Friday, September 30, 2011

Grocery Shopping on a Scant Budget

For this week's trip to Publix I had to be very careful with my spending. That was proving to be difficult as the sales were very good this week, and I had coupons for everything, except for the wine and milk. (What a combo, huh?). I made a very careful list and even included the coupons and tax so I knew for certain exactly what I was going to be spending before I got there. I didn't make it to the store on Wednesday because I got tied up with something else so I therefore missed the penny item (which is just as well because it was Vanilla Wafers again and I still have an unopened box in the pantry!). Another thing about shopping on Thursday - it made it a lot harder to find the sale items. A lot of things had been shelf cleared in their normal slot, but I was luck and found them on endcaps. EXCEPT for my coffee. They were out of my particular flavor, but I got a raincheck for it, thankfully - I wasn't sure if they would issue a raincheck when they had other flavors left, but the girl at customer service was totally nice and was happy to issue it.

A quick trip to Aldi tomorrow for some produce and cheese should round it all out nicely!

Anyway, this is what I got:

2 Gortons Fish
2 Chef Boyardee Spaghetti & Meatballs
2 Snackwells Cookies
3 Hamburger Helper
2 Snackwells Cereal Bars
2 Pillsbury Grands Biscuits
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces
1 Diana's Babies Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas
1 Aunt Jemima French Toast
2 Stouffers Family Size Meals

Spent: $32.40
Saved: $42.03 or 58%

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Whoops! I Forgot!

In my freakout about having only $100 until next payday , (well, $63 if you count what has to be taken out) I completely forgot something! I will be getting a $24 expense reimbursement on Monday! $24 isn't much, but since that will increase the money I have to stretch-til-payday by 30%-ish (no I can't do actual math this early in the morning), I'm positively giddy!

That means I've got a little breathing room. That means that if I need gas, I can get some! That means I CAN actually pick up some coffee this week since its on a great sale at Publix. (and yes, I consider coffee a necessity to my life -- caffeine addiction, anyone?)

Yea!!!!!!! I'm going to go have a second cup NOW!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some Good News: Health Insurance

Health insurance is a necessity. I have employer provided health insurance. A certain amount is deducted from each of paychecks to cover my portion of the premiums. I never include this in my budget because it is actually money I never see. It goes out of my paycheck before said paycheck ever hits my account.

That is perfectly fine with me. I don't have to keep track of it, I don't have to think about it --- its just there. Generally, this time of year, we get an e-mail from HR informing us that our portion is increasing. While I'm never thrilled, I also know that my employer has absorbed much more of the premium increase, so I never complain. I have a job. I have health insurance, and considering the times, I feel lucky to have both.

This year, however, was different --- different from each and every year since I've had employer provided coverage. Yesterday, we got an email from HR informing us that our premiums this year were actually going DOWN. What? Huh? They are going down? I had to read the email twice to be sure I read it right the first time! Yes, the premiums are going down approximately $5 per paycheck.

I know that's not a huge amount, but that's $10 per month --- $120 a year! I can do a LOT with an extra $120 this year. So now my dilemma begins.... do I add that to my debt repayment? Do I adjust my savings deductions to have that amount put in savings in the event of worst case scenario with the job? Or do I let it get absorbed into the rest of my monthly budget and give myself some wiggle room?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

$100 Til Pay Day

My budget has gone awry. I really have to sit down and do some serious number crunching. Looking at my bank account, I have realized that I have $100 until my next pay day, which will be on October 6! All the bills are paid. That's a good thing. And techinically, I have $300 until payday, but $200 will come out on the 3rd, so I'm not counting that as money I have to stretch for the next 9 days.

I'm just a tad bit freaked out about it. $25 of that will go towards Princess Penelope's allowance. Another $12 will be to pay for something I ordered a month ago. So that puts me down to $63 to stretch as far as I can.

And wouldn't you know it..... Publix has all of our regular stock up items on sale starting tomorrow. I was aniticipating a big grocery shopping, but that will definitely be on hold. I'll peruse the sale, see what I can get for next to nothing and that will be it. I have about half a tank of gas in the car. Which, if I truly limit where I go, I should be able to stretch. I have money in savings, but my goal here is to not touch that at all.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Trying to Get It All Together

I'm generally a homebody. I work full time and generally when I'm off of work, I like to be at home. Lately that hasn't been the case nor has it been possible. Several weeks of going, going, going have left me frazzled and my house.... well its pretty much a wreck.

The past 14 days have been unbelievably busy. I've had side gig meetings, meetings at the school, dinners out with friends. I've also gone out of town twice, well technically three times. Once to South Alabama for my grandmother's 90th birthday. And then this weekend, I went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Arkansas game, left Saturday morning and came back Saturday night. Then, since Princess Penelope spent the night in Tuscaloosa with her cousin, I went back to Tuscaloosa yesterday to pick her up.

The problem with being on the go so much is that it plays absolute havoc with the budget. More traveling and running around means more gas burned. More traveling and running around means more meals not eaten at home. More traveling and running around also means more little incidentals picked up along the way. All of this translates to a very beleaguered budget.

It also translates to exhaustion and a lack of focus. Cureently, and for roughly the last two weeks, my house looks like a tasmanian devil went through it. It is a disaster area! And I can't stand it. All these things are piling up and I really haven't been able to focus on them. Time to make a list. And get some stuff crossed off.
I have GOT to get this all together... its making me crazy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Might Have to Start Using the Dryer Again

With two people in the house, air drying everything this summer has been pretty easy. With three to four loads to run each weekend, the air drying method went smoothly. My deck has ample space for the drying rack and clothes seemed to dry fairly quickly in the summer heat. Now that things have cooled off a bit, clothes are taking much longer to dry on the deck and everywhere else. (I also use the showere as a place for air drying many of our clothes, but it too can only handle so much at one time!)

I don't know that this is going to be a viable option for us for the fall and winter months. The process seems to take much longer. And while I could adjust my laundry schedule to doing a load almost every evening, I don't relish the thought of having racks of clothes about the house every day of the week. On the weekends, it has worked fine, but during the week. Well, that just might make me crazy. I have a hard enough time keeping up with all that needs to be done on a day in and day out basis sometimes. Racks of clothes, well, that's just not going to help me keep things looking the way I want.

Any suggestions for keeping this up as the weather cools off? I really hate the idea of going back to using the dryer on a regular basis!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tiny Grocery Trip

This week's grocery trip was SMALL. Being out of town this past weekend, there really wasn't much that we actually needed, except dog food. Toilet paper was also at a good price, so while we weren't down to one roll, I went ahead and picked some up.

I also did something this week that I haven't done in 11 1/2 years as a pet owner. I ran out of dog food. Wednesday morning when I got up, I let the pups out to do their business and came back inside to fix their breakfast. I opened the bin, and there was hardly any left. Dang it. I usually feed Thing 1 and Thing 2 separately because Thing 2 will totally shove Thing 1 out of the way and eat his food if I don't.

So, I "filled" Thing 2's bowl. She looked at the bowl with a fraction of her normal food, then looked at me, then looked at the bowl, then back at me with a look that said "You have GOT to be kidding me!" So, she ate what was there, sniffed around for more and then finally went back outside. So, I filled Thing 1's bowl. Pretty much the same reaction, although I swear the look he gave me was more along the lines of "Dumb a**." I apologized to both pups and promised I'd bring home food that afternoon.

Quite honestly, I'm surprised that I didn't come home to find that Thing 2 had eaten the couch.

So, anyway, I definitely got the dog food and a few other things:

1 20 lb Pedigree Dog Food
1 Angelsoft
1 Publix Diet Lemon Lime (penny item!)
1 Fat Boy Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches

Spent: $18.78, Saved $10.82 or 37% --- not my best savings percentage, but quite honestly, I can rarely get my savings super high when I'm buying dog food and tp!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

College Shopping

Princess Penelope will be heading off to college next year. We are bothe very excited but also a bit concerned about the costs we'll incur and are looking to cut those costs wherever we can. With that in mind, Princess Penelope looked over the stuff that Target had as its dorm stuff a few weeks ago. She took pictures of what she wanted and texted them to me. Now that it is time for that stuff to be marked down, I went looking on my lunch hour on Friday. When I got there our local Target didn't have any of the stuff she really wanted. Hmmmm. Darn.

So, when we were out of town this weekend for my Grandmother's 90th birthday party, we stopped at the Target in Gulf Shores and found exactly what she wanted -- -with each item marked down 30-50% off. I was hoping for it all to be 50%, but that wasn't quite the case. Sigh. However, since they were down to just one of just about everything on her list AND we knew that our local one didn't have what she wanted, I bit the bullet and we got it all. Sheets, Comforter, Shams, a picture frame and Throw Pillows. All in all though, I was happy, I spent $80 including tax, but the "normal" retail would have been $145 before tax. AND I put it on my Target Red Card (which is debit NOT credit!).

While this is not necessarily the MOST frugal option, it definitely a better option than picking it all up for full price next August! And I figure if I start picking up some of the items she'll need when she goes to school between now and then, it won't hit me quite so hard in the budget when I'm writing that tuition check too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lost: Motivation

After a whirlwind weekend, I am now exhausted, feeling kind of icky and COMPLETELY without motiviation. How very irritating. Reviewing my finances holds no interest for me. Neither does cooking. Or cleaning. Or even unpacking from the weekend.

A full day of rain hasn't helped matters. Basically, I want to just crawl under the covers. Its comfy there. Or stretch out on the couch. That also shows excellent possibilities.

So please, if you happen to find my lost motivation, send it back to me --- my house looks like crap without it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Frugal Furniture Protection

Last fall, I got  a new couch for my den. Well, it was new to me. It was a hand me down from my BFF that was completely free and in GREAT shape. Well, after almost a year of Thing 1 and Thing 2 bouncing all over it, the couch is not in such great shape. My pups are much worse on furniture than my child EVER thought about being! I was getting really frustrated because any ideas I had for protecting the sofa failed. I tried throw blankets, but they never quite covered the entire length and were usally pulled loose in minutes. I considered a slip cover, but those are expensive, not quite in my budget, and I couldn't find one anywhere close to the brick red shade of the couch. I LOVE the color of that couch! Gives some energy to an otherwise completely neutral room.

While hitting up the outlets in Foley yesterday, Princess Penelope and I went into the TJ Maxx outlet. We had some really great luck there: a pair of jeans for the always hard to fit Princess, a dress marked down to $10 that will be perfect for next spring and my personal favorite: the pet furniture cover. Technically, this piece of quilted fabric is supposed to lay across the foot of your bed to protect your bed covering from your pets paws, drool and stuff like that. I had other ideas for it though. Desperately wishing I had the couch measurements, I went ahead and took the chance and bought it for my sofa! $12. Completely washable, fits snug and secure tucked into the ends of the cushions and the back of the couch.  While its not the perfect color, it is livable in the room. Easy to remove and easy to put back on if we have guests. And the fabric feels fabulous when I sit on it too!

Thing 2 has already made herself comfy on it. Thing 1 is a bit camera shy, so as soon as I pulled out the phone, he jumped off. So far, this seems to be the answer to my couch woes. Time will tell how good of a solution this is, but for right now, we are all hopeful!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Talking About It Can Help

I sometimes wonder if I'm a bit too obsessed with my finances. Not in a "I look at my accounts and budget every five minutes" kind of way. But in a way that has me talking about them far more than I normally would. In a very real way, this blog helps me to talk about it without driving every one around me stark raving crazing with my money saving ideas, my shopping deals and my side gig. Its an outlet for me. And one that I can keep "private" ---- yes, I know its out here on the internet and anyone can read it, but for some reason I'm much more comfortable with the relative anonymity this medium provides.

Very few of my friends even know I have a blog. Far fewer even know how to get to it. And I would say that even less than that actually read it. I have a friend who is a sometimes reader and has gotten some good ideas from me through this blog --- well, I say good ideaS, but the main one was my recipe for French Toast Casserole . Anyway, we started talking in general about finances the other day, especially since I'm struggling with uncertainty on the job front and trying to know what to do in regards to paying off debt, saving for Princess's college and in general just getting through all of this. This friend and spouse are for the most part in a really good place --- no consumer debt, cars are paid off, pay extra to the mortgage every month, and have a pretty healthy rainy day fund. The spouse pretty much pays all of the bills and keeps track of the household finances. My friend has pretty much taken a hands off approach.

However, talking to me gave my friend the inspiration to take a closer look and see where they stood. The friend was a bit surprised because the rainy day fund (aka, emergency account) had a balance much lower than it should. Turns out they were overspending each month and dipping further and further into those savings to make ends meet. While they weren't in any serious trouble yet, the way things were going, they could easily go through their savings just on day to day spending. Time for a new plan, before a disaster strikes. My friend and spouse are now reworking their budget and looking for ways to cut the spending and beef that rainy day fund back up.

I think that's absolutely fabulous --- and it just goes to show, that sometimes when you share your struggles, and talk it out, you can help someone else out without even realizing it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Self-Control + Shopping


Shopping. I really do LOVE shopping. And that is something I've really had to practice self control with lately. This weekend will be a minefield for my budget. I am heading down to the Gulf Coast of Alabama for my Nana's 90th birthday celebration. On my way to and from my Aunt's beach house, I will drive right past the Tanger Outlets in Foley, AL. This can be dangerous.

As it happens, I "like" the Tanger Outlets on Facebook. And coming across my newsfeed today was their latest status showing the Pink event going on. Yikes. I looooovvvvveeeeee this particular event.AND if I buy $10 worth of Pink cards, I get a free Pink Pashmina. (And it just so happens a pink scarf is on Princess Penelope's must have list this year. Double Yikes)

 A few years ago the Princess and I were down on the Gulf Coast for a soccer tournament. She sprained her ankle in the final game. As we were heading home, we started to pass the outlets. Princess begged to stop at the Coach outlet (as a Coach bag was #1 on her Christmas list) --- so I stopped. We walked into the store, well... she hobbled into the store.... and it was like OMG! The entire store was WAY marked down! So, we find out from the clerk that if we go down to the outlet's customer service and purchase the "Pink" cards for $1, we can get 25% off whatever we buy. Princess sat down in the store and I dashed down to customer service and bought the Pink Cards. We had so much fun and got such GREAT deals --- which I put on the credit card, naturally! Sigh.

I'd really love to go and check out what's what there this weekend. And see if I can knock out some of my Christmas Shopping -- and put NONE of it on my credit card. What I DON'T want to do is go crazy --- it's not a bargain if it doesn't fit into my budget. So, my real question here is.... do I have the self-control.... or do I need to keep on driving?

This Week's Quick Grocery Trip

A quick trip to the store on Wednesday.... this week's Publix Penny Item was Publix Coffee, and since I realized when I cleaned out may pantry that I was a bit low on coffee... this came at the perfect time!

So, here's how I did:

5 Coffee Mate (was running a bit low on that too -- horrors!)
1 Publix Coffee (Penny Item!)
2 Febreeze Candles
2 Helluva Good Dips
2 Herbal Essences Shampoos
2 Herbal Essences Conditioners
2 Ronzoni Pastas
1 Log Cabin Syrup
1 Golden Grahams Cereal Bars
2 Trix Cereals
2 Lay's Kettle Potato Chips
1 PowerAde 8 Pack

Spent: $38.43
Saved: $$40.41 or 51%!

Dining Out --- And Not On The Cheap.

In recent months, I have been SO GOOD about limiting my nights out with friends to roughly once or twice a month. That has worked really well for me, providing some fabulous "girl time" to catch up with friends, without the other distractions that tend to accompany chatting on the phone.

Unfortunately this month, I have blown that out of the water! In the past seven days, I have been out to dinner 3 times --- and spent roughly $100 doing it. Yikes! Each time, we've gone to grab some Mexican food, and what goes better with Mexican food than a cold, tangy margarita? That adds up FAST!

The really bad thing is that I can't even blame my friends, as two of the nights were MY IDEA. I know better than this. This is going to be an expensive month anyway because we are going to the Alabama/Arkansas game NEXT weekend and those tickets aren't cheap. My entertainment budget was already floating in the out of this world region and I have thoroughly compounded the problem. Time to tighten it all up. And maybe "lose" some phone numbers for the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So Far Behind....

This week has been wickedly busy! So, I've been a bit MIA. Sorry for that! Work has been super slammed as we try to wrap up numerous projects with September 30 deadlines. My desk currently looks like it go hit by a tornado. I've had after work meetings Monday and Tuesday nights. Monday's meeting was for my side gig. It was a good meeting, but I didn't walk in the door until 9:30. Last night's meeting was at the High School, a meeting for parents regarding the college application process and what we have upcoming (announcements, cap and gown fees will be due in November -- YIKES!).

And to add to all of that --- I've had a ton of drama going on with friends and family. Drama is not my favorite thing. It saps a TON of energy.

So, in the flurry of all that, I've kind of neglected my little corner of the blog world. As well as a lot of other things. Sigh. Time to get back on track.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Reorganizing To Use What You've Got

My house was built in 1957 and has a teensy pantry. It also has limited counter space, and not nearly enough cabinet space. This makes keeping an organized and well stocked pantry pretty difficult at times. I like to buy stuff we use when it goes on sale in large enough quantities to get us through to the next sale. That's a good plan if I know what I have on hand and therefore know what I need.

I've done quite a bit of stock up shopping in the past couple of weeks and my pantry was a mess. It was unorganized, I had no clue what I had and everytime I got something out, several other things came crashing down. This was not working. At all.

So today, I pulled a small working table into the kitchen and emptied the pantry. I threw away those things that were past their use by dates. (Fortunately, this was only stuff that I had missed last time I reorganized the pantry --- as the dates on stuff I threw away were over 2 years old --- and I last reorganized in March!). I consolidated items. I put like items together. I moved stuff from bulky boxes to smaller containers.

I now know that I'm running low on coffee, we have enough breakfast bars to last two months, same with sphagetti sauce, I need to use up some peanut butter, and I'm just about out of cooking spray. I can also get to my canned goods without knocking several boxes on my head.

The pantry looks great (well as great as teensy tiny pantry can look!) --- and I've made a list of the items we are going to need in the near future.

This only took me 30 minutes to do, and its going to make dinner time, lunch time, and getting out the door in the mornings SO much easier! Why on earth did I keep putting off this "dreaded chore"?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Got My Refund and Peace of Mind

You may remember, back at the end of July, that Princess Penelope's car broke down two hours from home when she was at the midpoint of driving back from her Dad's. I must say, that day goes down as probably the most stressful one in my history as a Mom. When your baby (even if she is 17) is stranded on the side of the interstate on a 90+ degree day, two hours away from you..... well all of the horrible things that could happen go through your mind. Fortunately common sense prevailed, and I told her to contact the police, explain the situation, and ask for assistance in getting to a safe place. The police were there within two minutes of her call, and got her to a safe place. That made the hellacious trip to get her much less frantic.

The car, well that ended up having a happy ending too. As it turned out, the car had jumped time and had consequently blown out the alternator. Both of those things I'd had replace shortly after I bought the car. We ended up having the car towed back to Birmingham to the place that did the original work (at a cost of $455 for the tow --- ouch!). The place that did the original work completely stood behind their work and I was charged nothing for the re-repairs. And they covered the cost of towing the car back to Birmingham, and the work we'd had done while it was out of town.

The manager of the shop had told me that it would take a few weeks to get the reimbursement check to me. After a month, the check hadn't arrived, so I gave him a call. He called the corporate office and we realized there had been an error in my mailing address ---- they had left off the "Drive", with a Circle, Court and Street of the same name, the check that had been mailed two weeks prior never got to me. So..... they reissued the check, put it in the mail with the correct address, and I had it in hand the very next day. So, I have now been completely reimbursed for everything.

Sometimes, its worth shopping around for the VERY best deals.... however, often times, it is much better to have a good relationship with the people that do the big stuff for you. I've used this shop for 13 years, I know the manager and the head mechanic --- they kept my previous car running when it was really a complete piece of crap. They know me by name (and car), and now know the Princess too. They make sure I know when costly standard maintenance is due --- 6 months before it is due so that I can plan for it. They make sure I have the current coupons and know about upcoming maintenance specials. When they quote me an approximate cost for a repair or maintenance, the final cost almost always comes in less than the quote, so I never get any ugly surprises. When I called about the check that hadn't arrived, there was no having to look up anything in files, the manager knew exactly what the deal was on the phone with the corporate office and I had a call back within 5 minutes telling me the new check was being mailed. They aren't the absolute cheapest place to get service in this town, but I will say that I do believe they are the best! No hassles, they stand behind their work and my car never sits in repair limbo.

I could shop around for a cheaper price, but they give me something else that a cheaper price wouldn't. Peace of mind.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Roasted Chicken - In Less Than 30 Minutes

If you've read this blog a bit -- you know I LOVE my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker! That is because I can cook in the microwave with it in a fraction of the time that it takes something in the oven, it doesn't heat up my kitchen like the oven does -- and it doesn't dry out the food like most microwave recipes do. Wednesday night the chicken I bought at Aldi was finally thawed enough for cooking.

So, I brushed it with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled it with seasoning and popped it in the microwave in my Deep Covered  Baker for 28 minutes. (The recipe says 30, but my microwave tends to cook stuff a bit fast). While that was cooking, I prepared the rest of dinner and cleaned up the kitchen.

After it was done that ws the juiciest, most tender chicken I've ever made. It was awesome! We had that with rice and green beans for dinner -- and then I pulled the rest of the chicken from the bone and froze it in meal sized portions for later use.

Usually, I place the chicken on top of onion wedges because I like the extra flavor they add and it keeps the bottom of the chicken out of the run off grease. But I forgot to use them this time. No worries though, it was perfect! And since I'd had time to clean up most of the mess while it was cooking, there was very little cleanup required after dinner. How's that for a quick worknight dinner in minutes?

Wednesday at Publix

This week has been wildly insane --- and I'm just now getting around to posting my after work trip to PUblix on Wednesday! Ben & Jerry's was BOGO --- so it was time for an indulgence! And I'm happy to report that there is still some left in the freezer! So, without further ado, this is my shopping trip this week:

3 Duncan Hines Cake Mix
2 Pasta Roni
4 Ben & Jerry's Pints
1 Old El Paso Taco Dinner
3 Duncan Hines Frosting
Publix Bread (Penny Item)
1 Rice a Roni
4 Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (4ct)

Spent: $23.20
Saved: $28.26

That's 55%!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Best Savings Percentage in Ages!

I generally try to just go to Publix once a week. Usually on Wednesdays to take advantage of the Penny Item Promotion. After going several months without having a printer or computer that would effectively print coupons, I kind of forgot about what great deals you could get using print at home coupons. However, a friend that is going through some very difficult times financially started asking me about couponing, and since she didn't have any newspaper inserts to start with, I got on the phone with her and walked her through printing and accessing the match up sites. While doing that, I realized that there were a LOT of coupons that went along with the current Publix junk food sales. I decided that a quick trip was in order --- football season is here and a bunch of snacks to accompany game day football watching is important! So.... here is how I did:

1 Publix Lemon Lime
4 Bugles
3 Golden Grahams breakfast bars
3 Chex Mix
3 Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix

Spent: $8.55
Saved: $30.43 --- That's 78% --- My best savings percentage in AGES!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Aldi for Freezer Cooking

This weekend I did some freezer cooking, which required a trip to Aldi to pick up the necessary meats, as well as a few other basics --- so here is what I got

1 Whole Chicken
5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 lbs ground chuck
2 Frozen Pizzas
Shredded Cheddar
Spaghetti Sauce
Alfredo Sauce
Sandwich Bags
Dog Treats
Flour Tortillas

Spent: $49.66 -- OUCH!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to CVS-ing (Again)

I keep telling myself I'm going to take advantage of the CVS deals..... and then I don't. I'm not sure why, but I keep forgetting to keep up with it. Then yesterday's ad showed a great deal on earphones ---- so I thought "hmmmmm" --- Buy one pair of earbuds for $6.99, get $5 ECB back, making the net cost $1.99 for earbuds. Since I'm on a quest to be sure the Princess Penelope doesn't have to pay full price, I'm accumulating as many of these as possible for her stocking.

They also had a deal for buy one Hershey's Air Delights Candy Bar for .99, get .99 ECB! Hmmmm, chocolate --- OH YEAH!While I was there, I scanned my CVS card in the little magic coupon machine, and it spit out a coupon for a free Dove Chocolate Bar. More chocolate. Fabulous!

So, I took my earbuds up to the counter, I paid $8.76, and walked out with one pair of earbuds, 2 chocolate bars and $6.99 in ECBs to use on a return trip (I got an additional $1 for using my green bag tag) ! What IWISH I had realized at the time was that the offer on the earbuds was Limit 2 per household, because then I would have turned around and purchased another set, gotten them for free, and walked out with another set and $5 ECBs. I'll have to be sure and stop by there again sometime this week.

A Long Weekend

I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day!

For us it's definitely a rainy one as what is left of Lee makes its way across the state. The rain is definitely needed as during the entire month of August rain only fell on my house twice, and both times it was very short lived. My plants are pretty darn happy this morning!

As I settled in this morning with my coffee, I realized that I never blogged yesterday, even though I meant to! I'd like to say that it was because I was SO busy getting SO much accomplished, but that's not really the case. I did some grocery shopping, read the paper, drank some coffee, did a bit of cleaning up around the house, made some deliveries...... and that's about it. I vegged in front of the tv, perusing cook books, played around on the computer and napped on the couch. Not what I'd call a productive day! :-(

However, today is going to be different! I've got a couple of posts to get up (including the grocery shopping from yesterday) and I am planning to get some "Once a Month Cooking" done. Now, I wish I was the type that was so organized that I had a month's worth of menus planned and will get them all cooked today, but that is honestly not the case. Basically, I will make up a bunch of browned ground beef and freeze it individually for use throughout the month. I'm also making a Pampered Chef 30 Minute chicken (if that darn chicken ever thaws out!), and also doing a bunch of chicken in the crockpot! These will provide the base for most of our dinners this month. I also plan to do some muffins and maybe some blueberry bread.

I'd also like to make sigificant progress in getting my home office in order. Right now, you can barely walk through it and that's just ridiculous!!!!! (I really should have done that yesterday!)

Anyway, I hope y'all have a fun and productive Labor Day --- and if you're grilling out, have something yummy for me --- with all the rain from Lee, a cookout is NOT an option here today!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

College Football! (This Could Be a Budget Buster!)


I do SO adore fall! Less humidity, temperatures (slowly) getting cooler. And college football starts. For me, like many around this state, the game is a way of life. Entire weekends are planned around the football schedule. Seriously. Alabama kicks off at 11:21 this morning. The Princess got up at 5 a.m. and is headed to Tuscaloosa for the game. They don't have tickets but are going there to tailgate with friends. (Seriously? When do you ever hear of a teenager rising that early on a Saturday unless its life or death?).

As for me, I rolled out of bed at the same time and got busy with laundry and cleaning house so I could drop it all at 11 a.m. to go meet friends to watch the game! Not much else will get done around here today, because tonight there are some fabulous games to watch too --- Georgia/Boise State and LSU/Oregon. Gotta pull for my SEC teams! And I'll be watching those from the comfort of my couch --- and flipping channels between the two because they are on at the same time!

When football season starts, my budget has to get rearranged. I have a separate line for budgeted costs of football --- tickets, food, parking and such. This year, we are only going to go two games -- Alabama/Arkansas and Alabama/Tennessee. This costs for a game day in Tuscaloosa are much higher than watching it with friends here in Birmingham --- tickets are $55-$75 EACH. And then we'll pay about $25 for parking, we'll take food and drinks for before and after, but if we get hungry or thirsty during the game, well a Coke is like $6. Ouch.

For today though, my budget is closer to $20, I'll meet friends out at our normal game day place. We'll have some pizza and watch the Tide Roll. I'm still crunching numbers to make it all work. But for now....


Friday, September 2, 2011

All About the Snacks

This week's quick trip to Publix to take advantage of the Penny Item was pretty much all about the snacks, and other non-food stuff. College football started last night, and Saturday, my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide will kick off at 11:21 a.m. Football season arounds here means more teenagers in my house on Saturdays, which means more junk food will be consumed. So, I took advantage of the BOGO deals this weeks and added some bags of chips and snack mix to my cart. This is how I did --

6 Hamburger Helper
2 Publix Diet Lemon Lime
1 All Laundry Detergent
4 Glade Candles
2 Publix Sour Cream
3 Chex Mix
1 Lay's Potato Chips
2 Noodles
1 Publix Tortilla Chips (Penny Item)
1 Pedigree Dog Food

The dog food was on sale BOGO, so with the 1 coupon I had for it, it was .34 cents a pound, which is much cheaper than the price I pay when buying the 52 pound bags at Sam's --- of course, on a day to day basis, it is cheaper to buy it at the Warehouse Store, but when I can get it under their price, I grab it! Without the coupon it would have been more per pound than I normally pay, and that wouldn't have been a great deal! It pays to know your prices!

And now that I review the receipt carefully, I realized that the check out girl gave me the Wednesday Senior Discount ---- hmph, should I be insulted?!?!??!!??!? :-)

So, final total, I spent $24.41, and saved $35.85 or 59%

I'm planning to hit up Aldi after work for some fruits and veggies!