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Archive for January, 2011

Safeway debacle

January 31st, 2011 at 11:35 am

I really hate when a planned grocery trip goes wrong and you get a cashier that really messes you up. Went to Safeway this morning and the plan was to get free soup, cheap peanut butter and cheap hamburger and I guess I succeeded to an extent...

I had a Safeway coupon to make the Skippy peanut butter 1.49 only he said he couldn't use the Safeway coupon with the manufacture coupon, which is totally bogus. Anyways there were a million people in the store so didn't argue too much right then, said I would talk to the manager. I had 4 $1 coupons for the Skippy, which would have made them .49 each. He only rang up 3, even though he kept all 4. I didn't find that out till I was in the car trying to figure out what just happened.

The soup was .99 wyb 4. I had 4 .50 internet coupons, which would have made them free after doubling. He took 3 and told me he couldn't take the other one. No reason and there's no restrictions in their coupon policy. Again I just said fine since I planned to talk to the manager.

I got a pound of hamburger for 2.49 and he did take my $2.00 coupon so paid .49/lb.

And finally he forgot to give me a bag credit.

I talked to the manager and he said yes, they do take Safeway coupons and manufacture coupons and yes there is no restrictions on the internet coupons. So he gave me back 4.40 for the peanut butter and .50 for the coupon. I still ended up paying an extra $1 for the peanut butter since the cashier didn't actually ring it up. So 4 jars for 2.96 instead of 1.96. And I paid an extra .50 for the soup since it would have doubled if he had scanned it instead of just opening the door and giving me the face value. So .50 for 4 cans of soup instead of free. I wasn't going to argue any more at that point since I needed to meet my mom at Walmart to walk. But the whole thing was very aggravating. I sometimes think cashier's just make up the rules as they go.

I finished reading my book Forget Me Not by Marliss Melton. Mystery - pretty good.

free salad dressing, candy, eye drops and pain gel

January 30th, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Went into town to meet parents for lunch. We ate and Zios. Had a buy one get one free coupon, split 3 ways it saved me $3. Spent $8

I went to Walgreens and got the following

5.99 - Arnica pain gel
-2.00 q
-----
3.99 - got back a $6 RR

7.99 - Blink eye drops
-1.00 q
------
6.99 - got back an $8 RR

3.56 - 4 Butterfingers Snackers
-1.78 - 2 BOGO q's
-2.00 - Walgreen ad q
-----
.22 - money maker

Did the Blink and Arnica twice. One Blink will keep, one goes to parents, 1 Arnica goes to niece and one will be donated. Paid for all using Walgreens gift card bought with RRs, so no out of pocket. Have $28 in RRs from today will put on gift card later.

Next stop was Albertson's were I got 2 doz eggs for .89/each. I gave one to my parents. I also got 2 bottles of Ken's salad dressing for free. I'll keep one and give one to my niece.

I finished reading the library book The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry. Adventure - very good.

free ink, pens and pencils

January 29th, 2011 at 03:30 pm

I got my Staples rewards in the mail today from buying ink and batteries last month. I was glad to see it since I had a coupon for 15% off at Staples that expired today. Staples also had pens and pencils on 100% rebate sale.

I have an Epson printer and I always look for the ink with the chair on it. They don't make it anymore. I was looking and looking. Fortunately I had 3 ink cartridges with me to recycle and could see the numbers I needed. I eventually figured out they changed the picture to vases instead of a chair. Not sure what the purpose of the change is, other than to make people nuts.

Anyways I got the following

21.49 - 1 Black ink cartridge
3.99 - Bic manual pencils - 5 ct
5.99 - Zebra Sarasa gel pens - 5 ct
-----
31.47
-3.82 - 15% off q - on pencil and ink - not pens?
-2.00 - Zebra q - was right in front of pens
-25.65 - Staples rewards check
------
.85 - they printed out a coupon and gave me .85 cents back. Don't appear to have charged taxes. Weird. I paid nothing out of pocket and since I paid less than the check I got for the batteries I call it all free.

Anyways I will get a check back for the pens and pencils for 9.98 even though I only 'paid' 7.38 a profit of $1.60. I'll donate these to the food pantry, they collect school supplies too. I'll also get a check for $6 for recycling 3 ink cartridges. Enough to get one of the color cartridges next time.

I finished reading my book The MasterHarper of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Sci/Fi - very good.

Rice e Fagioli soup

January 28th, 2011 at 11:41 am

Last night I made this recipe. It's a takeoff on my Pasta e Fagioli soup recipe which was supposed to be a copy of Olive Garden's recipe. I've found I like it better with rice than pasta. To me the pasta gets gummy the next day or so, the rice stays good and even makes the soup better the next day. I make the recipe up to the rice part and then freeze half the soup. I add 1/2 the rice and eat the rest over 3/4 days. Very good with a slice of bread and butter.

Rice E Fagioli soup

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 large carrot small diced
2 stalks celery small diced
3 cloves garlic - garlic press
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
1 15 oz can white beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 10 oz can chicken broth
1 10 oz can condensed tomato soup
1 cup long grain and wild rice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
teaspoon pepper
teaspoon dried thyme

Directions:

1. Brown the ground beef in large skillet - season with garlic powder, salt and pepper
2. Add cut up veggies to hamburger and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 10 - 15 min until softened
3. Add all ingredients to large crock pot and cook on high for at least 1 hour.

I finished reading the library book The High King of Montival by S.M. Stirling. Sci/Fi - very good.

free butter, rice and RoTel

January 27th, 2011 at 04:26 pm

King Soopers is having another of their mega sales, buy 10 save $5. I did 2 deals, saving $10. I used my RX coupon and other coupons to get $22.35 in free groceries - 13.63 in manufacture coupons and 8.72 in the RX coupon.

Here's some of the highlights

4.47 - 3 boxes I can't believe it's not butter
-1.50 - mega deal
-3.00 - 3 $1 q's
-----
.03 profit

3.68 - 4 cans RoTel
-2.00 - mega sale
-1.20 - 2 .30 q's doubled
-.92 - 1 free wyb 3 q
-----
.44 profit - donated to food pantry

2.98 - 2 Uncle Ben's rice
-1.00 - mega deal
-2.00 - 2 .75 q's doubled
-----
.02 profit - kept one, gave one to niece

1.98 - 2 Mahatma saffron yellow rice
-2.00 - 2 .75 q's doubled
------
.02 profit - donated to food pantry

2.79 - French's honey mustard dipping sauce
-1.00 - q
- .50 - mega deal
-----
1.29

3.68 - 4 cans Hunts tomatoes
-2.00 - mega deal
-1.00 - .75 q doubled
-----
.68 - .23/each - donated to food pantry

2.97 - 3 cans Del Monte green beans
-1.50 - mega deal
-1.00 - .75 q doubled
------
.47 - .16/each

3.87 - 3 cans Hormel chili
-1.50 - mega deal
-1.50 - $1.5/3 q
-----
.87 - .29/each - goes to food pantry

Also bought milk, potatoes and 2 cans Kuner's white beans. Got some more hamburger at Safeway - spent .66 for a pound and a bit. Got 3 more bags of free Chex Mix at Walgreens for the food pantry. Dropped 4 sacks of food at the food pantry.

I finished reading my book Water Bound by Christine Feehan. Paranormal - excellent.

cheap hamburger

January 26th, 2011 at 01:32 pm

I went to Safeway this morning and got a pound of 80% lean hamburger for .49. Safeway has it on sale for $2.49/lb. Thier Joy of Football coupon book has a coupon for $2 off Rancher's Reserve beef. So only .49 cents after coupon. I have some more of these so will get a few more pounds to stock up the next month.

I also used 3 more $1 off Chex Mix coupons to get 3 more bags free at Walgreens. I'll donate these.

I went to GiftCard Rescue and got a $100 Sonic gift card for $81 and a $50 Wendy's gift card for $45. I used a promotion code from Hip 2 Saves' website to get an extra $9 off the Sonic gift card - HIP2SAVE10

I finished reading my book Mountain Vengence by Jason Manning - Western - ok.

My boring investment style.

January 25th, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Back in my early 20's when I made the goal to retire early I realized I had to figure out how. I had to make my small amount of money work for me. My dad made his money in real estate, but he was able to do all the hands on work needed to keep the properties up and he liked dealing with people. I didn't have those abilities, nor wanted to learn them, so I knew I needed a different way. I read a ton of books and financial magazines on investing and came up with my personal investment style. I was not a financial guru, buying and selling individual stocks. I was a patient best pratices investor.

My first investment was stocks from the company I worked for. Employees could buy them at 15% off using up to 15% of your salary. I started small about 5% and then after a year I sold them. I made a profit. That was good so I reinvested and did it every year after that I worked for that company, maxing out what I could invest. Company stocks are the only individual stocks I ever bought and sold.

So here are the basic rules I used for my investment style.

1. Invest NOW! At the same time I was buying the company stocks I deliberately decided not to invest in the company 401K even though they matched 100% up to 6% of your salary. The reasons were because it locked up your money until you were 59 1/2, (which was an eternity for a 23 year old), and it took 5 years to become fully vested. You vested at a rate of 20%/year. I did not think I would work at that company for 5 years. 3 years later I finally woke up and realized that it didn't matter it I only worked there a year. I got 20% of the company money in a year, I got all of my money, plus interest, dividends etc and if I had started 3 years ago when I could have I would be 60% invested by now. So I started investing.

That's one of the things I've learned is Invest Now. There is never a perfect time to invest. The market may be going up, it may be going down, it doesn't matter if you are investing for the long term. Invest it now and in 10 years you will make money. Even if it's only in interest/dividends/capital gains.

2. Reinvest. The second thing I always did until I retired was reinvest all my dividends, interest and capital gains. Now that I'm retired I don't reinvest the money from my after tax accounts, since it doesn't make sense to pay taxes on that, reinvest, then turn around and take money from those accounts and pay more taxes on it as income. Money in my pre-tax accounts is still reinvested. I also made sure while I was working to pick tax-advantaged accounts to put after tax investments in, so the dividends and capital gains taxes weren't too high each year.

3. Diversify. I almost always invested in index funds. Generally I invested 50% in large cap funds, 25% in small cap funds, 20% in foreign funds and 5% in health care and 5% in REITs. The health care fund was the only one that wasn't an index fund.

4. Cost control. I couldn't control the costs of the funds invested in my 401K plans, but for plans I picked, I picked ones with low costs. Another reason for choosing index funds. I also picked funds with tax advantages to lower the cost of taxes. I fully invested in 401Ks and Roth IRAs as much as possible to take advantage of tax deductions and company matches.

5. Don't panic. I invested through at least 7 recessions or major downturns. I didn't panic and withdraw or quit monthly investing. I knew that stocks would rise again and I would regain the losses and so far I always have. Sometimes it takes 3 years, but usually I'm buying during (dollar-cost averaging) those 3 years so the average cost of shares remains good and I make money over the long term. When I started investing the DOW was somewhere around 400.

6. Automatic investment. I invested thru company plans as much as possible where they automatically took the money out of my paycheck and I never saw it. I also increased my investments every time I got a raise. I was already living on that income and managing so before I could get used to living on more income I would increase my investments and never notice the difference. Once I maxed out the company options it was harder to save and invest that money in funds each month. I usually reserved the funds each month in my tracking spreadsheet and once I got to a $1000 or so I would write a check and send it off.

The biggest thing was I started investing early and had 25 years for my investments to grow using compound interest.

That's basically it, all the boring things the investment books tell you to do. Buy high, sell low, invest for the long term, dollar-cost averaging, tax advantage funds, low investment costs, automatic investing. Boring, but it worked.

In the last 10 years I've met a lot of people who do day-trading and they always tell you about the huge amounts of money they made on a deal. But you never see any signs of that money long term, to me it's like gambling. I know 2 who used to tell me how much they made and both had to refinance their houses because they ended up losing so much. Refinancing when you are 50/60 is a bad deal.

I finished reading the library book Longeye by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Sci/Fi - pretty good.

a year's supply of olive oil for free

January 24th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I got my latest $5 Amazon gift card posted on swagbucks today, which made my total of free gift card credits almost $30. I bought 2 44 oz bottles of extra virgin olive oil for $17.67. That's at least a year's supply - I hope. I have been using it a lot more in cooking. The original price was $20.79 + $8.18 for shipping. By signing up for the subscribe and save feature I get free shipping and a 15% discount. I can cancel the subscribe and ship before they send me another order in 6 months. I have been buying it in the store for about $6/16 ozs or $33 so 'saved' $15.33 or almost half.

I finished reading the library book Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell. Mystery - very good. I had a hard time putting this down.

lazy Sunday

January 23rd, 2011 at 01:23 pm

Safeway has a new coupon book out called something like the Joy of Football. Anyways it has some really good coupons, one of which is $1 off Chex Mix. Walgreens has a Chex Mix deal that makes this a money maker.

3.99 - 3 bags Chex Mix - I got the ones that said 33% more so they were the 12 oz bags.
-3.00 - 3 $1 q's from Safeway book
- .99 - .99/3 WAG q from their January book
-----
FREE plus got a $1.50 RR back. If you buy 4 you get $2.50 and 5 gives you a $3.50 RR. These will all be donated to the food pantry.

I also got 2 boxes of 10 ct Old El Paso taco shells on sale for .99 each. I had 2 .50 cent coupons so .98 for 2. Will donate these also.

Spent about an hour on the phone with older niece. She's taking an anthropology class this semester and likes it so much, wants to change her minor to it. Now wants to see if their are any jobs that combine anthropology and psychology. I couldn't think of any, but who knows. I'm really enjoying the Great Courses DVDs I got on Existentialism and we talked about that for a while.

It's nice enough here that mom and I can walk outside after awhile. Looks like most of the rest of the country is getting our snow this year.

I finished reading my book Dragonseye by Anne McCaffrey. Sci/Fi - pretty good.

swagbucks for coupons

January 21st, 2011 at 02:09 pm

Swagbucks recently started giving you 10 points for each coupon you clip and use from their site. It takes 6 - 8 weeks to show up. I got my first post of 20 swagbucks today. Must have used 2 coupons somewhere. Just another way of stretching savings a little bit more. Save on a sale, save with the coupons and save by clipping the coupon from swagbucks Smile When I use 45 coupons, it will mean another $5 gift card from Amazon.

I got a $20 check in the mail for the Olay moisturizer I got last month. Also got a free sample of Slim Fast peanut butter bar, which got donated to the food pantry. I dropped about 10 bags of stuff off yesterday, it's been awhile because of either snow or I've been busy on the days they are open. They had a ton of food which was good to see.

I finished reading Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Sci/Fi - very good.

I haven't had a bath in more than 5 years

January 19th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I love long hot showers, especially with the massager beating down on my shoulders and head. The last time I was in an actual bathtub was when we went to Canada and I used the whirlpool tub in one of the hotel rooms I stayed in. However, because I take a shower everyday, my brain skips when it comes to wondering if I already shampoo'd or not. This morning I was wondering if I shampoo'd and I thought I had, but couldn't remember for sure. A few minutes later I started wondering again if I had shampoo'd. I'm pretty sure I did between the first wonder and the second wonder, but can't really remember Smile Old age, or just poor memory? The problem is I shampoo every morning so am I remembering this morning's shampoo or some other morning's shampoo? My hair looks ok, so I must have shampoo's at some point today. Who knows how many times Smile

I got gas at $2.86/gal today - total $30.44 and I picked up a prescription for $5.50. I'm out of prescription coupons so no free groceries Frown

I got a free slim fast peanut butter bar in the mail. I'll donate it to the food pantry.

I finished reading the library book The White Road by Lynn Flewelling. Sci/Fi - good.

Narnia

January 17th, 2011 at 06:46 pm

I took my youngest niece to see Narnia today. It was worth seeing, but not as good as the first two, in my opinion. Spent $12 on tickets - at least it wasn't 3-D this time. Really tired of that trend.

We went to Wendy's for lunch beforehand. Niece was telling me about their new fries and how good they are. I agree they are pretty good. I haven't been there in months. Spent $13.18

After the movie we went to Cold Stone for ice cream. I brought half of mine home since I was still full. Spent $8.18

Had a good time with niece. Talked about several things including early retirement and how saving your money gets you good things in life. Also talked about college and how so many kids end up spending so much for college and then get a job that doesn't pay the loans and basic living expenses. Her new plan is to become a surgeon, but only in 10th grade so lots of time to decide for sure.

When I brought her back home her mom had locked her out. Good thing I always wait to make sure they get in the house safe. They live out in the middle of nowhere. I took her to my mom's since they have an extra key and then drove her back home.

I finished reading my book Raven's Strike by Patricia Briggs. Sci/Fi - very good.

cheap mac n' cheese

January 16th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Went to Walgreens this morning. They have Kraft Homestyle mac n' cheese on sale for $1.67/each. I got 2 and used 2 $1 manufacture coupons and 1 $1/2 Walgreen coupon to get them for .17/each. I'll give them to my niece.

I also got 2 packs of 2 ct Sharpie pens. On sale with Walgreens in-add coupon for .99/each. Saving $2.00/each. I used one of the $2 RRs I got last week from buying cereal to pay for them. These have been on my list for awhile so was glad to finally find them for a good price.

I finished reading the library book Side Jobs by Jim Butcher. Sci/Fi - very good.