Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  Paying attention can save you money.  While at the "Y", I overhead the Desk Clerk tell a prospective customer that they could get a reduction on the money cost if they were a member of a certain credit union.  We are members - and that was worth $5 per month off - not too shabby.  That's where I get my exercise and cable tv fix :)   The Costco card is nice - since it is portable - we can use it at any Costco!  We can use it to save $ on gas too.  My husband used the card in a neighboring state and the lunch items were the same price.  I checked out some craft books from the library a couple of days ago; one a "trash to treasure" type book - now I just need to find some trash to convert to treasures.  I believe I am done with my holiday shopping - just need to spruce up gifts a bit with a few fillers and maybe that craft book will be the ticket.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

11/25 Expressions

Happy Thanksgiving to All.  Restaurant.Com is having their "Feed it Forward" promo - you can give your friends a $10 gift certificate costing you nothing - http://www.feeditforward.restaurant.com/  For any gift certificate, please read the terms and conditions.  This is a great savings, but many require a minimum purchase amount and an 18% gratuity.  Off to finish cooking :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My daughter baked 2 apple pies with the previously sliced/frozen apples given to us by our neighbor.  She took one of the pies to the neighbor - who has broken her leg.  On the way to pick my daughter up from volunteering at the library, I stopped at the grocery to pick up a few more items, used coupons and giftcard - and a small bit out of my pocket.  I baked 3 more pumpkin pies from the puree that I made from our $1.99 Aldi pumpkin.  One went into the freezer, one for dessert tomorrow, and one will go home with my dad.  I have 1 pre-made pie shell left.  It will become a turkey pot pie that will go into the freezer for later - and pie dough left will be turned into turkey/cheese foldovers and frozen for fast/easy meals.  While my daughter baked the apple pies, the sweet potatoes baked with them - they will be turned into a sweet potato casserole.  I will make a couple more side dishes - my dad usually brings overs a veggie and a dessert - and we will have plenty for the next week.  Even though we only subscribe to the Sunday paper, I am sure my carrier will leave one for us tomorrow since it will be chock full of Black Friday ads.  I won't be going to any stores as I will be heading into my day job.  But my husband and daughter may scour the ads for a few deals. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More 11/23 Expressions

The following is a timely post from a guest blogger:

 Black Friday and the Frugal Shopper

In a downturned economy, more and more people are watching their purse strings with eagle eyes, and rightly so. Nothing is guaranteed and nobody's job is truly safe in these topsy-turvy recession times, and it's more important than ever to stick to the essentials and get a great bargain in doing so. But if you're going to splurge on some luxury items, particularly electronics, you want to be sure you're getting the best possible price. This makes Black Friday a perfect time to shop for both essential items as well as little luxuries in advance of the Christmas season.

Frugal shoppers will be delighted to hear that retailers reserve their lowest prices of the year for Black Friday, and with intense competition for your business, they offer dizzying discounts on all kinds of merchandise. While Black Friday shopping has become known as a blitz on all sorts of home and personal electronics, you can also find incredible bargains on fashions, consumables, house wares, furniture and just about anything else you can think of. Department stores, mall outlets and even independent retailers all want a piece of the Black Friday pie and will do everything they can to get your business.

However, with all the hoopla surrounding Black Friday as a shopping event, you need to keep in mind that unscrupulous retailers use the occasion to trick customers. In most cases, a little smart shopping and a "buyer beware" attitude will help you avoid these scams, but in more extreme examples the dishonesty borders on outright fraud.

The most common scam retailers run on Black Friday is a form of the bait-and-switch. They will offer a particular item at an unbelievably low price, but bury restrictive terms and conditions in the fine print. For example, the sale price may be restricted to a few hours after the store opens (and they open really, really early on Black Friday), or quantities of the sale item are very limited. Once they sell out, the retailer will put a near-identical item in its place--for a price not nearly as low as the advertised rate. In many cases, you won't be able to tell the difference between the two items and you won't find out about the difference in price until you make your way to the front of the long, long line at the checkout counter.

Another thing to watch out for is the "quantities are limited" claim. Retail experts point out that stores have nothing to gain and everything to lose by actually limiting quantities of sale items, and this claim makes very little sense from a revenue standpoint.

Finally, you should be aware that prices leak online and may actually be available in advance of Black Friday. By planning ahead, shopping online and shopping early, you can avoid disappointment in situations where the store legitimately does run out of a popular item that's available for one day only at a great price.

Deliah Abraham is a Black Friday sales expert. Through yearlong budgeting and careful planning and research she is able to scour all of the best deals from Meijers sales to Best Buy and score all of the best brands and newest technologies.

11/23 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the day:  Got 2 rent checks.  Stopped at Hallmark and my daughter spent her second $5/$5 coupon found in another freebie magazine.  I printed one for $10/$10 and also signed up for the Gold Crown card.  With my $10/$10 - I purchased a smsall box of pepperment bark for the neighbor.  May add coffee or something - and take it over next month.  Tomorrow, my daughter is off - and will bake several apple pies from the apples the neighbor brought up from a "u-pick" place.  She will be getting one of the pies.  We are hoping we have enough "mix" to make three pies.  Oh, and I signed up for a free sample of Starbucks coffee from Wal-mart.

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  The IRS sent us our refund check :)  I called the mobile phone company that we got my daughter's phone thru this morning.  Because of the company/organization I work for, I was given a 15% discount, waiver of the activations fee (will I get 2 since Costco offers that too?).  So, it pays to check into things. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21 Expressions

We went to Costco's - and this time I fell for a membership.  They were running a special for us - $10 gift card w/membership - or $20 with Executive.  I went with the Executive and the Amex Card - so, I got the $20 GC, $25 Credit Card credit and $50 rebate guarantee.  The way they explained it to me - I get a rebate as a result of the membership - and the card.  Okay - I ended up getting mobile phone services for my daughter also, and will get another $10 gift card and a refund of the activation fee, etc.  We did not make it to the Art Museum's open house.  And here is a scenario for saving $ at Publix.  If you find the two rebate forms - the $10 back on a $50 gift card and the $10 rebate on a turkey - go to customer service and buy a Publix gift card - and mine let me used a $5/$50 competitor's coupon - YMMV on this one.  Then shop for groceries - get a turkey - use another $5/$50 competitor's coupon if you buy $50 plus in groceries and mail in the rebate for the turkey with the grocery receipt.  Publix seems to have the lowest turkey price per/lb so far - .59.  Stretch your dollars .  . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

11/19 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the week:  Several weeks ago, I took a "Briefing Techniques" class.  We had to prepare a briefing on any topic.  So, I picked "Coupons and Rebates".  I really didn't know how well received it would be since to me, it seems many people feel like admitting to the use of coupons is like admitting to being "poor".  I was surprised when I finished, several people asked for more information - websites to upload e-coupons, where to find rebate forms etc.  Funny though, I ran into a lady in the class in the ladies room - she asked again where to find rebate forms - mainly, I talked about one out now for the $10 off Turkey no minimum purchase required, no beer purchase required - the generous offer is from a beer company - so that's the form everyone is hunting (I stopped at Kroger today - and sure enough  - they still had some and I also found a rebate for $10 back when you buy $50 in gift certificates).  Then she sheepishly said, "I used to use coupons - but, now that I make a lot more money - I quit".  I said, I get an enjoyment out of using them - she agreed that they are kind of fun and that she might start back up too.  I guess a "$10" rebate sounds more impressive than a doubled .50 coupon - even though I did stress you can save $10 and more in a shopping trip and it  is an "immediate" savings - the money doesn't leave your wallet.  The rebate is nice, but you have to spend it first and then wait for a check to arrive.  But that Gift Certificate rebate will be nice for holiday gifts - I think I will use it at Publix and use a $5/$50 competitor coupon to try save even more.  I was up early today; had to take my daughter to school early for a "club" meeting.  Of course, we stopped by Burger King for the free Seattle's Best Coffee - with a shot of my own flavored creamer (Bailey's Caramel - I got 2 bottles this week for .50 each plus tax - on sale at Publix for 2 for $3 and used 2 $1 Blinkies spitting out right next to them) - it is yummy.  This afternoon, the "Theme" Mall is having festivities - free hot chocolate, entertainment, and a tree lighting ceremony.  So, I went on line - I believe the site is called "opentable" to make a reservation for dinner (each reservation through them earns points - after you accumulate enough points - they send you a gift certificate) - and then on to Restaurant.com to order a gift certificate for the restaurant - today starts the 80% off - code: Gobble - I went through Mypoints to earn a few more points.  This weekend there are plenty of free/cheap activities.  Yesterday, I called to inquire about a property that had been listed for 4 days on Zillow at almost 50% of the tax value.  I know the area - it is decent - but, I believe in the next 5 years - it will pop because a hospital is being built near it and apparently Target is moving in - and other retailers too.  Wouldn't you know it, it went on contract the night before - it was a VA foreclosure.  The agent was very nice, and tried to steer me to another one of her listings - but, I let her know exactly what we are looking for and she said she would call me when she found any.  I guess you really have to "jump" at the great deals.  I hope she lets me know before they get listed.  Sigh.

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  Tomorrow - is an office luncheon.  Very reasonably priced place and I signed up for their on-line "club" - they sent me a coupon good for a large apptizer.  I will be sharing that with the table.  I earned enough points on Swagbucks for another $5 Amazon gift card.  Since I made a donation to charities - to be deducted from each of my paychecks - I get to take the "proof" into Costco this Friday, Saturday, & Sunday for free admitance, and get entered into a drawing for prizes.  Also, there are incentives to join.  I won't be joining since it is "out of my way" - and in general, I am not a bulk shopper.  But, I will be sure to make it once this weekend.  Also the Art Museum is opening a new building, so, they will be open free to the public this Sunday - lots of fun.  Another speciality museum in the area sent us an invitation to see Harry Potter in the IMAX, small popcorn and drink for $5 - next weekend.  Need to chase the rental agent around for the house she re-rented for us starting this month - still haven't seen the rent check?  I received a rebate check, coupon for a free 20 oz Coke, and 2 Gift Certificates from Mypoints in the mail today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

11/12 Expressions

My husband drove my daughter to school this a.m. and drove thru Burger King - they both ordered something off the $1 menu and they each got a free Seattle's Best Coffee.  My husband drank his, my daughter's got donated to me.  My daughter, being a teenager, sometimes asks for "Brand Name" stuff.  She used to be anti-thriftstore.  Now, because of the economy and change in attitudes?, she doesn't mind so much.  So, I have purchased several holiday gifts I would have NEVER purchased otherwise at
http://www.shopgoodwill.com/ .  Can I say it is for a good cause?  Or is it still bad.  I found something I want and if I win, it will be a gift to me from my husband and daughter :) We plan to watch a free Redbox this evening.  Not much free and exciting going on this weekend.  I guess we could go to the Art Museum and use our membership since there appears to be a new exhibit.  Next week, everything seems to be going on.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11/11 Expressions

Today is a day of rememberance for our Veterans.  I want to say thank-you for your service.  Yesterday, I made a quick stop at Publix.  The cashier was so excited - I "saved" $60 and spent $33 - I told her I had a $10 rebate on my turkey - so, when I get that rebate, my out-of-pocket is even less.  Be on the look out for rebate forms.  My turkey was almost 19 lbs - and $10.78 - I have my rebate for $10 ready to go - so my out of pocket for the turkey is .78 plus tax.  I don't count postage since I generally don't buy stamps for envelopes - remember - I am a "mail decoy" and get 10 postage stamps per month for my services :)  Nice company - they send me a tin of cashews in December and every once in a while - a bonus check - once a year - last time it was $30.  Thanksgiving dinner does not have to be expensive - lots of sales and match-up coupons abound.   

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7 Expressions

Did you "fall back" an hour?  I thought I found a great deal with 50,000 American Airlines miles from Citibank.  My husband got approved for a card offering 75,000 miles yesterday.  He has to spend $1,500 in the next 6 months to get those miles.  No fees for 1 year.  Next month, we plan to charge a few property tax bills - the ones with a flat fee.  So, at this point, we should have enough points (between these bonus points and the points we already have accumulated) for all three of us to fly business class to France this summer.  Now we need to work on getting the rest of the hotel points.  Then our passports, itinerary, etc.  Yesterday, the Publix cashier was so friendly and impressed with my total - I had over $60 in groceries - and after coupons, I paid $16.  This afternoon, I will bake another pumpkin pie - this time, I will put the pumpkin puree into the blender - the last time - it was a bit stringy.  The oven will warm up the house nicely too.  If I have leftover pumpkin mix, may make a few muffins.  I think the hard freeze hit yesterday - I will attempt to plant the mums and pansies this afternoon too.  At the thriftstore yesterday - I was able to get 4 kitchen utensils for $1.  Three of them looked brand new.  Anyway, to get the rest of the condo inventory out of the way - I went ahead and ordered them from Amazon.com.  Free shipping and I had a few bucks in credit and the prices were right.  So, now I need to find drapes for the bedroom - I found a coupon in a "Lowes" magazine for 15% off drapes (I need one to block the light out - forgot what they were called already).  I am taking an ACE Hardware $5 off $25 coupon and hope Lowes or Home Depot will accept it as we need to buy a few items such as paint for touch-up, caulking, etc. for the minor maintenance.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11/6 Expressions

Frugal Deeds:  Yesterday, I ran a bunch of errands.  I used a lot of coupons too.  Took drycleaning in with a discount coupon.  Got free coffee at BK - no coupon required.  Got two free sandwiches with coupons.  Got a free pack of pansies with purchase and a coupon.  Bargain of yesterday, French Manicure set from Dollar Tree - $1.  Today, we plan to cover lunch with a coupon and a gift certificate - no out of pocket.  My daughter and I plan to hit the thrift stores - to look for gym clothes and there are a few items on condo inventory I hope to find before resorting to a traditional store.  Need drinking glasses, cooking spoon, Dutch Oven, etc. and I hope to find them.  We will probably go down next month to do the minor maintenance and replace inventory items - working mini-vacation for us.  I still have two Restaurant.Com gift certificates to use.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

11/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today, we had a health fair at work.  Got  several "reusable bags" and some great freebies - dental floss, pens, etc.  I am "off" tomorrow - but will have to drive my daughter to school for a meeting.  On my way home, I will stop at Burger King for a freebie cup of Seattle's Best coffee - a freebie every Friday this month at participating BK's.  I am going to make a couple of pumpkin pies tonight with the puree I made from my $1.99 Aldi pumpkin.  Tomorrow, I hope to pick up some more freebies in coupon books that I have - may stop for a freebie breakfast sandwich, and I have another buy anything get a six pack of pansies coupon.  And not to jinx the stock market - but it did really well today.  Hopefully I can get back on my retirement track.  Oh, and the new YMCA is open.  We don't have cable at home - but I can watch cable at the "Y" while exercising - just need to bring my own earphones/buds.