Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Quiet Saturday Evening.....

Not much going on around here. I'm sitting on the screened porch, listening to the neighborhood kids play in their inflatable pool. Thing 2 is curled up beside me. Thing 1 is laying on my feet. Not much going on around here.... except.....

A very industrious spider is building a web right outside the screened door. It is pretty fascinating to watch. Also very peaceful. Sadly, I know that one way or another this web is doomed....

Now there's just one question facing me.... do I interrupt the spiders labors now? Or do I wait until I walk straight through it, bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee when I let the pups out in the morning? Decisions, decisions!!!!!

Another Quick Couponing Trip

I had a bit of time to kill yesterday between work and heading to a friend's house to drop some stuff off. I decided to make good use of that time by doing another quick couponing trip to Publix with some coupons I had come across since Wednesday's trip. It is a bit nerve wracking to me that those items alone, without sales and coupons would have been over $28! Without the coupons, that still would have been over $20! Obviously, this was strictly a "deals" trip, but here is what I picked up:

1 Digiorno Pizza
2 Snausages Dog Treats
1 Pretzel Crisps
2 Wholly Guacamole
1 Nature Valley Protein Bars

Spent: $8.54
Saved: $20.17 or 70%!

Spent: $

Friday, June 28, 2013

Finally Did Some Coupon Shopping!

It has been weeks and weeks since I got around to doing any coupon shopping. Haven't had time, haven't been organized enough, etc., etc. Mostly I've just kept my grocery bill low by hitting up Aldi for our grocery needs. This week however, I had a smidge more time and was ready to give it a bit of a whirl. I'm glad I did.... as my savings percentage was more than 50% even though I didn't have a TON of coupons.

One thing to remember when shopping at Publix is the Publix Promise. If an item scans wrong, you get your full purchase price back, and you take home the item. Such was the case with the Rondele Cheese. The Princess and I both love this stuff, but at a price of $4.69 a container, it is something that I only buy when it is BOGO or I have a really good coupon. This was actually one of their undavertised BOGOs this week, but when I scanned my receipt before I left, I realized that it had rung up at the full price. I went to customer service, and asked about it, noting that I may have misread the sign and if so, wanted to return the item. Easy peasy, they checked the price, and refunded me the $5.11 (including tax) for the item. So, ALWAYS check your receipts!

So, this is what I picked up this week:

1 Planters Roasted Peanuts
2 Kraft Shredded Cheddar
1 Rondele Garlic & Herb Cheese
1 4 Pack Green Giant Green Beans
2 Nature Valley Protein Bars
1 Athenos Feta
1 Snausages Dog Treat
1 Ronzoni Pasta (Penny Item)
1 Mrs. Pauls Fish
2 Oscar Mayer Family Sized Lunch Meat
2 Home Run Pizzas
1 Bagged Hearts of Romaine
2 Avocados

Spent: $ 34.33
Saved: $ 44.05 or 56%

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Looks Like I'm Going to Be Caving

It is hot out. And I'm sick of the heat. And its June. That means there is still July, August and September to go before it even thinks about getting cooler outside. The house I live in was built in 1957 and has the original single paned casement windows. And almost non-existent insulation. And no shade. And a really old central air unit.

That means that during the days, just to maintain an internal temp of 81 that AC is working hard. And my power bills reflect it. We use ceiling fans and that helps a bit. I also use a hand me down box fan in the living room/den area. That makes it a lot more bearable -- like feels 5 degrees cooler bearable. But moving that fan from room to room is a real pain especially on the weekends when I'm not just hanging out in the den.

So, due to a surprise late birthday gift of $50 in cash, I'm hitting Lowe's this afternoon and picking up two more box fans. I reasearched the prices on line, and Lowe's actually carries the same fan as WalMart and Target, but about $8 less. Plus I have a $10 off $50 coupon. So with that $50, I should be able to lower my power bills, stay comfortable, and also pick up a few other items for some household projects that need doing.

So, instead of not buying new for the rest of the summer as far as stuff goes, I'm buying two box fans and some other miscellaneous project stuff. And yes, I considered buying used, but holding out to stumble across what I need just isn't an option -- I'm tired of sweating inside my house! The bright side is, at least this stuff will be useful -- opposed to more crap just taking up space.

Still bugs me that I'm caving on my promise so soon, but oh well!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thing 1 Is Suddenly Picky

My pups have never been picky eaters. They will eat ANYTHING. If it hits the floor, Thing 1 has lightning reflexes and gobbles it up immediately. Thing 2 will attack anything left on the counter, or in a shopping bag, or pretty much anywhere she can reach. They've always eaten whatever I put in their bowls with no problems.

However, the last few days, Thing 1 (who is 13 years old), has not eaten the food that has been put in front of him. A couple days he flat out refused it. Just stared at the bowl for a while and then walked away. Yesterday, he ate a couple bites and then walked away from it. Given his age, I was definitely concerned. So, I had the Princess pick up a couple cans of wet food yesterday while she was out and about. Both pups LOVE the "treat" of wet food. And I know very well that if I give some to Thing 1, Thing 2 is going to get huffy if she doesn't get that treat too (this could get expensive).

Anyway, this morning I put some wet food in each of their bowls --- underneath the dry. Thing 2 hoovered it all up like it was her last meal EVER. Thing 1 -- well that little rascal nosed the dry food aside, ate all of the wet and left every single piece of dry food for Thing 2 to eat for dessert. Ugh. Looks like someone will be getting wet food going forward. Age has its privileges I suppose.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Time Clocks..... Geez.

Our company has decided to start making employees clock in and clock out every day using their computers. This is almost a completely foreign concept to me as I have not had to clock in using a time clock since I worked in a shoe store in college. That was 21 years ago.

Previously, we just used paper time sheets. But of course someone had to screw that up. A girl in my currently "temporary" department was notoriously and quite obviously fudging her time sheets. And got caught several times. However, management opted to not discipline her, but instead instituted a new policy. It is irritating as hell.

I'm not worried about the time management issue. I work my hours and I'm a salaried employee. However, it just adds another level of stress. OMG! What happens if I'm one minute late clocking in from lunch? Since we can only clock in on the office computers..... what about those of us who travel? What is that protocol? For those of us that are salaried, how do we handle paid time off during the day for doctors appointments? What if the internet is down? Those questions have been asked, but none have been addressed so far.

And then there's the insult factor --- after almost five years, I feel like I'm not trusted anymore. I'm trusted with rental cars and credit cards, but not actually to be present and working? I'll get over it as I get into the routine, but goodness, I hate policy changes directed at ONE or TWO people that affect everyone else. Deal with the bad apples and let the rest of the bunch do what they normally do. I'm not the only one that's unhappy about the changes. After almost two years of being in limbo and weird jobs piled on everyone that was affected by the state of limbo, morale is low as it is. This just doesn't help.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Almost Caved

I went to Target today --- mainly for toilet paper. Being behind on my couponing and not having set foot in Publix in close to a month.... well, the stockpile was down WAY low. I was frustrated because nothing seemed on a decent sale on any brand in any of today's flyers. I got lucky though! They had a twelve pack clearanced priced (why they "clearance" TP is beyond me, but hey, it works for me!).

Anyway, I passed by the baby section with the adorable little outfits with CLEARANCE above them. (I have a niece due in September who will be living in south Florida, so the baby department is fraught with danger right now!). I oohed and aahed a bit, but put nothing in my cart.

Then I passed by the throw rugs. I still need a throw rug for the Princess's room. And they were on SALE! I found one I really really really liked. Loved in fact. Would look perfect. Thick, luxurious pile. It would look FABULOUS. And then I looked at that thick, luxurious pile again. And thought. And then I realized that Thing 2 sheds enough hair in a week to make a whole other dog --- that thick pile would be matted and nasty in no time. So the rug stayed on the display.

Think that's the first time ever that pup has SAVED me money! She got an extra belly rub when I got home as thanks!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A New Goal For Getting Us There.....

Actually more of a mini-goal I guess. During all of the redo of the Princess's room, it took forever to get all of her "stuff" back in her room and situated and organized again so that everything had a place. As we worked on it, I realized how much just pure crap we have. Just stuff. Not even good stuff. Stuff to replace stuff we've misplaced. Stuff that we don't even know what it goes to. Just tons and tons of stuff.

During this time, I've also been looking around my house. I've got a bunch of stuff too. Way more than I possibly need or have space for. Probably one reason my house always seems to be a mess. Too much stuff plus too little space.

So I've set a goal for myself --- to severely limit my stuff purchases for the remainder of the summer. And if I DO need to purchase something, I want to purchase it second hand -- that should limit my options!!! I do not want to buy any new stuff! This has two benefits --- 1. Environmentally responsible to look for second hand instead of newly manufactured. 2.Keep the spending down to get  out of debt faster and kick up the savings once I'm there!

Also, I want to streamline and get rid of stuff. Time to start tossing out stuff with reckless abandon! I mean seriously, I just do not need all of this crap around here! So streamline and sustain are my new bywords this summer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Almost There

Back when I started this blog in 2011 I was over $11K in debt. That was a scary number. Over a fourth of my gross annual income. Since then, I'm down to 2.5K. I probably could have paid it down a bit faster --- my actual goal was to pay it off before the Princess graduated high school. That didn't happen. However, I'm in actual reach now of paying this stuff off --- not way out in the distant future..... but in July. As in NEXT MONTH.

It will take some tweaking and some sacrifice, and essentially wiping out my liquid emergency fund.... but it will be worth it. (So that y'all don't think that I'm totally crazy, I have other money placed in an account that's just not as easy to get to should Murphy come a calling). I also have tuition put aside for the fall so I'm not just completely wiping out any and all safety nets.

So, I'll put my general $500 in this month and next. Then I have another $236 to apply (state tax refund), and likely another $100 coming in from another source. That puts me at $1336 paid. I then also have $1300 sitting in that pseudo emergency fund. That's $1636 (which gives me wiggle room for interest charges in that time period). And voila! I'll be done. Finished.

The tempting thing to do would be give myself a little lifestyle inflation once I get to the zero debt point. Tempting, but that won't happen. It CAN'T happen. That money that I've been putting to debt repayment now has to be put to good use. Namely, savings. My car is 13 years old. While I'd love to get another five years out of it, chances are that isn't going to happen. I'd like to have cash to pay for a new to me car. And if not cash.... well then enough of a downpayment to make those monthly payments really small. Also, there is still the matter of tuition. I'd like for the Princess to finish college with as little debt as possible. So I need to boost savings for that too.

With lofty goals like that... lifestyle inflation is out of the question. Completely and totally. Now if I can just make myself stick to that plan.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Finally Made It To The Store

I finally managed to get some grocery shopping done yesterday. I apparently have given up on coupons for a bit. I just haven't had tie to mess with them. Fortunately, Aldi at least helps me keep my grocery bill manageable, even without coupons. So here is what I picked up:

2 Strawberry Packs
1 Value Pack Frozen Tilapia
2 Avocados
1 Blue Cheese
1 Turkey Lunch Meat
1 Fresh Spinach
1 1/2 Gallon Milk
2 Coffee Creamer
1 Egg Substitute
1 Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1 "Tastes Like Butter"
2 Dog Treats
2 Shredded Cheese
1 Veggie Chips
1 Bag Apples
1 Bag Whole Carrots
1 Deli Sliced Cheese
1 Paper Towels (I really hate buying these!)
1 Bag Sweet Potatoes
1 Pint Blueberries
1 Oat Bran Bread
1 Atualfo Mango (never heard of this kind of mango, and its kind of odd shaped, but figured for .69 I could give it a go!)
1 Vine Ripened Tomatoes Pack

Spent: $61.05

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit.....

A little over a week ago, I sent the Princess to the store to stock up on fruit for me, because Aldi had some amazing prices. Considering I had plans over the weekend that had me home for maybe an hour all weekend, PLUS I was going out of town for three days at the beginning of the week, it wasn't my brightest move.

Yesterday, I realized that 90% of that fruit was getting close to being at the ick stage. Not quite there, but close. I REALLY despise throwing food out, so I promised myself that fruit was GOING to get eaten in the next couple of days because I was NOT going to be all furious at myself. So today I came home and cut up some melons, washed some grapes, sliced some apples and pears. Some of it went in the juicer (because the Princess doesn't LIKE fruit to eat) and some of it is ready for me to nosh on tonight and tomorrow.

So, that's my less food waste plan for the weekend. I do need to get to the store, but I think I might wait til Sunday so I can be sure I eat all this stuff before I buy anything else.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Good To Be Home

I've been on the road this week again for work. Traveling has now officially kicked my behind. I am woefully out of practice for that. It was a busy and tiring three days of working and LOOONNNNGGG days. 10, 11 and 12 hour days, Monday through Wednesday. We drove back yesterday in horrendous torrential rain. I was a nervous wreck.

Traveling with others has its own unique challenges every time. You have to really be able to go with the flow. Especially when no one tells you what the plan is ahead of time. Suffice it to say, I'm just really glad to be home.

The Princess stayed home with the pups and I was glad to see that the house was still standing. She did a pretty good job of keeping it at least not any messier than it was when I left. The cupboards are pretty bare and I noticed that my coffee creamer was almost gone this morning. I'm thinking I might just be stopping at the closest grocery after work and picking some up instead of going over to Aldi. I'll pay more, but honestly I don't want to fight traffic at rush hour this afternoon. I'm just too worn out. I'll give it some thought today, but I think that's going to be my plan.

Anyway, that's where I am this week. Tired and glad to be home! And just wishing I could take a day or two off.