Monday, May 12, 2014

Cha-ching, Cha-ching, Cha-ching

I knew last week was going to be expensive. The work I had done at the house ended up being very reasonable -- $175. I was happy with that! The work on my car was better than I thought it would be -- $114 -- and then they told me I need new tires -- I've got dry rot going on. Joy. THAT will be closer to $500-$600. Sigh.

Spent a good portion of Saturday shopping. I really dislike shopping. However, it was necessary for several reasons. First, I am transitioning in my job -- and I needed work suitable pants as the job I will now be doing pretty much demands it. I never wear pants to work. Jeans on Fridays and that's pretty much it besides one pair of dressy pants that I really only pulled out on the coldest of days. Its not some sort of principal with me and pants. The fact is, I have a big butt and hips, and my waist is pretty small comparatively. Add to it that I'm not even fully 5'1" -- and well, pants shopping is a nightmare. And I really don't like to pay to have things hemmed. So, I had to pants shop. And only came home with one pair. So now I own two whole pairs of pants (sadly, capris are not work appropriate). I also had to try and do some shopping for the Princess. She put on a bit of weight over the winter, and is working to get it off, however, that is a slow and painful process. So I picked up some shorts for her. And they didn't fit. She is going out of town next weekend so is desperate for shorts. And she works several doubles this week so shopping time is almost non-existent. So, I just threw caution to the wind and money at the problem. I got online and ordered several pairs (next size up) on --- paid $46 freaking dollars to get them here by Wednesday. OUCH.

I also bought a new to me chair for the den from a friend for $100. Mother's Day and birthday shopping for my nephew were kept in budget at least.

I'll hit the hay early tonight -- full week of meetings and trying to close out my work in my current department all await me the next few days. Quite honestly, I'm whooped. And it is only Monday.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Spendy Week

This week is shaping up to be a very expensive one!

 I took the pups in today to get their nails trimmed. Yes, technically I could do it myself -- I used to do it to Thing 1 between groomings, but Thing 2 and Thing 3 both have black nails -- I can't see the quick, so if I nip it... that's a LOT of blood. I prefer to leave it to the professionals. While I was there, I paid on my bill (carrying a balance right now). Since January, I've had shots and checkups for Thing 2 and Thing 3, Thing 2's daily meds, Flea and Heartworm preventives for both pups. That adds up to a LOT of $$$. Fortunately, we have used our vet forever, and I can carry a balance and pay it off with no interest or fees. That's a good thing.

Next, I'm having a the outlet for my dryer replaced, a new faucet installed in the kitchen AND getting my central air serviced. Cha-ching! The guy who is doing it for me is the head maintenance tech at the commercial real estate firm I worked at many moons ago. He's licensed and certified in all of those things and has his own small business on the side. He has always been very fair and extremely reasonable in his charges. (Fixed my washing machine a few weeks back for $45 total).

Then, there's Mother's Day. I asked my Mom what she might want, and she said money. I said no. I'm getting tired of our family just passing money back and forth. If we are going to do that, then we need to just abandon the whole gift thing altogether -- because I sure come out in the hole on that one! And we are doing my nephew's birthday on Sunday too.

AND I need to take my car in for servicing. I need an oil change, but it also sounds sometimes like something is clogged up because it hesitates and stutters sometimes when I'm accelerating. My car is 14 years old, but I'd like to get another couple years out of it. Wish me luck that it's not a HUGE expense.

So yeah, a LOT of money is going to be flowing out of the bank account this week. Should be tons of fun.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

What A Fabulous Weekend!

After a week of storms and such, this weekend was sunny and dry. I took advantage of it and got a TON of yard work done! My front yard is starting to look fabulous. The back yard... well it is a work in progress. The peonies in the picture above have now started blooming for the first time in SIX YEARS. That's SIX YEARS! I'm a happy girl about that!

Lest you think I spent the whole weekend in the yard, that was certainly not the case. Grilled out with friends Friday night. Went out for pizza and craft beer with a fabulous friend yesterday --- not really on my diet, but oh so very good! Even came home with some beer swag --- a Terrapin Brewing T-shirt -- FREE! (I love free!)

Other than that, slept a lot, played with my pups, did some grocery shopping.... nothing out of the world, but man, it was a GREAT weekend! How about yours?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Long Break......

Wow. I kept thinking about coming to write, but never was inspired. I should have been. I just wasn't though. Things have been moving along around here. The seemingly endless winter has finally given way to spring and with that.... severe weather ahead. I'm home sick today, but watching the weather closely as we expect roughly three days of very nasty weather. Yesterday was the third anniversary of the supposed "once in a generation" tornado event that devastated so much of our state. So, no warm fuzzies about the days ahead.

During my hiatus, we welcomed a new family member:

Meet Thing 3! He came to us from the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. He was a 5 1/2 month old pointer mix at the time. Now he's an almost 7 month old ball of energy that is constantly getting into mischief! He has settled in well although the housebreaking is still an ongoing challenge. Thing 2 has just about forgiven us for bringing him into her calm and settled world. Our sweet Thing 1 was much less of trial to her (she doesn't quite remember that she was once an obnoxious puppy, too). Although, sometimes she gives us awfully dirty looks when he is all up in her space....

Other than that, not too much excitement around here. The Princess and I are both doing Advocare right now to try and shed some pounds. Seems to be working out well for now as we are both eating a lot healthier than normal. And we feel pretty darn good. 

I'm going to go and get to reading and catching up on what's been going on with y'all now! Take care!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Spring Fever Is In Full Force

Wow. I have been silent for a while. Didn't mean to be, but never felt inspired to write anything. Anyway, after suffering through the last few weeks of winter, this weekend was GORGEOUS. I've got daffodils popping out to say "HI!" and they are now in full bloom.

They did look a bit lonesome among the leaves and other debris throughout the yard though. This weekend proved the perfect time to start tackling the woefully neglected flower beds. A fabulous friend lent a hand and we got 4.5 of my flower beds de-wintered. And most of the horrible little prickly gumballs cleared from the front yard. Found a baby snake, too... EW. My fabulous friend insisted on relocating the little bugger instead of "getting rid" of it.... I might have to re-think that friendship! Ha!

Every muscle in my body is aching, and I'm only MAYBE 1/3 of the way through my flower beds. My yard work muscles are not happy that I spent most of this very cold winter sitting on my couch with a blankie over my lap!

How did you spend this weekend? Anything fun?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to you! I hope your day has been filled with love and lots of good things! I think I've eaten enough sweets to last me til Easter, but in all honesty I'm probably not done yet. I'm sure I'll make a fabulous dent in the box of chocolate truffles pictured above (yeah, there's one missing already -- I have NO IDEA how that happened!)

I gave the Princess a box of chocolates (identical to the one above but with all the chocolates still in it), a funky bracelet and her traditional fave minor holiday gift -- an iTunes card! All in all, I spent about $15 or so for about $35 worth of stuff -- that works.

Thing 2 got a Busy Bone -- which was gone in about 2 minutes -- she doesn't know how to savor stuff.

Anyway, I hope you all have felt cherished and loved today! Have a happy Valentine Night! Hugs!!!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Big Thaw Begins....

Woke up this morning to a gorgeous snowy landscape. Thing 2 got up and romped a bit, but is now curled beside me. The temperature is at 34 right now, so roads should be clearing pretty quickly and traffic is picking up a bit on the main road behind my street.

Our office is opening at 10, although I think that is a bit ambitious for the side streets everyone has to navigate. I will probably go in around 11. The Princess has to work at 11 too, so I'll make sure she gets there safe and then head to my own office.

Secretly I had hoped for a full day off -- but oh well, gotta do what they pay me to do!!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I'm Staying Put....

Our office sent us home at 12 today as the Alabama EMA advised people to be where they were going to be by 2 -- since we have many people that live an hour plus away from the office and since our CEO spent 13 hours stuck in his car during the real Clusterflake two weeks ago, the company erred on the side of caution and sent us home early.

So, after watching it rain all afternoon, then switched to sleet at dusk, and finally after dark, it started snowing for real. After just about an hour this is the view out my front door.

I think I'm in for the night.......

Still Waiting For The Clusterflake

You know, if we are going to have bad weather, I wish it would just go ahead and happen. Seriously. I stayed home from work yesterday morning waiting to see what the weather would do. Stuff froze for a very short time, but I ended up getting to work around 10:45.

Now the waiting game begins again... the forecast calls for icy conditions this afternoon. I do not relish the idea of getting stuck at work or walking home --- I live close enough that walking is an option, but it is still a pretty long walk. Schools have been closed for two days now. Honestly, I think they should have waited until yesterday morning to make the call as a delay would have worked fine. Today, they could have gotten in at least a half day. I know they are gun shy due to the serious Clusterflake we had two weeks ago, but still.

I admit to being a bit gun shy myself. I had friends that spent the night in their cars. Definitely not where I want to be! This is Alabama though! We are not supposed to be living in a constant state of "will it or won't it" in regards to winter weather.

Guess I'll get ready for work and see what the day brings! Y'all stay safe and WARM!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Clusterflake Round 2

Down here, we've been bracing for another winter storm. It looked like it was going to come in overnight. With the dawn of the day however, we've jut got a lot of rain, but temps are at freezing at the moment. Not wanting to get caught in the absolute gridlock of two weeks ago, a lot of my co-workers have decided to stay home for the day. Since the office hasn't closed, I'm planning to go in, however, I'm watching the conditions for the next hour or so to make a final decision.

I talked to my boss a bit ago and told him to just plan on me being late. I live on the side of a mountain and it is a bit icy, so for now, I want to err on the side of caution. So I sit here with hair and makeup done, but I put my jammies back on for comfort until I make a real decision.

How are you faring this winter?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Meet Luka....

My dear friend, RunnerGirl, is a wonderful foster mom to this sweet pup, Luka. He is a Siberian Husky available for adoption through the Alabama Siberian Husky Rescue. I know form personal experience that he i a wonderful, loving and energetic pup that needs a home of his own. You can read Luka's wonderful story here .

If you are looking for a sweet pup to warm your cold winter evenings, you might want to check out sweet Luka and his story!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Still Stuck At Home....

And so it goes, day three of being snowed in. Thing 2 is totally over the snow and spends most of her time curled up on the couch. Can't say I blame her as I've pretty much been doing the same thing. My office was closed yesterday and today. Roads are still a mess. I'm bored and should really get a lot done, but dang it, it is COLD!

As far as I know, all of my friends that were stranded finally made it home yesterday. That is definitely a blessing. I'm getting irritated listening to the national media (Today Show, I'm talking to you!) as they say we had plenty of warning --- maybe Atlanta did, but even our Meteorologists in Birmingham are saying they totally blew this forecast. We were supposed to have a "dusting" -- yes, I know the North still thinks that's all we had, but that snow turned to ice fast on the pavements (remember our pavements are designed more to weather 100 degree heat, not freezing temps -- totally different composition), we don't have have snow tires or chains. Very few municipalities have sand trucks, much less salt trucks. Heck, I don't even own a pair of boots beyond "cute" ones.

So, here I sit, the Princess is supposed to work at 11 a.m. today. Right now, we don't even know if her restaurant is opening. We are within walking distance, but as of this time, no one is answering the phone, so I don't know if they plan to open. I won't let her drive there. Not sure she could get off of our street without sliding, so driving still isn't really an option. 

So, here we sit. Still stuck, but maybe just maybe we might get out IF the temps rise like they are supposed to. Here's hoping. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Unexpected Snow Day!

The last couple of days, South Alabama has been bracing for snow and ice. Every forecast said that we weren't going to get anything other than a light dusting. Around 9:30 or so this morning, it started snowing. I was like "Meh, it won't stick around". By 10, it was building up in the parking lot. Uh oh. At about 10:08, my supervisor came around and told everyone to pack up, clock out and head home. Office was closing for the day. The weather forecasters had it way wrong unfortunately.

As I got out to the main road, I could tell that road conditions were going downhill fast. I said a little prayer for safety and another one of thanks for a short commute. Then I headed on home. As I neared my neighborhood, the roads were completely white and it was coming down good. But we were all safe and sound.

So, we are all here, staying warm and even venturing out to play a bit. Roads around the city have gone to hell in a handbasket. I've got co workers that haven't made it to their homes yet. I've got friends that hiked miles to get to their own homes. Alabama is not well equipped to deal with snow when we are expecting it. When it hits the largest metro area without being expected... well, its pretty much a disaster!

I probably should have taken advantage of the unexpected afternoon off and gotten a lot of stuff done. Instead, I've been watching the news and playing in the snow and playing on facebook, pinterest, google+ and all that other stuff. And I'm okay with that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Watch Those Receipts!

When I was shopping at Target the other day, I picked up a black cami/tank top for the Princess. She needed a new one, and it was marked down 30%  so I added it to my cart. I had picked up quite a few other things and my total at checkout was just about what I thought it be, but nevertheless, I quickly scanned the receipt out of habit before I left the store.

While scanning, I noticed that the tank top had rung up as $9 instead of the $6.30 that was on the tag. I dug through my bags to be sure I hadn't gotten one that had NOT been marked down by mistake. Nope, there was the bright orange clearance sticker. So I took the tank and my very full cart over to Customer Service to get the price adjusted.

Yeah, it was only $2.70, and yeah, every single thing in my cart was either clearanced or sale with coupons or both, but in my world, $2.70 is $2.70 and it was worth the hassle of standing in line and getting my $2.70 back. The lady in Customer Service was as friendly and nice as she could be and handled my issue as quickly as possible and I was on my way.

Don't ever be worried about causing "a problem" when something doesn't ring up right. Yes, it can be a pain sometimes, but mistakes happen and as long as you are nice, 99% of the time, Customer Service will be, too. It is YOUR money and you worked hard for it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

24 Cent Jammies

So, today I decided to run to Belk to peruse the clearance section. I had $10 in rewards from my Belk Credit Card (yes I pay it off every month), and I didn't want to let them expire, plus I had a clearance shopping pass (good for an additional 10% off). One of the things on my list of stuff I probably need are another pair of winter pajamas. So, I headed over to that department to check out the 75% off rack. I found an adorable pair of Chip & Dale pjs -- originally priced $76. After doing some quick mental math, I figured I'd be paying about $9 out the door. That I could live with.

I tried them on and took them up to the register. When I presented the reward certificate, the salesgirl told me that it was double reward days, so my reward was actually worth $20, but I needed to spend the full amount. Wowza. I ran back over to the other 75% rack and grabbed two pairs of undies and took them back up. After all the discounts were applied, I paid 24 CENT for an expensive pair of jammies and 2 pairs of undies.

Not a bad shopping day!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

It was a wonderful four days and three nights --- awesome views, relaxing fires, great company and copious amounts of vino. It was awesome. But then I came home a day early.....

Monday night before I left, the Princess hit her head on the window sill in her room. We put some ice on it, and she showed no real signs of a concussion. So, I left town as planned on Wednesday morning. Apparently, Wednesday she threw up a couple of times, but didn't connect it to her head bump. She got a headache later in the day too. Thursday morning she called me before I was even awake, she had thrown up more, and now was worried because she was dizzy too. Since I was a good 4.5 hours away, a friend of mine took her to the doctor. She was diagnosed with a concussion.

I thought I should come back then, but they both told me she was fine and to enjoy my trip. Well I worried, but stayed where I was.

So, fast forward to yesterday, and she calls me, but I was having a hard time understanding her. She felt awful and wasn't talking very coherently. Screw that, I'm coming home. So I threw my stuff in the car and made the long trip (through Atlanta traffic -- ugh!) home. She was feeling better by the time I got there, but I decided that since her symptoms had gotten worse as the day went on, a trip to the ER was in order.

We got there and thankfully they were not busy at all. We were seen almost immediately. They pumped her full of fluids and meds for the nausea and then did a CT scan. Thankfully it was all clear, so we just have to wait out the symptoms -- which can last either a short time or a long time... there's just no way to tell.

So here I am, having coffee with my pup on my couch a full day earlier than planned... but that's okay... knowing the Princess is okay is much more important.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'm Outta Here....

Heading off in the morning for a five day and four night vaycay in the mountains of Georgia!!!!

A girls' trip with my Mom, Sis, 2 Aunts and 2 cousins. Expecting good food, lots of wine, lots of silliness, hopefully no drama and lots of relaxing. Maybe we will even get some snow --- although that snow that's kind of predicted for tomorrow can certainly stay up in the sky until I'm sitting in front of a fire all snug as a bug.

Y'all have a great rest of the week and weekend!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Trying Out The Cartwheel

So, I got my act together this weekend and tried out the Cartwheel by Target app. My savings from the Cartwheel itself weren't huge -- $7.55 -- but I wouldn't throw away $7.55 either. I have certain price points that I basically try not to budge from in order to keep my budget under control. On most items, I know what is a "good" deal for the things we regularly purchase. Normally, I don't purchase a lot of prepared frozen meals like Lean Cuisines -- however, the Princess works nights and will often get off work at 9:30 or 10 starving --- even if she had dinner before work (which would be at around 4). Having the Lean Cuisines in the freezer is at least a more affordable option than hitting up a drive through! So, here is what I picked up:

3 24ct Double Roll Up & Up Toilet Paper
10 Lean Cuisines
4 Up & Up Facial Cleanser Wipes
2 Archer Farms 18ct K-cups
1 Airwick Color Changing Candle
6 Glade Candles
5 Market Pantry Mac & Cheese
1 2 Pack Champion undies
1 Up & Up Dryer Sheets
2 Smith & Hawking Hummingbird Feeders (gifts for upcoming birthdays!)

So, I ultimately spent $112.58, from what I can calculate on my receipt, I saved $61.61 total and I have $10 in gift cards for a future trip! However, I did not think to make note of the non-sale prices of the Lean Cuisines, Toilet Paper or Face Wipes, and those were actually some of my most significant spending amounts (the Target receipt is not nearly as easy to figure out your savings as the Publix receipt). I do know that they all ended up being well below my standard price points and I guess that's what matters in the long run.

So, I think I will continue using the Cartwheel App --- it has some nice benefits, and if you can really combine the offers with coupons you get some significant savings. And if it is for items you need anyway, well then its a no brainer for sure!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shopping the Deals Once Again

It is sometimes very easy to get out of the habit of coupon shopping. Aldi can make it so easy, but I start seeing the grocery budget creep up when I go onto auto-pilot like that. I also start noticing less of a variety. Not that I'm saying Coke 12 packs should be a regular staple around here, but I'll be honest -- we both like bubbles, so they are a nice treat -- especially when they are FREE, thanks to the awesome promotions My Coke Rewards put out in December. (Since we don't drink a lot of Cokes, I have several friends save them for me).

Anyway, I went to Publix this week to try and get back into the coupon game. I had two free product coke coupons and Publix was running a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Promo, so they were all free. I also had a BOGO Coffee-Mate coupon and there was a Publix Coupon for $1 off 2 -- making it $1.50 for both! That's a fantastic savings on something I'm rather addicted to! So here is what I got:

2 Velveeta Skillet Singles
2 Ragu Pasta Sauces
2 Coffee Mate 32 oz.
2 Stayfree Pads
3 Juicy Juice
1 Flat Out Wraps
2 V8 Fusion
2 Diet Pepsi 8 packs
1 Simply Potatoes Shredded Hashbrowns
6 Dannon Greek Yogurts
2 Sprite 12 Packs
1 Vanilla Coke 12 Pack
2 Muellers Pasta
2 Palermos Frozen Pizzas

Spent: $35.63
Saved $69.95 or 66%

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Do You Cartwheel?

Today I downloaded the Cartwheel for Target App. In theory, I like the idea of this one better than Ibotta. Seems like less work. I often would forget to scan my receipts and the bar codes of the products once I got home. So I like the convenience of it.... however, I'm still not really sure how it works.

I like that you can use it with manufacturers coupons, Target coupons and still get the Red Card discount. I do wonder how often I'll use it. I think one of the tricks to using that kind of app is to use it ONLY on stuff you are buying anyway. Otherwise it will just cost you money. I also still have $75 of a $100 gift card left, so I'm thinking I might try it out some using that. We are hitting a real money tight, so I foresee a lot of groceries coming from where they are "free" in the next month.

Have you tried it out? What do you think?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not Wanting The Cold

We are about to get some seriously cold weather. Down in the single digits. I know that is probably just another winter's day to some people, but down here in Alabama -- well, that just doesn't happen every year. Or even every couple of years.

Some are calling for snow -- most likely a dusting, but apparently there is no bread and milk to be found on any grocery store shelves anywhere. Sheesh.

I have two main worries -- freezing pipes and black ice on the road when I go to work. Going to try and head off the first by leaving the faucets dripping tonight. And hopefully just be really really careful when I drive in the morning.

Other than that, pretty much business as usual. Just snuggled up with a warm pup.