Monday, December 31, 2012

12/31 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We checked out pay-as-you-go data/text/calling plans at Wal-mart.  My husband and daughter's 2 year plan is now over.  My husband told me the monthly bill was $139 per month.  So, they need to go to T-mobile and get a sim card - the Rep. at Wal-mart said it should cost around $15 each.  Then, my daughter will get the $30 per month plan - unlimited text/data and 100 calling minutes and my husband will get the $50 per month plan - unlimited text/data/calling.  I will wait until I have used up my 1,000 pre-paid minutes.  Then I will buy the phone - $39.99 and buy the $30 per month plan.  Still a bit of savings over what we were paying.  Oh, and Starwood Hotel stock earned a nice dividend this year.  I also called the payroll department and I am cancelling $30 worth of optional bi-weekly deductions from my check. So, still paring down costs as I can.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

12/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My quest to continue to declutter is pictured above.   The bag is a freebie and I printed 2 square templates and found a nice pair of scissors while decluttering.  All the clothes with "blue" in them that we no longer wanted are laundered and ready to be cut into a quilt.  My dad's birthday is in August - hopefully, the quilt will be done by then.  We all pretty much have everything we need. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

12/29 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband has come down with a cold.  I clipped 2 coupons and got him a day-time and night-time syrup and some tissues (free with purchase/coupon).  I used my trusty Wal-mart gift card - so, no additional $ out of my pocket.  While at Wal-mart - I saw their phone center.  That's what we need to research.  My husband and daughter have smartphones - and the contract expired this month.  I am thinking we can get a smartphone for me and still pay approximately the same monthly rate or less.  I dread getting a smartphone (I currently have a pay-as-you-go) - but, I guess to stay connected with the family - and some of the nice features of the smartphone - gps, etc., I am ready to learn how to use one.  Today, I am going to clean the loft/bonus room so we can start ripping the carpet out - I want the garbage can to be full this week and next :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

12/28 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today, I put the donations out for pick-up.  Sure hope they come soon.  Then I crafted the pictured necklace for my daughter.  I saw something similar - less the initial - but, I have costume jewelry I no longer wear.  The initial was purchased from Anthropologie on sale for less than $1.  My daughter loves and hopefully will get some wear out of it.  My junk turned into her treasure.  I printed a few coupons.  I want to organize and automate my breakfasts and lunches for work.  For breakfast, I think a boiled egg and 1 slice of wheat bread w/1 tbsp of natural peanut butter (sold at Aldi) and a salad w/protien for lunch should work.  I am thinking of making the wheat bread w/peanut butter and foldng them over and freezing to save the bread and making it very easy on me to pack.  That may be my project for the day.  Since it is the holiday season,  I want to get some relaxing time in to refresh myself for office work - but getting some home projects done give me a sense of accompishment and a feeling of moving closer to my goal of preparing for my daughter's education and my eventual "retirement".

Added:  although later than stated, the donations got picked up.  My daughter and I went to Earthfare where we each got 2 "deals"  with coupon.  A fillet and lobster tail for $9.  We invited my dad ovr for New Year lunch.  We also stopped at Michael's to pick up fabric dye with the 50% off coupon and gift card.  That was my daughter's purchase - I purchased a Godiva Chocolate bar with the 50% off and gift card - between the two of, we spent less than $4 on the gift card - and the chocolate will be shared by all.  :)  And definitely not cheap - but I got 2 boxes of the Phillips crabcakes for my husband - I printed a $1.50/2 coupon which took some of the sting out of the price - but my husband deserves his favorite treat.  My brother sent my daughter a gift card for Christmas - to the Guitar Center.  So, she and my husband will make a trip next week since they are both home.  I will work 3 out of the 5 days next week at the office :(  As far as freebies with coupons - yesterday, I got 2 dental flosses for free with coupon.  This is not a stock-up for us since it will be used by the three of us rather quickly.  It is nice to go through "stuff" and find useful "stuff".  I am about out of face wash - I found 2 sample packs.  The longer I can hold out, the more stuff I use up and the less stuff I spend $ on.  Of course it would also give me time to get my CVS giftcards too.  I also should order contacts - but I am holding off until 1 January so I can get reimbursed with my health saver's account.  And here's hoping we don't go off the fiscal cliff!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12/27 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Progress toward decluttering - I found a chair, household items, suit case, and more clothes to donate.  Pick-up is set for tomorrow.  I redeemed mypoints for a $10 Panera gift card for my husband.  I just printed a few coupons for things I had planned to purchase anyway.  My bonus hit my bank account.  I transferred some to my daughter's college savings account and  to our savings account.  I called the realtor about our 2 vacant properties.  Both need to be cleaned before being put up for rent.  I asked for them to be put up asap. Apparently the house has a lot of stuff left including new children's clothing, amoir, etc.  They are going to hire a subcontractor to get the stuff out and clean  - sadly, sounds like both tenants will lose their deposits.  I guess people have money to burn these days?

Added:  Yikes, the bad weather has caused a tree limb to fall the yard of another rental property.  The property manager thinks it may have knocked a shutter down.  She is going out to the property to check.  When it rains, it pours.  Mail was decent.  We had to fill out a form to get a spin-off stock - an energy company I believe.  Kroger sent some nice coupons.  My daughter and I grocery shopped at Aldi, Kroger and Wal-mart.  I still have some $ left on my Wal-mart gift card.  Aldi - we used cash and Kroger - what can I say, I used a points back credit card.  I also used a coupon for a free sandwich at Arbys - and used the rest of the gift card and added a few $ as my daughter wanted a peppermint shake - they are seasonal - and I took a sip.  So, easy dinner for the family.  My husband, who is coming down with a cold, got his sandwich.  I had turkey broth soup - made from leftover - and my daughter fended for herself.  The dog looks fabulous with her new "do".   I also ordered 2 $10 CVS giftcards from my Chase CC accounts.  I plan to use them for household items I "need" - but hate to pay for - toilet paper, etc.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

12/26 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  Today, I ordered a belated holiday gift for my daughter's guitar teacher.  She thinks he will appreciate an itunes gift card - so that is what he got - I used my $5 Wal-mart gift card from Swagbucks and part of the Wal-mart gift card I purchased using ebay $.  So, we took a quick trip out to the west coast.  It was our Christmas gift to ourselves and a chance to check out the location in which I had a job offer.  We loved the area - the job sounded great - just a tad bit more $ - sounds perfect right?  I ended up declining the offer.  Why, we aren't as agile as I thought we'd be.  First of all, we really couldn't swing a move in time for my daughter to switch schools.  The bigger problem - getting the house ready to sell by the summer.  So, my goal is get this house ready to sell in the next 15-20 months.  I plan to take a deferred retirement - as in, I won't be old enough to collect my retirement pay for several years - but I can take money out of my 401K equivalent using rule 72T to tide me over until I hit hit my retirement age.  So, I have lots to declutter, get rid of, etc.  Good thing I got a call from a charity organization that picks stuff up - I plan to call them back and have several boxes ready for them.  I also plan to sign up with a consignment store near work that takes everyday household stuff.  I plan to upcycle what we have - meaning buying only the minimum in clothing - that stuff multiplies.  I plan to use up what we have.  I want to eat healthily (is that a word) - but not waste and not stockpile.  So, that's the goal.  Today, we had my dad over to give him his gift and we made lunch.  For the side dishes - we mainly used up stuff from the pantry.  I also have lots of bar soap - some of it nice smelling hand made soap.  So, I am back to making my own laundry detergent - we don't have skin conditions - and I don't use an exact science.  I just flake the soap with a knife into a canning jar - microwave about three minutes - dump it into the laundry soap container - the jar is hot and I am careful - then I dump in several more jars of water - shake - and I get "laundry detergent" of differing consistency - depending on how much soap I flake - and usually nice smelling.  I also plan to start saving as much as I can.  When you want to move quickly, cash is king!  So, tomorrow, I plan to take my Home Depot gift cards - earned from the AMEX deal - and get supplies to do as much as DIY as I can on this house.  I plan to start ripping up the carpet in the bonus room and hallway so that my husband can install laminate flooring.  Tomorrow, the dog is getting her hair done with the gift card I got practically from from the AMEX $25 small business credit deal. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

12/18 Expressions

Money attraction edition:  Today I received the giftcards from doing the AMEX Business deal; I received the Wal-mart gift card I ordered with my paypal account - from payments of sales on ebay; I received a statement from the insurance company that I received a dividend this year; and we owned a few shares of the Tribune - unfortunately, they went bankrupt:  received notification that we will receive a some $ back.  Oh, and I receive notification that I got a bonus at work.  All the extra will go toward property tax payments - and I plan to replace the tires on my car.  My husband just notified me that a work mate sold his house - and has been living in an RV.  With the weather being a bit too cold, he asked if he could move in with my husband a few nights a week and is paying a bit of rent.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12/15 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I decided to use my ebay $ for a Wal-mart giftcard - that way, we can use it to buy gas/groceries.  My daughter and I got our holiday shopping done.  This year, we pretty much stuck to giftcards - and about 1/2 of them had bounceback offers - although they can't be used until 1/1/13.  I used most of my Marriott points - earn just for making a purchase for holiday trip.  Nice that the room includes free wi-fi and free breakfast.  I believe that credit card deal was probably the best I have ever gotten in on.  Tonight was the community luminaria night.  It was beautiful and peaceful.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/13 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I sold a book on - yippee, a few bucks and clutter out.  Then I got my AMEX Statement and redeemed my rewards points for giftcards - and I qualified for free expedited shipping - 3 days :)  My husband is redeeming some air miles and hotel points so that we can take a quick trip over the holiday season.  Oh, and yesterday I got in on a Coke Rewards special - redeem 30 points for a 12 pack coupon - nice for the soda-aholic in the family :)  Added:  Oh, and I checked my AMEX bill - ABC giftcards is a small business and I got $25 back on a Petsmart Giftcard I paid $32 for - which has a value of $36 or $37 :)  Pooch gets a cheap hairdoo for once :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My ebayer finally paid - and I am going to wrap the package up to mail out tomorrow with my sale.  I also have a few other items selling on ebay - so, perhaps I will mail out another package or two :)  Decluttering and a bit of cash is a good thing in my book.  I plan to make a large salad shortly to use up what we have so that I will have a couple of lunches for the next few days.  The fridge is finally starting to have some room :)

Added:  I made a yummy salad - leftover whole cranberry sauce, artisan lettuce, a bit or roasted chicken, tomatoes, feta, olive oil, red wine vinegar, apple, 1 green onion.  I also gassed up the car at Wal-mart and stopped in for a rotisserie chicken.  Then to Arby's to get my daughter a peppermint milk shake - I still had a few cents left on a gift card.  When I got there, I decided to ask if they still had the buy a $10 giftcard, get the milkshake free deal.  Yup!   But it gets better - I asked to pay for 1 milkshake and get a free one with a gift card purchase - the manager gave me both shakes free :)  They also gave me a nice coupon flyer - the last coupon - good during Christmas week is for a totally free sandwich.  And, I sold another item on ebay :)  Feels like my lucky, frugal day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

12/8 Expressions

Holiday sights - either the first or second time since we moved here around 6 years ago, our paperwhites have bloomed.  I have a picture - but for some reason, the upload function isn't functioning.  Today we spent most of the morning decluttering - more stuff added to the consignment store box and we have 3 boxes for donations.  Another charitable organization left a note that they will be in the area for pick-up in a week or so - so, we have some time to pack-up a few more boxes.  I also threw out some stuff and found some lost treasures.  Today, we went to Victoria's Secret with 5 $10 off coupons and got some nice things for not very much out of pocket.  We also went to a Thai restaurant with a BOGO coupon and lunches are around $7 - lots of food - so, we brought some home.  The food was very tasty to boot.  also went to Earthfare and picked up coupon items - $1 stocking stuffers - really nice smelling soap, s'mores, etc. and 2 salad packs (4 salads each).  We also took the dog for a nice walk.  It has been an enjoyable day.  Oh, I skipped hot yoga - went to the weight loss center - and met (surpassed) my first goal - so, now I can carry my new purse from Coldwater Creek!  Just tried to upload that picture - and still no luck - sigh!  Uploaded a few items on ebay today too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

12/3 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Tonight, we ate a sorta free gourmet dinner.  It was our HOA holiday party and the food was catered - and yummy.  Mail was excellent too:  I got a rebate check - and a $5 off Millstone coffee coupon - not sure if I won it or what - but I am trying to spend as little as possible on coffee grounds. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

12/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I made cranberry/orange scones today from fresh cranberries and zest from one my oranges.  Not all that pretty - but they were tasty - and the pieces missing were from three people trying them out - not just me.  I sold 1 item on ebay.  Have my and sales ready to go.  Just waiting for the buyer to pay.  I have two crafts ready for lunch time this week.  One will use 2 of my daughter's childhood t-shirts for an upcycled "scarf".  The other, already crocheted rectangles that I will stitch together to make my daughter an interesting infinity-type scarf.  I changed out the front door wreath.  I now have our holiday wreath out - purchased 4 years ago - I think from Goodwill.  Still looks as good as it did then. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

12/1 Expressions

I can't believe it is December already.  Believe me, I am ready for it.  Anyway, the dog got groomed with a discounted Petsmart Gift Card.  I sold another book on  I am waiting for my auctions to end on ebay tomorrow and my item on listia.  I also hope to list a few more items too.  We shall see, but I am hoping to get this house declutters and in shape to sell by the summer of 2014.  That seems a long ways away, but in reality, it would probably take that long to get everything in order.   Part way through this month, we will have 2 vacancies.  I am hoping they both get filled quickly.  The attorney filing the BP claim keeps sending me e-mails that he is going to call me shortly - uh, stop e-mailing me that you are going to call - and just e-mail me what you want to tell me.  Is that so hard?  I have been playing with the Rule 72T distribution calculator here:  Why?  Once the house is sold, I am thinking of taking a "deferred" retirement.  So, I can start drawing down my 401K equivalent until I hit my minimum retirement age.