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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.

January free stuff

January 31st, 2012 at 07:01 pm

One of my goals for this year is to track how much free stuff I get. In January I got 105 free things at a value of $300.10

Here's the list

1 1 month Showtime 12.99
1 luna bar 1.00
2 Smart protein bars 3.96
1 $5 Target gift card 5.00
1 16 ct Charmin toilet paper 5.99
1 2 oz Simply organic vanilla extract 4.85
1 26.2 oz Idahoan potatoes 2.98
2 Reach Floss 1.94
4 .17 oz Nivea lip balm 4.00
3 12 ct Schick disposable razors 5.91
1 35 ct Scotch Brite wipes 2.50
1 Skittles candy 0.25
2 Synthe 6 protein bars 3.78
2 Studio 35 nail polish 2.00
1 Russell Stover toffee 2.19
1 Red Robin burger 9.60
1 Sephora lipstick and chapstick 10.00
1 .85 oz Rise Foods breakfast bar sample 0.99
1 .17 oz Audrey Organics moisturizer 0.99
2 6 oz cans Muir Glen pasta sauce 2.00
3 Cortaid anti-itch cream 7.50
2 Sunbird seasoning mixes 1.56
1 Bic pens - 10 ct 0.97
1 Dole bagged salad 2.99
3 6.4 oz Colgate toothpaste 2.94
1 Spaghetti and Meatballs meal 8.31
1 Brita Water filter 8.97
3 Oral-B floss 2.91
1 Palmer's Cocoa butter 0.99
1 $20 Albertson's gift card 20.00
1 Mega Red sample - 3 pills 0.99
2 Kikkoman seasoning packets 1.98
2 Brawny paper towel roll 2.00
2 Eucerin calming lotion trial size 1.98
1 1 year subscription Money magazine 19.98
1 Benefiber sample 0.99
6 bags Nice! sunflower seeds 11.19
1 ENT bonus 25.67
5 Think Thin bars 5.00
2 Zone Perfect bars 2.00
2 Pure Protein bars 1.98
1 sucker 0.25
8 magazines 8.00
2 $5 Amazon gift cards 10.00
1 Health magazine subscription - 1 year 9.00
1 twizzler 0.25
1 Ubiquinol CoQ10 30 ct 22.99
6 Snicker's valentines candy 3.00
2 36 ct St Joseph's aspirin 4.00
2 .34 oz Blinks eye drops 16.00
2 2ct Breath right 1.94
3 12 ct Schick razors 5.91
2 3 oz Vaseline lotion 1.94
1 lens cleaner cloth 1.00
1 lens cleaner solution 2.00

Another goal was to only spend $250/month on food. I spent $364. However, $114 was for newspaper subscription renewals and I had a large stockup trip from Costco in there. I hope to average it out over the year to $200/month. I did only spend $12 on eating out, and I budgeted $50 for that, so that made up for some of the other overage.

I finished reading Never After. Parnormal short stories - very good. Some good authors, Laurel K. Hamilton, Marjorie Liu and Sharon Shinn.

freebie monday

January 30th, 2012 at 09:41 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,799.63
RX total = 416.71
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,427.39

I got lots of freebies today while running my errands at Walgreens and Walmart. I used $41 in coupons and got back $25 in RRs to use next trip.

MM = money maker
FP = food pantry

Walgreens

2 bottles Blink eye drops - MM used a $1 coupon + RR
2 bottles St Joseph aspirin
1 bottle Ubiquinol CoQ10 - BOGO
6 Snickers valentine candy - nieces

Walmart

3 12 ct Schick razors - MM + FP
2 2 ct Breath Right - MM + FP
2 3 oz Vaseline lotion - FP
1 lens cloth cleaner
1 bottle lens cleaner solution

1 twizzler - niece - was handed out by the bank as I walked out of the store

I was finally able to complete my I-bond purchase this morning. I took the money from an account that was paying .08% and now will make 3.06% for at least the next 6 months.

I finished reading the library book The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff. Sci/Fi - pretty good.

frustrating

January 29th, 2012 at 07:53 pm

I have been trying to purchase I-bonds from Treasury Direct all morning, but the sight is messed up. I can get in, but when try to make the purchase get a maintenance page. Sigh Frown

I want to buy $5000 worth. They are paying 3.06% interest right now, which is better than I can get on my other cash. I was hoping to get them purchased before the end of the month so I get the whole months interest. I'll try again later.

I renewed my second subscription to the Denver Post and got a free year of Health Magazine included in the subscription.

I finished reading the library book Down These Strang Streets. Paranormal/Mystery short stories. Very good, some of my favorite authors like Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Simon R. Green and Jim Butcher.

surprising news from credit union

January 25th, 2012 at 09:47 pm

The local credit union made so much money last year they decided to give $10 million back to it's customers and I'm one of those customers. They plan to give $25 - $1000/customer depending on how much interest they recieved or paid out last year. I got $25.67. I have my main checking account with this credit union and about 2 months of living expense money in a savings account. I've been a member for 25 years, but this is the first time they've ever done this.

My sister got $152 back, but she has over $40,000 with them and her mortgage.

I finally gave in and got a haircut at Great Clips today. I've been hoping for a coupon. So when I got there, the lady says, you're overdue for a haircut and I said yeah I was waiting for a coupon. She told me there will be one next Tuesday for $4.99. Would have saved me $7 - :P Spent $14 including the $2 tip.

I stopped at Walgreens and got 6 bags of Nice! brand sunflower seeds for $11.91 and got a $2 RR and since I used my AARP card I got another $3 RR too. I guess you get the $3 when you buy $10 of stuff and use your AARP card. So now my AARP is making me money since I got the subscription price back in RRs last year.

At Walmart I had a coupon for $1.50 off 2 cans of Planter's peanuts. They have their 6 oz jars on sale for $1/each. I spent .50 on 2 jars of peanuts. They also had the big jars of mixed nuts, macadamias, almonds and cashews from xmas marked down to $4 can. The same size nuts in the nut aisle are $8.98. I got 2 cans.

Went to Village Inn with parents for late breakfast. Used the $5 bonus card I got for buying a $25 gift card before xmas. Spent $3.49. Today was free pie day so I got a piece of pumpkin pie and gave it to my parents.

I finished reading the library book Seduce Me in Flames by Jacquelyn Frank. Paranormal - pretty good.

renewed newspaper subscription

January 24th, 2012 at 08:04 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,738.81
RX total = 416.71
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,366.57

I recieved an offer to renew my Sunday only subscription to the Denver Post. The Post has much better coupons than the local paper, so I usually order 2 subscriptions every year. One to my house and one to my parents house. I renewed the one to my house for $56.70 for one year. As a bonus they threw in a free magazine subscription for a year. I selected Money magazine worth $20/year. I didn't see another magazine that I really wanted so I'll see what other deal I can come up with before the second subsription expires in a couple of months.

This will put me over budget on my food bill this month, since I account for it in that column since I only order it for the coupons. But I will earn the money back fairly quickly. So far this year I've saved over $1700 in coupons and have a couple months left in the tracking year.

My mom has pink eye and has been told it's very contagious. My eyes feel funny today and I really hope I'm not catching it. I've never had it before so not sure of the symptoms.

I finished reading my book Savage Nature by Christine Feehan. Paranormal - very good.

sore winner

January 21st, 2012 at 10:07 pm

I like to watch reality shows that are based on talent - cooking, designing, singing etc. Lately it seems like the contests don't want to win because they are the best, they want to win because someone else screwed up. This is not the way I would want to win. Now I won't be a hypocrit and say I wouldn't take that kind of win, especially when it comes with bunches of money, but I would prefer to win because my best effort beat the best efforts of several other contestants.

Many of these contestants don't care how they win and they play games to give themselves advantages or if they have a chance they vote out the better competitors so they won't have to compete with them. That's a poor win in my opinion.

It reminds me of the time my youngest niece wanted to teach me how to cheat at Solitaire. What's the point of cheating in a game you're playing against yourself?

I'm getting several comments on posts that seem like they are coming from other countries and several days after the post is made. They are making me suspicious, like someone is trying to get my email address or get access to my computer thru the posts. I don't know if that's possible, but they just don't seem like the normal comments I usually get. Anyone else getting these?

I finished reading the library book Steamlust - short stories. very good.

senior discounts

January 19th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Mom sent me the following huge list of senior discounts that someone sent her. Most of them I still can't qualify for, but I plan to keep it till I do.

Restaurants

Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off (55+)
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Captain D’s Seafood: discount varies on location (62+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili’s: 10% off (55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Culver’s: 10% off (60+)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin’ Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silver’s: various discounts at participating locations (55+)
McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney’s: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off (55+)
White Castle : 10% off (62+)

Retail And Apparel
Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 20% off (50+)
Kohl’s: 15% off (60+)
Modell’s Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55+)

Grocery
Albertson’s: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)
Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Fry’s Supermarket: free Fry’s VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55+)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe’s Marketplace: 5% off (62+)

Travel
Alaska Airlines: 10% off (65+)
Alamo : up to 25% off for AARP members
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler’s Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50 and up
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Activities And Entertainment
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa : $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off
Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)

Cell Phone Discounts
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Miscellaneous
Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (60+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)

I went in town to Albertson's today to transfer a prescription. It's about 13 miles away. They had a deal where they give you $20 gift card to transfer. Unfortunately they charge 3 x's as much as my local pharmacy, but I still came out ahead. I normally pay .80c for this prescription and they charged $4.31 so I made around $16.50 with the $20 gift card. I used just over $10 of the card buying produce. I also got 2 packets of Kikkoman seasoning for free with coupons.

I finished reading the library book Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell. Mystery - very good.

creepy toys

January 18th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Because it's so cold mom and I walk at Walmart most days in the winter time. When we walk in the toy aisle we both get creeped out because the toys start making noises when you walk past them. There's this one elmo doll that gives out a really creepy laugh when you walk by. I would think it would scare the kids. A couple of times it's made both of us jump. There are other toys that make noises as you walk by too and I think if I had to live with all that noise going off randomly I would go nuts. I like my house very quite. Nothing is playing unless I'm listening to it right then. I don't play TV or the radio in the background while doing other things.

At Walmart yesterday I picked up 3 free Oral-B flosses that will be donated to the food pantry. I also used a $4 coupon to get a Brita water filter pitcher. Regulary $8.97 and there is a $10 rebate so I will make money on this.

I finished reading a friends book Dark Futures The new John Connor Chronicles by Russell Blachford. Sci/Fi - ok.

last of the bday freebies

January 14th, 2012 at 09:43 pm

I went to several places yesterday to do some shopping. I needed new walking shoes because mine have a whole in the top after 2 years of daily use. I also wanted to use some coupons that are expiring this weekend and the last of my bday coupons.

I started at Safeway where I got 3 tubes of Colgate toothpaste for free. I got 12 boxes of sugar-free jello for .56/each and 10 cans of Chef Boyardee for .69/each. All the Chef Boyardee and toothpaste will be donated to the food pantry.

After walking at Walmart with mom, I went to King Soopers to pick up a prescription and also get a free bag of Dole salad using a coupon. Spent $2.44 on the prescription.

At the Goodwill I got 5 books for $2.10.

I went to Sears to get my walking shoes. I have worn size 8 1/2 since my 20's, but yesterday I had to go to 9 1/2 to find a shoe that fit. Now I really doubt my foot got an inch longer, but I had to get a 9 1/2 in every style including the one I was wearing - weird Smile I ended up getting a different brand for $20 off, original price was $54.99 and I paid $34.99. I used a discounted gift card to pay. I'm going to continue using the old shoes for another month or two.

I went to Noodles and Company next to get my free birthday bowl of noodles. I picked up spaghetti and meatballs. On my way home I stopped at my sister's house and left it for my nieces dinner. She's a big spaghetti and meatball fan. I can't have the carbs.

I returned some items to Bed, Bath and Beyond and then my last stop was Jason's Deli. I had a birthday coupon for $5 off any item so I got their big chef salad. I spent $3.37 after the coupon and it was really good. I had it for dinner last night.

So that's the end of my birthday freebies this year, I didn't get as many offers as last year, but happy with what I did get.

I finished reading my book The Invitation by Jude Devereaux. Romance - pretty good.

more bday celebration

January 12th, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Last night parents took me, sister and niece to Texas Road House to celebrate my bday. I had a 6 0z sirloin, salad and mushrooms - very good.

Went to sisters house afterwards so I could open my gifts. Mom decided to start giving us more this year, because she upped the amount she gives the grandkids, so decided she should at least spend as much on us as them. It too much, but makes her happy.

I got the following:

new office chair
1 cushy kitchen floor mat
2 caserole dishes - 1 large, 1 medium
8 small ramekins
1 kitchen paring knife
1 dark glass bottle with eye dropper
2 clear shoe boxes
$10

From my nieces I got 2 $25 gift cards, 1 for Red Lobster and one for Red Robin.

This morning I went to King Soopers and Walmart and got the following items for free. FP = food pantry donations.

2 6 oz Muir Glen tomato paste - FP
2 Sunbird seasoning mixes - FP
3 Cortaid anti-itch cream - 2 donated to FP
1 10 ct Bic pens - FP

I also got 2 Pictionary card games for .88/each after $5 coupons, which I will donate to the FP for next years Toy drive.

I used $30.29 in coupons.

I finished reading the library book Changes by Mercedes Lackey. Sci/Fi - pretty good.

51

January 11th, 2012 at 12:24 am

I turned 51 today. Parents and I drove up to Denver to celebrate. Went to World Market where I had a 15% off non-food items, and 10% off food items coupon that I got for my bday. Mom bought me 8 custard baking dishes for .99/each using the coupon. When I signed up for the World Market deal they were giving $10/$10 coupons, that was a much better deal. We saved $1.20 with the 15% coupon.

I picked out a couple more items at the Container Store for my bday. They have acrylic shoe boxes with pullout drawers that I use for organizing my linen closet. I have 8 but wanted 2 more.

Next we went to Red Robin and I got my free bday burgeer - $9.60. I left a 15% tip. Mom and Dad also used their Red Robin card and since Dad just registered his this week he got a free appetizer - value $8.99.

We went to the fancy mall up there and stopped at Sephora where I got free sugar lipstick and chapstick for my bday. I'm not sure why someone would put sugar in either lipstick or chapstick. I'd keep the chapstick if it weren't for the sugar. I'll see if my nieces want them. Not sure what the value was. I was supposed to get a full sized bottle of lotion, which I could have used, but they changed their freebie the first of the year.

We stopped at the outlet malls in Castle Rock on the way home. Mom got me a pairing knife and a large bottle of lemon extract. I ended up spending less than $12 for the whole day.

I got 50 swagbucks for my birthday also.

I got my order from VitaCost when I got home with my 2 free samples. The breakfast bar goes to my niece and I'll keep the moisturizer sample.

I finished reading the library book The Affair by Lee Child. Mystery - very good.

1000th blog post

January 9th, 2012 at 07:31 pm

This is the 1000th time I've felt I've had something to share with others Smile I started blogging June 11, 2005, that's hard to believe. I stopped for about a year and a half sometime in there but have been fairly regular.

I was watching The Big Waste on the Food Network last night. What an eye opener on how much good food is wasted in this country. I didn't get to see the end to see which team won, but I'm sure it will be replayed.

My oldest niece called at 10 til 9 last night and talked until 20 til 12. Almost 3 hours. We had a very good conversation about many, many different topics - very enjoyable and much better than any TV show Smile

I was telling her about this really simple lemon cheesecake recipe I tried yesterday and she wanted me to send it to her, so I did this morning. It was really good. Another keeper for me.

Here it is:

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

Finely chop 1 cup pecans or walnuts and mix them with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 4 packets of Splenda. Divide the mixture evenly in the bottoms of 6 muffin cups (lined with cup liners).

Combine 1 jumbo egg, ¼ cup Splenda, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon lemon extract and one 8 oz package cream cheese, softened, and blend until smooth.

Fill muffin cups two-thirds full and bake for 15 minutes at 325, or until the filling sets at the edges (center may still be moist). Sprinkle the tops with grated lemon zest when cool and store in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.

I finished reading my book Twin of Ice by Jude Devereaux. Romance - pretty good.

Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

January 8th, 2012 at 07:30 pm

I tried this recipe with tofu Shirataki noodles. It was pretty good. If you want to know more about these low-carb noodles here's a good blog about them. I get them for about $1.45/8 oz from the Natural Grocers store.

http://holdthetoast.com/content/column-reprint-shirataki

Ingredients

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
16 fresh sage leaves (sliced into thin strips)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbls unsalted butter

Directions

Combine the cream, pumpkin puree, parmesan, sage, salt and pepper in medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened, 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in butter. Toss with cooked pasta and serve.

Makes 1 1/4 cups
Calories - 219
Carbs - 3.9
Fiber - 1
Protein - 3.7
Fat - 21.6

Went to Walgreens this morning and got 2 free Synthe6 protein bars after RRs. I will donate these to the food pantry. I got 2 free nail polish removers using the January Walgreens coupons and will give one to each niece. I also got 2 Russell Stover sugar free packages of candy BOGO. I got the butter cream caramel, which is fantastic, and I also got the chocolate toffee squares, also good, but the caramels are my favorite.

I got a rebate check for $2.48 from buying Lysol wipes last month.

I finished reading my book Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. Paranormal - very good.

free stuff from Walmart

January 7th, 2012 at 09:41 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,636.92
RX total = 406.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,254.29

I did some shopping at Walmart yesterday and got several items for free.

1 large box of Idaho potatoes had a Try me free rebate on it. I'll give this to my oldest niece who likes them. Yech! Smile

I got 4 tubes of Nivea lip balm. Price Match for $1.00 with Walmart then used 2 $3/2 coupons, so actually made overage on these.

2 Reach floss free after coupons - will donate to Food Pantry

3 12 Schick disposable razors free after coupons - will donate to food pantry.

1 35 ct Scotch Brite wipes - Bogo coupon plus .50/1 coupon

I also got small cans of Planter's cocktail peanuts for $1.00/can and large cans of Plater's mixed nuts, macadamias, almonds and cashews for $5/each. Good price on both.

As I was leaving after walking today they were handing out free Skittles at the bank. These will go to the youngest niece.

I tried another new recipe that I really like and it's super simple. I'm not sure what book I copied it out of, it doesn't say on the sheet. It's called Smoked Sausage and Cabbage.

Ingredients

1 smoked kielbasa sausage ring, but into 3/4" slices
1 head cabbage, thinly sliced or one bag of precut
2 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons bacon fat, olive oil or ghee (I used butter)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease the bottom and halfway up the sides of an ovenproof caserole dish with some of the fat. Add the cabbage and broth. Place the sliced kielbasa sausage on top of the cabbage. Dot the cabbage in a few places with some more fat, then cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, removing the cover in the last 10 minutes so it will brown a little on top.

Serves 4

I finished reading my book Nocturnals. Paranormal short stories - not that good.

slice of mushroom heaven

January 5th, 2012 at 06:47 pm

I got this recipe from the book 1001 low-carb recipes and it is very good. It's very rich so one day I had it with sliced tomatoes and another day I had it with a vinagrette salad. It's good warm or cold. When cold it kind of concentrates the flavors. This is definitly a keeper for me.

I made a couple changes to the recipe. I used chicken broth instead of dry white wine. I used swiss cheese in place of Guyere and I used heavy cream for the half-and-half.

4 tablespoons butter
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ cups heavy cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 cups shredded swiss cheese divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and begin frying the mushrooms, onion and garlic. When the mushrooms are limp, turn the heat up a bit and boil off the liquid. Stir in the chicken broth and cook until that’s boiled away too.

Stir in the lemon juice and turn off the heat.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the heavy cream, eggs, salt, pepper and 2 cups of the cheese.

Spray an 8 x 8 in baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the bottom.

Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake for 50 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden.

Serving size = 9
Carbs = 5
Fiber = 1

Vitacost has a deal when you register they send you a coupon code for $10 off $10. I ordered 2 oz organic vanilla flavoring, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt for $10.90. I also ordered 2 free samples - a breakfast bar and moisurizer. I took $10 off and then added $4.99 in shipping. Final cost $5.89, so I figure the vanilla extract at $4.85 was free.

I finished reading the library book Shock Wave by John Sandford. Mystery - very good.

Costco

January 4th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,606.92
RX total = 406.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,224.29

Here's a good article from the wall street journal on how coupons save you money.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB1000142405274870482090...

I purshased a Costco gift certificate online thru Mypoints. It cost $55 and they sent me a bunch of coupons. I also got 550 points at Mypoints.

Here's a list of the coupons I got

1.50 - salad mix
3.00 - Kirkland white meat chicken breast - 6 12.5 oz cans
3.00 - kirkland albacore tuns cans - 8 70z cans
5.00 - meat
5.00 - Kirkland AA batteries - 48 pack
10.00 - 1 pair prescription glasses
3.00 - bakery cookies
5.00 - 18" pizza from food court - normal price $9.95
4.99 - free rotesserie chicken
3.95 - free 35 ct Kirkland water
12.99 - free 2 lbs Kirkland coffee
----------
57.43 total coupons

Mom and I went yesterday and shopped. For me the best deals were on nuts and bacon. The bacon was under $3/lb and the macadamia nuts were $10.50/lb. I also got 2 large jars of natural peanut butter for a good price. I used the canned chicken, produce and meat coupons and saved $9.50. I wouldn't have bought those items without the coupons, since I think I can do better on sales. I spent just under $80.

Mom used the free coffee, free chicken, free water, and pizza coupons and saved $26.50 almost all the cost of her half of the membership. She spent about the same as I did.

We left the bakery, tuna and battery coupons for someone else to use.

The gas was about .15/gal cheaper than up here, but since I usally have gas points from one of the grocery stores I can usually get it cheaper. If I buy a big ticket item the membership might eventually pay for itself. We'll have to see how many times I go in the next year, but since I only paid half of the membership it should be paid for soon.

We also went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, world market, homegoods and Target. I got 2 boxes of mac and cheese for free at Target that I will donate.

I also got 3 bottles of Nature Made multivitamins for women. They were $9.47 each, but when you bought 3 you got a $5 Target gift card. I used a $7 and $3 manufacture coupon + 3 $1 Target coupons. The bottles came with 20% more so I spent under $4/bottle for 108 pills/each bottle; almost a year's supply. Plus I added the points to my account on Nature Made and got another 270 points towards another $7 coupon.

Mom bought my lunch at Red Robin. We were gone for 7 hours. It was a long day shopping.

I finished reading the library book Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Mystery - very good.

2012 goals

January 2nd, 2012 at 10:41 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,579.42
RX total = 406.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,196.79

I decided on the following goals for 2012

Keep grocery expenses under $200/month. This category includes cleaning, paper, personal care and pharmacy.
However it doesn't include vitamins or supplements because that is goal #2 Smile

Track what I'm spending on vitamins and supplements.

Create a new price book

Take a trip to Maine in the fall for less than $1500

Get a new computer for $300 - $350

Track the stuff I get for free. This is just out of curiousity.

Get A1c below 5.5

Lose 30 lbs

Do resistance training 3 x's week

Try 3 new receipes per month

That's it.

I got 2 free Smart protein bars at Walgreens this morning and then used the RRs from them to buy 8 cans of mushrooms @ .59c/can.

At King Soopers I got a Luna bar for free. All the bars will be donated to the food pantry. I also got tomatoes, garlic, celery, a large portobello mushroom, and 2 bunches of radishes. Spent a little over $5. I had another portobello mushroom pizza for lunch.

I had my $10 bonus card that I got for buying a $50 GC at Staples last month. They had 16 big rolls of Charmin TP on sale from $9.99 to $5.99. I had 2 .25 coupons and I used my $10 card to buy 2 packages. 1 package was free and I only spent $2.43 on the other one after the bonus card and coupons. .08c/roll.

I finished reading my book Atlas Shrugged. Not sure what category to call it but it was excellent. One of my favorite books because it celebrates man's achievments and his mind.

2011 net worth

January 1st, 2012 at 08:14 pm

First of all Happy New Year to everyone. Now for the bad news. My net worth went down by $11,600 in 2011. Since I'm retired that is not good news. I need to have it at least remain stable and hopefully increase by 3 - 4%. I'm hoping to make up for it next year, but not a huge amount of hope. I think we're in for another very slow growth year.

I'm working on my goals for 2012 and will post them tomorrow.

Cartoon Network is having a Looney Tunes marathon so I'm tuning in whenever I'm doing dishes or cooking today. Love road runner/coyote looney tunes.

I finished reading the library book Demon Marked by Meljean Brook. Paranormal - very good.

2011 spending

December 31st, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I spent $2,699.15 more in 2011 than in 2010, almost 11% more. Most of that can be attributed to the carpet I bought for my whole house. The other big difference was in food. I started eating more whole food and lots more vitamins. I spent $2,314.65 more on food in 2011. I averaged almost $275/month. As some compensation restaraunt meals went down $324.78. The other big decrease was health costs which went down $2716.80. Due to the fact I didn't have to go to the hospital and have several organs removed Smile Also because of eating better I've been able to go off 4 of my 6 medicines.

Next year my HOA went up $53/month and my health care went up $44/month. So I'll be spending almost $100 more a month on basics. Plus the gas/heating bill is supposed to go up in January, but I don't know by how much yet.

I don't forsee any major expenses, except I plan to go to Maine on vacation in the fall. I'd also like to get a new laptop or computer sometime next year. I estimate around $1500 for the Maine trip and about $350 for the computer.

My property tax should go down, but my income tax will be a couple hundred more so that's a wash.

I finished reading my book Sweet Liar by Jude Devereaux. Romance - good.

Staples deals

December 30th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Staples had a printable coupon that I sent to my parents and printed out for myself. It was fill an eco-bag with whatever will fit and get the bag free, plus 15% off any thing in the bag. Plus furniture is also 15% off. The coupon is good thru tomorrow. After we walked today we went there and I got 3 check files, on sale for $5 each from $6.98, plus 15% off. I also got a hundred straws for $.85. I got the straws because I was using my easy rebates from last month, which were about $12.90 and wanted to use it all. I use straws every day in my drinking mug. I ended up spending .92. I use the check files to store the receipts for the items I donate thru out the year. I have to keep them for taxes, so I need a new one every year. I also keep my other receipts in another one thru the year and every other year I throw the 2 year old receipts away and reuse the check file. That way I have most receipts for up to 2 years if I need them.

While there I picked out a desk chair that my parents are going to give me for my birthday. Mine is falling apart. I didn't think I was going to find one at first they were all over $100 and many of them were very chintzy. But at the front of the store where I walked right past them, without seeing them, were chairs on sale for $60 - a $70 savings. They were nice, faux leather, high back and adjustable with arms. Just what I wanted. I sat in one and it was comfy so parents got that and with the 15% discount it was around $50. They also got some other things to put in their eco-bags and they gave me the bag.

We went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch - spent $12.06

I finished reading the library book Bonnie by Iris Johansen. Mystery - very good.

Sherlock Holmes

December 30th, 2011 at 12:42 am

Took my youngest niece to see Sherlock Holmes this afternoon. We both liked it. Spent $12 using my CC that gives 5% back on movies this quarter.

Went to the Egg and I for breakfast/lunch first. First time there for her and she got an omelet and said it was really good. I spent $17.35. I also bought a $50 gift card and got a $10 bonus gift card. Again paid for with my CC that gives 5% back on restaraunts this quarter.

Before picking her up I stopped at King Soopers and got 5 Zone bars for free. King Soopers changed their coupon policy from only allowing 3 like coupons to allowing 5. That's good news for me and a little surprising since most stores are making it harder to use coupons. Gave all the bars to my niece since she likes them.

After the movie we stopped at a calaner kiosk in the mall and she got a Michael Jackson calendar for half price. Mom always buys them a calendar each year and she gave her $15 towards one, but niece only spent $9 and gets to keep the extra.

Last stop was the dollar store. I needed 13 gallon trash bags and wanted some lemon juice. They didn't have any juice, but I got 28 trash bags for a $1.

My niece was telling me her mom's new boyfriend has started spending Friday and Saturday night there and she really doesn't like it. I told her she's welcome to come stay with me when she wants to. She said she had thought about doing that. It must really be bad for her to want to leave all her stuff to come to my boring house. I don't have any game systems or movie channels or stuff for her to play with. If she decides to come over I'll see about renting a movie or something. She doesn't like to read, so I can't give her a book. The older one would be ok with that. I have my dolls from when I was a kid and when she was younger she used to play with those, but she's 17 now, way to old for that.

I finished reading the library book Tangled Reins by Stephanie Laurens. Romance - pretty good.

not the best xmas ever

December 27th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Christmas was marred this year by a lot of fighting and bad feelings. Sister and youngest niece were fighting a lot when they got to my parents. Niece not happy that sister invited new boyfriend to family event and boyfriend was half an hour late for lunch. So that wasn't fun.

Then they had originally planned to come to mom's and open presents in the morning. That worked out fine. Everyone was happy with what they got/gave. We were supposed to eat lunch at 1:00, but sister's boyfriend was late so it was closer to 2. Lunch was great. The girls were supposed to go to thier father's house at 4:00 to celebrate with him.

About 1 he starts texting the youngest saying "I'm home, come on over" She explained we were waiting for boyfriend to get there and he got really upset, saying he expected them for dinner and if they were going to eat a big lunch, they wouldn't appreciate his dinner, etc, etc. Jerk. He puts a big guilt trip on both girls for not rushing right over, even though he originally set it up for 4 and he knew they were eating with us first.

Both girls feel really bad and don't want to spend time with either side, because it's more hassle than it's worth. He's mad because sister has boyfriend and brings him to family deal, even though he has a girlfriend, but he says he didn't go to her house and spoil her kids xmas. Just a bunch of babies. The girls are more mature than either parent.

The oldest was saying this might be her last year at a family xmas, because of the hassle and she feels bad. I told her I didn't care if we didn't have it till January, I just wanted to see her, I didn't care what day it was. I also told her that the plans were made and agreed to long before the day and if someone get upset when they change them that's their problem not hers. Other people's disappointments/feelings are thier problem not hers.

Anyways it was awkward and not the best. I guess next year we are going to try some other time to get together. That's fine with mom and me.

I got all the things I asked for and more. Mom decided to splurge because she got some money from grandma's estate recently. Gave me and my sister $1000 each on top of more presents than usual. Gave the girls and extra $100 from grandma.

This was the first xmas without my grandma so that was hard too.

After the girls left to see their father, I left too. I find the new boyfriend very boring, and didn't care to hang around. I went back over a couple hours later after they left and played games with parents.

I finished reading the library book Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara. Sci/fi - excellent.

betcha didn't know

December 23rd, 2011 at 10:17 pm

how we're paying for the payroll tax extension bill that just passed. According to Yahoo finance "The two-month version's $33 billion cost will be covered by a 0.1 percentage point increase on guarantee fees on new home loans backed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae — at a likely cost of about $17 a month for a homeowner with a $200,000 mortgage"

So someone who gets a new mortgage or refinances starting next year will have to pay an extra $17/month on their mortgage for the term of the mortgage. That does not seem fair to me. They say it will be temporary, but I doubt that. Housing is already hurting, so I don't see how this will help, I also don't see why homeowners should have to pay the bill or why we should be taking money from the social security system at a time when they are broke. Obviously I don't understand politics or high-finance.

I'm making my pumpkin custard again today to take to xmas. I'll also bring some celery with the cream cheese, peanut butter and caramel dip I made the other day.

Today I sauteed some green beans in butter with salt and pepper, then added a couple tablespoons of Salsa to the mix. I cut up the leftover ham mom gave me and I had a really good one pot dish.

I occassionally get a free box of macaroni and cheese. Usually I donate them. I had one and decided to try a recipe I read about with pork rinds. I took the cheese packet from the box and put about a third of it in a baggie. I added pork rinds and shook it up. They tasted pretty good. Maybe not the most 'pure' of foods, but low-carb and a nice crunch factor.

I finished reading the library book Dragon's Time by Anne McCaffrey. Sci/Fi - very good.

Puritan's Pride

December 22nd, 2011 at 08:26 pm

I recently found this website and they are offering a great deal on vitamins right now. Buy 1 get 1 free, or buy 2 get 3 free etc. Plus free shipping on orders over $25. I've been using several vitamins in the last few months and I priced out the ones I use and found that I could buy a year's worth of several of them for what I was paying for 2 months worth in the local stores. I ended up buying a years worth of 7 of my vitamins. It's a big outlay now, but will save a lot over the course of a year. Some of my pill costs went from .15/pill to .02/pill - a nice savings.

It's snowy and nasty here today so I didn't go out to walk. Plan to work on jigsaw puzzle and read. For dinner I'll fix some of the turkey mom gave me, with roasted pumpkin and a cranberry sauce. Mini thanksgiving.

I finished reading my book Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole. Paranormal - very good.

Atlas Shrugged

December 21st, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I used my last free Redbox code to rent this movie last night. Pretty good, I liked it although I didn't realize it was the first part of 3 and the 2nd one won't be out till fall of 2012. It inspired me to reread the book again.

I purchased a Costco gift card to share with my mom. MyPoints is offering 550 points, plus costco is giving $55 in coupons including a free rotisserie chicken and a free bag of coffee. Mom and I will split the coupons. $27.50/each.

Mom brought me leftover ham and turkey from her party on Sunday, there's probably enough to last till xmas day and then I'll have lunch at thier house. Smile

I saw this handmade xmas ornament on money saving mom's blog and I thought it was really pretty. I don't decorate for xmas, but if I did I would probably make one or more of these.

http://moneysavingmom.com/2011/12/a-handmade-christmas-snowf...

I finished reading the library book Devil's Gate by Clive Cussler. Adventure - very good.

The Egg and I

December 20th, 2011 at 09:48 pm

I met a friend in town for brunch this morning at this restaraunt. Only second time I've been. Good food and good prices. I spent $8.02

We talked for about 2 hours, good thing they weren't very busy. Smile She brought back 6 boxes of books I had loaned her 10 years ago and that she finally was able to get to from when they moved. It's so interesting to open the boxes and remember some of those old books. Many of them I have replaced since it's been awhile and I figured I wouldn't get them back, so I will put them on paperback swap.

We got about 4 inches of snow, the roads were sloppy wet. I had to use my washer cleaner about 10 times because of flying water/snow in the air. I met mom at Walmart at 9 am to walk and it was mostly empty, probably because of the snow.

I got about 90 swagbucks yesterday from their mega swagbucks day, that was nice. I have enough for another $5 at Amazon, but will wait till I have enough for 2 GCs before cashing in.

I finished reading the library book Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Sci/Fi - very good.

why is it?

December 19th, 2011 at 10:32 pm

that celery is so cheap right now? It's .69/lb right now and usually it's $1.49 - $1.79. I don't know anything about how celery is grown, but I'm sure it's an above ground crop, so it seems weird that it's so cheap right now. I'm taking advantage of it and am eating it almost every day.

I mixed about 4 oz's cream cheese, about 1 cup peanut butter, some caramel extract and some Splenda water together to make a really good spread to put on the celery. I didn't measure, just tasted till it seemed good. I like this a lot. I read about it on the Hold the Toast blog and she used it as a spread for apple slices.

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 1,491.03
RX total = 406.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 211.05
Total = 2,108.40

I went to Walmart this morning and it was very busy, but they had a lot of cashiers and it went fairly fast.

I got 1 Yes to Carrots berry lip moisturizer, a trial size of Olay body wash and 2 1.25 liters of Coke Zero for free. I'll donate the Coke. I got 2 lbs of Challenge butter for $1.98/lb after $1 coupons. I got 2 6 oz cans of Muir Glen tomato paste for .17/each.

I finished reading the library book Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey. Sci/Fi - very good.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

December 18th, 2011 at 04:41 pm

I just finished re-reading this book for the umpeenth time. It was just as good as the first time. I like to reread my financial books every other year or so. Rereading this reinspired me towards watching my money more closely. After awhile you get slack and start doing silly things, letting money fritter away.

One of the main take aways this time was to recreate my price book since I'm buying different food than I used to, plus prices have gone up so much. I used to know what things cost, anymore I'm off by about 25% or more on many things. I don't know what good prices are for some of the things I'm buying now and I need to find out, so I can stock up when I see those good prices.

Out of curiosity I did a search on Amy Dacyczyn and found some interviews I hadn't seen/read. And in one of the interviews she admits she was totally wrong about her take on the internet in her books. One of them shows the farmhouse she bought, it's really nice. Here's the links if anyone else is interested.

http://www.frugalfollies.com/2010/02/where-amy-dacyczyn-went...

http://www.mlive.com/businessreview/annarbor/index.ssf/2009/...

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/05/14/an-interview-with-...

http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mi...

I wonder what she thinks about the show Extreme Couponing, that would be an interesting interview.

I finished reading the library book For Heaven's Eyes Only by Simon R. Green. Sci/Fi - good.


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