Sunday, September 30, 2012

9/30 Farewell September Issue

Time sure has flown.  Early this morning, I went to McD's to redeem my free breakfast sandwich coupon - and I wanted a strong coffee (I know, coffee always seems to taste better when it is made by someone else) and 1 hashbrown - I will admit it - I wanted a game piece.  Much to my surprise - when I went to pay - the lady in front of me paid my bill.  I yelled out thank-you to her - and she just smiled and waved.  Of course my hashbrowns did not have a game piece on it - but, it didn't bother me a bit.  Much to my surprise - I got a code for a free Redbox rental from McD's from entering my codes last night - must have been one of those times I thought there was a glitch :)  My house is smelling so "fallish" - I made that word up.  I peeled some potatoes, carrots, and chopped some onions, and added some green beans previously cooked in lemon and olive oil and a mystery pack of seasoning - I think it came from an Enchilada kit - and placed them in the crockpot.  I am going to puree the veggies shortly - I hope my vegetarian daughter will love the soup as much as I love the smell.  I think I will have a bowl or two myself :)  Not that I really want to rant after such nice things have happened to me - but, I just got notified that the inspection team completed their inspection of our condo.  The condo evaluation has not been uploaded yet - but the "inventory" list has been - this is the third year in a row that sticky fingers has run off with oven broiler pan :(  Fortunately, the list is shorter - 3 wine glasses, measuring cup, one steak knife, and a cooking spoon.  So, I will be stopping at Homegoods with my discounted giftcard and getting what I can there - and my $5 P&G Visa Card to use at the Dollar Tree to get the measuring cups, cooking spoon and 3 wine glasses - and will pay taxes with the change in my wallet.  I am glad I called to ask them to make our condo inspection a priority.  It looks like the condo is open this weekend - although the rest of the month is pretty much booked - so, it may be a great opportunity to make a quick run down and make any repairs noted in the inspection (hopefully none :) - and replace the inventory  - while taking in the waves ourselves.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

9/30 Expressions

The early addition:  two free codes to play the on-line version of McDonald's Monopoly are:  GOPLAYATMCD and CODEFORMORE.  Sadly, at our McD's, hashbrowns are no longer 2 for $1 - so, the most cost effective way for me to get game pieces is to send in a SASE for 4 game pieces.  "Stamps" generally do not cost me money - just a bit of my time - as I am a mail decoy and get at least 10 first class postage stamps per month.  Also, starting today - the new Cooking Up Early Detection rebate is out - spend $30 of qualifying P&G products and get approximately $50 value of cooking products - including a frying pan.  I am really enjoying the set I got last year - the measuring cups, etc.

9/29 Expressions

Frugal deed for the day:  Did I mention I found another rebate form yesterday - this one was get $5 back when you spend $50 on groceries.  So, it was a double play for me yesterday at Publix.  I used my $6 off $60 from Kroger, plus other coupons, and mailed in for a $5 rebate on top of that.  Today, I got a $5 prepaid Visa from Proctor & Gamble for the rebate I submitted approximately a month ago.  I also found some elastic in one of my sewing bins and now, my favorite velour sweat pants - no tears - just bad elastic - are as good as new.  Got another property tax bill for another rental.  Due now, considered late after the last day of the year - so, we pay them all at the end of December.  My husband called the tax assessor for our foreclosure property - they still have not made a determination as to what the final valuation will be.  Too bad they don't pay interest :(  I just called and paid the balance of our insurance (auto/property) on my new AMEX card - have til almost the end of the year to earn the $500.  My husband is working on earning $400 on his Visa card.

Friday, September 28, 2012

9/28 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  I plan to go to yoga tomorrow and then, use my on-line coupon for a spa mani-pedi - two hours of luxurious relaxation :)  My daughter is giving herself a mani/pedi for an event tomorrow - and I found a $10 smart-phone coupon for her to use at Sephora for her polish.  I got my discounted gift cards and plan to some shopping this weekend.  I have one for Lowes - I want to start purchasing wood floor laminate or engineered wood for the rest of the second floor.  I also want to buy some blueberry bushes - have not had luck with the ones I purchased previously - one died and we got our $ back - the other one just did not produce fruit - so, I thought maybe if I added a few more plants - perhaps I could start my own blueberry patch :)  My dream is to have a varied orchard in my back yard. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9/25 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I am home today - so, I decided to do some "cooking ahead" to save some time and money.  I made 2 zucchini casseroles for the freezer since they are a hit with the vegetarian - and they should freeze well.  I got the recipe on  Then I made 2 vegetarian pizzas.  One for dinner and one is already in the freezer.  It has grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions - feta & mozzarella too.  I also picked most of my soy beans and they are in the freezer.  I picked 1 okra as it was pulling the plant toward the deck. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

9/24 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mail call - Kroger sent some nice coupons.  One for a free pound of shredded cheese, $1.50 off $7 in the frozen food department and $6 off $60 X 2.  I also picked all of my lettuce - for the chicken salad last night and have enough for 3 meals.  I am contemplating picking soy beans and okra to put in the freezer.  The weather is much cooler - so, I should bring in the cactus plants the neighbor gave us. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More 9/23 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I made my savings goal for this month - although I will have to transfer a few $ into savings from checking to make the exact goal.  Wow - just 3 more months - and it will be a new year.  I am hoping to make my annual savings goal.  I already pre-made some lunches - chicken salad.  I asked my daughter to concentrate to use up what we have in the fridge.  So, I made another batch of tzakiki - now I am down to 1 cucumber for the .20 Aldi sale.  My daughter also picked up 2 12 packs of Rite Aid brand toilet paper - they are on sale for $5.99 with a $2 up reward - limit 2.  I tried to get her do multiple transactions - use the $2 up reward on the second one.  Well, that doesn't work any more :(  The UP rewards, apparently are electronic now, and don't post to your account til after 6 a.m. the next day - double sad face.

9/23 Expressions - Properties Tax Assessment Issue

I called the local county tax assessor earlier this month - concerned that I had not received notification of my new assessment amounts, thus, what my tax bill would be.  She stated that they only send notifications out if the property value increases.  Well, I went on line last night, and the 2012 values have been posted.  My primary residence stayed the same - of course it went down last year.  My local rental properties dropped in value also - one almost $10K and the other about $5K.  And since I am not planning to sell, it is good news for me that assessors are adjusting "accordingly" - and not for tax revenues only - so, my tax bill should drop a bit.  Our rental property in the next county over - stayed the same.  Our beach properties - the condo, went up, and sand-lot went down.   We are still awaiting to hear from the tax assessor about our foreclosure property - they did concede to a reduction - but, we believe it is double the amount they conceded to - or more.  So, in a year where people are complaining (me included) about increases in prices - at least we will pay less property tax this year.  What we lost in property values, we gained in stock & mutual fund investments in our retirement and personal accounts.  We are sure hoping they hold out, because it is a nice psychological boost since we would like to retire sooner, rather than later.  I guess this is a good lesson in asset allocation for us.  We are glad that we went ultra conservative, and now just conservative in 2/3's of our retirement allocation.  We had not been market timers in the past, but, we are certainly less than 5 years from retiring, and even closer to possibly paying for college tuition and expenses.  Therefore, while we feel that overall, the market was "good" to us, we surely don't want to experience any sharp movements (down anyway) in the next 5 years.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

More 9/22 Expressions

On the way home from the beauty school salon - cut and color was $30 plus tip :)  - we stopped at Aldi.  For just over $10 - that's all the cash I had and I don't use debit cards . . . I got everything I needed included red potatoes - a 5 lb bag for .99 and a 3 lb bag of yellow onions for .79 (they used to go on sale for .69) - thing are creeping up.  When I got home - I made the poor man's fillets, biscuits and veggie sausages and some baked red potatoes in the oven.  the potatoes will be used for onion/potato mixture in the morning with a couple of eggs over easy.  On the stove top, I made shredded cabbage stir fry, manager's special organic beans with olive oil/lemon, and brown rice.  I also stopped at Dollar Tree for laundry detergent and I also found pickled asparagus as a treat to myself.  Seems my tomato and pepper plants are still trying to produce - it would be nice not to have to buy tomatoes or peppers for the next week or two.

9/22 Expressions

Fugal deeds:  Last night, I decided to use up food before it went to waste and help me keep my grocery spending down.  So, a lady at work gave me 4 apples from her apple tree.  I had 2 bananas looking like they were one their last leg - so, they became an apple banana cake - I just need to make a glaze - and have the ingredients for that.  Then I still have those 3 zucchini from Aldi - one was probably almost a pound by itself - so that became part of a zucchini casserole.  I also made a batch of corn muffins - all three cooked together and warmed the house a bit this evening as the temperature is getting rather nippy.  I still need to use up my manager's special chopped cabbage and carrots - for cole slaw.  But, I won't be making cole slaw - I believe I will make a stir fry with it.  And of course  I need to do something with some meat for several meals - especially since my husband is here is this weekend.  I have Kroger's Natural beef patties - on sale and used a coupon - and lb of bacon.  So - I believe I will baking some "poor man's" fillet mignon . .  . and adding some of the bacon to stirfry - since the vegetarian is not too fond of cabbage anyway.  All of this will be fitted into around the beauty school treat I am setting upon.

Friday, September 21, 2012

9/21 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband had a code for a free Papa Johns Pizza - and we redeemed a loyalty card at the take'n bake place for a free pizza.  So, we had one for the carnivores and one for the vegetarian.  I also went to Homegoods pre-grand-opening this afternoon.  I wanted a new comforter set for the rental condo - I found a designer one - supposedly the retail is $500 - and store price was $99 plus tax.  I will have enough points on my TJX card this month for a $10 GC - the deal this month was use the card 5 times and get 500 points - and $99 plus tax is another 500 points :)  Tomorrow, my daughter and I are going to the name brand hair care products beauty school to get our hair cut and colored :)  My husband said he may have a boarder in the future in our foreclosure house.  His co-worker's wife retired and wants to move closer to her children/grandchildren.  So co-worker will be in a commuter situation  and wants to rent.  Of course they have their house up for sale - and it is over-sized - hoping it sells soon :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

9/16 Expressions

Frugal deeds:  Yesterday, my daughter and I made it to our first Hot Yoga class (livingsocial deal - 30 days of unlimited classes fo $40).  On the way home, we made a circuitous route and stopped at Aldi.  Can't beat .20 cucumbers and .39 avocados - and a few other items.  Then to Rite Aid, last day to get in on the buy 3, get one 12 pack of Pepsi (for you know who - although he has cut back quite a bit) for $9.99 . . . and surprise - there on a beer display was buy a 12 pack of any soda and get a $2 rebate.  I am loving these rebates showing up again.  So, that was my sorta cheap thrill for the day.  I also did some mega cooking.  I had a $1 bag of collard greens and the cool weather calling for soup.  So, I made a batch of soup - used a bit of chicken and tofu - but also some onion/peppers I had prepped and frozen earlier.  Then, I had some artisan lettuce that needed to be used up - cuz I had another batch that was $1 - not a bargain if I let the previous batch go bad - so, that got torn up and placed in a salad bowl topped with a concoction I made on the stove.  I browned onions, garlic, walnuts, some previously baked red potatoes, balsamic vinegarette, and leftover cranberry sauce - let it cool down a bit - poured it on the lettuce with some feta - and it turned out to be a delicious salad - oh wait - in the cocncoction - I put some fresh basil and rosemary from garden in there for extra deliciousness.  And since I had some corn kernels and a vegetarian who probably wouldn't eat the soup since I used a bit of chicken - I made a lovely corn casserole.  We have both decided we love zucchini now - and I have 3 large ones - so, I want to come up with something new to use them up too.  I also had a lovely smoothie yesterday and today - made from fruit I had already frozen - banana and strawberry - and added a few things from the fridge before they went "bad" - a bit of yogurt, soy milk and ground flaxseed from the pantry.  Oh, and I made a pot of almost free pumpkin spice coffee - it is delicious too.

Friday, September 14, 2012

More 9/14 Expressions

Picutred is the pizza I made today.  It is leftover zucchini, onions, black olives, grape tomatoes, fresh basil and rosemary from my "garden".  Feta and mozzarella too!

9/14 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today is my "day off" - but, I had to fast last night and get some blood work done this a.m.  Although my co-pay is the same, seems I am paying more for the lab part.  I miss the days when the co-pay was pretty much it.  However, I then headed to Wal-mart because I plan to start Hot Yoga.  Hmmm, I gave my yoga mat to my husband to take to the foreclosure house and can't get it back until next week.  So, the only one left at Wal-mart was a pretty swanky looking one for $19.99.  All the $9.99 were sold out and they didn't have any in the stockroom.  So, I searched the store - was going to get a runner rug for $12.99 - but then, I came upon pretty much the same stuff as the yoga mat in the kitchen "liners" section - so, I got one that I will use temporary for $4.XX.  But the really nice part about my trip to Wal-mart was, I was standing in the coffee/tea/etc. isle looking though my coupons.  The Millstone distributor guy was serving the grinding station.  He walked up to me and said - "I see you like coupons".  I said, I sure do, he pulled out a was from his pocket and said, how would you like to try some really good coffee?  So, he gave me 2 $4 off 1/2 a lb of coffee - and even said, why don't you try a 1/2 a lb each?  So, that is just what I did - so, probably for under $2 - I got a 1/2 lb of pumpkin spice and a 1/2 lb of carmel something.  They smell wonderful.  And even though I have a cold/sinus infection - I am as chipper as could be.  Our stock funds have been doing really these last two weeks - and having re-allocated our retirement fund to slighly less conservative - made a big difference.  (Now, don't let me jinx it).  The rest of today - I plan to make a home-made vegetarian pizza, I rented a Redbox comedy, and plan to do a bit of cleaning - and then I pretty much will relax with some pumpkin spice coffee.  :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9/12 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Yesterday, we attended local colleges/university night - and picked up some information.  I am hoping my daughter goes to a state college/university since I pre-paid her tuition when she was born.  But she does have her eyes out for an out-of-state university - and that means additional $ out for tuition.  So, I was hoping she got swayed - which would be very frugal for us :)  Wow - I was impressed with Amex - they fed-ex'd my card to me. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

9/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I stayed home today.  My cold is is still as bad as it was and now I have post nasal drip.  Puffs with Vicks seemed like a luxury - although it was on sale, had a coupon, was part of the gas card deal, and possibly part of the rebate - they are great for a stuffy nose.  The picture, I sat outside in the sun, with SPF on my face, and mixed a cheap nail polish (part of a set of 4 that came from the dollar tree - that refuses to dry) that I loved the color - but was not functional as a nail polish.  So, then, the Wet 'n Wild dries fine - but the frost creme/white color was too light - so, now it is a pink - and is on my finger and toe nails.  I also finished my daughter's silk shirt upcycle.  I found an old piece of lace that would work great as a tie-belt.  She loved it - and wants to wear it for picture day - on Wednesday.  She did point out that one sleeve is slightly longer than the other - and I have to agree - so, I will fix it shortly.  I also took care of some administrative matters - contacted the attorney that is handling our sandlot's claim against BP to find out if they can enjoin our other property.  They are checking into it.  I got my free Woman's Day magazine in the mail that I thumbed through while my toe nails were drying - and in it is a gumbo recipe - great use for my "crop" of okra :) 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

9/9 Expressions

Yesterday was pretty frugal - but I spent most of the day napping and in a fog.  My husband and daughter earned close to $40 at the yardsale.  They split it between the two of them.  I came down with a cold - so, after doing some cooking, I hit the hay.  The dryer came and I love it.  My husband and daughter did some coupon shopping for me yesterday at Publix - and they got the free after coupon/rebate boxes (2) of copy paper at Staples.  So, now we shouldn't need paper for at least a year - and some of the school teachers periodically request donations of copy paper - so, now we have it.  I called our local tax assessor - about any change in property tax appraisals - she said if I didn't receive a change in April - there is no change - or there willl be a downward adjustment - I won't complain about that.  The only property that is still out-of-line is our foreclosure property - and hopefully in a month or so, we will get a notice of the downward adjustment - with some of $ we already paid refunded back :)  I also re-allocated some of our retirement funds.  The funds were had in the most conservative funding - I moved into the 2nd most conservative indexed fund.  The funds in large and small US cap are still there and the only funds that will any new funding.  What went into the indexed fund is the "high" that we reached in 2007 before the market started tanking. We are too close to retiring to weather such a big roller coaster ride.  Oh, and I purchased a gift for the family on Groupon - 4 hours of deep cleaning by 2 technicians for $150.  That will be our holiday gift to ourselves - start off the new year with a cleaner house.

Friday, September 7, 2012

9/7 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I applied for the AMEX Business card for our renal business last night and was approved.  $500 for spending $5000 in 3 months.   I negotiated a $25 rebate on our dryer from Lowes.  The dryer they delivered today was not operational.  So, for tomorrow's delivery, a floor model that is in perfect condition.  Also, we are suppose to be the first delivery.  We have laundry piled up.  I suppose we could have washed them and hung them outside. I spent $25 at Publix this afternoon and saved $18 with coupons.  Some of my best deals were the Silk protien drink - quart on sale for 2/$4 and there are printable $1 off coupons at - of course I went through so I can hopefully earn enough points shortly to get a gift card.  Also a good deal - for less than $1 - I got my daughter a box of that Magnum ice cream (bars) - new flavor mint - it is BOGO at Publix - and has $1 off.  Same good deal on Honey Nut Cherios - BOGO at $3.XX - and I printed a $1/2 coupon.  Sour cream - Friendlys was dirt cheap too - BOGO - around $2 and there are .70 blinkies right next to them - so around .30 a tub plus tax.  Now I am making home made pizza - could have used the Kruesteuz Italian bread dough mix that was on clearance for .69 a box - got 2 - but instead - used the quick rise yeast packets I got with a coupon off.  Tonight, we are preparing for the yardsale tomorrow.  Hope we get rid of a lot of stuff - and earn a bit of cash :)  Oh, picked fresh basil and rosemary from my own "garden" box  for the vegetarian pizza. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

9/6 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I am gathering items for our community yardsale this weekend.  Tomorrow, the dog gets groomed with a discounted giftcard.  In addition, I am returning 2 items to the store that I bought last weekend.  I was also surprised to see the amount the condo earned last month (net) - it seems the expenses are lower.  I am printing coupons for more Dollar Tree cheapies - Rinaldi .50 coupon, Solo .50 coupons, etc. I am going to do a bit of stocking up because the holiday season is coming up and that means office parties - plates & cups are always in demand.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

9/2 Expressions

Pictured today is half of my edamame "crop" :)  Free seeds through listia.  Seems we have appliance breakdowns near holidays.  I guess that is frugal :(  Anyway, our dryer quit working - and so, since appliances are on sale at Lowes for Labor day - and they are having free delivey and take-away - my husband ran down with a 10% off coupon and my discounted gift card - and paid the rest with the card he needs to spend $ on to get the $400 bonus.  So, we will be dealing with hanging laundry in the garage for the next couple of days as the dryer won't be delivered until Friday.  We are having my dad over for lunch - it has already rained this a.m. - but we think we can get the bbq going in a few minutes.  I am going to bake some red potatoes - 5 lbs/.99 at Aldi and make some pear/spinach salad - before the ingredients goes bad - got a large pear for free at Kroger w/coupon last weekend and 2 small ones from our tree that have finally ripened.  Also, Bushes baked beans will be heated.  Easy for me. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9/1 Expressions

Pictured is an okra that is growing in a planter on my deck.  The seeds were free from Listia.  Yesterday, I also got a "free" large bottle of CVS brand cocoa buter lotion - when my husband did that get a free gas card shop - at the bottom of the receipt was a coupon for $3 off any CVS brand lotion - I just got the lotion which was $2.XX and after deducting the coupon - the cashier said - "you'er good" :)  Not sure what all I am doing today - but we decided to invite my dad over for a bbq - hope the weather holds up.  So, I will have to some unexpected grocery shopping.  I do plan to stop at Earthfare - the coupon this week is $5 for 5 different condiments - all organic :)