Sunday, June 26, 2011

6/26 Expressions

Happy Birthday to my husband :)  As far as financials - I was thinking how simple the mobster on the lam lived in California.  I am sure he had a bunch of cash to start with.  But just the bits and pieces that have been coming out has been interesting.  He and his partner paid cash for their rent (and probably everything else)?  When they were caught, they had $800K in the apartment.  It would be interesting to know how much they started with.  Opportunity costs of having the cash just sit in his apartment v. being caught by leaving an electronic trail - even if it were fake?  Just my financial wonderings for the week.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More 6/25 Expressions

We ended up eating a nice meal at PF Changs with our warrior card and discounted gift card.  My daughter got 2 pair of shorts and a shirt for under $4 out of pocket after freebie giftcard and 10% off coupon.  We each got a free travel sized lotion at Bath & Body Works  (freebie good today only) - I also got my wallflower refills and I got a freebie pocketbac for spending $25.  We also went to Barnes and Noble and browsed magazines.  We did buy 2 books - I really haven't found any I have wanted to read - and this one isn't even a personal finance book :)

6/25 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  today, we will do a bit of yard maintenance - with all of this rain - the grass needs to be mowed - and weeds pulled.  I am also going to plant my $1 lily and some seeds my daughter found in her de-cluttering adventure.  Lunch will be at PF Changs with our double discount - discountd giftcard plus our 10% off with our warrior card.  While there - I plan to stop at Bath and Body Works for their semi-annual sale.  I love the wall-flowers - but not the price.  The refills are $5/2 instead of $12.50 - and I have a $10 off $40 coupon.  I will be buyng a year's supply.  It is one luxury I enjoy - especially if I can get it for grocery store prices.  I also got my $25 Old Navy Gift Card ("free" with credit card points) and there's a 10% coupon on-line - so, I am hoping my daughter can buy ahead for next school year.  I also got my Barnes and Noble giftcard (discounted), we have their membership and I have a $5/$25 coupon - I may check them out - I realize it is cheaper to check-out a book at the library . . . but, I may indulge myself :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

6/24 Expressions

Today we got our closing statement.  Also, on my way to work, I heard a radio ad stating that Kroger was crediting $25 to the Kroger Plus card for prescriptions transferred.  Wouldn't you know it - I had one I needed to re-fill and who can't use $25.  At lunch, I stopped to transfer it - the offer expired June 6 - sheesh - aren't radio ads expensive?  Who would keep running an expired ad - and the announcement didn't have an expiration date - it said "see store for details" :(  Still no grocery run :)  It is nice to eat out of the fridge and pantry.  And amazing what is there even when people say there's nothing to eat.  Kind of like they don't have anything to wear.  Oh, we found out we "won" another silent auction item - $25 to a consignment store.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

6/23 Expressions

Mailbag:  Tim Horton's sent me a .30 check.  My daughter and I are going to go work out at the "Y" and stop at the "take and bake" pizza place and pick-up our freebies - we each have a coupon for a large 1 topping.  We will eat part of one tonight and finish them up tomorrow.  For my husband's birthday, we will eat atg PFChangs with the discounted giftcard I got on - and combine it with the "Warrior" card which should get us an additional 10% off.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6/22 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  my daughter washed some vintage clothing - and they fit.    Funny how fashion does keep getting recycled.  That will save some bucks for sure.  Lots of rain, my "garden" is loving it and so is my water bill :)  Nothing in the mailbag.  Blech on the stock market.  Oh, I forgot to mention, at the food tasting, my daughter and I each got a coupon for a bake at home pizza worth $10.  So, those will come in handy for quick dinners.  While going through boxes in the garage, my daughter found some seeds.  I am going to plant them in the "bald" spots in my "garden"  - nothing ventured, nothing gained - hopefully, they will sprout.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6/21 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  mail bag, dog food samples and a rebate check.  From the silent auction yesterday, we won the membership to the goat cheese club at 1/2 price.  We had more rain, which was much needed and a frugal way to water everything.  My daughter went through a few boxes in the garage.  She found "vintage" clothing (my old clothes) that she can wear.  She is excitedly washing them - and now thinks she has enough clothes :)  She also found a few other treasures - so, now she is more excited about going through the boxes. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

6/20 Expressions

We have a closing date for the house - July 6th.  The tax value of the property is $122K, the listing agent had it listed for $79,900.  I checked the county records and saw the bank purchased the property back for $68,750.  So, that was our first offer.  Realtor countered with $74,900.  So, we countered with $70,000 as our final offer.  Realtor came back with $73,900.  We rejected the offer and said our final was our final.  And the realtor asked if he could sit on our offer.  We asked our agent for a showing for a few more homes and this past Sunday afternoon, they accepted the offer.  There are a lot of lemons in the foreclosure market.  This one was well kept - except, all of the appliances are gone.  Also, we do not like carpeting in general - and while the carpeting is okay - we will be getting rid of it.  It is a Rancher with just under 1,300 sq ft.  A double car garage and a covered porch.  The lot size is .20 acres.  My daughter and I are off to the food tasting and charity auction.  Oh, in the mail we got a tax refund from the Feds?  We paid this year - but, we will take it.  I also got a coupon for the Tide Stain Release - thought it was for a freebie - it is for $2 off. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

More 6/19 Expressions

The house buying saga is over!  After the listing agent on the foreclosed property told my husband's agent that he wanted to "sit" on the offer - we are talking less than a $4,000 difference - my husband sent his agent a listing of more houses he wanted to see on Monday - tomorrow.  Funny, my husband received a text to let him know that his offer has been accepted a few hours ago.  Now, we are hoping for a fast closing.  We are cash buyers - we will pull a small amount from our HELOC at 2.7% and pay it back in 4 months.  This is because we do not want to deplete savings since we are saving for our daughter's education and we do not want to cash out of our equities at this time - seems to be slighly down this past month and we do not want to pay additional taxes and it is just easier to go to the bank and ask for cashier's check.  I have the Lowes cards from Plastic Jungle and my 10% off coupon ready to go :)  Still haven't heard from the chamber if I can raise a goat and 2 chickens :(  Oh well, it would be a couple of years before I did it anyways . . .

6/19 Expressions

Happy Father's Day edition.  My daughter made pancakes and oven baked potatoes for her dad.  Last night at the Charity auction - we "won" an acoustic guitar, gift certificate for pet lodging, and a custom-made cake.  The food was wonderful.  We will be going tomorrow night to our town's Festival/Charity event.  This one was a bit more difficult.  I purchased my ticket on-line.  Tried to buy my daughter's - just registered her - but would not pop the payment screen up.  So, I hope I can pay at the door for her.  The pet gift certificate is great - it is to the same one that we "won" a gift certificate to at another Charity.  When we go on vacation later this summer, we plan to let her stay there.  We are hoping they will let us combine the gift certificates so the dog can stay in the luxury room :) the entire time.  For less than the vet, more than staying with grandpa, she can have a great time too :)  We also discussed the economic and social effects of paying for luggage check-in on airlines.  We paid to check one bag on our last trip - to be honest - it wasn't worth the $50 - $25 up and $25 back.  For $50, we could have purchased something we really enjoyed.  Also, we have noticed most people don't check their luggage - so, storage space is tight because people are taking the biggest piece they can get on.  So, we are going to check the luggage check-in policy of our next airline and hope that the first piece is free - if not, we will not be checking in luggage.  Also, seems the price of luggage is dropping.  We even put a piece out in the "free" pile when my daughter had her yard sale - no one took it.  Also, I am starting to see people use luggage for something other than its original intent to "recycle" it.  I saw a piece of hard sided luggage used as a plant holder/container garden.  I also wonder if more people are taking advantage of those offers in hotel bathrooms - "if you forgot a toiletry - stop by the front desk" - and also, I wonder if more people are washing their clothes and hanging them up in the hotel bathroom?  I have noticed that there are more travel trial sizes available - and the prices aren't all that economical.  Just our thoughts on charging for luggage - which is a great deal for the airlines, trial sized products - but probably a bust for the luggage industry and the lost luggage (Unclaimed baggage) industry?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

6/18 Expressions

Tomorrow is Father's Day - but we are celebrating today.  This week, I am determined not to shop at the grocery store.  So, for our Father's Day luncheon, my husband baked 2 pies we had in the freezer - they are small 4 servings each.  The apple pie is gone between lunch yesterday and breakfast today.  But, no one was "allowed" to touch the berry pie.  I also had a tub of whipped cream in the freezer.  The lasagna in the freezer will be the main course, I have some organic lettuce - two kinds that will make up the green salad with the "Biltmore Orange Poppy Seed" dressing I got on Manager's Special from Kroger.  I am also going to bake an eggplant with my lasagna - and it will become a Mediterranean Eggplant Salad and hors de'oeuvres whole wheat crackers with goat cheese, sprinkled with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts.    Dinner is also planned with leftovers.  And tomorrow morning, my daughter will make her dad a pancake breakfast :)  Later this afternoon, we plan to stop at a charity auction for an animal rescue society.  Hopefully, we will win some goodies - our dog could use a certificate or two for a bath and grooming :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

6/17 Expressions

I found out one of the foreclosed properties is being sold via a "Sheriff's Sale".  After I read about it, doesn't sound like something I am interested in.  No keys - if the former owners are in there - you are responsible for legal proceeding to get the Sheriff to evict them.  The state is a "Caveat Emptor" (Buyer Beware) State - and you cannot view the property before the auction or go on it without the owners' consent - or you could do jail time - after reading all of that - I decided to drop that one from our possible's list.  Nothing exciting in the mail today and not much frugal other than quite a bit of rain which was much needed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

6/16 Expressions

I found 3 houses that are foreclosures that look "great on paper".  The realtor is going to arrange for a showing for the three on Monday.  If we see one we like, we will withdraw our offe3r on the one the bank wants to "sit" on our offer for a bit.  Mail was good - got a rebate check and enought points on my credit card to cash in for a gift card.  All I can say is TGIF tomorrow, I am tired.  Update:  I had just over 2,000 points on my Chase Freedom card.  Said I could get $20 or a giftcard - I went for a 20% discounted gift card - for 2,000 points - I got a $25 Old Navy Card.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

6/15 Expressions

The bank has decided to "sit on our offer" to see if someone else will make an offer.  We can withdraw our offer.  So, my husband is going to look at 3 more foreclosures and see if we want to withdraw our ofer.  It is thundering outside and I hope we get some rain.  Free water iss great for the plants :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

6/14 Expressions

Even though my husband told the realtor our offer was our "Final" offer, the bank countered - slightly lower than their last counter.  So, the realtor will let the bank know that our offer still stands for a few more days.  No freebies in the mail today.  I guess I need to start signing up for some.  After weeks of depressing stock market news - a glimmer of hope today :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

6/13 Expressions

Frugal happening for the day:  The bank countered on our counter-offer for the foreclosed property.  That was fast.  We decided to move slightly on our counter and let the bank know it is a final offer.  There are plenty of foreclosed properties in the area - and we believe we have offered a reasonable price.  Mail call:  Free - Neat t-shirt from a Whiskey Company - Batman like, and Free $10 Craftsman Tool gift card from Vocalpoint.  Regarding the double order of gift cards.  I got an e-mail from (they did not ask me to post this - nor are they paying me) - about the glitch we had with the credit card company.  They are canceling the first order.  I have ordered once before from them, and was very pleased.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6/12 Expressions

Financial musings:  We received our property assessment for the properties we own at the beach - 1 went down, the other stayed the same.  One more property in a different area - I suspect it will go up slightly like the properties we have in area we live.  I can honestly say I don't mind them going down - because that just means less taxes.  In the beach property area, the tax assessor has been replaced by a new one - he seems more realistic.  The only way I was able to get valuations dropped was by "protesting".  I realize cities, towns, need money too, but fair is fair.  They are quick to increase valuations, but not decrease them.  They get used to each level of spending, and then it is hard to make decisions when the budget is cut.  What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.  Off my soap box now.  As for the foreclosure my husband made an offer on, while the former owners left the property in "move-in" condition - they took all of the appliances.  So, in preparation, I signed-up for a Lowes 10% moving coupon via e-mail and received it yesterday.  I also ordered discounted Lowes giftcards.  My husband needed to "spend" a bit more so that he can earn his 100,000 British Airways miles.  Wouldn't you know it, when he placed his order, the credit card company declined payment and called us - as a fraud alert.  After speaking with my husband, they said go ahead.  So, we looked in the system, and the order was cancelled - so, he placed a second order.  We tried to call customer service - closed until Monday.  So, when we checked late last night - it is now showing both orders are about to ship.  We will probably keep both orders if they ship - as we still have some more home improvement projects - and might as well get them with the extra 10% off.  We may stop by Michaels this afternoon, my daughter has a giftcard and she thinks there are some great coupons in the paper.  Also in the paper, a silent auction next week for a charity - we missed last year.  But they always have great finger foods - and great items - so, we will probably stop there next week.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

6/11 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  As far as buying anything to re-sell at Plato's yesterday - it was a bust.  But, my daughter purchased 5 pairs of jeans, 2 casual shirts and 1 dress shirt for around $25.  The jeans, she is going to cut-off for summer shorts and embellish, re-design herself.  The price of shorts are really high - especially ones made out of jean material.  From what we saw - they start at just under $20.  Today, I have spent most of the day catching up on sleep.  Shortly, my husband and daughter are stopping at Staples to use the $3/3 coupon and hopefully, each will get something free.  Then they plan to stop at the grocery store to get bleach - part of the re-design for a couple of pairs of jeans.  At one thriftstore, the jeans were $1, at the other, they were $4.  We know which one we will be going to in the future for jeans.  Mail call:  Garnier skin product sample, and free magazine.  Garden - I was excited to see that Zuchinis are forming - I know people complain about too many Zuchinis - but, I don't think I could have that problem :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

6/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This morning, I made a frugal Omelet and entered the recipe into a contest.  I signed up with All-You (great web-site and magazine for the frugal - lots of coupons and money saving tips) to get a coupon for a free pack of the new Borden Singles - the offer asked if I was willing to create a recipe - of course :)  So, I got the 3-Cheese Italian.  First photo is of the ingredients - As you can see - I got the Manager's Special Cage free eggs for $1.29 a dozen, the EVOO - I got on BOGO at Publix plus coupon, used a dash of sea salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper, free 3-Cheese Italian Borden's cheese singles (note:  they did not ask me to post this, nor am I getting paid to do so) - and a pinch of fresh oregano and thyme from my herb "garden" :)  Easy, tasty and frugal :)  Since all three of us are home today - we are going to stop at thrift stores.  My daughter has an idea, to earn more pocket money for her Alaska trip, she is going to see if she can find current, brand name items and take them to Plato's and earn some cash.  We shall see.  She will learn about market demands, pricing, the cost of inventory, etc.  Hopefully, it will be a pleasant experience.  She will be spending her own money for inventory.  My husband and I will be there for transportation, advice, and entertainment :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband signed the papers to make an offer on a foreclosure - we like it better than the short sale.  My daughter and I went to ULTA and got our Fekkai Hair Blow-out and we each got a mini-facial - specially priced for new customers at $10.  Then to Barnes and Noble and got a B1G1 smoothie.  The only freebie in today's mail - Nissan sent me a "Popcorn" air freshener for the car. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

6/8 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the day:  my husband looked at homes and he is making an offer on a foreclosure.  We are offering about 60% of the tax value - the price the records show the bank purchased it back for.  Hope we get it.  Mailbag:  Fee Zone bar.  I just finished paying for my "ebay" winnings.  I went through mypoints - and should get bonus points for making 2 or more purchases.  And, I earned some ebay bucks.  I probably haven't used ebay for more than a year.  Anyway, I got 3 summer suits, 2 pr of dress shoes, 1 white shirt, and 2 shells.  That should be it for the next 2 or 3 summers.  Tomorrow, my daughter and I will get our hair styled at Ulta for free - we do plan tip.  I am leaving work early.  I am "off" this Friday.  This hot weather has worn me out.  I haven't even checked my "garden" and plants.  I really need to water them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

6/7 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  for 1/2 price ($60), my daughter and I are going "Sip and Paint" this evening.  They will also be serving finger foods - should be fun.  In the mail, I got a coupon for a free pack of Bordens Singles and some Garnier Samples.  My husband will be looking at a few more foreclosed and homes for sale tomorrow.  We hope one of them works out . . .

Monday, June 6, 2011

6/6 Expressions

Frugal busts for the day:  We withdrew our counter-offer on the short-sale.  It was the worst experience we have ever had.  It is true, the banks are not negotiating in good faith.  I honestly think the person handling the short-sale wanted us to pay for the bank's mistake - loaning waaay too much money to the owner.  And being out-of-state, not realizing that the market has fallen and sometimes it is better to cut one's losses.  So, my husband looked at a foreclosure.  Unfortunately, this one had visible mold.  So, back to the drawing board.  Another bust, my daughter and quickly stitched a dress by cutting my old dress skirt and sewing it to a newly purchased shirt on sale for $5.  It looked fine - but my daughter wanted the skirt portion shorter.  I thought if we could shorten the waist portion, it would be fine.  I came home and shortened the waste - big mistake.  Now the dress just fits poorly.  So, back to the drawing board.  We are going to look for a replacement top.  Not sure what I will do with the cut-up shirt.  Mailbag:  I got a free Woman's Day and 10 first class postage stamps - my "payment" for being a mail "decoy".  All-in-all, I just want to hit the hay and re-group for a new day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More 6/5 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My daughter and I went to exchange a shirt she had already purchased for one size larger.  We stopped at Victoria's Secret because for the month of June, I have a buy anything, get a free pair of panties coupon.  So, I got some 75% body wash for $2.50 plus tax and my freebie.  I also had a 30% off anything coupon, so, my daughter found a hoodie marked down from $50 to $25 - so, she got the jacket for just over $18 with tax.  Then we headed to Ulta, she had a $3.50 off $10 coupon and got a few make-up items, which ended up being $10 with tax.  The cashier gave us both a sample of their "Pink Sugar" cologne vials for free.  We stopped in Anthropologie - and they had some items on a clearance table.  I got a rose quartz and another big plain quartz voitive holders for $12 including tax.  They are so neat looking.  Regular retail would have been over $80 plus tax. 

6/5 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Actually yesterday.  My husband sent a text to the realtor regarding the short-sale - he gave the bank until noon tomorrow to respond - as that is the time we want to withdraw our offer.  She told my husband the bank would respond ASAP on Thursday morning.  I told my husband, this bank has not been negotiating in good faith - and I really don't want to buy from them.  We also found a foreclosure just 2 streets over - 1/2 the size and 1/2 the price.  The lot appears to be the same size.  Seems to be a better deal to me.  Less cash out, less risk.  Also, the points to his new hotel account have not posted - so, another week in which we have to pay out of pocket.  He is going to call Monday and see if he can get the points posted.  We are hoping if he still needs temporary housing for another week, he can pay for it in points instead of cash.  Hopefully, he can buy this second property quickly and be done with this whole temporary housing thing.  Since we went to Costco's yesterday, I do not want to do anymore household good shopping.  So, we are going to get creative and use stuff around the house.  Unfortunately, we don't have any more extra rolls of toilet paper.  I am frugal, but one thing I don't want people to skimp on is TP.  But, I also have 2 tubs of those Cottonelle flushable wipes that I got for free.  So, if we run out, we will be using those up.  Oh, and the dog got a good bill of health from the Banfield vet yesterday.  That exam was worth just under $40.  My daughter and I went through some of my clothing.  She is not interested in the clothes as they are, but is interested in upcycling them or altering them.  Today's dresses seem pretty simple - from a pattern standpoint, so, it will be a good way to teach her without the fear of "ruining" something.  Cheaper to fill-in with upcycled stuff too :)  And, I spent a few minutes on ebay - I bid on  a few items to spruce up my summer work wear.  It is unbearably hot, and my summer shoes are pretty worn out.  So, hopefully, I will "win" a few items soon.  I also looked for sleeveless shells - OMG on what some of it is priced at $7X . . . I bid on two that are under $10 plus shipping.  I also got a button-down white shirt - for $16 shipped.  It is hard to find plain button down shirts - I am glad to have found one. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

6/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We got up late and went to the estate sale.  We did not buy a thing.  We did sell 1 item at Plato's closet.  Saw the new exhibit at the art museum and went to the Italian cafe.  My husband and I shared a meal.  Then to Costco's - gas was 3 cents cheaper then elsewhere - plus all the other rebates.  Mailbag:  I got a quart of paint from Gliddens - it is a nice light grey - a starter for my daughter's room.  We will have to buy a bit more - the paint came by Fed-ex.  In the USPS - I got 4 small facial products samples from DHC.  The dog will be getting her free exam at the Petsmart Vet this afternoon.

6/3 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  DSW is great :)  They did credit back the $20 plus taxes on my husband's sneakers for the coupon we received a day after his purchase.  My daughter got a pack of socks with $5 birthday coupon - plus a few dollars out of her pocket.  For dinner, we used an 80% off Restaurant.Com gift certificate - and have leftovers for today.  Mailbag:  Free Gillette Proglide Razor and a birthday certificate for a free Aveda product.  Oh, yesterday, my daughter made an appointment for herself and I to get a free style and blow-out at the ULTA salon - using Fekkai products.  It is for new salon customers only and on 8 and 9 July only.  I hit the hay early - and now I am up too early - it is really 6/4.  But today's agenda - take in an estate sale - all prices are marked down 50% from Thursday on anything left.  I am looking for outdoor/lawn furniture to replace some of the stuff in our condo - mainly the chairs seem to not be holding up well in the elements.  Since it is in the same area as Plato's closet - my daughter plans to drop a few things off.  Then we plan to see the new exhibit at the Art Museum with our membership.  They have a nice and fairly inexpensive Italian theme cafe - we will probably eat there for lunch.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

6/2 Expressions

Short-sale madness:  The bank countered with their original list price - mind you, this property has been on the market for 179 days with no offer except ours?  So, we up our offer - called it our final, and said we will give them until Tuesday to respond.  Freebies today:  2 packages of "veggie" noodles from Kroger - I printed off 2 $1 coupons from their facebook page and they were on sale for $1 - so technically, I paid tax.  So glad tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

6/1 Expressions

Mailbag:  Folgers sample.  Short-sale:  the realtor thinks the bank is going to counter-offer without an appraisal in the next day or so.  So, we shall see.  Not so frugal:  I needed to fill-up today - gas was cheaper - but my Murphy's Gas coupon for $2 off $25 expired yesterday :(  My husband and daughter will be running errands on Friday - I need to get my return contact ready to be shipped back.  There's going to be an estate sale starting tomorrow.  Mostly sports memorabilia, some antiques, and great outdoor furniture.  Everything is priced.  Friday, the price goes down 25% and Saturday, the price goes down 50%.  My daughter and I are going Saturday.  We are hoping the outdoor furniture (several sets) - will still be available.  I want a set for the condo - that salt water is very harsh - on metals.  If the price is right, I might get a set for our deck - and eventually take it to the home I hope my husband gets in the short sale as it has a sun room.  The house is in a smaller town - I e-mailed the Chamber of Commerce yesterday asking if it is against the city ordinance to raise a few chickens and a goat.  My husband laughed his head off - but I was serious.  If I "retire" - I would love to have a couple of fresh eggs every day and make my own goat cheese - have a natural lawn mower, free fertilizer, pest control, etc. :)  I haven't heard back from the Chamber - I sure hope they don't think I am joking.