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Archive for February, 2012

sunflower seeds and lemon juice

February 29th, 2012 at 09:34 pm

One of my goals is to pick 2 items I use frequently each month and research them to find the best prices. Prices have changed so much I don't have a good feel anymore on some of my basics. For February I picked sunflower seeds and lemon juice.

For the sunflower seeds the best price without a sale is Walmart, David brand, 14.5 oz for $2.18. However, the last bag I got of these had a lot of broken shells and were difficult to eat. They also have twice the sodium of the Walgreens Nice! brand of sunflower seeds. All of the brands had more than twice the sodium of the Walgreens brand.

The Walgreens sunflower seeds price, not on sale, is $2.49 for 13 oz. However these go on sale frequently in fact this week they are on sale 3/$5 making them only 1.67/each. I like them better than the David brand. So I've been stocking up this week. So far I've bought 12 bags and plan to get another 6. Each bag lasts about 1 week.

Albertson's, David brand, 14.5 oz was $2.99
Target, Target brand, 14.5 oz was $1.97
Safeway, David brand, 6 oz was $1.25
King Soopers, David brand, 6 oz was $1.00
Costco, David brand, 24 1.75 oz bags, was $8.50. This was a good price, but Costco is a long ways away from me and I only go once a month, plus I doubt if I'll renew my membership next year.

So bottom line, stock up at Walgreens when on sale and if I need some when they don't have a sale fill in with Walmart David brand until the next sale, or if I happen to be at Costco get one pack there to tide me over to the next sale Smile

For lemon juice Walmart again beats all the other stores. Their brand was $1.98 for 32 oz. No one else came close. Costco didn't even stock it. I also tried buying a 2 lb bag of lemons at Walmart for $2.50 and seeing if that was a better deal. Nope! I got 10 oz of lemon juice for that $2.50, but I'll have to admit it tasted a lot better/brighter.

Albertson's brand was $3.39 for 32 oz
Safeway brand was $3.89 for 32 oz
King Soopers brand was $3.69 for 32 oz

Target brand was $2.04 for 32 oz - a close second, but Target is a long ways away from me. A half hour drive and Walmart is 7 min. And I frequently walk there so it's much more convenient.

Next month I'm looking at Vinegar and sugar-free Jello. I use unseasoned rice-wine vinegar in my coleslaw and salad dressings, almost every day and I usually have Jello everyday too, so they are staples in my house.

Yesterday I got 2 free bottles of 200 ct Nature Made magnesium at Walgreens. I actually made money on these.

15.98 - 2 bottles 200 ct Nature Made
1.10 - taxes
------
17.08
-7.99 - Bogo sale
-10.00 - 2 $5 q's on Nature Made over 160 ct
-2.00 - Walgreens store coupon
-----
2.91 money maker - used to buy bags of sunflower seeds Smile

I went to the Nature Made wellness rewards site and entered the codes from the bottle and got 80 points each towards a $7 coupon. Once you get 500 points you can get a $7 Nature Made coupon. I have 460 now.

I also got 2 free bottles of Glade expressions from Walgreens. At least it was free before taxes. I did this in 2 transactions.

3.49 - 1 bottle
-2.00 q
-----
1.49 - got a 1.50 Walgreens RR

I'll post my February freebie totals tomorrow.

I finished reading my book Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton. Paranormal - ok, too much sex and angst, not enough story.

gamble

February 28th, 2012 at 07:17 pm

I bought $5000 more in I-bonds maxing out the $10,000 total you can do in a year. I'm gambling that the inflation rate does not increase next month when it is announced and that this months rate will be higher.

Even though gas prices have been jumping like crazy, we had virtually negative inflation the last 3 months of last year. We've only had a month of high gas prices so I think the overall inflation rate will go down for the next 6 months. At least according to the government figures. We all know it's higher than what they say.

By buying before the end of February I lock in a 3.06% rate for the next 6 months. If the inflation rate goes up next month then I will have lost my gamble, but it's not that big of a risk because it's not going to be a huge increase or decrease. 1% on $5000 is only $50, and I'm taking the money from an account paying a measly .8%

Has anyone joined Amazon Prime for free on demand movies? If so, how do you like it?

I finished reading my book First Blood. Paranormal short stories - very good.

The Frugalista Files - book review

February 27th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 2,055.16
RX total = 446.66
Discounted Gift Cards = 218.93
Total = 2,720.75

I got this book from the library. It's written by Natalie P. Neal and she has a blog. It's basically about her deciding to be more frugal in 2008 and her year changing her ways from spendthrift to frugal, yet still retaining a fabulous life. According to her that's travel, entertainment and fashion. It was an interesting read. She writes well and it's entertaining. There are no new ground-breaking frugal ideas, but it's still worth reading. I liked it.

I went to Walgreens this morning to get some more sunflower seeds. They are on sale 3/$5 normally 3 would cost $7.47 so a good sale. I bought 6 and used one of the $10 register rewards I got yesterday so nothing out of pocket.

I've already got 50 swagbucks so far today, between searching, the toolbar, the daily poll, swagbucks TV and several codes they are giving out for their birthday, I'm doing fairly well. Might get a few more before the day is over.

I finished reading the library book Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook. Sci/Fi - excellent. Very creative and original, love this series.

Walgreens shopping

February 26th, 2012 at 06:32 pm

I got out early today to get some free stuff and deals from Walgreens.

20.00 - 2 30 ct Ultima Flora probiotics
1.40 - tax
-----
21.40
-4.00 - 2 $2 q's
-----
16.40 - but I got 2 $10 RR's so a moneymaker

4.00 - 4 Nescafe Taster's choice individual serving
-1.30 - 2 .65c q's
-2.00 - 2 bogo q's
-----
.70 - but I got a $3 RR so another moneymaker, 2 goes to my niece and 2 to the food pantry

5.00 - 2 Lady speedstick deodorants
.35 - taxes
-----
5.35
-2.99 - bogo q
-----
2.36 - but I got a $2 RR so only .36 for 2 deodorants

5.00 - 3 large bags of Walgreens sunflower seeds paid for with one of the RRs from a previous transaction

4.99 - Scrubbing bubble one-step toilet cleaner
.35 - taxes
-----
5.34
-4.00 - q
-----
1.34 - but I got a $4 RR so another moneymaker

47.98 - 2 jars Olay regenerist moisturizer
3.36 - taxes
-----
51.34
-3.00 - q
------
48.34 - get back a $10 RR

13.98 - 2 4 ct Olay bar soap
.98 - taxes
------
14.96
-6.99 - free 4 ct soap wyb Olay regenerist q
-6.99 - free 4 ct soap wyb Olay regenerist q
-----
.98

There is also a rebate for P&G wyb $50 get $15 back. The above items qualify so I spent $34.32 after the $10 RR and will get another $15 back for the rebate. So 2 bottles of moisturizer and 2 4ct packs of Olay soap cost me a total of $19.32 - very good for Olay products.

I also got back a $3 RR for using my AARP card and spending $10.

Dad just called and wants me to meet them at Texas Road House for lunch, so I'm heading over there. I still have a $5 gift certificate left from xmas to use there.

I finished reading An Angel for Emily by Jude Devereaux. Romance - ok.

more tech toys

February 25th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

My printer started eating paper a couple months ago and it's gotten progressivly worse. It now jams and has to be restarted about 90% of the time and it's started double printing on one sheet, so it looks like a shadow. I've been casually watching printer prices in ads an when I go in a store.

Last Sunday when I was getting free paper from Staples I saw an Epson wireless printer, copies and scanner on sale 50% off for $49.99. Epson is the brand of my other printer and it worked great for 5 - 6 years, plus the ink is cheap and it prints very crisp and clear, or it did Smile

All week when I've been in other stores, Target, Cosco and Walmart I've compared printer prices. I checked some places online too and I decided this was a good deal. So I went in and bought it this morning. I paid using an 8% discounted Staples gift card. I've already got it up and running. I really like the lack of cables, since it's wireless. It says I can connect my phone to it too, but I haven't done that yet.

While walking at Walmart this morning I saw a bluetooth headset on sale for $18 and bought it. It's charging right now, but I'll get it working later. I also bought one of the $10 Tracfone sets that comes with a case, car charger and headset. I need a case and car charger for my other phone and these work perfectly. I will keep the extra phone charger too and donate the phone to Goodwill. I don't know if they can use an unactivated phone or not, but everything is there except the extras. But that was pretty cheap to get the case, car charger and extra charger for only $10. Cheaper than buying them seperatly would have been. I used a 2% discouted Walmart gift card to buy them.

While at Walmart I used a $7 Nature Made coupon to buy 200 ct magnesium on sale for $4.94 for both. I used the overage towards the headset.

It's been super windy here - 70 mph gusts. I hate hearing the wind blow for hours. Need to put my earplugs in.

I finished reading the library book Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag. Mystery - very good.

free salmon and other free stuff

February 24th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I went to Safeway this morning and transfered one of my prescriptions. It normally costs .80/month but Safeway charged me $2.40 however they gave me a coupon for $25 off a purchase of $50, so that made up for tripling the price Smile

They had wild caught salmon on sale for $8.99/lb, which is very good for around here, not too many oceans nearby in Colorado Smile So I got 2.5 lbs for about $22. I got 2 bags of coleslaw for a $1/each and that pretty much wiped out my $25 coupon. I also got 2 doz Eggsland Best eggs for $1.49/each and some Sargento cheese slices for $1.49. I found a hardback book that I wanted on clearance for $6 and some sugar free cranberry/pomegranate drink mix on clearance for $1.49/each. I got 4 pouches of Bumblebee tuna for .50/each and 2 bottles of Nature's Bounty sublingual B-12 on BOGO and with a coupon for just under $4/each.

I ran out of salmon a few months ago and have been waiting for a good sale to stock up again.

At Walmart I got several more free things. 4 tubes of Nivea lip balm price matched at $1/each and used 2 $3/2 coupons making them moneymakers. 1 Scrubbing bubbles automatic toilet bowl cleaner, price matched at $4 and used a $4 coupon and a trial size of 3 Cascade dishwashing tabs for .97c and $1 coupon.

Still slowly learning my new cell phone, I get bored pretty quickly with this stuff and don't want to play anymore Smile

I won 26 points on Swagbucks for searching today. That's a nice bonus. Almost have enough for another $5 Amazon gift card.

I finished reading the library book Courts of the Fey. Sci/Fi short stories. Pretty good.

tech toys

February 23rd, 2012 at 09:25 pm

I've spent a lot of time the last few days playing with some new tech toys that my sister gave me. These are old tech toys she had. She won new ones from her company so gave me the old ones - thanks! Smile

I got a Netgear wireless router, that I got set up and running pretty easy. I like that a lot. Eventually I'd like to get a Roku and maybe cut the cable bill.

She also gave me a Sony reader. After a lot of trial and error I finally figured out how to use it - mostly. I don't know why no one provides decent user guides for anything. I guess companies just think you will search it out on the web yourself or that you already know it all.

I was able to download free versions of all the Gene Stratton Porter books. She's one of my favorite authors, she wrote in the 1920's. I also downloaded some of the Laura Ingells Wilder books and a copy of Walden. Another favorite of mine. I haven't had time to read any of them and I doubt if I use it much, because I'm old fashioned and really like the feel of a book in my hand. But it might be nice to keep in the car for when I'm waiting on someone or take on vacation.

I also bought a Samsung Tracfone that connects to the web, has a keyboard and a camera for about $65 with taxes. I got it connected last night. I plan to use it for a couple of months and see if I like it and then drop the home phone if it works out. I've been working on trying to figure out all it's features. Again, a very poor user guide. The phone comes with triple minutes for life, so it should be fairly cheap to use.

I finished reading my book Must Love Hellhounds. Paranormal short stories - very good.

I also finished the library book Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. Historical. I've never read these books, mostly because years ago my sister recommended them and we have totally opposite tastes in books so I didn't think I would like them. I was pleasantly surprised and have the next one in the series on hold at the library. I guess she can recognize a good book occassionally Smile That's a running joke in our family that she's always recommending books that nobody likes.

2 new ways to make money

February 19th, 2012 at 06:40 pm

I read about both the following ideas in the All You magazine. I don't plan to do either one, but thought I'd share in case anyone else could use them.

The first one is advertise on your car for $200 - $400/month. You need to have a good car and drive a lot. Here's the links...

http://www.drivenmediaonline.com/Brand_Driver_Site/index.html

http://www.freecarmedia.com/

The second idea is get paid to do small tasks like write a document or tape yourself testin a website. Tasks take 30 min and pay can be $5 - $18 per task.

https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome

I got gas this morning at Safeway. I had .30 off so paid $2.699/gal. I got 20 gallons and paid $54.31. I paid using a CC that gives 5% back this quarter.

I stopped at Staples and picked up their freebies for president's day. Deals are only good today and tomorrow. I got all the following for free after Staples rebates.

2 packages 500 sheets Staples copy paper - $5.49/each
2 packages 8 ct colored ballpoint pens - $5.99/each
2 packages 2 ct 200 sheet Kleenex - $2.99/each. I had 2 .50 coupons I used on the Kleenex also.

I'll donate the pens, but will keep everything else. If the pens were black I would have kept one pack of those. I already applied for the rebate online and will get almost $30 back. i paid using an 8% discounted Staples gift card.

I finished reading my book Dark Hunger by Christine Feehan. Paranormal - ok, I liked the others in the series better.

free groceries

February 17th, 2012 at 09:39 pm

updated to add this information about swagbucks that I read on Money Saving Mom

If you havenít signed up for Swagbucks, you can receive an extra 110 Swagbucks when you use the code BIRTHDAYBASH12 when signing up for a new account. Youíll also receive the standard 30 points, so youíll get a total of 140 free Swagbucks if youíre a first-time sign-up!

If you're interested in using my link as a referral, here it is... thx

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/memyselfandi

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,948.91
RX total = 421.66
Discounted Gift Cards = 214.93
Total = 2,585.50

I had 3 $5 OYNO coupons when I went to Safeway today. I got the following and paid .06c after the coupons. I found a dime the other day so consider it all free.

1 bunch celery
2 bunches radishes
2 bags coleslaw mix
2 8 oz packages mushrooms BOGO
1 6 oz pack David sunflower seeds
1 lb turkey deli meat

At King Soopers I got 4 large tubes of Colgate toothpaste for free after coupons. I'll keep one and donate the other 3.

I got 2 free magazines from the library, they were giving them away.

I finished reading my book Beyond the Dark. Paranormal short stories - very good.

compound savings

February 15th, 2012 at 08:50 pm

We all know how compound interest works, but we don't often think about compound savings. These are the things you do over the years that save you money on necessities so that money is freed up for other purchases.

For example, years ago I made several changes to lower my electric and heating bill. I changed my lightbulbs to CFLs, I started plugging all appliances, computers, TVs etc into power strips and turning them off when not using them. I started working to heat/cool just me instead of the whole house, by lowering the thermostat, using an electric throw. I used ceiling fans instead of the air conditioner and opened and closing blinds/windows as appropriate to heat/cool the house. Since I have budget billing it was easy to see how much I saved from the year before by doing these things. My savings came to over $400/year.

So now the compounding part comes in. I saved $400/year on what I was spending for a necessity like utilities. I saved it that year and since I continue to do those things I've saved it every year since. If it's been 5 years, I've saved $2000, at 10 years it will be $4000. This is not money that went into the bank as savings, but it's money that I didn't have to earn after taxes, or money that is freed up to spend on more fun things or leave in savings so I can stay retired.

Here are some other examples of compounded savings.

I set up automatic payments on 4 bills/month. That saved a stamp, check and envelope for each one. The savings per month this year are .45/stamp, .01/envelope and .05/check or .51/bill x 4/month = $2.04/month and $24.48/year. $122.40/5 years and $244.80/10 years.

I haven't paid for many basic supplies in over 20 years, such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo etc. Buy using coupons and rebates I've been able to get basics that I need without spending cash. I guesstimate this saves me $20/month, or $240/year, or $1200/5 years or $2400/10 years.

I use the pantry principle for food. I buy when it's the lowest price and stockup for several months. I get many food products free this way, but I also guarantee that I'm paying the lowest price for most of the food items I do buy. I'll guesstimate the savings at $100/month, $1200/year, $6000/5 years and $12,000/10 years.

Other examples might be buying a car with good gas mileage, moving close to work, stop smoking, insulate the house, telecommuting. Anything you do to permanetly make a change to a necessary expense can be counted in your compounded savings.

If I add just these areas up I get a yearly savings of $1864.48. I get a 5 year compounded savings of $9322.40 and a 10 year compounded savings of $18644.80. Not bad for making a few changes in your life. Most of which you've probably forgotten that you did those things to save money, but you've been reaping the benefit ever since.

per year
400.00 - utilities
24.48 - automatic bill pay
240.00 - free necessities
1200.00 - stockpiling groceries at low prices
-------
1864.48

I walked at Walmart with mom today and got 4 packages of Benefiber, each pack had 3 individual packs of fiber in them. I got the cherry-pomagranate ones and they are very good. They were $1.97/each and I had 2 coupons for $5/2 so I made $1.03 on each set of 2. I used the overage to purchase 2 packs of sugar free jello at $1.12/each. I had to pay a few cents, but a very good deal.

I also had another coupon for free lens cleaner and cloth at the eyeglass place and got that on the way out. I got some a few weeks ago and I think it works really well.

I earned enough swagbucks today to purchase another 2 $5 Amazon gift cards, happy with that Smile

I finished reading Blood Sugar 101 What They Don't Tell You About Diabetes by Jenny Ruhl. I really liked this book, very informative and straightforward. Definitly recommend to people with diabetes.

I also finished the library book Zach's Law by Kay Hooper. Romance - ok.

remember when

February 13th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

My oldest niece is going for a double major - psychology and anthropology. She's been discovering how all these other cultures that she thinks are so much better than American don't treat women very well as a whole. Often women are second, third or fourth class citizens - many times after farm animals. I remind her of how fortunate we are as women to be born in American in this time. It would be so easy to lose many of the things her generation takes for granted and that were new when I was her age.

I've been remembering how it was in the late 70's, early 80's. I remember when women were just given the right to get a mortgage or own a credit card in their own name, without having to get a father, husband or other male relative to co-sign for it.

I remember getting my first credit card. It was a Discover card because they were a new company and were taking almost everyone to get clients. I didn't get a MasterCard or Visa for years after that.

I remember how my parents forced me to take typing and shorthand in school because those were women's skills and with those skills I could always get a job as a secretary. The 3 main job positions for women then were secretary, teacher or nurse. I did not want to take anything that was considered a woman's skill. I'll admit the typing came in handy later on in life, but I've never used the shorthand.

I remember how almost none of my classmates went to college right after high school. I expect most of them went later on in life like I did. I did go for a year right after high school, my parents thought it was a waste of time for a woman to do that, and in my case at that time, they were right. I was too unfocused and didn't know what I wanted to do in life. So the year was basically wasted.

I remember how one of my girlfriends in school was taking a computer class and I thought that was the stupidest thing I ever heard. Shows how stupid I was Smile I wonder if she pursued it, if so, she got in on the first wave of the computer business.

I remember getting my first job at 16 and getting paid $1.65/hr. That was a fortune to me. I worked for a lady who made ribbons for State Fairs and rodeos from her house.

I remember when I started driving at 16 gas was .35c/gal and how when I came home from college in 1980 it was .79c/gal and how outrageous we all thought that was.

I remember going to the movies almost every week in the summer and an evening movie was $1. I saw Grease 9 times one summer. I saw Smokey and the Bandit at least 3 times. I remember seeing the first Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I remember my first R rated movie was Saturday Night Fever.

I remember when my dad would give me a $1 to go out with the teens after church on Sundays to get a coke or ice cream or something and that was more than enough.

I remember when mortgages charged 21% interest. I can't imagine how anyone paid that off. I remember when CDs paid 14% interest and you got a free crock-pot or toaster with the purchase. My first checking account paid 5 1/4% interest. I remember getting raises twice a year because of inflation.

Most of these rememberances have nothing to do with women's rights it's just thinking back to that time made me remember the other stuff.

Ah well, back to the present. My niece will learn all the things she needs to as she lives thru it and at some point she will learn to appreciate how well women have it in America vs other countries. I think as a whole we are taught to complain too much about how things aren't perfect in life instead of appreciating what we have. It's part of the ad culture we live in. Ads have to convince us there is something wrong with what we are doing now so we will buying whatever it is we are selling, so eventually we are disatisfied with everything in life, because we are constantly bomarded with negative messages.

End of lecture Smile

This morning I went to Walgreens and got 2 jars of Jif creamy peanut butter for $2/each. I will put them aside for the next time I see my niece. They are on sale with their in-ad coupon at 2/$5 and in the Walgreens February coupon book their is a coupon for $1/2 making them $2/each. A very good price for name brand peanut butter right now. I paid using RRs from last week, so no out of pocket.

I finished reading my book Master of Dragons by Angela Knight. Paranormal - ok.

visit to niece

February 12th, 2012 at 07:14 pm

My parents, sister and I drove up to Greeley to see oldest niece yesterday. It was snowing and nasty here when we left, but cleared up once we got close to Denver. My sister was in a nasty mood so it wasn't much fun at the beginning.

She wanted me to review her investments in her 401K, IRA's and the girls college money. She has been paying someone 2% to manage this for her, but has decided that's a waste of money, which I've been telling her for 4 years. Anyways, I went thru everything and was shocked at how little she's saved in retirement funds when she makes really good money and has for 30 years. There is no way she'll ever be able to retire at this rate. And that included the matching funds from all her employers, truly pathetic. I told her she really needs to up her contributions.

I broke down the different ways I would invest the money if it was me. The girls college has to be more liquid, but she has enough for 2 years, so I suggested I-bonds, short-term bond funds and a GNMA fund for that money. For her retirement money I told her she needed to go for growth since she has only 15 years to retirement and very little money. I put 50% in a S&P Index value fund. 25% in a small cap index fund, 15% in a total international index fund and 10% in a GNMA fund. I hope she follows thru. She's very risk adverse, but you can't make any money on CDs or money-market funds right now.

Once we got to Greeley the weather was fine. I brought 4 large boxes of stuff to niece and she was very excited. She kept saying "oh look at this", "I can really use this", "I've needed some of this". So I was happy that she was happy. My mom made cookies and brownies for her and her roomates. She already sent her valentines in the mail - chocolates and $50. My sister gave her an AMEX card. So she's set for while.

I helped her do her taxes, which didn't take long. Unfortunately this is the first year she made enough money that she doesn't get all her taxes back. She will get $50 between federal and state.

Dad took all of us to lunch at Chili's. We left around 3:30 and what should have been a 2 hour drive took us 4 hours. There was a wreck on I-25 in Denver and we were stuck on the highway for 2 hours. My sister was not happy, but we don't know Denver well enough to get off the freeway and find our way back, plus we were in the far lane and getting over would have taken a lot of effort. We finally made it but by the time we got back home it was snowing and foggy again. We dropped sister off and mom and dad and I went to Village Inn for supper. It was almost 8 and none of us wanted to go home and cook or clean.

I finished reading the library book V is for Vengence by Sue Grafton. Mystery - ok. Not as good as the others in the series.

The Perfect Frugal Day

February 10th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I was inspired to write about this from the blog Mr Money Mustache. This is a composite day, but it all happened this week.

Wake up without alarm around 8:00 - 8:30. Very long hot shower, which is not frugal, but a luxury I love. I use free razor, soap and shampoo during the shower. Afterwards, I use free deodorant and toothpaste. Get dressed, take vitamins and fix breakfast. Usually eggs and coleslaw.

After breakfast I spend 15 minutes cleaning the house. Then I read one of the free magazines I get each year, right now it's Kiplingers, Health, Money or All You. I'll read a library book afterwards.

Around 11 mom comes by and we walk for 45 minutes. I pick up the mail on the way home and I have free samples, rebate checks, reward checks from the credit card, discount gift cards and coupons in the mail. There also might be a book I swapped for.

After dealing with the mail, I fix lunch. Usually a ginormous salad with some kind of protein and jello.

After lunch I spend a couple hours on the computer. I get swagbucks for searching and it's enough to cash in for 2 $5 Amazon gift cards. I read blogs on what grocery deals to get this week and print out coupons using free paper from rebate deals. The ink was bought at a discount. I sign up for some more freebies thru the web also.

I watch the news at 4 and I might have a snack of sunflower seeds then. After the news I read for awhile or listen to podcasts I downloaded for free from the internet.

I fix supper around 7 and usually have protein and some cooked veggies with jello.

After dinner I'll work on a jigsaw puzzle or watch some TV. If I'm lucky it might e Til Debt do us Part or Extreme Couponing. Then I read until 10ish.

I get ready for bed using free toothpaste and discounted face cleaner. If I'm not very sleepy I might listen to a podcast for awhile.

That's my perfect frugal day. I don't drive anywhere or buy anything, but free stuff comes to me. It's relaxing and for me very enjoyable.

I finished reading my book Legend by Jude Devereaux. Romance - ok.

$23.84 for groceries

February 9th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I ended up spending more than my $20 challenge, but I got a couple of splurge items for my niece at the last minute. Here's what I got.

garlic powder - .50c
onion powder - .50c
garlic salt - 1.00
ground pepper - .74
40 oz heinz ketchup - 1.98
6 Knorr pasta side dishes .25/each - 1.50
3 boxes mac and cheese - FREE
1 bottle Dawn dishwashing soap - .49
1 jar Mt Olive Pickles - 1.99
1 jar Vlassic pickles - 1.99
Jif peanut butter - 2.74
2 boxes 12 ct taco shells - 1.50
4 boxes various kinds of pasta - 4.32
1 package Sheets energy strips - FREE

I splurged on the following

1 can Pringles (her favorite) - 1.65
1 box Duncan brownies mix - .94
1 package Homestyle Kraft mac and cheese - 2.00

So I did pretty good. I get pasta free all the time so it irked me to actually pay for it Smile but she lives off the stuff. I usually give her several boxes everytime I see her.

I did some other shopping too. At Safeway I got 3 Hallmark greeting cards and used a $2 coupon making them $4.39 and I got back a coupon for $5 off my next order - moneymaker.

At Walgreens I did 2 transactions. In the first one I bought St Josephs aspirin and Sheets energy strips. I paid using RRs from previous transactions so these were FREE and I got back $7 in RRs.

The second transaction I got Ubiquinot CoQ10, Sundown vitamin D3 and Artic Naturals Omega 3s. I used the $7 in RRs I just got and a $1 coupon on the Sundown vitamins. I spent $24. However Walgreens has a rebate deal on all of these and 10% bonus for getting the rebate on a Walgreens card. So I will get a Walgreens gift card for $31.90.

I got more free vitamins at King Soopers. I got 2 Nature Made multivitamins - BOGO for $10.49 and used a $3 coupon making 2 bottles $7.49. And I got 2 large bottles Natures Bounty Omega 3 BOGO for $9.99 and used $6's in coupons making it $3.99 for 360 pills.

I entered the Nature Made codes into their wellness program and I had enough to order another $7 coupon from them.

Last stop was the Natural Grocery store where I got 2 bottles of unrefined coconut oil for $5.49/each and a jar of cashew butter. The cashew butter was really expensive at $6.5, but I've been wanting to try it to see what it's like. It's ok, I like peanut butter better and it's a lot cheaper, but now I know.

I finished reading my book Hexed. Paranormal short stories - very good.

$20 grocery challenge

February 8th, 2012 at 09:32 pm

My oldest niece called at 10:00 last night and hung up at 1:05. I didn't mind because I'm a night person. She was excited about her new classes and what she's learning and wanted to share.

She told me she's been sick for 2 weeks an spent all her grocery money on cold medicines. I told her I had several bags of groceries for her and we plan to go up this weekend to see her. As we were talking I opened my pantry and asked her what kind of things she needed. From the pantry I pulled, several cans of soup, canned beans, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and paste, spaghetti sauce, salsa, tuna, salt, canned chicken, sunflower oil, mustard, salad dressing and canned peanuts.

Next I went to my linen closet and pulled out cough drops, cold medicine, cough syrup, lotion, body wash, toothpaste, shampoo, liquid soap, 3 boxes of kleenex and 9 rolls of cottonelle toilet paper. I always have lots of cold stuff on hand that I buy when it's free. I haven't had a cold in years - knock on wood Smile

In my cleaning closet I pulled out disinfecting wipes, sponges, tilex, furniture polish, Tide, and a roll of paper towels.

I have a big box and 3 big bags of stuff to take right now. I doubt if it cost me more than $10. But I plan to take $20 and see how many other things I can get that I know she needs/wants. The problem is there aren't that many good sales or coupons right now, so some things will have to be full price. She wants ketchup, pickles, peanut butter, spices and pasta, I plan to challenge myself to see what I can do with $20. Peanut butter has really gone up in price, I haven't seen a good sale in awhile.

I finished reading the library book The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter. Romance - very good.

Mr Money Mustache

February 7th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

This is an early retirement blog that I found recently. I really enjoy it. I've been slowly reading old posts and came accross this one today.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/06/21/frugality-as-a-mus...

It's titled Frugality as a Muscle and basically is a good answer to those financial people who pooh-pooh frugality and instead say it's a waste of time to do things to save a few cents here and there and we should just focus on the big items, like mortgages and buying new cars etc. All the Amy Dacyzyn haters. Smile

At the end he describes his perfect frugal day. I think this is the perfect idea for a blog post from anyone who wants to join in. Describe your perfect frugal day. I'm going to think about it and then write mine soon.

I finished reading my book One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland. Romance - excellent, love her books.

Please make it stop

February 6th, 2012 at 08:12 pm

The Colorado primary is tomorrow. I'm so sick of political phone calls. They are all babies, they sound like tattle-tailing kindergardeners in the calls. Newt said this, Romney said that, did you know... ARGHH! Make it stop! Smile I'm getting 4 - 6 calls a day. I really hope it ends until the election this fall after tomorrow.

So I decided to challenge myself to find cheaper versions of 2 items I use frequently each month. These are items I buy often because I use them alot. Things that either don't go on sale enough or at all or that I need too often to keep up with the sales. Things that I may have looked at before and decided this was the best/cheapest way, but now plan to look at again since prices have changed so much. Items that I have no intention of doing without.

This month I will be looking at lemon juice and sunflower seeds in the shell. I use both items daily. I flavor my water with lemon juice and also use it in salad dressing, coleslaw and while cooking some veggies. Sunflower seeds are one of my favorite snacks and I usually eat about 1 oz/day.

When I figure out the best deal for each item, I will report back.

I finished reading the library book Cadmian's Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr. Sci/fi - very good.

Hub Pages

February 5th, 2012 at 05:26 pm

I read about this site in the latest Kiplingers. It's a website where members can write blarticals, (blogs + articals) and get paid 60% of the revenues generated by ads placed on the blog pages. The woman in the article was making $1300/month writing about southern cooking, animals and salt water fishing. Some of you writers out there might be interested in it.

Most of the blogs I scanned seemed fairly simple and straightforward. I thought about doing it, but don't want to spend the time.

I finished reading the library book Seduce Me In Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank. Paranormal - very good.

low carb peanut butter cookies

February 4th, 2012 at 06:20 pm

We got a ton of snow yesterday - about 20 inches. So I spent some time trying new recipes. I made really easy low-carb peanut butter cookies. These were very good.

1 cup crunchy peanut butter - I used natural PB
1/2 cup granular Splenda
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Roll dough into 24 balls. Place balls on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and flatten with fork.
Bake for 12 minutes. Cool before removing from pan.

Makes 24 cookies
Carb 2.54g/cookie

I made 12 larger cookies instead of 24. I don't know where I got the recipe, looks like I copied it out of a book.

For supper I made a dish called Joe from Hold the Toast blog.

1 lb ground beef - I used grass fed
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a couple handfuls chopped spinach
1 4 oz can mushrooms
5 eggs
salt and pepper

In a big skillet, over medium heat, start browning the meat. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms and continue until meat is fully cooked. Throw in the spinach and let wilt. Now scramble the eggs together and pour over the whole thing and stir until they're set. Salt and pepper and serve.

I liked this for a good low-carb one-dish meal. I think next time I might add a can of tomato sauce and see how that tastes.

I ordered some more gift cards from Card Pool yesterday. For dad I got a $200.93 Home Depot card at a 9.2% discount for $182.44, and a $161.05 JC Penney gift card at a 17% discount for $133.67. He'll pay me back when they get here.

For me I got 3 Walmart gift cards at a 2% discount. I made another 1% back using my credit card to make the purchase. It's not a big discount on the Walmart cards, but I'm going to shop their anyways, might as well save a couple bucks.

I finished reading my book The Eye of Horus by Carol Thurston. Mystery - very good.