Saturday, July 31, 2010

7/31 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week: I can't believe how fast this month flew by. I went to my first "Estate Sale" since we moved here. I ended up buying a few pieces of furniture and had it loaded and delivered for $20. So, while I have the house to myself, I will be arranging the new-to-me furniture - 2 large chairs and a bench and two vases. I also made an appointment to get my hair trimmed at the beauty school this morning - so, $10 plus tip for a wash, cut, style. I also plan to make several salads and dishes so I can cook once and eat for several days and use up what I have. I also plan to go through some clothes for a trip to Plato's Closet and hopefully turn them into a few $. I will also be wrapping birthday gifts already purchased/gift closet for the dual birthdays next weekend.

Friday, July 30, 2010

7/30 Expressions

A review of Memory Foam Mattress and a RANT regarding BP follow: The mattress came yesterday - I wondered why I paid almost $50 for a large piece of foam - was my first reaction. After unpacking it - it did have a "smell" - I let it air out a bit and most of the smell is gone - but there's still a slight "smell". Although the bed feels more comfortable, after one night, my sleep only seemed "slightly better". Maybe as I get used to it, my sleep will improve even more. I feel I gave BP a chance - I have to say I would give them an F-. I realize they are overloaded - but they could hire more claims adjusters and train them. Although this past Wednesday, the adjuster stated he had all the information he needed and would work on my claim - today, he told me my claim was transferred to another unit and that a new adjuster would call. It was stated in the media that they are processing claims in 10-15 days - and delays are due to lack of documentation. That is an excuse - even though the adjuster stated he had all of the documentation (they asked for even more last week - it was faxed last Monday) - when calling for status on my claim - they still show it as "needing documentation" - I believe it is so that they can claim that it is the claimant's fault. At this point, I am SICK of the run around. So, I called BP's HQ - and hope they do something and I have a call into the State Attorney General. I am half tempted to call the local news media and see if they can't get someone out there. I understand the new Claims Czar is scheduled to take over Monday - I hope he can get them moving. I believe no training or quality control is taking place. All they need to do is have someone listen to the "recorded" conversations - hope they recorded all of mine - and they will find out why I am annoyed. As for lighter news, my daughter received both rings she won on Listia - and both of them are beautiful. I have kept my grocery bill to a minimum. And because of the recent rain? Sunshine? My tomato plants and pepper plants are full of blooms.

Monday, July 26, 2010

7/26 Expressions

My daughter and husband are going to Orlando tomorrow. The one little nagging expense bugs me - the air fare - even though they are flying round trip for around $130 each - all these little add-ons equate to a large percentage. I am thinking their fare was advertised at $99 - with that little asterisk - with those airport security, and other misc. tag-ons were talking about a 30% plus-up on a low cost fare. Now, they are trying to decide if they can get by with one large check in and two carry-ons so they don't have to fork out more for that privilege. I will be taking and dropping them off at the airport too. On a short business trip $7/$9 per day doesn't seem like much - for a week out one's own frugal pocket - it starts to add up. On a good note, our BP claim has been assigned to an adjuster - now, if he'd only call with good news. My husband and daughter took her unwanted sports equipment to "Play it again Sports" and came back with a new pair of gym shorts and a pack of tennis balls. In the same complex is Aldi - they stopped and got a few fresh produce goodies - .99 strawberries, blueberries and $2.99 for a larger watermelon. I don't want to jinx the stock market - but it seems to be doing better lately too :) Oh, and we paid another large chunk toward the HELOC.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

7/25 Expressions

I find clutter to be a significant money waster - especially toiletries and health and beauty items. Instead of looking through stuff, sometime it is easier to buy another - or sometimes I forget I have an "extra". So, before my daughter left to go on her trip last week, we cleared a shelf in the gift closet and she put all her extras on the shelf, and I put mine on there too. Now, before anyone thinks they've run out - they can check the shelf. Hopefully, this will cut down duplicates and we can use up what we have. This afternoon, DD and DH will return from separate trips before heading out together early this coming week. I have tidied the place up a bit - not so hard when there aren't three people moving things around :) I plan to find a family movie at Blockbuster Express with another code for this evenng. I also plan to stop at Wal-mart to take part in their Gain Dish Detergent giveaway this afternoon and plus use my coupon for another free one. I am hoping to find that Kiwi drink to get one free too. I am planning to make shrimp alfredo for them - I have all of the ingredients - I am going to try the sauce mix I got as a sample and a nice tomato salad - all of the ingredients from Earth Fare - only paid for the tomatoes. I made brownies yesterday. Hopefully this next week while they are away, I will have my own home grown organic tomatoes - lots of blooms and also on the pepper plants.

Friday, July 23, 2010

7/23 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day: I am having a frugal girl's day-out :) Since today is my firsty day off with my new work schedule; and I am sans my daughter and my husband - I have been pampering myself a bit. I woke up late, read my free newspaper (free for 3 months) with a nice cup of coffee. Then I headed to Publix with a free Blockbuster code and rented a chick flick for free. Next to Wal-mart to use my gift card for a few groceries. Then to McDonald's with a $1 off frappe coupon - and now I am home. I am waiting until just after lunch so the traffic can die down. Then I plan to stop at Stein Mart and to check-out their Red Dot Clearance and hope I find a few new pieces to add color to my wardrobe - and find a few pieces that would be cooler in this heat wave. I am hoping my scratch-off card with be the free $300 in spending credit :) I will be taking coupons and stuff from my pantry to Earth Fare - close to Stein Mart and will pick-up a few freebies/exchanges at Earth Fare. Plus, I plan to eat at their buffet for a healthy early dinner for me. After returning home - if it is early enough - I may stop at the library to stay a bit cooler and read. Since it is just me - I have turned the temperature up a few degrees to save on electricity. While it is not uncomfortable - by late afternoon, it is not as cool as we normally have it. After looking at last month's electricity bill - I am thinking we can all get used to having it a bit warmer for a 10% saving. I tried to use the $20 credit Target comp'd me for a gift card - didn't work - so, I can't say I am growing any fonder of them. Anyway, I did order an item my daughter wanted and will add that to her birthday stash instead. Out of pocket was just over $3 since the credit did not cover shipping and taxes - I have .01 left - but probably won't be going back to spend it . . . I did order a gift certificate at with a 70% off code for the double birthday dinner. For both orders, I went through either ebates or mypoints to earn a few cents back. And, I noticed my sleep is not as comfortable as it could be. Probably time to get a new mattress - but in hopes of extending the life of the mattress another couple of years - I went through mypoints to overstock and ordered a memory foam mattress for under $50 - and of course according to the site - I saved over $200 had I paid retail . . . may be? If it makes my sleep more comfortable, the $50 will be worth it :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

7/22 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week: I found a foreclosed property last night and finally convinced my husband that we should make an offer - sure enough when I called this morning - it was already "under contract". I will keep my eyes opened. This week - it is mainly just me and the dog. So, we have both been eating out of the pantry. I got 3 small tomatoes out of my "garden" and some herbs. Having switched to a new work schedule - I am "off" tomorrow. My plan is to treat myself to lunch at Earth Fare - and take stuff in for the pantry challenge - and make a swap for the more healthy version. Also, I printed off a coupon - buy 1 lb of organic tomatoes and get free fresh mozzarella and a bunch of basil - sounds like a deal to me. I also plan to stop by the library and endulge in some light reading - magazines - and check-out the "best sellers" book shelves to see if I can find something interesting. In a few moments, I am going to attempt to order a $25 Target gift card for my daughter to add to her "birthday" stash. I am hoping I can get a few points through mypoints - not sure about giftcards - but I am hoping that $20 credit they gave me for the furniture fiasco will apply and it will cost me $5 out of pocket for it. Also, next month is my daughter's and my dad's birthday - so, I may also order a gift certificate on - the best I could find is a 70% off code - but, I guess that will do - plus I will get a few points through mypoints.

Monday, July 19, 2010

7/19 Expressions

Frugal deeds/misdeed for the week: This morning, the Tax Assessor called with regard to our protest about one property - and she stated there was an error and reduced the value! I know most people hate to see the value of their property go down - but you might as well owe less taxes if it does. So, this year, property values have decreased for two of our properties and stayed the same for the other four. I did call the Tax Assessor with regard about the other properties (different county) - and because there wasn't much purchase history last year, she claimed she has not basis to reduce the values. I mentioned it appears there has been activity this year - at reduced prices - so, they should go down next year unless prices quickly adjust upward this year. We stopped at McD's with the free Frappe coupon and a $1 off Smoothies coupons - and they gave us both for free and wished us to "have a nice day" - wasn't that nice. Disclaimer: We do own a few shares of McDonald's stock - but, that didn't cloud our opinion - perhaps as share holders we should suggest they get a bit more stingy with the freebies - just kidding :) Frugal misdeed this past week - I misplaced my checkbook - didn't know if it was stolen or lost - and paniced and went to the bank immediately - after calling the auto-info line to hear if any unusual activity had taken place. Nope - but I put a stop payment on the rest of the series of check at a $25 fee (much better than $25 per check). Wouldn't you know it, I found the check book yesterday - and shreaded the checks. I guess that $25 gave me a peace of mind and the checks will become compost - so it wasn't a total bust. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

7/18 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week: This week, we are concentrating on turning our "junque" into "treasures". My daughter noticed a "Plato's Closet" had opened up in our area. So, she asked to see what they have - and will be asking about their consignment policies. Perhaps she can get a few more $ out of her stuff - instead of consigning to a thrift store - and then turn it around to use for clothes she wants. Also, this weekend, she will concentrate on getting all of her old sports equipment together and will trade the credit in for gym shorts/etc. from "Play it again Sports". Now that her school relaxed the policy that the students had to purchase gym clothes from the school - I'd rather pay for it with stuff we no longer want/need. Also, they are stopping at Staples with a rewards check we earned from turning in old ink cartridges - to buy school supplies. Are we turning into a barter society? And we got our paper work done for our BP claim - I will mail it out tomorrow. I feel a bit giddy de-cluttering and bring $ back to the house or not spending it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

7/17 Expressions

More frugal deeds for the week: You've heard it before - it pays to complain. Yesterday, I checked-up on my Target order for a new sofa sleeper and sleeper chair at Target for our rental condo. I ordered them months ago (like in at least 5 months ago) - I may have even bragged about the set - free shipping, just what I was looking for and at a great price. Over three months ago I kept getting messages about Target having to slip the date for delivery - the final message stating they would be delivered this past week. Of course at this point, since the condo rental business is made-up mostly by BP (I hope they reimburse me for lost rents soon) - I wasn't too overly concerned about the delivery. Anyway, I checked the status of the order yesterday - and lo and behold - the order did not show. I made a phone call - and after their sad spiel that the furniture was no loger available and the apologies - I asked if the Rep. could e-mail me a coupon for a 10% off coupon as I probably could have found a deal somewhere else by now. The Rep. said "just a moment" - and came back on line and said they'd credited my account with a $20 off my next order. So $20 for a 5 minute conversation is not bad. Was it enough for me to still like Target - we shall see. In other news, since a condo owner sued the rental management agency, there is a restraining order? against them from filing monthly rental claim losses for the rest of the owners with BP. So, now the owners must file themselves - can I pinch those people??? The rental management company is providing us the history and loss statements - but the owners need to come up with some other documents. So, that is what we will be doing this weekend.

Friday, July 16, 2010

7/16 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week: We ate at Earth Fare's hot/salad buffet yesterday and shopped a bit. My healthy meal was $2.47 - not bad at all. Even though it has been hot and humid, I have walked just about every day this week for about an hour - I am glad I quit the exercise classes. They were poorly run - bad traffic - and a bit of gas. So, a savings all the way around. I have gotten several packs of free seeds and plan on planting them tomorrow. Hopefully I will still have time to benefit from them. Mail this week was pretty boring - but I am still receiving freebie magazines. Haven't sign-up for many lately - but I got "Money" today. I have changed my work schedule so that I will be getting every other Friday off. It will save a bit of gas and wear and tear on the car. I mailed in my rebate for a full refund on my Neutrogena Clinicals product - I believe $35 - and hopefully in a few weeks, I will have anti-aged :) Also got my $15 Wal-mart giftcard. Since my daughter and husband will be gone for almost a two week period, I think I am going to try to eat out of the fridge/freezer/pantry and use that gift card for anything I need or run out of. My tomato and pepper plants are starting to produce - so, hopefully, I will have very little to purchase.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

7/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds today: My daughter and I got our hair "done" today. Cut and blow-dry for me was $10 plus tip. Since my daughter got her's highlighted - I took the opportunity to run by Kroger and pick-up groceries. I purchased mostly produce and seafood and saved 32%. After my daughter was finished with her appointment, we ate lunch at home. Then the family headed to the public library. I checked out 4 more books and read a few magazines. Then we headed to Barnes and Noble - it was a scorcher - so we splurged on vanilla Frappucinos - yummy and read more magazines. The place was packed - I guess everyone is on a frugal kick - and head to the bookstore to cool-off and read for cheap. Then we headed to Earth Fare for dinner. The buffet for hot foods and salad was on sale for $5.99/lb. My dinner - healthy, filling, and yummy (best of all - did not heat-up the house - nor did I have to cook :) cost $3.49 - plus Earth Fare chilled bottled water for .79 - can't beat that at a fast food place. We did shop a bit - and came home with some bargain priced local produce. On our way home, we stopped at Blockbuster Express and checked out 2 movies at $1 each plus tax. Mail was good, got a rent check, and a snack sample. A friend told me about - apparently the old Anyway, I placed an order - the prices were good - plus to my surprise, an additional $10 was taken off and I did not use a code - new customer promo? Shipping on the site shows .99 - not sure if I paid that or if it was $0 - I ordered early this a.m. YMMV . . .

Friday, July 9, 2010

7/9 Expressions

Frugal Deeds and mistakes for the week: Frugal mistake - we let $30 worth of 1/2 priced gift certificates to eat out expire - and we called to see if the restaurant would honor them anyway - nope - so, we won't be going there again. I received a product to test from ALL YOU - you may want to sign-up - easy survey too. I will be getting a rosemary plant for free from a local freecycler - sure hope I can keep it alive. The last one I bought from Home Depot died within three months and I did not save the receipt - another Frugal mistake. Received a small check from the consignment store and took in 16 more items. Listed a few more items on Listia - so decluttering is still alive. Tomorrow, my daughter and I will be having a girl's day out at the beauty school - we will both be getting our hair "done". May stop at CVS and try to get 4 free Sobe drinks with the BOGO sale and BOGO coupons. Oh, I won 30 Coke Rewards points from Wendy's and redeemed them for a 20 oz Coke coupon. It rained yesterday and today - frugal because the plants/grass got watered for free :) I read two out of the three books I checked out from the library - I may hit the magazine room and check out the bestsellers again this weekend for free/cool entertainment.

Monday, July 5, 2010

7/5 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day: The new fridge arrived as promised! The rebate for delivery and pick-up is in the mailbox ready to be picked-up. My husband is on his way to my dad's to pick-up our food. He will make several stops along the way to pick-up a few goodies. He is stopping at CVS with $10 ECBs I earned doing a survey. With those bucks, he has toilet paper and towel paper coupons and will find the best deal on a large package of each. Then to Kroger, yesterday, while my husband was running an errand, he stopped at Kroger and pointed out that they overcharged me. Kroger's policy is - the item is free if it was mispriced. So, he received a $5 GC and the rest in cash/change. His next stop will be to Kroger's to pick-up 5 pints? of Blackberries - most to be washed and frozen for smoothies. He also has with him, a coupon for a free pack of Alouette crumble cheese - it was inside the label of an Alouette cheese spread (herbed). Then to Home Depot with two e-mailed coupons for becoming a facebook fan - b1g1 perennial and $5 off Round-up. My daughter is working on a load for me to take to the consignment store and also, will package the stuff she "traded" on Listia for me to mail out. Nice to get rid of more clutter and bring in cash and credit. My husband just walked in the door - so, I am off to plant the perennials - in that spot in the yard that needs some work :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

7/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day: Today started off nicely - but we noticed our fridge is not cooling well. The fridge is about 14 years old and doesn't match our stove (replaced last year). Fortunately, HHgreggs is having a fourth of July sale - so, we took the food over to my dad's and tomorrow, we will have new fridge. We will be sending in for a rebate on the delivery and pick-up. Charged in on airline points card and it will be paid off when we receive the statement. The new one, I am sure will be more energy efficient and has several more features, costs, dollar-wise, the "same" as the onld one - so, technically, the new one cost less in "today's dollars". I just thought that was a bit amusing. The dishwasher should be going-out in a year or so too, and then when all 3 appliances match, I will have the counter-tops done. One nice thing about the recession, seems a bit easier for a frugal sort to find a "bargain".

Friday, July 2, 2010

7/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week: We paid an additional chunk toward the HELOC as in - I took some $ out of savings. I want that HELOC gone. It is sitting at 2.6% - but it can't stay there forever. I am thinking the HELOC will be gone in 3 months at the most. I know it is counter-intuitive - but I am looking at possibly buying property again. The stock market is giving me a headache - but, I have not sold anything, don't plan to. But, we haven't made any "individual" investments in a while. As for retirements - we are staying the course and have chosen not to look at the financial statements in the last couple of months. We are still working on decluttering. Received a few nice freebies and coupons for free items in the mail this week. Little day brighteners to counter-act some financial bad news. We did eat out twice today - perhaps in the spirit of not letting bad economic news make us retreat. On the frugal-side, I did use a coupon toward one meal and we brought home a doggy bag. We plan to grill out on the fourth - have a safe and happy independence day!