Thursday, January 31, 2013

1/31 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  The battery I ordered from Amazon for my daughter's smartphone came today - just over $7 shipped!  I sold another item on ebay.  I filled out a credit card application that I was "prequalified" for - Kroger/USBank.  Spend $200 in 3 months and get a $75 statement credit - can't beat that.  Tomorrow, my husband and I are opening accounts at a local bank and hopefully in a month or so, we will receive our Kindle Fire HD.  I went on a quick cooking spree this afternoon and used up "stuff" - raisin scones, potato casserle, gingerbread cookie whoopie pies, "Mexican" cornbread muffins.  I used the $5 off offer from livingsocial to get a pet grooming certificate for $12.  A couple of days ago, I used the $10 off code from Groupon for a hot stone massage and body wrap for just under $40.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I sold 2 items on ebay and my third has a bid.  With the paypal - I have ordered a discounted Wal-mart giftcard to buy gas/groceries/misc.  Junk-out and money in.  I am trying to convince myself to sell on ebay, etc. and shoot for an average of $100 per month or $1200 for the year.  I am "off" at my day job.  I hope to be productive - but may just relax :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/27 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I sold a DVD on and will mail it out tomorrow during lunch break - and also mail back an item my daughter order - free returns.  My daughter and I had a bogo latte at Barnes and Noble - the printable coupon is back out and is good until the 31st.  I saw an add for a local bank in which they are giving away Kindle Fire HD by opening an account, doing a direct deposit, and 3 bill pays.  I am going to look into on my "day off" this week.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

1/26 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today, we made an appointment for the dog and got her groomed at Petsmart and used the rest of the cheap giftcard.  Also shopped at Kroger and Wal-mart with lots of coupons for some health and beauty items - toothpaste - Colgate $1 less .75 coupon, etc.  Panera bread, my daughter and I signed up for their rewards card and each got a free pastry this morning.  While there, we went to Victoria's Secret and got a free pair of panties, used the 20% of pretty much anything in Ulta and my daughter used the last of her GAP gift card (from signing up for the AMEX card) and got 2 shirts for about $2.50 out of pocket after the gift card since they were having an additional 40% off sale items.  We ate lunch at a Thai Restaurant with a BOGO coupon.  Sadly, we could not find the Triple Chocolate Hot Cocoa at Arby's - we tried 2 Arby's in the area and neither had the item.  So, that freebie was a bust.  Not to jinx ourselves - but the stock market has been ver nice to our 401K equivalent accounts.  Added:  my daughter's smartphone will not hold a charge for more than 2 hours.  We stopped by T-Mobile - and inquired about replacement batteries.  The sales representative told us that since we are now pay-as-you-go, the battery is not covered.  He told us we should be able to order one for about $5 from Amazon.Com - and he was right.  Instead of the $5 one, we ordered the $7.XX one - no shipping costs and I used my Amazon.Com credit. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1/24 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  This month - I have been just keeping one step ahead of the bills - not fun.  No money out of savings - yet, but no money in either.  I am hoping that in February, we will round a corner and get back on track.  I have been cooking meals at home, taking breakfast and lunch to work - and snacks.  Just the basics.  Oh, one item on ebay has a bid - and it should buy me and my daughter a tank of gas - so that's nice to get rid of clutter for something we can use that doesn't clutter the house.  This weekend I plan to list a few larger items on craigslist.  I am sort of dreading it though - I am wondering if it is worth the hassle.  I have been plugging away with swagbucks and halfway to earning a $5 Amazon gift card.  I have restrained myself from buying bargains.  Tomorrow, I will be going to work a few hours later because of the ice - but at lunch, I will stop by Costco and do my bi-weekly shop/gas run.  My husband got his American Airlines card - and hopes to earn 35,000 miles - and we hope to take a nice trip this summer - perhaps to Europe again.

Monday, January 21, 2013

1/21 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I used the $50 off $100 coupon at Bestbuy (with Mastercard - and lots of restrictions) for 3 boxes of black/color ink cartridges for our printer.  We should be set for the year.  We also stopped at Kroger and got our free Carnation Instant Breakfast mix with digital coupon - I also got some 1/2 priced manager's special items to freeze.  I also found a $4 rebate form for rotisserie chicken which will come in handy.  And we used some Tomato Bank points at Earthfare to have a nice lunch out - mine came to $1.50 after point redemption.  I also listed 2 items on ebay - hopefully they will sell and that's a bit more clutter out and cash-in.  Added:  planted basil seeds I "won" on Listia, received my e-card for selling a giftcard and found that I had a $5 code on Swagbucks that I had not redeemed, sewed the zipper on my daughter's jeans, and made a batch of potato salad before the potatoes as a side dish for the next couple of meals.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/20 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  For some reason, I cannot upload my picture - but anyway, I made 4 very wide headbands from 2 old t-shirts for my hot yoga classes.  I don't like ones that are too tight, or thin - as I do not like sweat dripping into my eyes or ears - so, I tried one today - and it works well and just cost me some time.  I taught my daughter how to use a seam ripper - and she removed a broken zipper from a pair of perfectly good jeans.  Then she printed a 50% off coupon for Joann's and purchased a zipper for $2 plus tax.  I will stitch the zipper back in for her.  We went to lunch at Macaroni Grill with the $5 bonus gift card - the food was yummy - but the gift card didn't make much of a dent in our bill.  Then we headed to Bath and Body Works and we each got a free travel sized lotion.  My daughter went to Victoria's Secret and used the $10 gift certificate they sent me on a clearanced shirt.  Then to Barnes and Noble, my husband treated me to a coffee with the Gift Card he got from American Express and he and my daughter used the BOGO cookie coupon and gift card.  Then we all browsed the books and magazines.  My husband started the flooring work - it is going to taken longer than we thought - but there isn't a big hurry at the moment.  This month - we definitely have more time than money.  Added:  to use up a 1/2 bag of tangerines - I made tangerine cake with tangerine frosting - turned out very yummy.  I cashed in $25 in statement credit on my BOA card.  I am very close to being able to cash out another $25 - so, it will be my card of choice until I spend $30 on it - about 1 trip to the gas station.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1/19 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Mail call - today I received a $10 gift card from Victoria's Secret and my $50 Debit Mastercard from my Health Insurance Company.  Another unexpected bill this month, we took the dog to the vet - she was limping . . . $150.

Friday, January 18, 2013

1/18 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I am "off" from the day job today - so, I slept in.  Then we headed to the credit union to deposit some checks - including one for .20 (dividend).  To get rid of change - I have started to round the deposit to a dollar amount.  So, that .20 check became 1.00 with change.  My husband and I also got a complimentary cup of coffee at the credit union - it is so yummy.  Then to Wal-mart - mainly to do a bit of coupon shopping.  Free after coupon items included a travel sized pack of Neutrogena face wipes and dental floss.  Cheaper with coupon, 2 Kikoman sauces and 2 tubes of Jenny-o breakfast sausages.  Next door is the Dollar Tree - so, I got a loaf of whole wheat bread, a jar of Jalapeno peppers, some "movie" candy, and some lasagna noodles.  Then to Home Depot to pick-up the rest of the laminate.  We still have some $ left on the discounted giftcard I purchased - so, that should cover any moulding we might need, etc.  Then to Aldi - rounded out groceries there - unfortunately holiday sweets were heavily discounted - so, we got a few.  Then on to Earthfare for a cheap lunch date with my husband.  He still had $10 worth of Tomato bank credit - and they dropped the hot bar down to $5.99 - so, my husband got his lunch, a bottled lemonade, a box of crackers, a free round of brie with coupon, a sample of macaroon for his dessert (we also sampled a few other tasty items while strolling) - unfortunate they were out of the free water and they weren't expected to come in until after the coupon expires.  My husband's total came to under $2.  I got the free brie with my lunch and a few additional groceries items.  Then the cashier reminded us that the meat department was giving out scratch cards.  So, after lunch, we stopped at the meat department and each got 2 pre-made burgers.  The scratch cards yielded 400 points which is the equivalent of $4.  The burgers were $5 plus tax.  And now we have over $4 left on our accounts - so, that will make for another cheap lunch date down the road.   Then, a rarity.  Mail was delivered early.  Today's mail brought another dividend check of .45 - so, that means I will be scroungin .55 in change to go with it.  And Victoria's Secret sent more coupons - free panty was the best of the 3 coupons.  I have lots of things I need to work on - but I am mainly going to work on relaxing today.  I do plan to go to hot yoga - and do some heavy duty cooking - a vegetarian and a meat lasagna for the freezer - and dinner.  That way, I can use up items before they go "bad" - like the second bag of spinach I purchased from Aldi last week.  All bills, big and small got paid today - and no money out of savings  which as a relief.  However, the accounts are very anemic - and not all of the "big" bills have come in - like the one to cut the trees down and there may be a bill for one of the rental properties.  And, as much as I hate to "see" myself get less per paycheck that last year - I guess that is what is going to happen.  Some got offset by cancelling a few optional deductions - but the payroll tax hit, and now I plan to ramp up my 401K equivalent will make the check a bit smaller.  But, in the end , it will be worth it.  I am hoping I am really close to committing to "retiring" from my day job - so, I need to sock away what I can.  I need to re-calculate my deduction - for the catch-up missed for 2 pay periods, and the $500 increase in the "ceiling".

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1/17 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Due to bad weather - I only worked 1/2 a day.  Came home and listed 2 DVDs on  In the mail, my husband and I both got a complimentary night at the Hyatt as an anniversary gift on our cards - not sure if that card has a yearly fee - sure hope not.  Anyway, we are planning a trip to check out some schools for our daughter.  We are hoping to get another free flights/free nights trip scheduled so we have little impact to our savings plan.  This has been a horrible month for expenses.  First half of our property taxes for the out-of-state foreclosure property is due.  Of course the tree cutting bill will be coming.  We are laying laminate.  My savings plan has been de-railed for the month of January.  Hopefully, I will make up for lost time in the next couple of months.  We have reduced/cancelled some services - hopefully, my husband can install the VOIP and we can say good bye to our landline charges.  I cancelled a few optionals from my pay . .  . we are watching food purchases/waste better - and I have 11.5 months to make the goal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1/15 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I work near Earthfare now - and today, a coupon for 24 bottles of water (my husband and daughter drink these occasionally) for free with the purchase of $10 caught my eye.  So, at lunch today, I purchased some wild caught salmon, natural kettle corn and the water for .54 after my Tomato bank credits and water coupon.  Then after work, I stopped at Rite Aid intent on using my $3 UP reward.  I ended up buying 12 double rolls of TP for just under $2.50 after sale and reward.  Free would have been better - but I will take it :)  So instead of stocking up, I am concentrating on buying what we need.  Since I am in decluttering mode and definitely want to sell our house, if not this summer, next summer, I don't need a stockpile to move.

Monday, January 14, 2013

1/14 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  2 bags of clothing and 1 box of misc. items were picked-up today.  I have made some frugal meals with loss leaders - spinach lasagna, orange cake/orange frosting, shrimp wontons, onion and sweet potato tempura and brown rice.  Made plenty, so, no cooking tomorrow, and easy lunches to pack too.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

1/12 Expressions

Frugal deeds and a bust:  Today, I took my daughter for her eye exam - no money out.  But we ordered contacts - and of course I have the receipt to file for under HSA - a small tax saving.  And a "loan" from the HSA account since I haven't paid much in yet.  Anyway, I also asked about my order and lo and behold, it was there - so, I didn't have to make a second trip.  The frugal bust - we went to lunch with the "free" $10 off $20 Restaurant.Com gift certificate.  One of the owners said we could use the certificate - but when we paid the bill - they "forgot" to deduct the $10 - and said use it next time.  I don't think so - the food wasn't great and neither was the service.  So, we are giving that certificate to someone who might like the fare.  Then on to Earthfare  - we picked up some groceries and used the Tomato bank $10 off our order.  Then to Dollar Tree - I picked up 2 packs for Jenny-O Turkey Bacon for tax only after coupon.  Other items I picked-up for $1 each plus tax - Nature's Own bread, 80 count box of green tea, and Jalapeno peppers - $3 plus tax since the bacon was "free".  Then to Aldi.  Then to Starbucks - my daughter and I each got a free tall Vanilla Blonde Coffee - my husband sent me his gift certificate from the facebook offer.  Then we dropped a few items off at the consignment store - and we made a stop at Kroger to pick-up a few things - and a Redbox.  Tomorrow, I hope to declutter a bit more so that I have more for the charitable organization to pick-up on Monday.  I also want to get the loft/hallway ready to lose the carpet so that my husband and I can put down the laminate we purchased.  And yikes - the rental property manager gave us the quotes to remove 6 trees from one of our rental properties - plus to grind the stumps down - one tree fell and narrowly missed the house - knocked-off the shutter - the other 5 are close to house and probably just need to go - since the insurance company is finicky - my husband decided we should not call - so, the best quote from a bonded/licensed tree removal company - $3,200.  Not a good money month for us.  But, it has to be done.  Good thing we have an emergency/savings account - but it hinders my savings progress :(

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1/10 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today, I took 3 coaching sessions on-line from my health insurance company to improve my health and also earn $15 toward deductibles :)  That's the max I can earn during the year.  So, this week, I earned the max of $50.  I also signed up for the Earthfare Tomato Club and now have enough points for a $10 credit.  Mail was good - got 2 coupons from John Frieda.  BOGO hair products - I am almost out of shampoo - if I can find a good price on Shampoo, especially at CVS since I have a giftcard, I may just redeem the coupons.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1/9 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My work place changed and now I am close to Costco.  So, I decided to set a spending limit and go twice a month.  I went today and was $10 under the spending limit and since Starbucks is in the same parking lot - and always calling my name, I used the facebook coupon for a free tall Vanilla Blonde coffee - and it was quite tasty.  Also, since I got the Nescafe Dolce Gusto pods from Amazon - 3 boxes - I loaded the codes in right away.  Now, 5 more boxes and we get one free.  Then I took a survey from my health insurance company for a $35 debit card toward healthcare deductibles.  Just some small steps to move me closer to our financial goals.

Monday, January 7, 2013

1/7 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  We are in receipt of the property tax refund for the foreclosure property that we filed a protest on.  I increased my 401K equivalent deduction since the new max for this year is $17,500.  I need to step up my game if I want to "retire" next year using rule 72T :) 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1/6 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I was just thinking today - if I might have reduced monthly expenses by at least $100 per month?  And yes I have.  We reduced cellphone plan charges, shortly our landline will become serviced by VOIP, cancelled the Sunday paper, and I cancelled a payroll deduction.  We have the Nescafe Dolce Gusto - our indulgence.  Wouldn't you know it - they have a rewards program and had I discovered it earlier, I would be close to getting a box of pods for free.  Anyway, each pod box code is worth 10 points and you can get a free box after reaching 100.  If we are going to indulge, might as well get a free box now and then.  My husband and I went to a matinee - "The Impossible" - and used our gift card and coupon for a nacho - nice to get out without additional out of pocket costs for this month.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1/5 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Today, my husband picked up half of the laminate and underlay from Home Depot and 1/2 the cost was covered by giftcards from the AMEX CC sign-up.  We have the other 1/2 of the laminate on order - and I just placed an order for Home Depot gift cards that were discounted 7% - and charged them on my credit card where I will earn another 1%.  So, we are making progress on the DIY.  I didn't menton that I got my 2 $10 CVS gift card yesterday and I had $3.50 in ecbs waiting for me.  So today, I stopped and got items we use at a steep discount and used 1 gift card.  Item I got with coupons/giftcard/ecb - toilet paper, body wash, deoderant, CVS brand pink stuff for the stomach and a few other items.  I also used my $5 coupon from Steak and Shake for buying a gift card last month to buy a quick lunch for the family.  Nice break from cooking :)  Oh, and I sold a gift card that we won in a gift basket to a place that we never frequent.  I took the gift card option so that we could get a bit more buying power.  I received a card in the mail from another charitable organization that picks up stuff - I will be calling them Monday as I have several bags ready to go.  Good thing they are mostly looking for clothes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

1/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I ordered the VOIP equipment from Amazon with a $45 credit we had for a returned item.  Of couse the item was less than $45 - so, to use up the credit and take advantage of the free shipping with $25 - I ordered some pods for coffee maker.  We deposited the dividend checks we've received in the last week or so  - 3 of them and rounded them up with change around the house :)  Today I am going to get my eyes examined for "free" - I paid $50 for a plan several years ago - so, no money out from my pocket - and I will be ordering contacts - and will be reimbursed by our HSA.  And instead of a loan from from me - I will be getting a loan from the HSA as I am sure the amount paid in will be less than the amount paid out so early in the year.  I plan to stop at Earthfare for a few good cheapies - 4lb bag of organic oranges for $2 - the $5 for 5 items in the food revolution deal isn't bad either.  And, while I really should do some deculttering today - I may lighten up and relax instead :) - just for today. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

1/3 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  My husband and daughter are now on the pay-as-you-go plan for their data/text/voice phones.  That conversion is a savings of $59 per month - except the first month since the new SIM cards were $10 each.  We got a check from the bankruptcy court - for our few shares of the TRIBUNE.  Since money is flying out - every little bit helps.  Next, I am going to convert the landline to VOIP.  I am not sure what our resistance has been - but money-wise - it wasn't too smart :(
I am 3 for 3 for the 30 day hot yoga challenge (20 out of 30 days).  Better health will hopefully lead to less medical expenses - and that is frugal :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  Woot on the stock market - and not falling ove the fiscal cliff :)  Sadly, I could not order contacts today as my rx expired.  But, my eye exam is free and I have an appointment for Friday (my day off).  My husband made some progress to switching the phones to a pre-paid plan - hopefully, this will be accomplished by tomorrow.  I got a free 20oz Coke coupon in the mail.  Still waiting for rental property fix-it quotes . . .

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1/1 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I went to a hot yoga class - we are having a 30 day challenge - shoot for 20 classes in 30 days.  1 down, 19 or more to go :)  I also decluttered clothes from my closet.  I have one paperbag full of clothes ready for the next charitable organization that calls for a pick-up.  I also found 2 items to take to the consignment store.  I also found 2 bags of trash - mostly newspapers and other paper no longer needed.  I am really happy a "fiscal cliff deal was made"  - oh wait, the House has not voted :(  I was going to order my contacts on line - but my most current prescription listed is not correct.  So, my daughter and husband will go the retail store and place an order for both of us.  Oh well, I could have gotten 500 mypoints had I placed the order on-line.  And of course, as soon as I get the receipt, I will be filing a claim with my health savers account.  Earthfare sent out another nice coupon 5 items for $5 - hopefully, my husband and daughter can stop by and get those tomorrow also.  And, I hope they take the Home Depot/Lowes gift cards to pick up items needed for our DIY laminate flooring installation in the bonus room/hallway on the second floor.  I will be at my day job - but hopefully, we can enjoy lunch together at home :)