my rewards debit card, saving me another 1%.

The food not on sale at this time, but with my $5 off coupon and discounted gift card and cash back reward I managed to get a $55 bag of dog food for $41, a total savings of over 25% off the price of the food. I love those discounted gift cards!

Friday, January 2, 2015


DD got me this very cute red ceramic canister set for Christmas. I also love that the lids have a rubber type ring so they seal when closed.

Yay! I could finally say farewell to the set I have had for 30 years. I didn't take a picture of them before they got carefully packed up and given to Goodwill. They were white with little flowers on them. DD didn't really want them for her future apartment. As I was cleaning out the old ones to get ready to box up I realized that I also have a matching tea kettle to it sitting on my stovetop. So, that was going too. My first reaction was "I'll need a new red teakettle to match". Then I thought "Why?? I never ever use this one. It's just for decoration, since if I heat up water I always use the microwave". A much better useful item would be something to put spatula's and such in.  Easy to grab and help keep my smallish drawers from being so overcrowded with gadgets and tools.

I found the matching tool caddy to this set on Amazon for $16. Not a bad price and free shipping.
But, I figured I could find something similar for cheaper, even if it wasn't red (my first choice, though). I found a similar one at Walmart for $6 and was probably going to get that one.  Yesterday DD wanted to go to Kohl's as she had $10 Kohl's cash to use up.  I had a $10 off any purchase Kohl's birthday coupon that was valid starting yesterday, as well as I printed off a $10 off $30 purchase....just in case I saw something I had to have.  Mostly I just planned to find something around $10 so it would pretty much be free.

I went wandering through the housewares and found one in red for $20 (and not on sale, can you believe that?!). Hmmm..well, I could use my $10 off towards it and it would cost me $10. That would be dumb because there was a perfectly good substitute at Walmart for $6. Or I could find something else, to add to the purchase, I could use for another $10, so that I would be spending a total of $30, getting $20 off with the 2 coupons and then still be only out $10 out of pocket.

So, that's what I did.  I got this kitchen tool caddy (basically for free with my two $10 off coupons)
For the extra $10 I needed to spend (to use one of the coupons) I got two washcloth's from the clearance shelf.  Both together totaled about $11.  I have been in the process of slowly replacing my worn out old washcloths and I love love love super soft ones and I really like them in white, so that I can see I got all my makeup off.

There was only one white one left, so I got a brown in a different brand, that matches my bathroom colors.
I don't know if you can see the original price on the white "Jennifer Lopez" washcloth. $17.99!! Seriously - who is their right mind would EVER pay $18 for a washcloth?! I wouldn't even pay that much for a bath towel. Geesh!

The girl rang it all up and it came to .43 cents below $30? What? We added it up, we were supposed to be at like $31. Apparently the white washcloth was even cheaper than the clearance price marked. It was $3.59, but the cashier said that's ok, she'll still give me the $10 off $30 purchase :-)

So, I spent more than the $6 I could have spent at Walmart for a tool caddy, but I also got 2 nice washcloth's too for the extra $4 spent.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year - A New Direction

I got my financial review post up and now I think I'm going to veer off course just a tad with my blog and try to focus posts just on ways that I find to save money on the things I do buy and other ways I try to cut costs.  Whether it's something I buy because I need it or something I buy just because I want it. There are always ways to save.

When I started this blog in 2010 I was making $58,000 a year plus about $8000 a year from my side job. There was no bonus plan in place at work (due to the economy crash), so no opportunity for extra money for a few years. Now I am making $75,000 a year (plus an increase this month, if all goes well), plus $12,000 a year from my side job and a potential bonus of $7500 (or more).  My 2010 tax return was gross income of approximately $64,000. My 2014 tax return gross income will be almost $93,000.

I am no longer struggling to make ends meet one our one income each month. I have money going into savings (most months, barring a big doctor or house repair bill)  and money going into my 401k. I have some money for some discretionary spending now (which mostly goes to fix up our  house and yard). If I want to spend $20 bucks to buy a few bath towels (on sale of course!) to replace some that are getting past their prime, I can now.  In all the years up until now I have not been able to do that. It was a stretch to be able to afford extra's or to replace things getting worn out. Even just things as basic as bath towels. I had to hope I'd get them as a Christmas or birthday gift or hope I got a gift card I could use.  And even if I got a gift card as a gift it usually just went buy only needs, never just something fun or just because I really liked it and wanted it.

I'll be posting much less about my personal finances in such detail and much less about my personal life. (Really, who needs to bare their soul or have a moment of venting, only to be told you should just blow your head off! No one can get the full picture of someone's life by a few words written in a blog. If I need to vent or share personal stuff I can do it in my weekly emails to my half sister) Unless something major happens that I want to share, I want to just focus my posts on what I enjoy doing - finding ways to stretch my dollars as much as possible.  I also want to be trying some more DIY projects and to post about those..err.....attempts :-)  I want to enjoy my life this coming year and I want to add things to it that enhance it and make me happy. Nothing major - just little things that will make me smile and make me comfortable. Hopefully I can find good deals and ways to save extra along the way.

Here's my first DIY post! These 3 Christmas items:

Two of them were in boxes in one of my cabinets at work and one was in my closet at home. They are given as a gift to each employee by one of the companies we rep. I had accumulated 3 years worth! They are really nice quality and super cute.....but.....they always have the company name plastered over the bases. Just not something I'd really want to display in my home, but too nice to just throw out. A lady at work mentioned she just painted the base. What a great idea! I picked up a small bottle of white craft paint for .97 cents at Walmart (DD already had the blue from one of her projects) and dug into my stash of various small paint brushes and painted all the bases. Easy peasy and now I have 3 cute additions to my decorations. They all light up and 2 of them also play Christmas songs.