Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Prices Going Up.... Even At Aldi

Basic grocery prices are going up. I felt this especially as I did my shopping this weekend. It had been a good week and a half since I went to the store, so I needed to get quite a bit. I HATED seeing that prices had bumped up on just about everything. Even the pup treats had increased by .20/box -- that may not seem like a TON, but actually that's a 16% price spike. It makes you think about how all those little 10 cents here and 20 cents there really add up.

So, here is what I picked up (and it was an expensive week for me!):

1 2packPizza Crust with/Sauce
4 Pounds Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 Jumbo Biscuits
1 can Carrots
2 Crescent Rolls
1 Shredded Mozzarella
1 Frozen Tortellini
2 Tomato Soup
1 Shredded Sharp Cheddar
1 Shredde Mexican Cheese Blend
1 "Hidden Veggie" Pasta
2 Bags Sweet Onions
1 Angel Hair Pasta
2 Shells & Cheese
4 Macaroni & Cheese
1 French Onion Dip
2 Toasted Ravioli
1 Dog Treats
1 Colby Jack Cheese
1 Tortilla Chips
1 Kettle Chips
2 Wok Sauces
2 Alfredo Sauce
1 Pimento Cheese
1 Breakfast Bars

Spent: $73.48

Saturday, February 23, 2013

To Shop or Not To Shop....

I didn't do any real grocery shopping this week. I did make a quick run to the store for bananas, but that's really about it. We are pretty well stocked on most things right now. However, I've been giving some thought to stocking up on chicken and beef. Maybe enough for a couple months.

I've been reading a lot of articles about sequestration. I've kind of got mixed emotions on it. In some ways, I think its good that it will force the government to trim back unneccessary spending. But I also realize that it is real people that will be affected by the cut backs. And not just government workers. It will be people like you and me that face it too. Increased prices or shortages on meat because of delays in inspections and therefore a shorter supply.... that kind of thing. Not sure if it is gloom and doom that the media is playing up right now or not. Who really  knows? The one thing I do know is that my grocery budget is pretty tight as it is!

I don't know.... so should I or shouldn't I? March 1 is just a few days away!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Patience? Not So Much....

I have recently realized that I am not a very patient person. I used to think I was. But now, I realized I'm really not. I don't like to wait for things to happen. I like to MAKE them happen. Unfortunately, the rest of the word just doesn't work that way....

For instance:
My brother and his wife are expecting their first baby. They aren't even 8 weeks along, and I'm sitting here tapping my foot wanting to find out if it is a boy or a girl (because MY GOODNESS there are some awesome clearance deals on baby stuff right now!). But guess what? That baby is not going to grow any faster and that ultrasound isn't going to be done any soooner just because I'm tapping my foot.

Another instance:
My Mom had her follow-up with the Neuro on Monday. We had hoped she'd be able to get out of the collar and get life back to normal. But 70 year old bones take their own time to heal.... and they aren't going to heal any faster just because we want them to! (Seriously, she's much more impatient about this one than I am --- maybe it is genetic!)

Another instance:
STILL IN LIMBO AT WORK. Still just sitting here bored out of my mind waiting to get back to my fast-paced, awesome, somethingdifferenteveryday REAL job. Government bureaucracies definitely don't move any faster just because I want them to!

And there are plenty of more instances where my patience is getting the best of me. I've just got to sit back and realize that one day doesn't get here any faster just because I'm ready for it. Everything comes in its due time. But dang, I wish it would hurry!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What To Do Today?

My house is clean. I'm not talking about just picked up and put up. But ALL THE WAY CLEAN. I have one more load of laundry to do, and that's IT for the weekend. I got smart this weekend and did an Aldi run on Friday night. I wanted to have a full Saturday at home with no errand running. Not having to break up my day to get primped up and run errands meant I got a LOT done.

So, I'm trying to figure out what I should do today. I'm going to brown up about 8 pounds of ground beef and onions and such to freeze. That's a defninte. I'll get that last load of laundry done. And I'll go out and visit my Mom. But that still leaves a big chunk of my day. I could just laze on the couch and watch HGTV, but I really have some projects that need to be done too.

My closet needs to be cleaned out. I've got clothes in there that I haven't worn in at least 2 years. Those need to go. I also need to clean out my "junk drawers". And about 50 other places that "stuff" just accumulates.

I also would like to try my hand again at bread making. That sounds fun too! So, what to do, what to do.....

What are your plans for the day?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Half Price Chocolate Day!

I'm not big on Valentine's Day. Probably because I have been single for quite a long time. I always get the Princess a little gift for V-Day --- this year it was a bag of her favorite Dove Caramels (paid for with CVS Extra Care Bucks) and a $15 iTunes card. They also had a deal that if you purchased $30 in iTunes cards you got another $5 in ECBs. So I went ahead and picked up the $15 card for her Easter basket (yeah, I'm thinking ahead!).

So, what did I use that windfall of $5 ECBs for you might ask? I spent it extremely wisely, I must say... (cough cough).... I used it to buy the bountiful heart-shaped half-priced box of Harry London chocolates you see above! Because the reward for getting through the mushy gushy assault on the senses that is modern Valentine's Day.... is cheap chocolate on the 15th!

I think it is one of my wisest deals yet!!!! Happy Half-Price Chocolate Day, friends!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Don't Go To the Store Hungry!

I always tell myself to never go to the store hungry.... but sometimes.... well.... I jus don't listen! This trip, which was actually with the purpose of just getting the super deals was a bit derailed by the semi-sale on Oreos and Fig Newtons. Seriously, the Princess and I had both been lamenting that there was nothing at the house to satisfy our sweet tooth, so I had planned to indulge in a single package of Birthday Cake Oreos.... but they had both the chocolate and vanilla kind! AND Fig Newtons were on sale too.... so... I indulged.

The really cool thing about this trip though was the amount of items I got completely FREE. The Nutrigrain Fruit & Crunch Bars, the two packages of Yakisoba Noodles and the 4 Lady Speed Stick Deodorants were all complete free after sales and coupons. And the Publix TP was only a penny!!! I just LOVE free stuff!

Anyway, this is how I did:

8 International Delight Coffee Creamers (yes, I know I have issues)
4 Progresso Recipe Starter Sauces
2 Yakisoba Noodles
2 Oreos
1 Fig Newtons
1 Doritos
1 Nutri Grain Cereal Bars
1 Nutri Grain Fruit & Crunch Bars
1 Publix Toilet Paper (Penny Item!)

Spent: $22.67
Saved: $46.13 or 67%

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Brown Bagging It

Since the Princess has moved back home and is taking classes locally, there have been some adjustments to the budget. The lower utility bills that I enjoyed while having just one person in the house have creeped up. Two people just use more electricity and water.... period. The grocery budget has also had to be adjusted back to pre-college levels.

The campus is a good 20 minute drive from our house, and the Princess has an hour and a half break between classes on most days. We realized immediately that it would be senseless for her to drive back home between classes because she'd only be here for about 30minutes before she had to turn around and head back to class. We also realized that except for that break, she's pretty much in class from 8 am to 2 pm. That's a long stretch.

Of course she COULD just run to the nearest fast food place for something to eat in that break, but that is neither easy on the waistline nor the wallet. So, she's brown bagging it! As she's getting ready for class each morning, I'm in the kitchen heating up Chef Boyardee or soup or the like for her to take in her lunch. (Yes, I know sandwiches would be the more likely choice, but the Princess doesn't eat bread -- odd child!). I also throw in a breakfast bar, a drink and some healthy stuff to round it out.

A month into classes and this is working out well for us, so far. Its just one little way to keep our costs down and get the Princess through school without going in debt up to our eyeballs!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Heart Aldi

This weekend, I had to do some serious catching up on grocery shopping. We had very little in the house -- especially very little that was quick or easy. And right now, quick and easy is the name of the game, at least until my Mom is fully recovered. We'd been hitting a lot of takeout and fast food, so I was bound and determined to stop that. So, I did a big "deal" shopping at Publix, and then hit Aldi for more convenience and lower prices on some basics. In the process I blew through 42% of February's grocery budget, but I think we will be in okay shape all in all. So, here is what I picked up at Aldi:

3 Boxes Dog Treats
1 12 Pack Ramen Noodles
1 Frozen Cheese Ravioli
1 1lb box Angel Hair Pasta
1 Pasta Salad Kit
2 Pasta & Sauce Entrees
1 Wheat Thins
1 Chicken Broth
2 Coffee Creamers
2 Tomato Soup
2 Toasted Ravioli
1 Can "Grands" Style Biscuits
1 Crescent Rolls
1 Alfredo Sauce
1 Pumpkin Cream Cheese
1 Tortilla Chips
1Shredded Mozzarella
1 Mini Bagels
2 Avocados
1 Oat Bran Bread

Spent $49.27

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Have a Rewards Card?

One of my credit cards, an American Express, is actually a rewards card. I kind of knew this, but never really paid much attention to it. That card is the one I paid off a year ago. Since then, I've put a few things on it, but nothing I couldn't pay off immediately. It was more of a "The Princess has my debit card, and I need gas/groceries/etc." type thing. So, since paying it off, I've used it very sparingly.

Then, during one of my visits with my Mom, she was telling me that she used her credit card points to pay for some of Christmas. It was then that I realized I too, had points accumulated on my card. So, I decided to look into what I could do with them.

While perusing the rewards site, in which I realized they had some really cool crap that I just didn't need, I noticed that there was a cash back option. Hmmmmm. Well, I looked into it, and realized that the "cash back" would be directly applied to the card. Well, pooey. I was wanting the cash back to pay onto the card that I'm still paying off!

So, I came up with this idea: Use the "points card" for groceries and gas and such, get the cash back I've accumulated as credit on the card, then use the cash that I would normally be using to pay for those gas and groceries, and snowflake them to the card with debt.

Clear as mud? Yeah, I had to explain it to myself 3 times to be sure I was understanding. But it worked. The "points card" has a zero balance, and the card with debt has an extra $100 paid towards it. I'm going to experiment with using the points card on a regular basis. I will be paying it off each week though (instead of each month) just to be sure I am keeping myself in check. I'm hoping that although its a SMALL cash back reward (just 1%), I'll accumulate a few extra debt snowflakes to move that balance down faster. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Always Good Deals at Publix

With Mom still in recovery mode, and my time being divided between assisting her, working and maintaining my own household...... well, our house was pretty devoid of anything to eat, not to mention I'd had very little time to actually shop, much less actually cook. Right now, the plan is to focus on EASY to throw together stuff, foods the Princess can heat and eat on her way out the door. I've GOT to stay out of the drive thrus!!!! So, I hit two stores on Saturday --- blowing out almost half of the February grocery budget in the process. First up was Publix.... and here's what I picked up:

2 Stouffers Family Entreees
3 DiGiorno
5 Spaghettios
2 Old El Paso Refried Beans
1 Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
1 Kraft Olive Oil Mayonaise
2 Kraft Shredded Cheese
1 Breakstone Sour Cream
2 Chobani Greek Yogurt
2 Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese
2 McCormick Taco Seasoning
2 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Granola Bars
4 Glade Candles
1 Eckrich Smoked Sausage
1 Colgate Optic White Toothpaste

Spent: $51.58
Saved: $61.58 or 54%

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tired of the COLD!

I live in Alabama. Even though we get an actual winter every year, it always comes as a shock to my system when temps dip into the 20s and 30s. It makes me want to just live in my flannel pjs and slippers!

I miss the spring and summer! I miss drinking ice cold beverages to cool me off. I miss working in the yard. I miss sitting on my porch with my coffee and reading the newspaper on the weekends. I miss my less-than-$100-utility-bills-thanks-to-mild-spring-and-fall-weather. I miss hanging my clothes in the sun and having them dry and smelling of sunshine within an hour.

I did at least find one way to cut some of my utility costs. Back in October, I happened upon an interesting article by Joe Wood at Timeless Finance all about "Dollar Store" energy savers. The one I ended up trying was blue dryer balls.

I really ended up liking them! They cut my dryer use way down for the winter time! Clothes that used to take more than an hour to dry, are now done within about 40 minutes. I still use dryer sheets because they don't seem to be ideal for static, but they way they move around in the dryer seems to let the clothes tumble better so I guess improves airflow and lets them dry faster. I just don't have the room to air dry all of my clothes in winter, so these little things have helped a lot!

Now, if the sun will just come out...