Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12/30 Expressions

Today, we have a frugal-fun filled day planned. My daughter and I will be seeing "Marley & Me" for "free" - used the fandango code from a $25 Home Depot Gift Card. Before arriving at the movies, plan to drop off my husband's beloved Pepsi cans off at the recycler. After the movie, plan to pick-up a few staples/produce at Aldi - hopefully covered by the "recycle" money. Then, later this afternoon, I plan to read lots of magazines while my daughter uses her holiday gift money to get her hair "done". Just wanted to mention that yesterday, I picked-up 2 boxes of Nestle Marshmallow Cocoa for .25 a box - they were on sale for 2/$2 at Wal-mart and I had 2 .75 off coupons I printed off the internet - either coupons.com or smartsource.com - I got those while picking up a bag of potting soil. I finally set-up my indoor "garden". I planted lettuce and basil seeds in a large bowl and in a small cooking pot (both items from the kitchen that I no longer use for various reasons)- I planted Lavender both containers fit on a nice "ocean themed" stand near a large window in my dining room. Hopefully, a few nice salads and a natural nice fragrance are in our near future :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

12/29 Expressions

If you are a fan of Coldwater Creek, here is a promotional code for 70% off: WXH6446 and don't forget to go through your favorite savings site, mine is mypoints. I generally shop the outlet and got a few nice pieces for office wear without breaking the bank. And if you are looking for place to eat on New Year's day, Chick Fil-A just e-mailed me and said if I (and probably you too) make any purchase on the 1st between 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., you will get a free chicken biscuit on your next visit (I am thinking a coupon for a free chicken biscuit). Off to drop off donations and run a few other errands.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

12/28 Expressions

If you have a Kroger, this week will be a good one to combine Proctor & Gamble products on sale with a $5 off your order if you purchase $25 in qualifying products with coupons you might have received in the mail, Sunday paper, and coupons you can load onto your Kroger card. Also, if you have receipts for qualifying P&G products, you can send off for $120 in P&G coupons. I did the deal, but the coupons loaded on the card did not deduct - so, I have an e-mail in - hopefully, I won't have to return the items to the store. Also today, finished getting items ready to donate to a local thriftstore and have some clothes ready to take to the dry cleaners with my $2.19 per item coupon. I was invited to a semi-formal milestone birthday extravaganza thrown by a former office-mate. I ordered a black velvet/organza dress off of ebay for $18. The dress is a tad bit too short. Good thing the colors are black/gold/silver - or any combination - so, I stopped at Hancock fabric and was able to find gold fabric with laced edges on both sides - I am cutting off both sides to add to the bottom of the dress and plan to the middle part of the lace to fabric to create a shawl - I am hoping to piece together black velveteen fabric from a pair of pants together for that. So, the fabric for 1.5 yards was around $12. I figured I needed atleast 2 yards of lace - for similar quality size - it was $7.49 a yard - so, I did well, I think :)

Friday, December 26, 2008


Okay, I posted earlier that we were to have an over-the-range microwave installed at an empty rental unit - to be occupied in a few days. My husband is over there waiting for the installer - who calls 55 minutes after the appointment time to state he is still 30 minutes away. My husband called Sears - and what do they do - apologize and ask if he'd like to schedule another appointment. Then I called the 800 number - I was told they are really sorry and they will notify the store of a complaint - but the store may or may not respond. Okay - I just realized why I don't often shop at Sears - and won't be in the future! I have half a mind to ask my husband to cancel and buy the microwave elsewhere! hrumph! What do I want - Sears to set a standard - if scheduled installer is running late - call the store to have someone else do the installation - or have them call the customer before the scheduled time so the customer can do something else with their time . . .

12/26 Expressions

Last minutes financial tasks to complete for 2008: Pay property taxes - done (except the one that is being protested). Although I was charged a convenience fee, I paid on-line with my frequent flyer miles credit card. I am short the miles needed to fly to Hawaii in 2009. We have pretty much agreed to go this summer to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary and birthday. Also will be paying a big chunk on our HELOC principle. Next month's rate should be in the high 2's (percent). We had one tenant move out on the 8th of Dec and a new one moving in on 1 January - they are paying 1/2 days rent for a few days in December to start moving their stuff in. In any case, we are meeting the installers from Sears to have a new over-the-range microwave installed. Today and through the rest of the weekend, I plan to go through the house and find/itemize items to donate. More clutter gone and a tax deduction. No shopping planned - but we do plan to use the free movie tickets (from purchasing Home Depot gift cards last month) today or sometime this weekend to watch a new release. Lots of leftovers, so not much cooking this weekend either. Booked a few days at our beach condo next week and went through mypoints to order a few 80% off certificates at restaurant.com. (Too bad I didn't wait until today - because the deal is is 80% off - but you get a free $25 certificate if you spend at least $11 - if you do, don't forget to go thru mypoints (6 points per dollar) and use the code: CELEBRATE.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/24 Expressions

Last night while watching the local news, a reporter was interviewing the local(?) manager of Sears/K-mart and asking about their new strategies - he said something about starting "lay-aways" again at Sears so people won't have to charge things on the credit card . . . then he said something about being frugal was not a desirable trait - but is now.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12/23 Expressions

This year, we definitely won't be needing calendars. We've had 3 different realtors, 2 unknown, 1 our property manager, send us calendars, fridge magnets, pens, holiday cards. Freebies in the mail today: re-usable shopping bag and baseball type cap.

Monday, December 22, 2008

12/22 Expressions

Did I mention that I was able to get a few of the "free" after extra-care bucks items at CVS yesterday? I went later in the afternoon, and for $12.XX out of pocket got 2 Sally Hansen Nail polishes (I looked at a display and there were $2 off coupons to boot), 1 "Hip" eye shadow duo, 1 Arm & Hammer Essential Spray Cleaner, 2 bottles of multi-vitamins (no ecbs on them - used ecbs in the "second" transaction), a box of Russell Stover Chocolates (a gift and used ecbs in the "second" transaction), and a trial sized lotion. Mail was nice also. I got a coupon for a free 20 oz Dr. Pepper, and 2 rebate checks.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12/21 Expressions

For the first time today, we used the "Red Box" at Wal-mart and a code to get a free movie to watch. Also for the first time, I used "Shortcuts" and "loaded" coupons on to my Kroger card. And, I can say it works. Kroger mailed me a booklet of their premium (I think) brand items "Private Selections". In there was a coupon for $5 off the Spiral Cut ham. Shortcuts had another for $3 off. I used both today and the receipt shows both reductions. I also took my daughter to J C Penney so that she could buy her dad a gift. Lots of sales, easy to park, and we used the $10 off $25 coupon. We did not venture further into the mall - but there were signs on the way in that "Steve & Barry" and a Jewelry store were having "store closing" sales.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12/19 Expressions

We ate out twice today - those 1/2 priced gift certificates sure come in handy. The over-the-range microwave in one of our rental properties broke. My husband found one one sale at Sears and used the $5 of $50 or more coupon Sears e-mailed me for joining their e-mail club. The price to have it installed/old one taken away is cheaper than the original one we planned to buy at Sears (without installation/take away) - some times it pays to stop in the store. The other good bit of financial news for me is that I am getting a decent pay raise.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More 12/18 Expressions

It has taken me over 1 year to earn $200 in rewards on my Chase Freedom card. I was shooting for the $50 bonus. I thought for sure by the time I qualified - it would be over - but it isn't. I called and it was quick and easy. I will be receiving my $250 check shortly. My daughter and I put together some gift bags quickly. I had enough Bath and Body Works, gift cards, etc. to put together some nice gifts. I have been thinking of letting my gift closet clear out as great bargains seemed few and far between - but I may re-think that one.

12/18 Expressions

Mail was great today! The 1/2 priced gift certificates to local restaurants arrived today. The gift certificate I ordered from mypoints came with the bonus $15 FTD gift card. I baked some cookies and some are in the freezer for later. To grease the cookie sheets - I used the margarine wrapper - didn't save me a bundle - but, it was frugal :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12/17 Expressions

A friend just told me that the Census Bureau will be hiring temporary workers to take the Census in 2010 starting February 2009. Here is the link: http://www.census.gov/2010censusjobs/ Doesn't look too shabby for a part-time job. Last night my daughter and I finished up our cinnamon/apple sauce ornaments. I had some red puff paint to add a few details and tied "raffia" from the Dollar Tree (looked more like hay) to each ornament. Now the empty spots on our tree are empty-no-more. Very cheap project if you buy the ingredients from the Dollar Tree (well, the apple sauce came from Aldi) and have left-over craft items you need to use up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12/16 Expressions

I am happy about the rate cut today. Our HELOC should drop to a high 2% - we will definitely have the condo paid off by October of '09. We finally got the last two property tax bills - different county - they were way behind. We protested both last year and were able to get reductions. This year, one went down a bit more and the other jumped 73%. Ridiculous! So, we will be firing off another protest letter this year. This year, assessments have been all over the place. We've had some stay the same, some go up, and one go down.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12/13 Expressions

This morning, I went to Walgreens and purchased 4 bottles of Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent for just over $6 with the in-store coupon which dropped the price from $6.99 each to $1.99 and I also had 2 internet printed coupons from www.armandhammer.com. After coupons, I owed just over $6 with tax. A $5 register reward kicked out and I purchased baking supplies - out of pocket = $0. Also stopped at Bath and Body Works with two coupons. One for an item of my choice up to $13 with any purchase - got the smalled giftbag on sale and a Vanilla Body Splash for .55 - the cashier was impressed. My second coupon was for a free home fragrance item up to $12.50 with a $10 purchase. So, I got a jar candle - originally $17 for $10 and wallflower re-fills for free - out of pocket - $10 plus tax.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More 12/12 Expressions

Restaurant.com sent my husband a link to send out up to 3 free $10 Gift Certificates per day yesterday. The link is www.Restaurant.com/FeedItForward I believe the e-mail said up to $2.5M to be given away. Anyway, we will be going out of town tomorrow to watch a tournament. Several Gift Certificates for that city. So, I had DH send one to me - and it was very easy to order.

12/12 Expressions

We do like to eat out on occasion. I was able to score 6 1/2 priced gift certificates from various local tv stations website. I may use some for gifts - but, it gives us a variety to choose from.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/11 Expressions

I have purposely started making extras when cooking. Then I can freeze or refrigerate the extras for fast meals later. Also, a large gallon ziploc of muffins I made earlier this week has been frozen. Just seconds in the microwave and a snack is ready. I have noticed three local tv stations selling 1/2 priced gift certificates on different days of the week. They seem to be selling out faster.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12/10 Expressions

My project for this weekend is to start a small container garden of lettuce and a few herbs. I already have the container and seeds. May pick-up a small bag of potting soil from the Dollar Tree. Should be much cheaper than those kits I've seen advertised.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12/9 Expressions

Above are photos I mentioned earlier: The first photo is of the luminarias - sort of looks like music notes to me. The second photo is of the free flowers from Kroger/greenery from the yard and the muffin gifts my daughter and I made for our neighbors/friends. Frugal today: I picked up 2 small consignment checks and deposited them with a bunch of small rebate checks into my savings account. I also dropped off another 15 items at the consignment store. I also listed one item on ebay. Now to start wrapping gifts and writing a few cards.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More 12/8 Expressions

If you got the $10 Victoria's Secret coupon for any PINK item - yesterday, I was able to get a large tote - priced at $10 and there was an offer for a free pair of underwear with any PINK purchase. Once I handed over the coupon - I owed nothing - not even tax. I also had a $10 off anything coupon - so, I bought a clearanced PINK jacked - although it wasn't free - it was heavily marked down - and of course, I got another free pair of underwear. I also got my 15 items ready for the consignment store. I am hoping to pick up a check to deposit with all of my other rebate/survey/other checks and a roll of dimes :)

12/8 Expressions

Mail was great (mostly) today! I got a rebate check, a survey check and sadly, a dividend check for .15. In today's environment, I can't believe companies do this. Postage is more than the dividend. We only own a few shares of the stock - a spin-off (in our defense) - but can't they make-up a policy like: dividends will accumulate until - or electronic deposit only - or something? Another nice thing I got in the mail - a coupon for a free 1/2 gal of Horizon milk from Mom Central. People have been reporting that JCPenney is sending them $10 Gift Coupons - and they used to send them to me. What did I get today a $10/$25 - is that because they know I will try to spend close to the $10. I am sure it was some sort of marketing demographics thing they did. Also, my photographer (daughter) took pictures of the luminarias and the gifts we baked the other evening. Unfortunately, our Tech Guy - (husband) won't have time to upload the photos until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/5 Expressions

I had a package at the door last night - my annual nice tin of whole cashew nuts for being a volunteer mail decoy. Today, I stocked up on toilet paper. Hopefully, I won't be buying the stuff for a very long time. I had several $1 off White Cloud and the 4 pack double rolls are $2 at Wal-Mart - so, $1 a pack. But even better, I had a bunch of .25/1 Cottonelle that get doubled at Kroger - and they are the only ones around here that carry the 4 pack single roll - for .99. So, after coupon, .49 a pack. I used a new Kroger Gift Card - which had the extra $30 loaded on it from the "Tax Stimulus Deal" Kroger had months ago. So, I feel like I got all of the TP free :) A very kind friend sent me a coupon to get a bouquet of flowers free from Kroger also - so, while the weather is dreary, the view at our dining table is now very cheerful. I also got several other items free with coupons too. I am trying to motivate myself to list one item on ebay and take another load into the consignment shop. Also, to make one more delivery to thrift store. Also, I am going to search for a recipe to use my fresh cranberries for muffins, and am thinking of doing a banana/nut (lots of frozen bananas in the freezer and got some pecans for baking on sale/coupon) muffins for the friend that's treating us to the ballet tomorrow and my two neighbors. Our neighborhood is having their annual luminaria lighting (every street is lined w/luminarias - so beautiful - they use white lunch bags, anchored with a bit of sand and a tea light). Monday if the community Holiday Party - we have never been - but may make it a point to try and attend this year.

I just searched Recipezaar.com and found a recipe for cranberry/sour cream muffins - very frugal for me. My fresh cranberries were .99 at Aldi and the sour cream was .29 at Kroger after coupon. Off to bake - and warm up the house. I will also be baking the sweet potatoes I got at Aldi - a bag for $1.99 so as not to "waste" space in the oven/electricity.

I also made "stone soup" today - turkey drippings (minus the fat), 1/2 of a Kroger "Manager's Special" rotisserie chicken ($1.75), free after coupon cut green beans - Wal-Mart, leftover mashed sweet potatoes, sample pack of microwavable mac'n cheese, 2 grated carrots (about .20) and spices from the cabinet. It was delicious and warming. Also filling as we also had a nice salad with the soup too. I have enough leftover for several more meals. I also ordered 2 more $25 Staples gift cards. Now I have a total of 4 - and my daughter has 5 teachers. Will have to come-up with something for the 5th.

Friday, December 5, 2008

12/5 Expressions

I have received several small rebate checks in the mail - I remember reading one clearing house is bankrupt - so, I will deposit them in my Credit Union account in case they bounce (my Credit Union doesn't charge me for someone else's bounced check - thank goodness). We have been eating a lot of turkey - turkey fried rice, stir fry, spaghetti, etc. We are officially tired of turkey. We are trying to get rid of clutter - so, it was nice to be able to donate a few gifts for tots. My daughter's class won by contributing the most gifts and they "won" a pizza party. Tomorrow night, our neighborhood association puts out luminarias - simple and beautiful. Sunday, we have been invited to play.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

11/30 Expressions

We did not shop on Black Friday - but I heard on the news sales were better than last year? We had a nice Thanksgiving meal with family - froze left-overs, packed the car and headed for our beach condo. We took care of minor maintenance issues (used the Home Depot Gift cards I purchased earlier for the free movie tickets), took the "inventory" items in and had fun. We used 2 of the three $25 Restaurant.Com gift certificates we had - one manager stated he quit taking the certificate last month. So, I will need to call about that. We did shop at the outlet mall on Saturday - got some great bargains, but also contended with crowds and stormy weather. Tomorrow, I will be mailing off one book I sold on half.com; mailing in a rebate for a $20 grocery store gift card; and mailing in a rebate for $10 for buying the Home Depot gift cards. Oh, we saw gas prices as low as $1.59/gal. We stopped at Aldi on our way home for our groceries this week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

11/26 Expressions

I received an e-mail - in part with the following comment. We don't have a BJ's Warehouse around here - but if you do - here is a link for a 1 day pass.

I saw from your page that you're a parent on a budget and I thought the following information might be interesting to you and your readers – especially with money being tight this year - on toys for under $30, under $20 and even under $10 for the holidays.

I work with BJ’s Wholesale Club and they offer a wide assortment of toys for kids of all ages for every budget at everyday low prices. For a free shopping pass, you can go to http://www.bjs.com/join/one_day_pass.shtml

Sunday, November 23, 2008

11/23 Expressions

I went in Costsco for the first time today. Wow - lots of sample stations and the food stand had excellent prices. We were tempted to buy - but walked out with a large wheel of Brie for $5.99. My name went into the "pot" for a drawing later this evening for gift cards of various values. I also stopped by and picked up a lamp and some artificial plants from a freecycler. My daughter has been wanting the lamp - right lamp wrong color - so - we will be painting it. Speaking of freecycle - I was able to fill a want for a person. I met them in a public parking lot. It felt great get rid of stuff that was going to be put to good use. Also, I received 2 refund forms. One for $15 off a turkey or ham - and I purchased our turkey today at Publix (with the $1 off coupon they gave me last week) for $15.XX. So, our turkey this year, will be free after rebate. I also received a form for $10 rebate with the purchase of a $25 gift card - which I did earlier at Home Depot. Then, I found a rebate form for a $20 Grocery Store Gift Card with a $150 purchase of groceries - I should be able to have enough receipts to equal that this month - and it will be nice to get $20 back. Then I found a form to get $2 back on a purchase of meat or seafood. So, if you are in the grocery store, keep your eyes open for refund forms and fill them out and mail them in if you are planning to buy the stuff any way. Most of these forms are sponsored by beer/wine companies. Many do not require that you buy their products.

Friday, November 21, 2008

11/21 Expressions

Frugal plans for the weekend. I am planning to use my last $5 off coupon for a one hour massage at the local massage college. Full price is $25 - this is my second visit - and the first one was wonderful. I made a charitable contribution at work. The local Costco is allowing free admission this weekend to those who contributed. Suppose to be door prizes and give aways. I have never been in one - but I have read about them, looked at their website. So, I may get some holiday items - if they are priced right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11/18 Expressions

I have been on the receiving end of several useful items through freecycle.org. This afternoon, I was able to donate pantry items and dog food we no longer needed. We met in a public spot - and all went smoothly. Since we were meeting the freecycler outside of Sally's Beauty supply, we went in and used the $5 coupon we got last month. My daughter was able to get a $6.99 brush for $1.07 after coupon and discount. Then we walked into to Wal-mart. I was able to get 2 small purse size Tabu colognes for .98 after the $5 coupon I had. I also printed out several of the Goody's Ouchless $2 coupons and we got several packs of ponytail ties for .12 after coupon. I also got 2 bags of Streamfresh veggies free after coupon. Then we stopped at Publix. Tonight was their "Party" night. Lots of samples - enough to count as a meal. They also gave out coupons and had a local musical group playing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

11/16 Expressions

I have mapped out a shopping spree for my husband and daughter. First, Home Depot to buy 4 $25 Gift Cards because they are suppose to have 2 Fandango codes in each card. A great way for the two to go to movies more often without denting up the wallet much. Also, we can use the cards to get the stuff we would normally buy there - or give them as gifts. Then on to the mall. My daughter can use a few sweater or warmer tops. J C Penney sent me a postcard with 30% off anything after 3 PM today. I also have 2 $10 giftcards from participating in the Publix/Kraft rebate several months ago. Then, my daughter will run into Victoria's Secret for a free pair of cotton panties - very nice of them to send me that. Then into Bath & Body works for a $1 giftbag - and use the coupon for a free room fragrance spray for free. On their way home, they will stop at Publix to round out groceries - I don't need much since I went Walgreens yesterday to use the $5/$20 coupon again. But, a wonderful friend sent me a rebate form to get $10 back when I spend a minimum of $10 on pizza and salty snacks. Of course they have the coupon to get the 1 cent mystery item with a purchase of $10. Of course they will be getting a few other items too. And just to add a bit more frugalness (is that a word :) to my day, I washed and conditioned my hair with free samples and painted my nails with the free polish stick I got from Ulta a couple of months ago.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

11/15 Expressions

Check your catalogs. Today, I received a Coldwater Creek catalog with a coupon for $20 off my next purchase. No minimum purchase - now, that is generous. So, I searched for a free shipping code - and found one. Then I went through mypoints, and went to the outlet. I found a very nice work jacket, after all codes, I charged $11.xx on my airline miles card (I pay my card off every month). I have noticed more and more coupons from stores and higher values at that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

11/14 Expressions

Today, I went to Walgreen's at lunch time and spent no $ out of my pocket for: Gallon of milk, 2 packages of breakfast sausage, 2 packages of cashew nuts, 2 packages of clearanced Halloween, 2 packages of Sugar-free Peeps, 2 packages of yogurt covered raisins, a pack w/500 sheets of printer paper, and a Schick Titanium Trimmer (which had a code inside to download 8 songs). The coupons I used: I printed a $5 off $20 coupon from the Walgreens website, I printed a $2 Trimmer coupon from coupons.com (although I just got my All-you magazine and there's one in there for $4 off), and I used a $3 off coupon from the Walgreens' easysaver book. Then, I used my giftcard with rebates from the previous month - plus 10% because I chose my rebate on the Walgreens' giftcard. I still have almost $4 left. Also, a very kind friend mail me a refund form for $10 off of pizza. Tonight, we will be ordering BOGO large pizzas from Papa Johns for a few bucks after rebate. Of course, we will be getting several meals out of the pizza. This has been a tough week - all I can say is TGIF!

Monday, November 10, 2008

11/10 Expressions

Today, I looked at vacation homes and prices have really dropped. It would be nice to be able to buy that could accomodate the family and perhaps a few friends. So, on a whim, I called my friendly Credit Union. Nope, they do not take applications for mortgages for vacation property/second homes. So, then I called my local/national bank - yes, if you have a good credit rating. The interest rate listed on the site was 6% for 30 years fixed and 5.75% for 15 years fixed. I asked if there would be a rate difference for vacation homes - they said slightly. Also, I wanted to know closing costs. So, I am still awaiting an e-mail. Tonight, my husband wanted to make a trip to Taco Bell for a quick dinner. But, we had all of the ingredients to make it ourselves. We did - and I seriously don't think he could have driven to and from the place any quicker - and definitely not any cheaper. I believe the home version is probably a bit healthier too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11/09 Expressions

A few good deals I happened upon today. At Wal-mart, I was able to get 2 bags of Steam Fresh Veggies (on sale for $1/bag) free using $1 coupons printed off the internet (well actually at mypoints and I will be getting 10 points for redeeming the coupons) and I got 2 boxes of Bagelfuls for .98 a box after using 2 $1 off coupons printed from the same site. The other good deal, I had coupons from a prior Sunday paper, and a demonstrator gave me a handful of coupons, and I printed several off the internet (search for Scotch Brite Nail Saver Sponge) I believe. Anyway, they are on sale for $1 each and they count toward the buy 10 items get $5 off your order - so, I got 10 sponges free and $5 off toward my other groceries. Also, gas at Kroger was $2.19/gal - lowest octane - whoo hoo!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

11/8 Expressions

My daughter will be getting her hair cut and styled today - with a gift certificate that we "won" at a silent auction. $10 is a great deal - of course we will include tip. The weather is changing rapidly. Time for home-made soup - mmmm good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

11/4 Expressions

Lot's of freebie and cheapie offers today for voters - but, I did not participate in a one. Yes, I voted - but, just did not make time to get to the freebies. I did sell my freebie DVD from the Pasta Viola deal. I also got a postcard good toward a free meal at Zaxby's. Of course a rent check came in the mail too. Not too shabby.

Monday, November 3, 2008

11/3 Expressions

Sometimes it is good to do some financial matters maintenance. I just noticed that my 401K will be maxed out about 2 pay checks early. Ahem, I think that could be a nice problem to have - however, I will miss out on some matching contribution. I think I have caught it in time - and will be lowering my contributions for the next two months. Oh, and we own a few shares of J.M. Smuckers - spun off of something, anyway, we got a nice little check which included an additional one-time dividend payment of $5 per share because they are mergin with Folgers. That was a nice surprise - of course if I was paying closer attention - I might have been expecting it. Also, tomorrow could be a good freebie day if you have the time and inclination. Many places are giving freebies and good deals to voters. I know Starbucks is giving a tall one. Ben and Jerry's - a scoop between 5-8 PM. I thought I might have seen an add for Krispie Creme for a free doughnut. I got an e-mail for Captain D's - $1.99 fish 'n chips for voters. I am sure there are more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

11/2 Expressions

Today, I have been baking up a storm. I baked 4 chess-pies, 1 batch of peanut butter cookies, 1 batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, 1 batch of biscuits, and while this stuff was baking, I had a turkey loaf - you know the one, with gravy, baking. I froze 2 of the pies, most of the cookies, and some of the biscuits. We had biscuits and gravy for breakfast this morning. Now we have sweet treats for the rest of the week and for the holidays too. Also, since it was a bit chilly today, the baking helped heat the house. I matched up coupons and shopped Kroger, CVS, and Publix. My best deal was Publix. For $4.04, I got 2 of those new Ore-Ida Steam and eat mashed sweet potatoes, 2 packages of Pet Ritz pie crust (4 total - now chess-pies), 1 package of Green Giant Steam and eat peas, and the mystery item today was a tub of quick cook oat meal - some are in the cookies. I did a bit more gift shopping yesterday on the 'net. I went through mypoints, and went to Overstock. I had a 10% off code (internet search) and found the gift I was looking for. I also went ahead and signed up for "O" Holiday Club - because, you get free shipping, an additional 5% off and $30 rebate in January if you spend $300 between now and the end of December. Of course I used my Chase Card because I am so close to being able to cash in for a $250 check.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

11/1 Expressions

Normally, I shop year around for gifts. This year has been different for some reason. Anyway, just a few moments ago, I went through mypoints, armed with 3 codes, and was able to order 2 bras, 2 panties, and a purse from Victoria's Secret for $20.12. I ordered with two people in mind - so, I have started shopping. Somehow, I signed up for PSSST - and they sent me a link to get a coupon, printable twice for $1.10 off 1 can of Progresso. Hopefully, they will be on BOGO sale at Publix and I can do the buy $10 and get the 1 cent mystery item for very little. Yesterday, we used the Restaurant.Com .60 $10 Gift certificate at a local deli place.

Friday, October 31, 2008

10/31 Expressions

Tonight, I will be handing out candy from a CVS sale and when I run out (hopefully I won't), I bought several packs of free "Frosty Jr" coupon booklets from Wendy's. 10 coupons for $1. Not bad at all. I also received 2 rebate checkes in the mail and we dropped off some donations to a charitable organization.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

10/30 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: Wow, this is the first year that health care companies are REALLY trying to woo our business. We had a health fair this year, and we were handed recyclable shopping bags, tooth brushes, t-shirts, candy, pens, paper, eye glass cleaners, etc. This is the first year we have not attended our condo owners' annual meeting. Although it we can stay in our condo for "free", and they usually put together a really nice lunch, this year we have decided it just isn't worth the expense - gas, boarding the dogs, food out, etc. So, I guess we can count that as being frugal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

10/29 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: Today, I dropped 15 items off for consignment and picked up 2 checks. I received the 2 Staples $25 giftcards I ordered last month. I am just a money magnet today :) And while the stock market stunk today, that .5% drop the Fed gave today will positively impact my HELOC - dropping the rate to the low 3's%. So, more of what I pay toward the condo will be going toward principle! That's my silver lining for the day :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

10/28 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: We have too many T-shirts - most of them freebies. Although we do use them, we sure can't use them all. Today, I cut one up into pieces about the size of 2 wash clothes. They are in one of the freebie recyclable shopping bags - I am using them to clean. We have reached our saturation point for freebie t-shirts, we usually refuse them now. But to be honest, if one had the time, there are plenty of thing the t-shirts can be recycled into. I have seen braided rugs, people re-using them to make fashionable clothes, bags, quilts, and even underwear. So, now I need to get inspired. The other thing I am finding a lot of: travel sized and sample sized products. I am now making a conscious effort to get them used up. They sure are fun to receive in the mail, but what is the point - if they don't get used?

Monday, October 27, 2008

10/27 Expressions - the late Edition

I received an e-mail from Restaurant.Com earlier today. They provided a code to get 80% off the regular price. The code is: TREATS I was able to get a $10 off gift certificate for .60 and a $25 Gift Certificate for $2. I also went through mypoints - 6 points per dollar. It was a bit slow as I am sure plenty of people are ordering. But the $10 gift certificate is for a local sandwich shop, normally sold-out - so, I was glad to get it.

10/27 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: I have noticed plenty of ways to get the Flu-shot free this season. Not only am I being offered to get it free through work, but I noticed an article in the local newspaper - the County Health Department is also offering it for free this season. My frivolous frugal deed - I polished my nails with free polish at lunch - with the nic 'stick - I believe - it was a freebie from a couple of months ago at Ulta. The other nice thing about the stick - it doesn't have a strong "smell". It is like a marker - easy to paint on and looks pretty good (especially for free). I also spent about 30 minutes today going through closets to find stuff to put into the "donate" box and I also found a few items to consign. Tomorrow, I will will prepare the paperwork for the consignment stuff. I won a hair-cut certificate at a silent auction for charity for $5 earlier this month. I called and made an appointment for my husband to get his hair cut. It would be cheaper if he would let me cut his hair for him, but he did once - and that was it. Not only did he claim it didn't look right (the barber he went to asked him who gave him last hair cut - I told my husband they all say that when they want your business), I nicked his ear. So, that $5 is a bargain in this household and I am sure he will throw in a tip (if the stylist doesn't nick his ear).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

10/26 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: This afternoon, we went to Barnes and Noble and each got the free drink with coupon and browsed the books/magazine. My daughter did end up buying a book - but with double discounts. Then off to Bath and Body Works. We each also had a coupon for a free Wallflower with any purchase and were able to match up the $3 handsoap with a wallflower (these will make nice gifts for our mail lady, etc. for the up-coming holiday season. We also stopped to rent a $1 DVD from the vending machine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10/25 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: In today's mail, I received a pouch of mashed potatoes from Betty Crocker and a .40/1 coupon, a coupon from Bath & Body Works for a free room spray with any purchase (you know you can buy $1 gift bags right?), the DVD I got for "free" with 3 UPCs from Pasta Viola (remember the Publix BOGO sale plus coupons not too long ago?) - which I have promptly listed on half.com, and a free issue of "Traditional Home" magazine. Another thing I learned today: I took my daughter to Sally's Beauty Supplies for her favorite product. They always ask if I have a "Sally's card" - and I always say no - and that's the end of it - because I was always under the impression that you had to be a beautician to get one. This time, I asked - "do I have to be a beautician to get one?" Turns out there are two different cards. One for non-beauticians like me. The cost of the card is $5 - saves you 10-30% on items purchased and costs $5 - but, you get a $5 coupon at the bottom of your receipt that is good off anything the following month - so, now when they ask me if I have a "Sally's card" - I will be saying "yes". We saved more than 10% on the products bought today - almost like a BOGO - we used a store coupon too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

10/24 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the day: For dinner tonight - I shopped in my pantry. I had a small box of spaghetti noodles, large can of Glen Muir Organic crushed tomatoes (bought with $1 off coupons printed from the internet), and a can of Campbell's tomato soup (bought on sale w/coupon). I already had a pack of turkey burger defrosting. Of course I used some spices from the cabinet - and we had a pretty tasty and quick dinner tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

10/23 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: Well the season for office parties has started. Our office is having one next week and we were each asked to bring a contribution. I want to bring something good - but not overly expensive. I found a recipe Coffee Punch - who doesn't like Starbucks (okay perhaps not their prices) - and I have an antique punch bowl. I am thinking that will be my contribution because I have most of the ingredients - instant coffee, milk. I will purchase ice cream/cream this weekend. The other frugal deed for the week. My husband was traveling for business this week. Gone are the days when there's extra shampoo, etc. since these days - we really don't take "liquids" in carry-on luggage. But, they usually have shower caps - which he doesn't use :) I asked him to bring them home. I am going to use them for "lids" for things that need to be refrigerated. Oh, and I called my HELOC holder - my rate drops to 3.XX% for next month. I realize the rate will eventually have to go up - but that just means more that I can contribute toward the principle.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10/19 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day in Advance: My husband and I just went on a date to Barnes & Noble/Starbucks Coffee Shop for $1.52. I printed 2 coupons for a free Cappuchino and 1 coupon for a Cheesecake Factory dessert for 1/2 price on the internet. No problem at all and we had a nice time browsing the books and magazines. We also went to Walgreens to use the $5/$25 coupon that expires today. I mainly went for the free after rebate items and I plan to file for my return on-line and get 10% extra by asking for my refund on a giftcard. All 3 Free After Rebate items were available - about $18 worth, so my husband was able to get Planter's Cashews on sale BOGO to get us to the $25. Total after coupon, $22.XX. Rebate will be the $18.XX plus 10%. Then to Kroger to gas up the car - gas is down to $2.74 - better than last week. Then we stopped at Wendy's. They had Halloween Coupon books - 10 coupons for Frosty Jr. for $1 and no tax. So, I got 3 books. After I run out of fun sized candy bars I purchased from CVS earlier this month - that's what I will be handing out. Any extras? We will use them for treats since the coupon doesn't expire until 2/09. Oh, and I got two more $10 J C Penney gift cards for purchasing Kraft items a month or so ago (most of the item were free with coupons). Forgot to mention it was a bit brisk this morning. I had been thawing pumpkin puree from last year in the fridge. I finally mixed it up and (I was out of eggs - but substituted 1 tbsp of soy flour/1 tbsp of water for each egg) and made pumpkin muffins. I also substituted oat meal for the walnuts. With the pumpkin butter, they were delicious and warmed the house up just enough.

10/18 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day: Today will mainly be about my daughter. She is going to a birthday party. The giftbag is a "re-gift", so no cost. The birthday card is coming from a kit for making birthday cards we bought last year at a heavy discount. The gift itself came from our "gift closet" (nice items I purchase when there is a good sale/discount, items "won", freebies, etc.). So, no last minute running around for that. Also, my daughter got great grades this quarter. She would like to add a few items to her wardrobe to accomodate this changing season. So, I printed a 15% off a purchase for J C Penney. Yesterday, I received a $10 gift card for J C Penney from a Publix mail-in rebate. Plus, she has a J C Penney gift card with a few $ left on it. So, we are hoping to get a nice item there. I also got a gift card in the mail from Victoria Secrets for a free cotton panty. Also, Bath and Body Works sent two coupons, one for a free aroma therapy pillow spray and 20% off one item. I think there is a coupon on-line for a free travel lotion with any purchase that I may tote along. She also has a coupon from her favorite clothing store for $15 off $40. Hopefully, we will find some great sales and we will be able to supplement her wardrobe for as little as possible out of pocket $. Also, we will stop at Chick Fil A for lunch, and use a few coupons (sent in the mail, from the Calendar, etc.). Tonight, we will be attending a silent auction for a charity. They always have wonderful finger foods, drinks, and music - so, dinner will probably be soup before we leave. Last year we got a few nice gifts and gift certificates. We hope to be able to contribute to a great cause and "win" a few things in the process too!

Monday, October 13, 2008

10/13 Expressions

Today's Frugal Deeds: My husband and I have today "off", but my daughter has school. My husband ran our errands today and I provided him coupons to save a few $'s. First, he dropped off some clothes at the dry cleaners. The place we use charges $2.39 per item. On the back of Kroger receipts, they have coupons to drop the price to $2.19 per item. Kroger receipts no longer have this item, but fortunately, I saved a bunch, and they don't have an expiration date. The store honored it the last two times we dropped stuff off. Then to CVS to get my daughter's saline solution for her contacts. I printed a $1 off coupon from coupons.com and I had $10.XX in ECBs to use. Too bad we burned through our HSA already, or I would have sent in the receipt. Then to Kroger for $2.91/gal gas with our Kroger Giftcard we bought when they offered 10% more - and purchased on a air miles credit card. Finally, his last stop was Publix. I checked the internet quickly, and printed 2 $1 off Barber Foods Chicken meals that are BOGO, regularly $4.XX each, then I printed 2 $1 off any Kelloggs for the BOGO Special K that is regularly $3.XX, and I printed off 2 $1 off Liquid Coffee Cream, on sale for 3/$5 and I gave him the Mystery Item coupon - turned out to be Publix Corn Candy (and it is yummy :). Total after coupons, $6.XX. While he was running errands, I found a list of "reasonable values" for items donated to charity, and have itemized the items and they are ready to go. I have 10 items - almost ready for the consignment store. We were hoping to deposit some refund checks, but, the banks are closed. Lunch was Johnsonville Brats on sale at Kroger at $2.99, minus a $1 coupon, a .5X can of Kroger brand "pork 'n beans", and cheddar cheese mashed potatoes from the last Publix BOGO sale with internet coupon and there are 2 packages per box. So, for a buck or less a piece, we had comfort food on our lazy fall day. Of course we have plenty of leftovers packed away too.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

10/12 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Day:I've read lots of "frugal" tips and there have been times where I have been "more" frugal. So, today, I have been thinking of tips and trying to implement them when I can. Today, most of my frugal activities have been around cooking. Perhaps because it is a basic need, it brings a certain satisfaction when I can "think outside of the box". Funny story (sorta), the trip before this one, we took my daughter's friend. We stayed at a condo - so, we ate many of our meals "in". On the last day, I made a salad, but we were almost out of "Ranch" dressing for our salads. Both girls used generous portions. Anyway, I let everyone squeeze out what they wanted, when it came to my "turn", there was pretty much nothing left to squeeze out. So, since we were trying to use up the milk too, I splashed a swig of milk into the dressing bottle, and although my dressing wasn't as thick, it was just as tasty. My daughter's friend was amazed. She said she had never seen anyone do something like that, but she'd let her family know the next time they are about to run out, that they can add some milk, swish, and pour. I can just imagine what the family must have thought - but, I am hoping they could use tip to keep from running to the grocery store for one item and from wasting less. Okay, so, for today, I brought home two oranges from Florida - they were 3/$1 at the neighborhood store. I remember reading that the rind can be placed in a disposal to make it smell citrusy. So, that's where a few pieces of the rind went, and it does work. Will that make me rich? No, but it did produce a nice "natural" fragrance for no additional cost. Okay, this part is an experiment I am hoping will work. The rest of the rind went into a former cereal bag, and is in my lunch box, with a small packet of salt. See, I take tea bags to work, and heat my tea up in the microwave. Even though I was the cup out, those tea stains are tough to get rid of. The tip I read somewhere, put a bit of salt into the cut and rub with the rinds. Hope no one at work thinks I am bonkers - but, I am going to give it a whirl. What else did I do. I made a large batch of brown rice. Some I moved to a container for use later. Then, as I was looking through the pantry, there were a few items I wanted to use up. So, for a meal or two later, I wanted to make a pizza type dish, since my husband and daughter love it so. I took brown rice, mixed it with 2 raw eggs, and pressed it on the bottom of my cookies sheet - that has about a 3/4 inch "side" all the way around. I baked it at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Once it cooked, I spread a can of fat-free refried beans. Then I placed slices of American Cheese on the bean - the cheese was "free" with a recent coupon and I still have several packages to go. The next layer was herbed, diced organic tomatoes - a brand that recently had a coupons out, making it a bargain. In the meantime, I had 4 boneless skinless chicken breast (BOGO at Kroger this week - making each one about .70 each with tax) cooking away with a packet of almost free taco seasoning - another coupon deal. Once done cooking, I individually wrapped 3 of large seasoned pieces of chicken and froze them. The remaining one, I thinly sliced and placed on my concoction. While this was going on, my daughter was looking for bread. I did not buy any this week. You see, a friend sent me some really delicious looking pumpkin butter. So, while looking in the pantry, there was 1 beer left (my brother left it when he visited last year). So, I looked up a beer recipe at recipezaar.com and they are pretty simple. But, I only had a bit of self rising flour, so, the rest of the flour was pancake mix with an extra dash of baking powder. I baked both at the same time. The bread with the butter was delicious. The pizza will be for another meal - already in the fridge - as we ate the leftover pizza from yesterday at lunch. I have also started back with the decluttering. I have box started with consignment stuff and a box of donations. They are going in at the same time. As always, I plan to combine errands at lunch one day this week and get this stuff "taken" care of.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

10/11 Expressions

Cutting costs while on vacation: We just returned from our vacation. As mentioned earlier, we saved costs by combining a business trip with pleasure. We redeemed miles for my daughter and I. We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment with kitchen facilities. But we ate out once per day, at lunch. Although you cannot take fluids (bottled water, etc.) anymore from home to the plane - you can bring snacks. I took snacks in my purse, and it sure saved some $ on our trip. We also bought some reading material at a discount before we left, and my daughter checked one book out at the library. Oh, and we had access to "free" laundry facilities - so, I washed clothes too. And, this is the first time my daughter and I checked no luggage (cost = $15 per bag each way - starts to add up) - just our small carry-on and "personal" carry-on item and we did fine. Oh, and before we left, I turned off the heating/cooling system as the weather was predicted to be mild. So, hopefully, that will make a difference on utility bill for the month. And good thing we didn't water the outside plants/grass before we left, we got plenty of rain - and hopefully that savings will be reflected on the water bill - in addition for not using the water at all at our home during those days :)

Frugal activies today: Thinking ahead, for teacher's gift, I had enough point at mypoints to order 2 $25 gift cards - so, I ordered 2 for Staples. Seems more and more teachers are paying for classroom stuff out of their pocket - so, we thought that would be a nice gift - and save on wrapping paper too :) We got our mail today and great friend from another state sent me refund forms and coupons. Wouldn't you know it, there was a rebate form for pizza and one for buying prepared chicken. Since we were tired and still in vacation mode, I relented and let my husband and daughter use the BOGO coupon and order pizza. Now, we also have lunch for tomorrow - and I will be sending in for some cash back on that pizza. Of course we were out of groceries - so, I gathered a few coupons and headed to Kroger. I had a $6/$60 coupon that had to be used by today. And, a great rebate form on deli chicken - which will make it easier for me for the next couple of days. I got 3 "boxes" of 8 pieces of herb roasted chicken on sale - 1 box is in the freezer. After the rebate, the 3 boxes cost me $4 out of pocket plus tax. I hit the store perfectly because there were lots of "manager specials" on the veggies and produce too. But best of all, although there was a bit of a line, I got gas for $2.91/gal.

Economic News: Wow, I am sure the last two weeks will make economic history. But surprisingly, I feel calm. I don't plan on looking at any financial statements any time soon though. I was surprised that my husband - who normally doesn't care about personal finance much asked if this might not be a good time for us to buy more stocks. I was happy just with the status quo - just the automatic buying in our retirement accounts at the moment. I suggested that we keep our eyes open for another "rental" property to buy in the next year or so. He was even open to that idea. And although many may not be excited about the 1/2 point rate cut - that gave me hope. As I have mentioned, we paid for our beach condo with cash and part with a HELOC against our primary residence. Our primary residence was mortgage free and we have great credit scores, so, we got prime minus a percentage or so for the life of our HELOC. (Not bragging here, just thought I'd throw in a few facts because I am sure many are against HELOCs - but, we saved thousands of dollars because it cost us "nothing" out of pocket to set the HELOC up, the rate is lower than the "best" mortgage rate, we only planned on paying on the condo for two years. So, we saved thousands of dollars by not going with a traditional mortgage and we were also able to negotiate $ off the price for a quick closing . . . so, we did think about it too - and I am sure in today's environment mortgages for rental properties have dried up and if available, the rate/cost would be more than we would be willing to pay - perhaps this is TMI?). So, I am hoping the interest portion drops even more as the balance drops each month as this HELOC is our only debt. No mortgage debt, no car loan debt, no credit card debt - in other words, we don't make a distinction between "good" and "bad" debt - debt is debt to us. Our jobs are fairly secure, we are still hoping at least one of us can retire next year. We are happy with all our tenants - meaning no deadbeats (knock on wood :). Now my frugal "ways" don't seem odd. Having kept fairly frugal in our day-to-day living, for us, living well below our means, has meant that many of the frugal things we do are ingrained, automatic, sometimes enjoyable, and since they seem normal, we don't feel deprived. Perhaps that is why I can remain calm.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

10/4 Expressions

Frugal Entertainment: I rarely take naps. I took one today and feel so refreshed. Thus, I put off picking up a few groceries today and will do that tomorrow. So, we made "do" with what we had. Now I will be more alert to do mystery shopping assignment at the nice restaurant tonight.

Frugal mail: I got a $25 rebate for buying groceries last month from a beer company (no beer purchase required). I also got a box from Procter and Gamble. I am not sure if I signed up it or for what reason they sent it to me - but I got a full sized "Secret" Clinical Strength deoderant - new sport scent. Have you seen the price in the store? $6-$7+ around here. My daughter is so thrilled!

Friday, October 3, 2008

10/3 Expressions

Frugal Entertainment: I signed up for a mystery shop at a nice restaurant for this weekend. And, I will be keeping my eyes peeled for Restaurant.com discounts as I'd like to buy a few certificates for lunch/dinners out during our vacation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

10/2 Expressions

Frugal Vacation (sort of): Next week my daughter is on vacation. My husband has to travel for work part of the week. Combine the two for a frugal vacation. My husband and I have enough miles for what we thought would be "free" tickets. But to our minor chagrin, a free ticket now costs $110 - of course the cheapest if we had to "pay" is around $440. So, we got 2 tickets for half the price of the "cheapest" ticket.

Frugal Meal: I must have joined something because Pillsbury sent me a coupon for free refrigerated pizza dough. I had tried it in the past - and can't say it was a favorite. I got a can last week and since I was a bit pressed for time - I made pizza with ingredients I had on hand. I stretched the dough to fit our cookie sheet - so it was a "thin" crust. This time, every bit of it was gone as everyone in the family raved about it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

9/29 Expressions

A bit of good news today, I am getting a nice bonus from my day job - will be going toward paying off the condo :) We also got a rent check in the mail today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

9/28 Expressions

Sunday's Bargains: Today, I shopped at CVS and came home with more in ecbs than I spent on my haul. I got 15 $1 packs of Nestle fun sized candy bars - because if you buy $15 worth, you get $5 in ecbs back. But my other reason was, it seems we get more and more "trick or treaters" each year, and I am thinking with the economic down turn, we'll probably get even more. So, now I have my candy. Of course, a few might get eaten between now and then. Possibly a few packs to a party, a couple for snacks. I had a $10 off $50 coupon from CVS, so, to get my additional purchases to equate to $50, I got my husband the Gillette Power shaver with a $4 coupon in today's insert, and it kicked out a $5 ecb. Then, the Glade Noticeables were on sale for $6.99 and I had 2 $5 off coupons. There's a deal on Total toothpaste - buy 2 for $5 and get $2 back in ecbs. I also had $2.50 worth of coupons to use on those 2 toothpastes so, .50 for 2 tubes of toothpaste. Then to round it out, Covergirl foundation is $5.79 and you get $5.79 back in ecbs. In today's paper there is a coupon for buy 1 get 1 free. My store also let me use a $1 off coupon on Covergirl products. Then I used my $7.99 ecbs from last week. Then on to Publix. I was only going to buy 4 Birdseye Pasta Viola's. They are normally $4.99, but are one sale for BOGO - but they ring up at $2.49 and $2.50. I had 4 $1 off coupons, 2 from previous Sundays' inserts and 2 printed off the internet. I had never tried them before, but we tried one for lunch, the beef lo mein is excellent. We also got shrimp scampi, garlic shrimp and another beef lo mein. So, lunch for 3 at $1.50 is not a bad deal. I made fruit smoothies with frozen bananas and left over yogurt and we are all satisfied. But the other deal is, if you send in 3 UPCs from the pasta with the form from the insert that was attached to the coupon (I am not sure if you need the receipt) - but I will be sending in proofs for a free Charlie Brown DVD - I think you have a choice of 4 titles. The 1 cent item was Publix brand peanut butter - either smooth or crunchy. But, I happen to look through a little booklet they had at the door, there was a coupon for $1 off 2 Aunt Jemima individual breakfasts and they were on sale for $1 each - so, at .50 each, I or someone in my family will be giving them a try. They also had a $1 off breakfast sandwiches coupon and those were on sale for $2.49 - each box contains 2 - so, someone will be trying those too.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

9/27 Contest Expression

Need a $15 Starbucks Gift Card? Who doesn't :) Run on over to: http://moneyning.com/ and enter. Moneyning is graciously giving away 6 cards

9/27 Expressions

We got paid this week and made another "principal only" payment on the condo. We should be on track to get the place paid off around this time next year (hopefully earlier). We got our "Inventory" list - items that need to be replaced. Haha, you should see the prices if I let them buy it for me - the price of convenience. For me, they were "let me fall out of this chair" prices. So, I need to replace the broiler pan, dutch oven, cookie sheet, dust pan, wine glasses, kitchen shears. I had a brand new pair of kitchen shears from the great bargain days of the internet from the days gone by. So, that's in the box we need to take when we do minor maintenance/updates and squeeze in a few days for ourselves. Prices vary widely on the rest of the stuff - but I placed an order - went through mypoints, found a 10% off code for Target and ordered the broiler pan, dutch oven and cookie sheet - just over $50 including shipping. Today, I am running to the dollar tree and will pick up the wine glasses and dust pan - should be under $10. WOW - I just checked my e-mails and got one from RESTAURANT.COM. It has been a while since I have "ordered" a giftcertificate. I went thru MYPOINTS and currently, you earn 6 points per $1 spent. The e-mail had a code - FALL - to get 60% off - good through 30 Sep 08. Well, since we are going to the beach in the next couple of months for a working vacation, I just took a peek. There are two restaurants in the vicinity. RIBS & REDS in Gulf Shores and LESTERS in Orange Beach. I have never been to either, but will surely give them a try with the gift certificates. We ended up paying $8 for 2 $25 Gift Certificates.

We have weekend passes to a music festival. We went last night and standing sure does take its toll. My husband's first impulse was to run out and buy folding chairs. Mine, look in the storage spaces/garage and see if we have some. If not, we have a relative that lives very near that has plenty of them, lets borrow them in exchange for a pan of freshly baked Pillsbury cinnamon rolls - bought on sale, store incentive, and a coupon. This will help get them out of the fridge and help someone else eat a few extra calories we don't need.

Mail last week was nice. I must have joined Pillsbury's panel? Anyway, they were kind of enough to send me a coupon for a free "can" of pizza dough and $1.10 off coupons for additional cans. I plan to hand a few out as instructed. I received several rebate checks which were cashed for "pocket change" for this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9/21 Expressions #2

ZAPiT Game Wave Family Entertainment System: As a Buzz Agent, I signed up to the ZAPiT Game Wave campaign. As a family, we are glad I did. Like I said, I am not a gamer, but we enjoy board games and watching game shows. That is what caught my interest in the description of this game system. There are 4 handheld controllers (like a remote) and the games are easy to understand. We played "Re-Wind" last night and it was fun. The game required us to use our brain, and engaged us in a bit of friendly competition. We receive 7 games and we look forward to playing the other 6.

9/21 Expressions

Promise Activ Supershots Mixed Berry to help control Blood Pressure: I am a Buzz Agent and signed up to do the Supershot campaign. I am pre-hypertensive and have been taking a diuretic to help control it. The supershot product is a good source of Potassium. I just a "shot" of it and it is pretty tasty. I have included included exercise in my daily regiment - at least 5 days a week and have been watching my diet. I am hoping with the continued regiment, I will be able to control my blood pressure naturally. In meantime, I thought I'd give this product a try. I was expecting it to be in the $4 range - but at my store, it is on sale this week for $2.50 a 4 pack.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

9/19 Expressions

Mail: I have gotten some nice freebies in the mail this past week. A coupon for a free bag of IAMs dog food, a nice coupon package from BuzzAgent for Promise Power Shots for High Blood Pressure and a rebate check and a survey check.

Frugal Activities: We watched a $1 rental movie yesterday, although we ate out with a 1/2 price gift certificate. I set a limit on grocery spending yesterday and beat it by a few cents. I really need to get in gear, but those indoor salad growing contraptions have caught my eye. I am wondering if I do a frugal version, i.e., flower pot near the window, different lettuce/herb seeds growing in the house for fresh salads.

Financial Activities: Still keeping my eye on paying off the condo by this time next year and we are slightly ahead of "schedule". These next couple of months will be leaner as condo rentals go into the "low" season (price and occupancy-wise). I am hoping we have very little maintenance/upgrading to do this year. Also, I am hoping property taxes go down also.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

9/14 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for Today: We ate all meals at home and I cooked "extra". I have lots of Pillsbury products because Kroger has a buy 15 items get $3 off instantly and the products were on sale for 3/$5 and there were internet printable $1 coupons - making each Pillsbury item .41 or .42 plus tax a can. So, I made Pigs in a Blanket, ham/cream cheese stuffed croissants, etc. Added a salad to use up fresh veggies in the fridge and fruit, and that will be our meal for several meals. I also shaved up a fancy small bar of facial lemon scented soap my husband brought home from his trip and slowly boiled it with water in a coffee can this afternoon. Now, I have a full bottle of laundry detergent.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

9/13 Expressions

Cheap Clothing: Today, we were out and about. On our way home, we stopped at my favorite thrift store. Wow - today was $1 day for clothing items. I got 2 suits, 1 sweater, 1 shirt, 1 pr of pants, and a skirt for just over $8 - they charge tax - and the suits were $2 each. I am now pretty much done sprucing up my fall/winter office wear wardrobe, including 5 new to me suits, for around $70 total.

Entertainment: We used the half price gift certificate I got from a radio station's special. We had a very large and delicious pizza and paddled a paddleboat this afternoon. Afterward, we stopped at the science museum for the freebie day. We just happened to drive by a farmers' market - not cheap - but perhaps frugal, but we got a few tomatoes, yellow squash, and honey with a piece of honey comb in a pint jar.

Misc: We stopped at Staples to get my daughter's purse pattern copied/enlarged. It was 8 cents per page. So, 2 patterns on 3 pages cost us .24. We also recycled 2 ink cartridges - we thought we would get 2 $3 coupons - nope, now you get a check quarterly - part of the rewards program.

Mail: My husband got a free razor and I got 2 Cascade dishwasher tablets and the Eraser sponge from Walmart. Included in the ssmple pack were a coupon for $1.50 on dishwasher tablets and .50 off the eraser sponge. Oh yes, Victoria's Secret sent me a coupon for a free pair of cotton underwear.

Friday, September 12, 2008

9/12 Expressions

Frugal Entertainment: For this weekend, I read in the paper that the local science museum is have a freebie weekend. So, if we feel the need to get out of the house, that is an option. Also, we have freebie movie tickets thanks to American Eagle. We have DVDs from the library. My daughter and I may visit Staples to have my daughter's purse pattern enlarged and she may try to make a purse. That would be fun. I am going to try to buy minimum groceries - that will be very entertaining!

Frugal clothings: Last week I found a nice suit in the thrift shop for $7 - and I also got a blouse thrown in. This week, I ordered 2 suits off of ebay. Definitely not as cheap as the thriftstore, but, a whole lot better than department store prices.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

9/7 Expressions

Cheapie/freebie entertainment: Our cheapie entertainment for this evening was dinner at Red Lobster. I signed up for the "club" a couple of days ago and got a coupon for a free appetizer. Then, we had 3 giftcards from gifts and points redemption (mypoint?). Anyway, I forgot to mention, yesterday we also stopped at American Eagle in the mall. A free movie ticket if you try on jeans. Two movie tickets if you buy a pair of jeans. My daughter found a pair on clearance for 2 movie tickets and my husband tried on a pair. So, we will be attending a movie some time before those tickets expire. I also stopped at CVS and bought 3 Revlon Nail polishes, 1 Revitalift face cleanser, and Herbal Essence Shampoo for just over $10 and got $15.99 in ECBs. I gave myself a manicure - saving myself at least $6 :) I also had a great time at Kroger using internet coupons on the Buy 15 special items and get $3 off instantly. If you have coupons for Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Tomato soup - and like the stuff - you can get a really good deal on the stuff this week.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

9/6 Expressions

Frugal Shopping/Entertainment: Not much going on around here this weekend and the weather isn't too great. So, my daughter asked to go shopping w/her own $. So, I gathered coupons for stores she wanted to visit - and, I had a $15/$15 for a store the coupon was delivered to me via mail months ago - that I stapled to the calendar for this month - $15 free :). Also, we decided to eat lunch out - so, I gathered some Chick Fil A coupons. My daughter added to her wardrobe - fairly frugally. I got 5 pairs of trouser socks for $1.63 with my coupon. Then we had lunch - $6 for the 3 of us. Then to the library. We have 3 DVDs to watch and some interesting books to read. Then to the thriftstore. I found a suit for work for $7 - of course I will be taking it in to the cheapie dry cleaners to get cleaned - coupons print on the back of Kroger receipts. We stopped at Kroger to get groceries for the week - mainly we looked for "Manager Special" items - in the produce and meat departments.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

9/2 Expressions

The good news for the day is that our condo/building did not sustain any kind of damages. No spending there.

I have been watching a HUD home on line for months now. It was for sale for $113,000. Then it dropped to $103,000. I looked on line at the tax appraisal - just over $85,000. It is in a great school district. My concerns, it is in the historic section, but, it looks like the previous owners added a shoddy looking extension. After about 4 months - it had dropped to $92,000. I called today. I was wondering if HUD did short sales. I was also concerned if there were any damages resulting from sitting on the market w/no occupants for so long. Turns out, someone bid $95,235 and the bid was accepted an hour before I called. Win some, lose some. But, I had never purchased a HUD home before - as I rarely saw anything appealing to me. So, it never hurts to keep your eyes open.

I received 3 small checks in the mail and 2 samples.

Friday, August 29, 2008

8/29 Expressions

Today was a short day at work. Right afterward, I drove to a freecycler's yard and dug up varigated lirope and lilies. I loaded up the car with a shovel, gloves, and 2 plastic tubs for my haul before leaving for work this a.m. I got free exercise to boot. Of course I did not feel like cooking. So, on the way home, I did a quick Kroger shop for the entire week. I found a refund form for $10 back when you buy at least $30 in various grocery items. I found another one for $25 off $100 worth of groceries. Both of these were from beer companies. No beer purchase required in my state. Dinner tonight was cheese stuffed crust pizza by Digiorno - it was delicious and on sale for $4.99. I also baked Banquet skinless chicken - tasty (and plenty of leftovers for another meal) and marked down slices of watermelon. Okay, I didn't make a salad or veggies - but I think we will survive. I already have my rebate form/receipts in the mail.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8/27 Expressions

Freecycle: I responded to another ad and will be digging up varigated lirope and lilies this week.

Mail: Yesterday, I got a $10 Home Depot giftcard from a Publix "deal". May get some yard/garden items in my quest to spruce up the yard a bit.

Bonding Time: A local spa is hosting make-up sessions with free make-up. There is a reservation charge of $25. However, the $25 is credited toward any additional make-up purchase. So, I made an appointment for my daughter and I. Of course, we will be making additional make-up purchases to use up the reservation charge. I am not normally a big make-up spender. Most of make-up is purchased free after rebate or on sale with a coupon. So, this is a splurge that we shall enjoy together.

Rental Management: The owner of the rental management company for a couple of rental properties we own in town passed away in March. Her son has decided he no longer wants to run the company and is selling. So, we will be switching companies this Friday. We called around and wow - some charge hefty fees just to be in their rental program - a "set-up" fee to the tune of $350 for each property. I don't think so.

Condo pay-down: We will be making another nice principle pay down this week. We are still hoping to pay the property off by next fall. Also, since the next inspection is coming up - I am thinking the lamps in the bedroom are not proportional. I see the local "Old Time Pottery" is having a nice sale on large lamps. Under $30 a piece for regular retail of $8X dollar lamps. I will see if they are suitable for our purposes too. A little bit of pre-planning and help to save quite a bit.

Monday, August 25, 2008

8/25 Expressions

Money in the Mail: Today was a money day in the mailbox for me. We received 2 rebate checks and 1 mystery shopping check. Recycled money :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

8/24 Expressions

Bargains: To be in the rental program, our condo gets an annual inspection, which should be coming up soon. Let's just say the patio furniture we inherited with the unit made it through last year, but I seriously doubt it will make it through this year's inspection. Also, it is very hard to find patio furniture in December when we plan to make any adjustments to the decor or repairs. So, today, I went through Mypoints to Overstock (10 points per dollar spent) and found just what I was looking for. Next, I googled Overstock Coupons and found a 10 percent off code. Went back to Overstock and bought a nice metal and glass patio table, only 4 left, 6 metal/cushioned chairs, and a metal chaise lounger. I am sure the retail prices were inflated, but if they were true, I would have paid $1,375, plus some hefty shipping charges to spiff up the balcony of our rental condo. With coupon and including the $2.95 shipping to the location, I paid just under $350. Plus, I will be getting close to 3,500 Mypoints, enough for a $25 giftcard and I used my Chase Freedom Card for an additional 1% back in cash to help me get to a rebate of $200, which can be redeemed for a bonus of $250. And of course, since this is a business expense, there will be a deduction involved also.

Rebate Forms: Beer companies are sure generous. A lady at work gave me a form, that is good in limited states for a $20 rebate when you purchase $40 worth of groceries. No beer purchase required. I shopped at Kroger yesterday, using only a few coupons, mainly for a free can of dog food and a few free SOBE drinks. I got all of my veggies, fruits, meat, etc. After coupons, $65, after rebate, $45. Not bad at all as if you keep your eyes peeled at Kroger, there are "close-out" sale prices and "manager specials" that help stretch a buck. My husband also loves those bottled coffee drinks. I found Kroger brand "close-outs" for $2.49 for 4 bottles. So, he got several 4 packs in this shopping trip.

Travel: Fall break is coming up for my daughter. We haven't traveled as much as we used to. So, here is what is brewing: Since my husband and I signed up for the American Airlines card and now we are thinking of slipping our Hawaii trip to next fall break, we can probably redeemed miles for a domestic flight each. My husband will probably have to go to Miami during that week for business - how sad. So, why not turn it in to a fall break vacation? My daughter and I can fly down on "free" tickets, stay 1 night with DH while he conducts business and we can redeem some hotel points for the additional nights we will be there. We think we will probably stay around South Beach. Just getting our thoughts together to try and get this planned. Hopefully, all the stars will align, and it will happen.

Consignment: I called the consignment store's hot line last night and they are only accepting 10 items per customer. So, I have my 10 items ready to taken in next week.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8/23 Expressions

Recycling: I noticed we have 6 empty printer cartridges sitting around. One of my daughter's teachers is asking for donations of color copying paper. Today, we will make a stop at Staples and see what we can do to accommodate that request. She also asked for other supplies. Looking through my stash of office supplies purchased in the last couple of years during sales, I found quite a bit to donate. This contributes to my effort to declutter also.

Fast Cash?: I read on several blogs about ways to make fast cash. The one that pops up occasionally is donating blood plasma. Sure enough, we have a donation center in the area. I called to get some information. I don't know if they all operate this way, or if the current economic situation has anything to do with it, but the person answering the phone said they don't take appointments. She said, "you need to come early because it is first come, first serve" and she said if you don't get in on the first round, you can come back at noon when they open for the next group. Then she said, the first appointment takes 4 hours because you have to go through a physical before you donate. I guess that is a good thing. Then she said, they can't use your plasma unless you donate at least twice a week. She also said the maximum number of times you can donate is three. She said, that is why "we pay you $25 for the first donation and $45 for the second donation". Apparently the whole process takes at least 1.5 hours. How did I find this place? I googled "Plasma Donation Center".

American Airlines Credit Card: It is always great when a business beats your expectations! I just got my first bill for using the credit card. I was told/read that it takes 6-10 weeks after charging $750 for the 25,000 mile bonus to post. Can you believe it, the miles have already posted. Now we just need the few miles for my daughter's account to post. We purchased through an American Airlines Advantage partners link to purchase a winter jacket for her. The jacket got here yesterday, and I am hoping her miles post just as quickly. It will make planning a little less hectic with more time on our side. Funny thing is, my husband and I were thinking of splurging and flying first class by using our miles for the upgrade. If we did that, our daughter has enough miles. But she is the one insisting that it isn't worth the extra money and we might as well fly coach for free. Mind you, my husband and I are frugal, but this trip coincides with the year of our 20th wedding anniversary. So, we shall "see".

Friday, August 22, 2008

8/22 Expressions

Today is another day I am grateful to have health insurance. My daughter had a bump on the bottom of her foot. I thought she stepped on glass or something. She said she didn't remember stepping on anything. Turns out it is a Planter's Wart and will be "burned" off. It will be interesting to see what that "would" have cost. Today in the mail, I finally got the 1/2 price gift certificates to 2 local restaurants that I got from a local radio station's website. Also got a rebate check from Rite Aid. I may get another load to go to the consignment store for next week. It is nice to declutter and I can always add that $ to the condo principle fund. We get paid next week. So, I will make another "principle only" payment on the condo. Want that paid off before both or either of us "retire" next year. My local Publix must not be getting much business. Last weekend was probably be my last trip there. The assistant manager checked my groceries out. He grilled me on just about every coupon I handed him - looking for reasons he didn't have to take them. Good thing I pointed out the information on the coupons to him and he begrudingly took them. The only coupon he refused to take was a competitor's coupon. He said he could refuse to take them at his discretion. Little does he know, I shop at Publix at my discretion and will be shopping at Kroger from now on. I will say, he could probably tell I was a bit disappointed with him, and to make light of things in the end, he did say I was a "smart shopper". Since I didn't have anything nice to say, I didn't say anything at all.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8/21 Expressions

Nothing particularly frugal or financial has happened this week. But, I did sign my daughter and I to attend a make-up class at a local salon on Saturday. Should be a fun girly time. The weather is hot, hot, hot - and tiring.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/14 Expressions

Groceries: I like to use coupons when I can. But, I must say, even without allowing the use of coupons, Aldi is a great place to shop for items that rarely have coupons. I went to the dentist today to get my teeth cleaned. Aldi is just down the street. Today's 99 cent specials: melons, blueberries, mushrooms, broccoli crowns. Cheaper than my "regular" grocery store: spinach and romaine lettuce. One gallon of milk was the "loss" leader - $1.99 a gallon. I also thought the "Large" dozen of eggs at $1.09 was decent too. I rarely can find my daughter's favorite - "coconut shrimp" - but they had them today - 10 shrimp for $2.99 a box. I also picked up smoked bratwurst $1.99, ground turkey .99 and a few other miscellaneous items. I escaped for just under $25. This weekend, I will just round out my groceries - probably at Publix with lots of coupons.

Entertainment: Things to do this weekend. A local museum is having a picnic with entertainment on Saturday - totally free with membership. The local botanical garden is having a freebie event for members too. Our community is sponsoring a meet-and-greet of a mayoral candidate tomorrow. Lots of things to do this weekend!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8/12 Expressions

Financials: Yup, the company that wanted me to pay $2.XX per share and $25 to claim my new Starwood stock was out to get $. Had I paid a bit better attention, I would have turned in my certificate in 2006. Turns out, I can still turn in my certificate, get a re-issued stock certificate, shares of Marriott, and a check for a few bucks for free. The moral of the story, pay attention and check "fishy" offers out. I did pick-up a check at the consignment store and dropped 13 more items off.

Monday, August 11, 2008

8/11 Expressions

Mailbag: Today was an interesting mail day. I received mail from a company I have never heard of telling me I was suppose to redeem my Starwood Shares for Marriott shares in 2006 - and, they'd do it for $2.XX per share - otherwise I will be going thru paperwork he** to claim it at a later date? Sounds fishy to me. So, I will be calling Starwood tomorrow. I received some nice rental checks which will go toward the condo mortgage asap.

Bargains: Today, at lunch, I took my ecbs and a $2/2 Bath Buddies coupon to CVS. I got 3 packs of 9 double rolls of Charmin TP and 2 Bath Buddies soap bars and paid just over $3. Hopefully, that TP will last us until the end of the year . . .

Decluttering: Since I will be making a trip to the bank to deposit the rent checks, I put together 13 items to take to the consignment store. I am also hoping to add a consignment check to my additional principal payment. I am also taking $10.50 worth of rolled coins - every bit helps! Can you tell, we want that condo paid off as soon as possible so that we can be debt free again!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8/10 Expressions

Shopping Spree: I bought $70+ worth of groceries at Publix today for $8.XX. I will be mailing in the receipt for a $10 JCP gift card. I also went to Rite Aid and got the hair color touch up product for free after rebate. At Wal-mart, I got 4 free bath buddies with internet coupons, and 2 Clean Team wipes for pennies after a $3/2 coupon. I also picked up 2 more "All You" magazines with the great coupons in them. There is a $1 off peanut butter - that is BOGO at Publix - making each jar just pennies - I believe Peter Pan brand. Also, there are a bunch of buy 3 Kraft products and get an item free coupons in the magazine. Pays for itself many times over. I stopped at Kroger to fill my car up with a Kroger gift card and picked up a free 12 pack of Pepsi and a free Sobe (internet coupon) - oh and a free can of Mighty Dog - coupon in today's paper.

Garden: Our cute pumpkin - not very big, had to be picked. The vine was pretty much lifeless and the pumpkin is orange. I put it in the fridge hoping to save it for Halloween. I also planted the freecycled plants we got yesterday. (Monkey grass, Crepe Mertle, and wild lillies.

Friday, August 8, 2008

8/8 Expressions

I read that today is a lucky day because it is 8/8/08. Sure seems so for the stock market - now about 10 more lucky days in a row would be nice :)

Mail: I received some free magazines in the mail - Smart Money, etc. Also, Kroger sent some nice coupons, free 12 pack of Pepsi, $1 off fresh fruit, $1 off produce, etc.

Free plants: Tomorrow, I will be digging plants out of a freecycler's yard. Sounds like a nice variety.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8/7 Expressions

Cutting costs to dining out with coupons!: Today is my daughter's birthday :) She is a wonderful child - if I do say so myself :) Now with that said, we have received a coupon in the mail from a local restaurant with a birthday club for a free meal. I signed her up for Red Robin - and she will eat a free meal there tomorrow. Maggie Moos e-mail club sent us a b1g1 coupon for a scoop of ice cream. I also signed us all up for Captain D's Club and we each got a free fish & fries or Free chicken & free coupon - but my daughter also received a free dinner coupon for her birthday! Do a search for birthday freebies and perhaps you'll receive some welcomed coupons too!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

8/4 Expressions

Entertainment: I was looking at our local museum website today and noticed that they had free membership events posted. Next Saturday, a picnic with food, fun, and games. Our membership expired a couple of months ago, but this picnic is also a membership drive. So, this is where we will be heading for lunch. In the afternoon, our local botanical garden is having a fun festival too. Our membership there expired, so, we will be renewing both. Both have nice events during the year, and we enjoy visiting and they have reciprocity with other museums/botanical gardens - so, a bargain for us. I mentioned earlier that I am a BUZZ AGENT - I signed up for the ZAPPIT Game System - specifically designed for family entertainment. We have been anxiously awaiting the system and it arrived today :) The company included an additional game in the packet, so, we got a total of 7 family friendly games. Nice discount coupons to pass out too. What a nice company!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

8/3 Expressions

Shopping Spree: I love shopping sprees where I get a lot for a little money :) I mentioned I was going to Publix with a fist full of coupons - and I did! My first order, I got just over $70 worth of items for $15.74 (triple points on my cash back credit card too) and I will be sending the receipt in for a $10 JC Penney Gift Card - thanks to Kraft! My second order - items all pictured together was for a bottle of Pert Plus Shampoo and Sure Deoderant - I spent $2.81 and saved $3.70 using coupons - advantage buy. Why did I buy those 2 items. Because I had coupons, they were on sale, and there was a form in today's paper - buy $5 worth of Pert and Sure - send in the receipt, plus a receipt for school supplies and get $5 back! Yup, I have a receipt for school supplies from yesterday :) The one cent item at Publix was the re-usable shopping bag - which they used. And I believe the Fast Fixin products have a buy 10 items get 1 free offer (receive a coupon in the mail) and I think I have my 10 proofs of purchase now too.

After that shopping spree, my daughter and I decided to take advantage of the last day of the "tax free" sale. We went to Rite Aid and got a few more school supplies and toiletries. I will be uploading that receipt to get a rebate back on most of that stuff and I used a fist full of coupons there too. I will have spent approximately $10 out of pocket after rebate - total spent after coupons, but before rebate is $54.56. So, quite a savings with coupons and rebate. Then we went to CVS, we had a ball :) I had $25 in extra-care bucks from a previous visit, a $10 off $50 coupon and a bunch of manufacturer coupons. So, we got a few more like to have school supplies, toiletries, and snacks. Before coupons, the total was close to $55. After coupons, $9.44. But the great part, $13.49 in extra-care bucks and a coupon for a free box of CVS brand cotton swabs, 50 ct spit out of the register. And a coupon that says, if I update my e-mail address, they will e-mail be a coupon for $5/$20. We left CVS and noticed a billboard that said the temperature was 103 degrees - and it felt like it. We pulled through the drive-thru of Burger King, and my daughter got a free icee with coupon, and I paid for an Iced Mocha - $2.XX. Next, we went to Kohl's. We each had a $5 coupon for registering our e-mail addresses. For around $9, she got a pair of whimsical tennis shoes, originally $29.99 and locker decorating kit, originally $16.99 on clearance, with the coupons. Our last stop was Rack Room Shoes, there was a $10 off $60 coupon in the paper and they were running a buy 1 get 1 50% off sale. So, she got a nice pair of tennis shoes, and I got a nice pair of walking shoes for about the sales price of her tennis shoes. We had a few more coupons and were planning to shop at a few more stores - but the heat got to us, and the crowd, and we headed home :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

8/2 Expressions

Frugal Activities: Today, I finally stitched the slippers I knitted on your summer trip together. Even though it is warm outside, I like to wear slippers indoors. So, now, I have comfy slippers on. I noticed I still had a ziploc bag of pureed pumpkin (from Halloween last year) in the freezer and I found a pumpkin bread/cream cheese spread recipe on-line. I baked the bread and it was a hit with the family. Also, I had all of the ingredients, so, it helped clean out the fridge/freezer a bit. My husband and daughter made 1 shopping trip today. This is tax-free weekend here and I found a 12% off coupon for Staples. So, my daughter has all of her school supplies. On their way home, they stopped at the library and checked-out a few DVDs. We watched one this afternoon. Tonight we played a board game in our "new" game room. I clipped coupons and checked the web for Publix deals. I am armed and ready for tomorrow :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

8/1 Expressions

Wow - July just flew by.

Recycling: My husband proudly told me that he received $19 for his soda cans and he thinks the quantity was less than the last time - so, the price per lb must have gone up. Then they picked up the freecycled table - it is very nice. Also, during a break today, I made a few more "yo-yos" - still a ways to go before I can make a "quilt" or coverlet.

Entertainment: We will be going out to dinner tonight - and it won't be frugal. But afterwards, we are attending a free event at a local bookstore. It is advertised that they will have entertainment, prizes, and generally fun things to do tonight.

Groceries: My husband and daughter spent $27 at Aldi. They came home with some nice produce and the basics. I will round out the groceries on Sunday with a fistful of coupons.

Mail: My husband received some free golf balls in the mail. Those will probably end up at the consignment store. A rebate check came. Sunsilk samples and coupons too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

7/31 Expressions

Freecycle: We had a freecycle group in our area start-up years ago. I signed-up - but never participated in giving or receiving. I was just "lurking". Anyway, all of a sudden it was gone. Last month, I thought about checking it out again, and sure enough, a group had started again. This will be a good way to get rid of stuff too. People ask for moving boxes - uh, we have some that we were slowly dumping when there was room in the trash. Now, when we get a bunch emptied, I know how to get rid of them quickly and put them to good use. But anyways, years ago, we had a small round dining table that was taking up space in the garage. I gave it to a recently divorced co-worker. Fast-forward to today, I just got one from freecycle (well, I pick it up tomorrow). We have a "bonus" room. I want to make it the family "game" room. We can keep board games, etc. in there and now, we'll have a table and chairs too. Last week, I got a Nintendo 64 - believe me, I know nothing about this stuff, but my daughter said - even though it is an old game system, she'd like it to play "Pac-man". So, there's a start to our game - perhaps hobby room. I figure if we give it a purpose - it won't become a junk room.

Coupons: Publix mailed me some nice coupons today. $5 off $30, etc. So, I printed a few coupons from web-sites to coincide with their BOGO sale. Since my husband and daughter will be making a stop at Aldi tomorrow, I probably won't need much. But, I am hoping to combine coupons at Publix and get some good deals and stay within our budget.

Condo Principal Payment: Today, I made a large "principal only" payment toward our condo. I am hoping to have it paid off by next summer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/29 Expressions

Rant: Wow - my daughter attends public school. She is now a middle schooler. Yikes, today, I thought I was just picking up her schedule. Good thing I had my checkbook - they don't take credit cards - and ended up paying $180 in registration fees and "donations". Now, not only are the school supply lists a lot longer than when I was in middle school - but, fees are charged. You'd think they'd send "newbie" parents a letter warning them about these types of things. Yup, $20 of those fees were for using a locker, and mailing report cards. I would have gladly paid an additional .42 for an additional letter.

Monday, July 28, 2008

7/28 Expressions

Planning: To save on gas, money and time, we made semi-annual dental cleaning appointments for my husband and daughter. (Entire cleaning is covered by insurance, thank goodness). Our dentist is a bit out of the way, but we really like him. He is an old fashioned dentist. So, on the way, they will drop off the bags of soda cans we have been saving for a few bucks at the recycling center. Aldi is also out of the way for us - but is just down the street from the dentist. So, they will make a stop there and pick up some good deals and a few favorites. And that comes to what I received in the mail today, a durable shopping bag - great to use at Aldi :) Oh, and the dentist always throws in a few freebies, a new toothbrush, but sometimes also sample of toothpaste and dental floss.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

7/26 Expressions

Frugal Today: We don't plan to leave the house today or spend any $. We are all cleaning and decluttering. Meals have been created around what we have. Tomorrow's groceries will be just enough to get us through. I want to use up the stuff in the pantry and track what we have so that things don't expire. Decluttered stuff will be consigned, yard saled, given away, thrown away, or repurposed. It is amazing how easy it is to spruce up a room with curtains that were stored in a box, etc.

Gas Card Give Away at Personal Finance at Money Ning: Hop on over to to Money Ning http://moneyning.com/free-stuff/mail-we-love-free-gas-cards-giveaway/ and win yourself a gas card. What could be more frugal?

Friday, July 25, 2008

7/25 Expressions

Financials/Entertainment: Our American Airlines AmEx Cards arrived in the mail. We will be buying Kroger gift cards this weekend to spend our $750 so that we can get 25,000 miles and earn 10% on the Kroger Cards. I also received a survey check in the mail.

Food: Tonight's dinner? Turkey burgers garnished with the last bits of cheese, mushrooms, and garden fresh sauteed zucchini. Yummy. After dinner, banana/yogurt smoothies. We also picked 3 more strawberries out of the garden for garnish.

Frugal Tips: A co-worker shared a local website where we can try to get a gift card for half price to local eateries, etc. I shared information about mystery shopping and getting reimbursed some or all of your expenses.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

7/24/08 Expressions

Food: My food bargain of the day - we harvested our first zuchini from our garden.

Gifts: For a family member's birthday, we will take him out to lunch at a nice restaurant. The lunch menu is very affordable and they sent us a $20 gift certificate to join their e-mail club. The gift, Bluberry Jam and Onion/peppers relish from Harry & Davids - both are a favorite and I picked them up months ago at an outlet mall on sale with a coupon. I also saved a gold/tan box from the holidays from Harry & Davids and wrapped the jars in tissue paper and placed them in the box. There was a good deal posted on a blog a few weeks ago. Heavily discounted items from AT Cross and a free shipping code. I got a stylus/pen that was originally $30 for $8. This item came nicely boxed. So, I took 4 strands of gold "curling" ribbon - after holiday's sale at CVS - the roll of 3 colors for less than 30 cents - and tied the 2 boxes together and used the scissors to curl the strands. It looks very elegant. My daughter will make a card. Also at the AT Cross sale, I got my husband a new wallet. His is pretty ratty, and I was hoping it would arrive sooner for his birthday. So, he is getting it for a belated birthday present. But the wallet was originally $60 on sale for $15. It is nicely boxes, in its own fabric pouch, and the leather is as "soft as butter".

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

7/23 Expressions

Financial: Today, I took 10 more items (the limit) to the consignment - making 30 items for this month. To combine errands, I stopped at the bank. I also called the health saver's plan administrator - I was sure we had spent the limit - nope - I have just over $70 I can submit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7/22 Expressions

Entertainment: My latest project is planning for spring break and our 20th wedding anniversary. They fall about a month within each other. We are thinking about going back to Oahu. We have usually earned a free flight by saving miles. This time, we think we want to splurge - and pay for the cheapest ticket and use miles to upgrade to first class. I just signed up for an Airline Credit card - no annual fee for the first year and 25,000 miles after spending $750 on it. But it takes up to 10 weeks after spending the $750 to get credited the miles. So, I don't want to get too excited yet with all of the airline merging, going out of business, etc. I just fiddled with the reservation program, and it looks like if we go this route, we can all fly first class for less than the price of 1 first class fare. First class didn't mean much for a long time. They didn't seem to have much extra room or much better service. These days, especially on long flights, it would mean something.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

7/20 Expressions

Frugal Recipe: Banana Slushy - 4 frozen bananas (once a banana starts showing a brown spots on the the peel, DD and DH won't eat it. I throw it in the freezer with the peel - to use, I defrost it for about 10 minutes, then use a knife to "peel" it and throw the peel into the compost. I have heard of people peeling them first and freezing them in a ziploc bag). Broken in a few chunks into the blender. A couple of large dollops of leftover yogurt in the large container - store brand. A splash of milk. Drizzle honey and blend.

From the "garden", my daughter got the first "baby" carrot to garnish her lunch. My husband got 2 small strawberries. We also had 2 green beens stir fried with part of our lunch.

Financial: This has happened to us more than once, but I finally went thru mail that looks like junk. One of our shareowner services notified us that "archive services vendor . . . could not account for one of several boxes of data backup tapes that they were transporting to an off-site storage facility . . ." and of course, our data may have been on there - yada, yada. Anyway, atleast they kindly offered us free credit monitoring services for a year - and we will be sure to take them up on it.