Friday, September 30, 2011

9/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I got my Brita Pitcher from Wal-mart which was just under $9 and used my $5 off coupons and I will be sending in for a $10 rebate.  I also bought a bag of Doritos so that I could have a receipt for 2 - to get a $5 rebate.  Today was the last day to purchase for the Doritos form.  Nice thing is - I used my Wal-mart gift card - so, no charges to my credit card to pay off.  My husband and daughter went to guitar lessons, on the way home, they will stop to get a ream of paper and I will mail in that rebate and they will pick-up the dry cleaning that I used the discount coupon for.  I plan to plant a few house plants to donate to my daughter for her yard sale tomorrow.  I already donated the pitcher.  Hope she gets rid of a bunch of junk that will be a treasure to someone else and she has extra pocket money.  Added:  In the mail, I got a free survival tool from - quite interesting.  I also paid the HELOC down to $0 :)  Now on to other goals.  The realtor contacted me about beach front properties . . . still no deal to jump at me.  Hopefully soon.  Our condo association is having its annual meeting in early November . . . good thing because November is a slow month.  So, if they can finish the annual condo inspection (to stay in the rental program), we can go down there and make small repairs/updates and attend the meeting.  If the realtor can find some great deals by then, we can probably look that weekend too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We are gift card rich!  Today I received both batches of gift cards from Citi Thank-you Points!  Woo hoo, we have our 10 $100 Wal-Mart Gift Cards and 2 $25 Panera Gift Cards.  So, we are going to try to stretch them as far as we can so that we can save more of cash income streams.  I am hoping we can live off of 1 of my husband's bi-weekly pay checks (to cover expenses for both households) - so, it will be fun.  Tomorrow, I will pay off the HELOC.  I still need to plant the discounted Lowes plants.  We have a yard sale to get ready for.  Not sure how much more excitement I can handle.  Today, I dropped some clothes off at the dry cleaners - with my coupon.  Since Rite Aid is close by, I got enough toothpaste, toothbrushes, and body wash to last the next 3 months.  I would say after coupons and UP rewards, I may have spent $8 total - half of that would be taxes.  I have a stash of stuff for DH to take to our "other" house.  We need to save to pay property taxes by the end of December and I want to beef up my daughter's education fund.  Still want to keep my eyes open for 1 more beachfront property - but it has to be deeply discounted before we plan to jump.  I am so glad I am "off" from my day job tomorrow.  I am also thinking about planning our next trip.  I just checked on-line and I have enough Southwest points for the three of us to fly to Los Angeles.  It would cost $30.  No baggage charge, etc.  So, if we have enough hotel points, we may go over Thanksgiving break.  My husband has relatives in the area - and there are things we want to do.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9/28 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Lots of coupons and rebate forms galore on the web today.  I printed out a coupon for $5 off the Brita Water Filter Pitcher and a rebate for up to $10.  That is what couponers/rebaters call a money making deal.  Plus, since we have a filter on our fridge water dispenser - we won't need it. So, I am donating it to my daughter for her yardsale this weekend.  I am so proud of her, she told her class-mate she will have to pass on going to the movies this weekend because she is getting ready for her yard sale.  Also on-line today, I printed a coupon for a free after rebate ream of printer paper from Staples.  And finally, I usually don't buy "wipes" - unless they are free - but there is a rebate form for the full price back on Lysol wipes plus I have a .50 coupon that will double at Publix - so, another money maker :)  Okay, none of them will make me rich - but rebates are getting few and far between - so, finding 3 in one day is pretty exciting for me!  The only other thing I am going to do is use my certificate - I think I paid $7 (I had credit) for a $60 wall decal.  I am going to put one in the bathroom.  Now that we probably won't sell our house this summer, I am going to take my time in updating. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

9/27 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This evening, my daughter and I ate our dinner at Outback Steakhouse.  I had the coupon for a free steak dinner - but my daughter ordered that meal.  With an appetizer, my meal, drinks, and a trip - we got out of there for $23.  Not exactly free - but the meal was yummy.  Freebies in the mail a coupon for an Old Orchard bottle of juice and coupons from the Home Depot for a buy 2 mums, get one free.  Also, as I stated a week or two ago, I thought the "replacement" values of our homes were too high.  My husband finally got around to making a call.  The insurance agent agreed to drop some of the values - so, our total insurance premiums dropped $200/year.  Next, our dishwasher finally kicked the bucket.  So, I ordered a Stainless Steel Amana from Home Depot (said it was good for families under 3 people - was loud - but cleaned well) - all things we can live with for a price of $299.  Of course I had to order a few kits for the installation.  Delivery, installation, removal of the broken unit were all free.  There was a $25 off code.  So, after tax, etc. my total was just over $313.  But wait!  I went through ebates and will get about $9 back and I used my cash back card, so, I should get atleast $3 back :)  Now, all of the appliances will match.  Then another big shocker for me.  I am not sure how I feel about it - but anyway, the tax assessor for our current residence sent a notice with the intent to raise our property appraisal for tax purchases by $3,000.  Well, I went on line and it has been dropped by almost $40K - ouch.  But it drops our tax bill by just over $200 - so, I will take it.  But, this is an area that was not supposed to have experienced much of a drop - even though I kept seeing houses sit on the market, drop prices continually, etc.  So, there you have it.  We probably will not put this house up for sale next year even though my husband's new employer would pay the selling costs. Funny, the appraised value is about $60K under zillow now.  This will give us more time to renovate it - and probably sell it after my daughter graduates.  Now I can start saving more earnestly for college.  I hope the costs start to stabilize.  Added:  Just got my free "Souther Living Homestyle Cookbook" by buying a few grocery items and sending in the receipt a month or so ago :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

9/26 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  One of my co-workers brought coupons for me to cull through.  I found a few useful ones.  I received a notification that I will receive a bonus this month at work.  I am grateful for that.  My daughter got paid for her cat-sit. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

9/25 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Pictured are a few of my auction "wins" from last week:  sofa table, candle-abra, vintage linens.  These are a "few of my favorite things".  I've trimmed up my Phildendrons and have the starters in a mason glass full of water.  Tomorrow, before coming home from work, I will bring home some Spider plant off-shoots.  Those will be my contributions to my daughter's yardsale.  I plan to stop by Wal-mart to get my free energy drink from Murphy's gas station and also purchase a $10 Wal-mart gift card - because they sent me a $1 off any gift card.  I won't be purchasing gas because I did so at Costco's since we still have a month or more left on our membership.  Then I will pick-up a few things at Wal-mart with that gift card. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

9/24 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Early this a.m., I had an appointment and my daughter went with me.  Then we headed to Plato's with a box full of stuff.  (Only 1 item was sold for a little pocket change for my daughter).  Then we went to Costco - easy, peasy, I gave them my $18.XX check and they handed me $50 in cash for being an Executive member.  I also bought organic salad mix for my lunches this week $4.29 - and my daughter got a large bag of Kettle corn.  We also purchased a baked sandwich type thing - and split it between the two of us for our lunch - we ate it in the car with our own water.  Then we stopped by Starbucks with my giftcard and had a drink - sadly, no grounds at this one.  Then we headed to Rite Aid.  I had $13 in UP rewards to spend.  So, I got a multi-vitamin and my daughter decided to try biotin.  To spend up the rewards, I also purchased a box of black/orange pekoe tea - 80 bags for $1.  After UP rewards, I paid $1.35 out of pocket - mostly for tax.  Since we were close to home, we stopped, and unloaded and picked-up our Kroger receipt that we forgot.  We then headed to Lowes with my discounted gift card and we purchased either 50% or 75% off plants - 2 grapes, 2 blueberries, and 2 roses.  Then we also got paint for the bathroom - wow, when did paint become so expensive.  1 gallon of paint, and 1 gallon of primer = $55.  We did look at the oops paint - there were only about 5 and none of them were what we were looking for.  Then we headed to Kroger.  Got our chapstick and a price adjustment - charged $6.99 for a $2.99 item (had a $1 off coupon too).  I asked about their policy to give the first mis-priced item for free?  They said that only applies to items under $5 :(  Well, we scoured the store for manager specials and we scored:  veggie tray for $1.99, speciality whole wheat bread .99, large prepared salad for $2.49, portobello mushrooms .50, and button mushrooms .50.  Then we went to the "International Market".  We noticed that an "Indian Spice Market" store had opened.  Wow - I got a sandwich size bag of whole cloves for $1.99.  Last year I looked for the stuff in the store and I swear, it was around $9 for a small bottle.  I wanted to use them for pomanders - but for $9 a bottle - and I seriously doubt it would cover an orange - I didn't attempt it.  But for $1.99 - I will be trying it.  Also got cinnamon sticks for around the same price too.  Went to the international market and got 6 plums for $1.29, other fresh veggies and frozen items on sale.  Then we got home - and picked up the mail.  Rent check - I wasn't expecting much since our townhouse needed a new stove/installaltion/removal - plus, we only wanted a glass top.  Even so, we got a nice check.  So, I will have enough to pay off the HELOC without any problems.  However, I found 2 more short sale beach front properties we are interested.  The realtor is looking up rental and comparable information.  I am thinking I may want to only pay 1/2 the HELOC and pay the other half next month because the interest will be less than $20 - as we may need some "earnest" money if we end up making an offer . . . now, my daughter and I need to get some work done around the house.  The weather is gorgeous and comfortable.  Instead of going to the "Y" - we will walk the dog for exercise.

Friday, September 23, 2011

9/23 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  The property manager for one of our rental houses called today to ask if we wanted to renew a tenant's lease?  Why of course - so far, they have been the best tenants ever.  Neat freaks :)  Tomorrow, I am going to help my daughter get some stuff together for her yardsale next weekend.  I also hope to make it to Costco to get the rest of my annual rebate from being in the Executive membership.  I may stop at Lowes with my discounted giftcard and buy some paint to  paint my daughter's bathroom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9/22 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My Bonus Thank-you points finally posted.  I ordered 5 $100 Wal-mart gift cards and a $25 Panera gift card.  I can use the Wal-mart for groceries and gas.  So, I am going to see how far I can stretch them.  The Panera, I am giving to my geographical bachelor husband so that he can treat himself every once in a while.  He will also be ordering the same.  Since he drives home several times a month, he will be using his more for gas, while my daughter I will mostly be using our's for groceries.  In the mail, I received another free Martha Stewart Living.  And finally, yikes on the stock market.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9/21 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I got my free Martha Stewart Living magazine today.  My husband chased around the status of his reimbursement for closing costs for the foreclosure.  It has been a while - but we should get it next week.  Good thing - because I still want to pay-off the HELOC this month.  We've had a few unexpected expenses since purchasing the house.  And of course, we attended a few auctions, etc.  So, while I have enough, I would like a cushion.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9/20 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I received my free Woman's Day magazine and my husband received his Popular Mechanics.  Today, I got my Costco anniversary rebate - $18.XX.  Since I signed up for the executive membership, I believe they have a guarantee of atleast $50 - so, I will be asking for my almost $32 back.  In addition, I don't plan to renew my membership.  First of all, it is out of the way.  Secondly, I am a coupon shopper, so, there isn't much that's much cheaper there for me.  So, for now, I can say I tried it and it doesn't for us.  I guess thirdly, my husband has moved to an area without a Costco - so, we need it even less.  My daughter learned the lesson of making a phone call and saving a few bucks.  She returned her LL Bean backpack - but before she returned it, she asked if she'd still get free shipping and monogramming like her returned item.  They said yes.  I got an e-mail statement saying it was an even exchange.  But I got a bill in the mailbox for $6 in monogramming fees.  I asked my daughter to call and straighten it out.  In two minutes, they had it taken care of - she said - wow, in 2 minutes, I saved $6.  So, our rental condo had a week's booking drop off starting this Saturday.  I asked my husband to call and find out - was some broken?  Wouldn't you know it, we now have an 8 day reservation.  Was it coincidental - or was is the they know we are monitoring the reservations?  Today, before heading to the "Y" - I called and asked the exact date our membership would discontinue.  The person answering said I have to stop attending the end of this month - but, that they would draft another payment in October since we turned in our termination notice 2 days after it drafted this month.  My husband was told our membership ends 30 days after the last draft - making this 14 November.  So, my husband is going to call back tomorrow morning and find out what the real deal is.

Monday, September 19, 2011

9/19 Expressions

Frugal deed for the day:  We got a check from Honda for the sun visor they charged us to repair last year.  I also got a rebate check.  My daughter has a pet sitting gig :)  The weather is finally starting to cool off.  We need to get ready for a yard sale in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

9/18 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I noticed in the Rite Aid circular that Scott/Kimberly Clark products were on sale and that I could get $40 in UP Rewards if I purchased $70 worth.  I spent $69.XX after coupons and got my $40 ecbs - of which I used some to buy other items we wanted.  Like Halloween candy that they are having a great deal on too.  We should have enough TP to last through the rest of the year.  I will send off a couple of packages with my husband since I know he is not big into looking for deals or coupon shopping.  Might as well save a few bucks for us and buy extra.  My daughter and I went to the antique auction this afternoon - and sadly, I found a bunch of stuff I ended up winning.  Mostly vintage linen - not sure why I love the stuff, hand embroidered table clothes, etc. - I got several boxes averaging $35 a box.  I just ordered 1 brand new table cloth off of shopgoodwill and spent around $21 with shipping.  The big items, a marble top table and a sofa table.  All I can say is, this is the stuff I have always loved, but never purchased at auctions in the past because the prices were way too high (for me).  Now that they are really reasonable, I have purchased them. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

9/17 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My daughter was a bit envious of my bargains from the thrift store.  So, I took her today, and it is still the "Grand Opening".  So, everything was 50% off.  She got a new "Free People" shirt and Steve Madden shoes for under $10.  We also got a free lunch and they gave each of us a free t-shirt.  My husband and I went to the "Y" to work out - and he gave them our notice to quit.  Unfrugal deed, my husband got two temporary crowns today.  Very grateful to have dental insurance - but even so, it was a tad over $700 for the two.  I have a realtor looking for a beachfront condo - must be a bargain :)  My daughter is out with friends.  We made a fabulous dinner at home (we saved some for her).  Earthfare had a coupon, 2 lobster tails for $10 - my daughter and I each redeemed them.  My husband ate 2.  We also caught a nice sale on Top Sirloin at $5.99/lb.  We got 1 large steak - was just over $7 - and cut it into 3 pieces.  Some shoestring fries, a salad - and we are satiated.  So, surf 'n turf for 3 people for the price of 1 at a restaurant.

Friday, September 16, 2011

More 9/16 Expressions

Not exactly frugal - but Bath & Body Works sent me a code for free shipping today only wallflowers50.  My frugal indulgence are the wallflowers.  They are on sale for $6.  So, I stocked up on Wallflower re-fills - don't forget to go through mypoints for a bonus - and of course I paid with a "points accumulating" credit card.  Might as well make it as frugal as possible. 

9/16 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This morning, I cashed in my swagbucks points for another $5 gift card.  My husband mowed the grass.  He also drove my daughter to school and swung by Starbucks - he got each of us a drink with my giftcard and he scored about 20 lbs of coffee grounds for my plants :)  For lunch, we visited my new favorite thrift store which is having its grand opening.  They had burgers, hot dogs, chips, cake and soda.  And, everything was 50% off!  So, I got a pair of new looking Calvin Klein jeans and a pair of Bandolino shoes for just over $12 :)  Great for "Casual Fridays" :)  Then we went to the post office to mail the book we sold on - mailed in a recycled padded envelope.  So, I got two pieces of "stuff" out of here and made a few bucks.  Then to Kroger and grocery shopped with a bunch of coupons.  For dinner, my husband and daughter will use my livingsocial gift certificate that cost me $8 for a $17 meal that includes 2 Philly Cheese steak sandwiches, 2 sides, and  2 drinks - and then they will go to guitar lessons.  I will finish off the butternut squash soup that is in the fridge.  We rented a $1 movie for this evening.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/15 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Pictured above is my lone Jerusalem Artichoke from Freecycle.  I got the tubers the same time as I got the tipped over cannas (from a storm last month) about two years ago.  I thought the the "artichokes" were "goners" - but I have one - the yellow flower - in case you have never heard of them.  Anyway, apparently you can eat the tubers - and they multiply on their own.  Perhaps next year I can look for a recipe :)  At work today, we got a promotional pen (very nice) and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.  I chatted with the real estate agent about the condo that is a potential shortsale - it has very low gross annual rents.  I asked why - and he thinks it is because the units have enclosed balconies.  I gave a price of 25% lower than asking - he said the bank wouldn't take it.  I said that is fine, but if they change their mind - I would be willing to come and look at the condo.  The negatives - its maintenance fee is higher than average; it is an older bldg - and the kitchen has not been upgraded - meaning harvest gold appliances, and the televisions would need to be upgraded - and of course - lower rental desirability because of the balconies.  So, I will keep looking.  This unit is a 2 bedroom and is earning less than 1/2 of the rents from our 1 bedroom is earning this year.  I am wondering if it might not be because of the economy - people are more apt to rent 1 bedrooms - therefore the vacancy rate is lower?  The reason we want a 2 bedroom is that although the 1 bedroom has a queen sofa sleeper - we would like to have it so that no one sleeps in the living room.  In addition, my husband and I are thinking we may eventually retire there - and we would always have a bedroom ready for our daughter, her future family, guests, etc.  We will also have our 1 bedroom for income - but also for overflow . . . I am so very lucky to have such a patient husband :)  But he agreed, if we can find one at a bargain, we would jump at it now.  Oh, in the mail, I got a coupon for a free steak dinner at The Outback!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More 9/14 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband got his Bears Jacket and is very happy with it.  We got a nice rent check for the condo and it went to the bank with my $2.50 in rolled change and few other small, misc. checks.  I did most of the DIY stuff I had planned on doing - just mopping the kitchen floor - and I will be doing it shortly.  I was so glad the dentist was able to fix the chip with some resin - so much cheaper and less of an impact than a crown - I was pretty content with that.  I read that Starbucks gives "grounds for gardens".  I thought it would be nice to throw some in my compost.  So, I went for a tall skinny vanilla iced coffee - wouldn't you know it - they do give them away - but you have to ask before they throw it out :(  The lady apologized that they had just thrown it out.  While taking my husband on a frugal date on Friday to the thrift store grand opening - perhaps we can swing by and ask about the grounds again.  I read an article on Yahoo or cnnmoney - about how to save money on coffee this a.m. - and found out Starbucks does this giveaway to help keep grounds out of the trash.

9/14 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I am staying home today as my daughter is sick and I need to go to the dentist - my chipped tooth.  All I can say, sure am grateful for insurance.  Although, I do have to say, my dentist is charitable.  He and other dentists just last week held a free dental clinic for those without insurance.  Would be nice if more would do it.  Anyway, since I am home, I am going to catch up on my laundry, mop some floors, and probably pull a few weeds.  Not very exciting, but frugal since it is DIY :)  I am hoping the realtor sends me information soon on the shortsale.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9/13 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband is a die-hard Chicago Bears fan.  Today, on Freecycle, I was able to get a Chicago Bears jacket for him - he picks it up tomorrow - he is so excited.  My daughter attended a college recruitment seminar, they gave her a pair of sunglasses.  Tomorrow is a charity awareness day event with lots of freebies and a free lunch.  Sadly, I will have to skip because I chipped my tooth and will be at the dentist during my lunch break.  I am hoping the dentist can just grind the slightly jagged edge or just add a small piece of resin - it is not noticeable - but is sharp on the tongue.  I found a short-sale beach front condo.  I have made contact with the listing agent.  They are gathering information - rental history, etc. for me - and said they will e-mail it to me tomorrow.  I believe if we do get this one, it will be our last purchase.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12 Expressions

Mail call:  we got a rent check and .30 from Tim Horton's.  Finished the mystery shopping report.  We got dumped out a couple of times from the system - but, I think it went through.  Anyway, the meal was fantastic :)  Lots of stuff to do this weekend.  My new favorite thriftshop is having its grand opening this Friday - and I am "off" from my day job.  So, I think I will invite my husband out for a cheap date - they are serving free hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks ;)  Also giving away door prizes - and may be they will have a thing or two I am looking for :)  My "garden" was a bust this year - but, it looks like a small watermelon is trying to thrive.  It is about 1 inch in diameter . . . hope it makes it.  I watered it today.  I still need to get out in the yard and pull a few weeds.  Hopefully I really will get to it tomorrow.  Today, I was able to sign-up for a coupon for a free "Old Orchard" juice coupon and a $3 coupon - both required a short survey - I felt they were worth it for about 2 minutes of work.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This afternoon, I wanted to get some baking and meals cooked ahead.  With some planning, I used up stuff that needed to be used up and made efficient use of the oven.  The weather is cooler - so the heat was not a bother.  Also, since my daughter came home with 3 re-usable containers from her friends last week with a bunch of different cake servings, I wanted to return the favor.  So, I finally made the fig cake (except - they are in cupcake paper -with a sprinkle of powered sugar - and are pretty tasty if I do say so myself.)  Right now, I have banana/walnut muffins in the oven with lemon bars.  We will put some in the containers and take them over shortly and stop at the gym on the way home.  Then, we will relax, get ready for our mystery dinner shop for dinner.  I have seafood gumbo going in the crockpot - it was a hit last week.  This time, instead of heavy cream - we will be using half and half since it was on manager's special and a 1/3 of the price of the heavy cream.  I have the squash in the oven baking with the desserts.  In addition, I have some chicken broth cooking up in the oven too.  I put a few rotisserie chicken wings with water and cut up some carrots, our home grown pears, asparagus "tails" and ends and a bit of sea salt in a small glass container.  As for the asparagus, I made a salad with the garlic/vinegarette dressing I got from Earthfare.  I also added some tomatoes, onion, and fresh basil.  Instead of eating the mixture as is - my daughter loves the stuff - we tried it at the store - mine will be a "dressing" on my organic salad mix (from Costco) - for my lunches this week.  We will have butternut squash and gumbo soups for dinners these next couple of days - to go along with the weather.  I also cooked up the last of my free with coupon saffron rice mix to add to the soups for extra bulk.  Oh, instead of taking a shower at the gym - we have decided to let my husband give notice to quit - and we will no longer have gym fees after the end of October - we have to give 30 days notice.  I will walk in the neighborhood - or use our equipment.  So, that will more than cover the water bill - and probably the garabage fee too.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We got a bit side tracked today - so, we will be doing our dinner mystery shop tomorrow.  We went to 3 thrift stores and the dog got her hair "done" at Petsmart with the discounted gift card.  So, I have posted a picture of the dog with her "do" and some furniture I got at the newest thrift store - it supports the homeless.  It is the nicest one I have ever been to - and I just couldn't resist.  The Asian inspired chairs/side table is something I have had my eyes on for years - but just never purchased because I was too "frugal" to fork over the $.  We also got a nice pair of shoes - new, w/o tags.  A few scarves.  7 clothing items including a new Ann Taylor Dress for $1 each - so, $7, plus tax.  Strange, but, no tax at two thrift store and the other one, charged us tax???.

Friday, September 9, 2011

More 9/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Tomorrow, my daughter will go with me to an early accupuncture session (she will wait in the lobby and enjoy tea and a fuji apple).  Afterward, we will go to the mall where we reserved our Chick-fil-A breakfast.  Then we will stop by Bath & Body Workd for a free 2 oz "Charmed Life" 2 oz Body Lotion.  Then to Charlotte Russe - we each have a $5/$5 coupon and will most likely buy an accessory.  Then to Family Dollar - there's a link for a $5 off $25 coupon - and we each have one - so, we can each get 3 Thermal Curtain Panel for $50 plus tax.  Then on to Costco - if we are hungry - we can eat a few samples and pick-up a few staples.  Then the dog goes to Petsmart - I still have discounted gift card $ - and she sure needs grooming after running around in some bushes and getting a few burrs.  Then we have a mystery shop at a nice seafood restaurant.  She will help me write the report and memorize details - so, we will each get a nice free dinner and I will split the $12 report writing fee with her 1/2 and 1/2 :)  The weather was gorgeous today - and I hope it will be tomorrow too.  Somehow, someway, I need to pull some weeds this weekend too - before the HOA police writes me up.

9/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Again at lunch, I made some more phone calls.  One to our "Business Account" credit card to cancel because they charged me a $75 fee for the privelege of using them for another year.  I sure hate it because we have recurring charges for pest control on one of our properties on it.  So, it was a minor hassle.  Wouldn't you know it - they gave me a $75 statement credit to cover it "to keep my business".  So, many things are negotiable.  Secondly, I just got our water/sewer bill.  Not many things I can think of to make more money - oh, I forgot yesterday - I also do swagbucks to earn gift cards.  So, I thought of things I could do to save money - we have a family membership to the "Y".  The facility is brand new.  The showers are individual, curtained stalls.  Even so, the entire family has an aversion to taking a shower in "public".  I was wondering how much I could save if just I showered there - thinking back to the water bill.  Also, the windows of this house are a bit drafty.  I just read that Family Dollar sells decent thermal backed curtain panels for $10 each.  I am thinking I may want to invest in a few to help cut back on the electricity bill because they were approved last night for a 3.5% rate hike.  Why am I trying to cut back - because "extras" always seem to occur.  Like my husband had to repair a few more items in our "new" foreclosure home - I am not talking about "big" bucks - but more like $80 here, $100 there type stuff.  As I said, I want the HELOC paid off by the end of the month - a self imposed deadline - yup, the interest rate is 2.7% - but still, I would rather the bank pay me, than I pay them :(  Then comes the property taxes - on 7 properties.  Also, the holidays.  I also have a goal amount to save toward our daughter's education by December of next year.  So, that means, we need to save some extra this year - unless we all want to kick our "frugalness" up a notch.  Rather institute some minor changes now - and save steadily - than go "extreme".

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/8 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  During lunch today, I called in my catalogues/magazines - one of my side incomes - doesn't earn me much cash - but I get 10 first class postage stamps per month; a nice tin of cashews during the month of December, and usually a check for $30 at the beginning of the year as a "thank-you" for the extra "load".  I would say during the week, I "report" about 7-10 catalogues/magazines - not much - I call a toll-free number and key-in the identifying numbers.  I also get some nice magazines - mostly children's - that I cut my address label off of - and give to a co-worker with 2 toddlers.  After I keyed in the magazines - while eating my home-made salad - I read through my mystery shop assignment - which required a call - I made that call.  So this got me thinking - how many ways do I make/save money - let me try to count the ways.  Maybe one by itself won't make me rich - but together, they add up - especially over the long haul.  So, the ways I make money:  my day job (and in this day and age, I am very grateful for it) - not only do I earn $ - but there are hidden benefits - like my employer's contribution to my 401K, retirement plan, health plan, etc.  Next, we collect rent from our rental properties - some month are better than others :)  We invested in stocks - some of them pay dividends.  We try to keep only what we need to in our check account and transfer any excess to savings and earn a bit of interest - currently, my credit union is paying .50% - better than nothing - and one bank pay around 2% - but it requires a direct deposit, so many of this, that and the other . . . As I said, I am also a  "mail decoy" and occasional mystery shopper.  Another way I earn $ is to strategically sign up and use credit cards:  this year, I earned 100,000 miles from British Airways - enough for several flights; I earned 2 free flights on Southwest Airlines; and I am about to earn a 50,000 Citibank Bonus - good toward $500 in gift certificate (note:  I am not advocating signing up for credit cards - YMMV - also, on all three, for the first time in a long time - I paid an annual use fee ranging from $95-$125 - but the net result is still worth it to me).  I shop through mypoints and ebates and earn a few giftcards or cash rebate from them.  I used to do surveys, but just don't make the time to do them any more.  Saving $:  I send in rebates, I use coupon (although on occasion - coupons can cause a small earning), consigning a few things and a yardsale or two a year help us re-coup some of $ we spent on stuff in the first place.  I am sure there are more - but that's all that I can think of for now.  I just thought it was interesting that some of them just take a few minutes of my time, and some not at all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

9/7 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mail call - freebie feminine products.  At lunch, I searched for a recipe to use up the fresh figs we purchased - I found one where I have all of the ingredients except one - pecans.  So, I will be making fig cake.  Will hit the gym on the way to get the pecans.  And, the heat from the oven will warm the temps in the house up.  The cooler weather is nice - but - just a bit nippy.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9/6 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  When I checked my e-mail this morning, I got an assignment to do a mystery shop at a nice restaurant in town this week - pays for the food and a decent report writing fee.  My daughter is sick today, and I was surprised to get in and out of the Doctor's office in less than 15 minutes.  Is it because of the economy?  And, there were coupons for Eucerin - which I passed up - but there were several pads of $1 of Activia - so, I got 2 of those coupons :)  What was even a bigger shocker - there is a jar of candy - there is a sign on it - 1 per person.  And, I submitted my daughter's rx to the Rite Aid Pharmacy - they are always so nice.  (Drove up with our dog and they offered her a biscuit - which she refused).  Anyway, there was a flyer in the bag that says they have a 15 minute guarantee and if they don't have the rx by then, they will give you a $5 giftcard.  Of course I told them I'd be back in an hour - so, no idea if they took more than 15 minutes - but competition is now serious.  And my out-of-pocket for the rx was just over $2?  What does that say about the economy?   I am going to try and work on a project the rest of the afternoon.  I may try to hit the gym - although it is still drizzling outside - and people don't drive as well in bad weather . . . or that could be an excuse.  I was hoping the mail would be here by now - but I guess the weather is affecting delivery too?  Stock market made me want to cry.  Added:  Oh and another bit of good e-mail news, the community yardsale is 3 weeks away.  Hope my daughter is as successful this time as she was the last time in selling our junque and in earning herself some spending money.  I will enjoy less clutter :)  Added:  Mail today was fantastic.  A good friend sent me some nice coupons to use.  Also in the mail - I got a free glass from New Castle Brown Ale - very nice freebie, and I got 3 Suave travel sized items with 3 coupons - very useful - body wash, lotion, and dry shampoo.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/5 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We have/had non-stop rain - which is great for the plants!  I am fortunate in that I did get the day "off" from my day job :)  Today, I took my daughter to Michael's to get some art supplies - no additional $ out of pocket as we used the giftcard and coupons and we still have $ left on the giftcard.  Then to Target - my shopping hint - print off the Merona and Moisimo brand coupons - we printed 2 each and had some other coupons - but my daughter got 2 pairs of shorts for free with the coupon - and we got 2 skirts (t-shirt for swimsuit cover-ups) that were $3 each - but because the coupons did not scan, the cashier took the full $5 off each item - but the ones that did scan - we did not get overage - the 2 shorts were $4.XX - and we got $4.XX off instead of the $5 value of the coupon.  We also picked up a few groceries with coupons.  Then to the Dollar Tree - got some more Nature's Own bread for the freezer - and a few other items.  I used my credit card that has a credit on it - so, no additional $ out.  My daughter and I also treated ourselves to a "tall" drink at Starbucks in Target with my Starbucks giftcard.  So, total additional charges for today will be around $25.  I am going to make some salads and my "food" for tomorrow and get my clothes ready for work tomorrow.  Whatever time I have left will be devoted to sewing.  My daughter found a vintage cashmere sweater that belonged to her grandmother - I am going to rip the lining out since it is falling out in anyway.  The newspaper delivery person left me the daily paper for today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

9/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mother Nature provided much needed rain today - which means free water for the thirsty plants :)  Also, my husband drives back and forth from our "new" house to our "old" house - so, I checked to see if there were any freebies at the gas stations - I have to stay Pilot/Flying J has to be my favorite - this month there is a coupon for a free hot beverage - including their yummy cappuccino.  So, I printed it out for my dear husband.  My daughter and her friends baked up a storm and she brought home a lot of goodies.  My husband did work on the cabinets a bit this morning - but, alas, the job is a tedious one - now I know why it is expensive to have furniture refinished.  I had great intentions of getting my daughter's bathroom redecorated/refreshed - but, I did not leave the house.  Tomorrow, she and I will stop at Michael's with the discounted giftcard and coupons to pick-up some art supplies.  We are pretty stocked - but, Target is next door - may check to see if there are any coupon match-ups as I want to run in and buy a few bananas for my breakfasts.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More 9/3 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  While on their inexpensive dinner out, my daughter and husband will stop at Walgreens to pick-up the free Simply Lemonade/Orange Juice (if they are not out).  I also asked my daughter to check the trial sized products and see if the new Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste is available - and gave her a $1.50 off any coupon.  The coupons from all printed off (I went through mypoints for giftcard points, of course :)  Also, the crockpot seafood gumbo is delicious.  It is enough for several meals.  I also chopped up the rest of the okra and froze it for batch later - including 1/2 the shrimp and crab meat.  My daughter's friend is inviting over several people and they are baking cakes.  My daughter is bring 1/3 cup of heavy cream (really more like 2 cups - because that is what I have left from making the gumbo.  They are making 4 different types of cakes - I hope she brings home some samples :)

9/3 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband made a run to the farmer's market and got the last of our goat cheese from the 1/2 priced card - 3 tubs.  He also purchased some peaches and a few tomatoes.  He and my daughter just left to take a box of her clothes to the consignment store and they will stop at Publix to buy the BOGO figs on the way back.  I have the seafood gumbo going.  My husband and daughter will eat dinner out tonight tonight - one of our favorite restaurants sent us a $25 off gift certificate which expires today - no strings or cost attached.  I am a bit under the weather - so, will be enjoying my seafood gumbo at home.  I made a reservation for them though (free to sign-up - and I think once you earn 2,000 points, you get a $20 giftcertificate to use at any of the restaurants?) - anyway, we will get 1,000 for this reservation because they are going early.  Otherwise, you get a minimum of 100 points.  Not too shabby.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More 9/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  the AT&T installer came this a.m. - back to our "regular" internet/land line fees.  Also in the mail, I got a freebie sample of Burberry's "BODY".  Nice treat since I sure don't want to afford anything else from there ;)  I have been under the weather - so, I really haven't gotten much done.  I do have some fabric cut for the seat repair I started months ago.  Also, I got a list together for my husband to get a few ingredients to try crock-pot seafood gumbo with the free okra I got over a week ago.  It sure has been nice to relax a bit at home.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/2 Expressions

My husband just informed me that two of his co-workers told him he got a good deal on "his house".  One guy went as far as to tell him that homes in the area generally go for $120K (tax assessment value is $122K).  So, we are thinking that the local newspaper (which he doesn't subscribe to) publishes that type of information?  We've owned the place now for over two months - but the comments were made this week.  I know the newspapers around here don't publish that type of information.  Oh, and I "won" $1 off my groceries at Kroger playing their "Spin to Win" game.

9/1 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Wow - a new month already.  Our new internet/phone provider is coming to hook us up tomorrow.  When we called AT&T about services, they told us not to call our current provider - they would do it.  Is it because they know the current provider might have made us a better offer.  Perhaps.  Just interesting how strategies change.  We took a load of dry cleaning with discount coupon to the dry cleaners this morning.  My husband and I shared a BOGO sandwich for lunch - I ate the other half of the sandwich for dinner.  In the mail - I got my coupon for a free box of Kraft Mac 'n Cheee - it was in a cute insurance looking document.  I also got the gift cards I ordered.  It sure has been nice to wake-up on my own schedule.  Sad to say, I have been relaxing more than I have been "working" around the house.  Hope to atleast start something tomorrow.