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March free stuff

April 2nd, 2012 at 08:33 pm

Month # of items Value of items
Jan 105 310.10
Feb 108 448.23
Mar 106 179.53

Total 319 927.88

I got a fair number of free items in March, but they weren't worth as much as the 2 previous months. Here's what I got...

1 $10 Walgreens gift card 10.00
2 $5 Amazon gift cards 10.00
4 4 oz tubes Colgate toothpaste 12.00
4 4 oz cans Geisha mushrooms 2.36
1 Burt's Bees daily moisturizer sample 0.50
2 Life Choice cereal bars 1.56
1 Vaseline lotion .3 oz 0.97
1 Arm and Hammer 60 ct laundry tabs 7.94
4 ct Sundown fish oil capsules 1.00
2 Metamucil samples 0.99
1 Crest oral rinse 1.22 oz 1.00
1 Redbox movie 1.20
2 4 oz tubes Colgate toothoaste 6.00
2 2 oz ReNu contact lens solution 2.94
2 doz Walmart eggs 1.76
1 Palmer's cocoa butter for men sample 1.00
4 2.6 oz Right Guard + 2 oz body wash 8.98
1 large symphony bar 1.50
1 lancome 7-day sample Genifique youth 3.00
2 6 packs Zevia soda 7.00
1 letter opener 1.00
1 jar opener 1.00
1 magnet clip 1.00
1 pack of Simple facial wipes 5.49
1 3 pack Dentyne 2.00
2 Mederma scar cream for kids 4.00
1 Sample Simple laundry detergent 1.00
1 Reviat Lens contact solution 1.00
1 free pen 0.50
1 Simple face cleaner sample 1.00
1 2 ct Nordic Naturals omega 3 pills 1.00
1 Tums freshers sample 1.00
1 Purex sample 1.00
8 mars easter bunnies 4.00
2 Reach floss 2.00
2 Emergen-C samples 1.00
1 pack Stride gum 1.29
4 22 ct Carefree 3.76
1 10 ct Breathe Right 4.82
1 $5 Target gift card 5.00
1 bunch celery 1.09
1 free month Hulu plus 7.99
4 Mars easter bunnies 2.00
2 Suave conditioner 1.96
3 Starkist tuna 7.77
3 22 ct Carefree 2.92
2 Nivea lip balm 1.98
1 Revitalens contact lens solution sample 1.00
1 Oatmeal squares sample 1.00
2 $5 Safeway OYNO coupons 10.00
1 Gevalia coffee sample 1.00
4 days Starz network 2.50
4 Snickers peanut bars 8.76
1 Garnier Fructis shampoo sample 1.00
1 Fekkai shampoo and conditioner sample 1.00
3 4 oz tubes Colgate toothpaste 3.00

I got several more free items today as well as .90/gal savings on gas. I had .90 cents off Safeway gas from last month. They tripled my gas points. So I spent $300 in groceries and gift cards and got 9 gas points. I spent $2.86/gal and filled up my tank and 2 5 gallon cans for just over $60.

I pruned my coupon organizer and saw I had 2 more Colgate toothpaste coupons that will expire this month so went to King Soopers and got 2 more free to donate.

At Walgreens I got 3 Milky Way bunnies for free with coupon and gave them to my mom.

At Walgreens I also did several deals that have multiple layers. Kelloggs frequently has overlapping deals. Right now they have a rebate buy 10 boxes of cereal and get a $10 gas card back.

Walgreens has Rice Krispies on sale buy 2/$5 get $2 RR back.

I had coupons for $1/2 boxes of cereal and get a free large bag of M&Ms when you buy 2 Rice Krispies. They had 2 kinds of M&Ms, one kind had 10% more in the bags, so of course I got those.

So I did 4 transactions and need to do one more later this week to qualify for the $10 gas card.

5.00 - 2 boxes Rice Krispies
3.59 - 1 bag with 10% extra M&Ms
-1.00 - $1/2 Rice Krispie coupon
-3.59 - M&M coupon
4.00 paid
-2.00 - RR to use on my next order
-2.00 - gas card rebate
FREE eventually

All the cereal will be donated. The M&Ms go to my nieces.

I finished reading my book Viel of Night by Linda Howard. Romance - very good.

A year of coupons

April 1st, 2012 at 07:55 pm

ytd = April 1 2011 - March 31, 2012
Coupon total ytd = 2,269.18
RX total = 476.32
Discounted Gift Cards = 227.12
Total = 2,972.62

I started tracking my coupon use last April 1st. I also started tracking the gift cards I got for transferring prescriptions and the amount of money I saved from buying discounted gift cards. I ended up saving just under $3000 for the year. It was an interesting experiment, but I won't continue to track these items.

One of my goals this year is to average my food budget at $200/month. So far I hadn't done so well and was way over the first 2 months of the year. This month I spent $101.49, so that should help bring the average more in line.

My networth for the first quarter increased by almost 3%. That's pretty good.

I finished reading the library book The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel. Historical fiction - very good.

John Carter

March 31st, 2012 at 07:38 pm

I took my youngest niece to see John Carter yesterday. We had both heard it wasn't very good. But we both really liked it, so I don't know why the reviewers thought that. I think it's one of the better movies I've seen in a long time. I spent $13

We went to lunch afterwards at Sonic and I spent another $12.

I had lunch with her at my parents on Wednesday too, so was able to catch up. She's a mess. She lies constantly, but what can I do? Just be with her and tell her I love her.

I finally started on my taxes. Should finish in the next couple of days.

Starz is free this weekend and I've watched several movies. Friends with Benefits - good. Resident Evil - Afterlife - very good. Burlesque - very good. Soul Surfer - very good.

I also got Bridesmaids from Netflix. My niece told me it was my sister's type of humor, so I figured I wouldn't like it and I didn't. Not my thing.

My older niece sent me a picture of some old books she bought at a thrift store for $5. She didn't go far from the aunt tree Smile She loves just looking at books and using them for decoration.

I finished reading the library book A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber. Sci/Fi - good.


March 25th, 2012 at 07:39 pm

When I was working I normally worked 10 or more hours a day, sometimes for weeks at a time. I was usually multi-tasking at 2 or 3 things at a time all day long. I was constantly busy and extremly efficient. Now I feel unsettled when I have to make a few phone calls in a week or have to go in town a couple times. I don't know what it is, but I definetly don't enjoy a fast pace anymore or even a mildly busy one.

I had to go in town twice 2 weeks ago and I had to go in town twice this week. Plus I've been on the phone talking to the insurance company because even though I went into the office and signed the paperwork making the changes to my car insurance. They sent me the wrong paperwork without the changes. I called back and they said so sorry, we'll fix it and then yesterday I got new paperwork and it's still wrong and I have to call back again Frown

Pain in the butt. It seems like no one does their jobs anymore. You have to follow up on everything. I had to go in town Friday to get another xray on my chest and have to go back Monday to get a CT scan on my pelvic area. This is just checking to make sure they got all the cancer from my kidney removal in 2010. But it's another trip in town.

Then I have to go see the Dr after that, so another trip. I am just unsettled with all this stuff going on. I like my quiet, uninterrupted days Smile

I got my Roku box set up and while it's ok, I don't get as many shows from Hulu or Netflix as I expected downloaded to my TV. A lot of them have to be on a computer and I don't want to have to go to my office to watch things on the laptop. I'm thinking about returning it and buying a new TV that is internet capable. I had thought to buy a new laptop this year. I might just buy an internet TV instead. I'll research prices today.

On one of my trips in town this week, I went to 2 thrift stores, a used book store and a dollar store. I found several books at the thrift stores and the book store. A couple for my niece to fill out some of her series that I started her on. One thrift store was way overpriced on everything in my opinion. $2.50 for a paperback vs .50 at the other thrift store. $4 for a hardback vs. $1.50. At the dollar store I found some organic chicken broth in the box for $1. I got 4, it's always almost $3 at Walmart.

I splurged and bought a Ninja food processor/blender at Target. On sale for $49.99, plus you got a $5 Target gift card with purchase. I don't have either a blender or a food processor and I've seen several recipes I wanted to try lately that calls for a blender. This brand was rated high on consumer reports and it normally sells for almost $100.

I finished reading the library book Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card. Sci/Fi - very good. Tells the story of Bean and his children who went to space. Bean was one of Ender's classmates in battle school. I love the Ender stories.

I also read my book In Serena's Web by Kay Hooper. Romance - ok.

bits and pieces

March 20th, 2012 at 07:06 pm

I shopped at Walgreens yesterday and got 8 free Milky Way bunnies, gave 2 to mom and donated the rest. I got 2 free reach floss - also donated.

I got a Tums refresher sample and a Purex laundry sample in the mail. I also got a free issue of Bridal magazine that I gave to my niece and a free Better Homes and Garden magazine.

Today I got one of the $10 Amazon gift cards for $5 that creditcardfree mentioned. I paid with a credit card giving 5% back on amazon purchases, so should get another whopping .25/c back Smile

I ran across an interesting article on money saving mom this morning. I've calculated costs of recipes for years now and specifically costs of servings. She offers a spreadsheet and a conversion chart here

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I also ran across a new blog called the 99 cent chef. He mostly takes things he buys from the dollar stores and makes meals. I haven't seen anything I would make yet, just because I'm not eating processed stuff, but I find it interesting to read.

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Here is a website that has recipes I am interested in trying. I just found it yesterday. It's called the nourishing gourmet.

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I sold some stocks last Thursday for living costs this year. They've gone up quite a bit and I decided to take some profit. I see they hit my checking account this morning.

I have to go in town for a Dr's appt tomorrow, so I'm making a list of all the other places I should visit while I'm there. It's no wonder I'm so tired when I go to town. I hate getting in and out of the car multiple places, but better to do it all at once than go in again next week.

I finished reading the library book Scarecrow Returns by Matthew Reilly. Adventure - very good.

I also finished my book Upon a Midnight Clear. Romance short stories. OK, only reason I'm keeping this one is because of the short story by Linda Howard.

shopped till I dropped

March 15th, 2012 at 08:14 pm

I spent the last two days shopping and doing errands and right at this minute I don't want to see another store for several days.

Tuesday I went to the town about 30 minutes away. First stop was Walgreens where I got 3 bubble mailers for .39c/each paying with my Walgreens reward card from February.

I stopped at Dillards in the mall and picked up a free 7 day sample of Lancome Genifique youth moisturizer. I tried it the last 2 mornings and it really feels good on my face, but I won't be buying it.

Whole Foods was next. I used 2 $3 Zevia coupons with a $1 Whole Food coupon and got 2 6 packs of Zevia soda for free. Well almost, I spent .20c on taxes. I've never tried this brand, but it's no sugar or carbs.

One of the main reasons I went to town was to see my insurance agent at State Farm. I canceled collision and comprehensive on my car. It's 10 years old now and not worth keeping. That saved me $91 every 6 months. That's a nice inflation fighter for me. Smile They gave me a free jar opener, a letter opener, and a magnetic clip to hold papers.

Target was next. I got 2 free tubes of Mederma scar gel for kids, using coupons. I will use this on my surgery scars and see if it helps. I got a free 3 pack of Dentyne using a manufacture and a Target coupon. I gave it to my mom. And I got a pack of Simple facial wipes for $4.49 after the Target coupon and will get a $5 Target gift card from Real Simple when I turn in the rebate, making them free too.

I stopped at Big Lots and got a large jar of black pepper and one of garlic salt for $1/each.

I met my parents at Red Lobster for lunch and used a $4/2 coupon. Spent $9

Then we went to Costco where I got a free sample of Laundry detergent and spent less than $35. I mostly got organic chicken broth, beef broth and individual packs of peanuts for snacks.

The other main reason I went to town was to get an xray of my kidney to see if I have any kidney stones, so I did that next. They gave me a free pen.

Last stop was Walmart where I picked up the cordless phone I ordered and shipped site to store. The phone has 3 cordless phones that I can place thru out the house and it connects to my cell phone. So I don't have to keep carrying my cell phone from room to room and I can hear better in the house.

At Walmart I also used a coupon to get a free sample of Rivalens contact lens solution from the eye department. I gave this to my niece.

That took care of Tuesday. On Wednesday my niece came down from college and I took her the 2 bags of grocery items I've collected since the last time I saw her. We had a big lunch at mom's and then we drove to Manitou and Old Colorado City.

It was a beautiful day out and we didn't even need coats. I was surprised at the number of people walking around down there. My niece loves the old hippie styles from the 60's/70's and Manitou is a haven for that stuff. Mom got her a pair of aladin pants for easter. We went to a free trade store where refuges from other countries sell items that allow them to escape their situations. Very pretty stuff, but a little pricey in my opinion. I got her a bracelet for her bday from there.

She loves books almost as much as I do so I took her to a good used book store over there and I think she could have spent the rest of the day in there. I got her 2 books to give her for her bday and she got several books for herself. I got 3 books for me.

At the glass store I bought a beautiful fairy sitting on a glass ball to replace the glass unicorn my cleaner broke last year. It was about $60

I got some homemade salsa at one of the stores, they had samples and it was really good.

We got back home around 6 and my niece headed out to spend time dancing at a friends house. Ah, youth Smile

I stayed and played games at my parents.

This morning I went and got a haircut for $7 and spent $9 with tip. I used a coupon to save $5.

I was supposed to pick up a prescription but spaced it and don't want to go back now, I'll try to remember it tomorrow.

I finished reading my book Angels of Darkness. Short stories about angels. Very good.

Toby Keith

March 12th, 2012 at 08:46 pm

I really like Toby Keith and have several of his CDs. Amazon has Toby Keith's 35 biggest hits that you can download on a Mp3 player for $3.99. So I used some of my gift cards from Swagbucks to get it.

Went to Safeway this morning and got 2 more bags of salad for .50c/each. I also got 2 bottles of Ken's salad dressing for .19c/each. Safeway has a coupon to make the salad dressing 1.19 and there was a $1 coupon in yesterdays paper. I was able to stack them and get them for only .19c/each. I used to always get salad dressing for free, but haven't been able to for several months.

My niece is coming down to see us. Late Tuesday she's going to stay with her mother, then Wednesday she'll go to my mom's and we'll visit and have supper there. Then Wednesday night she'll stay with her dad and then back home Thursday. It's a bit of a pain when you have a divided family and have to try to work in everyone in one trip. I'll just be happy to see her for whatever time she has.

I finished reading my book Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews. Sci/Fi - excellent. She's got 3 series going now and all of them are great.

cheap salad and girl drama

March 11th, 2012 at 08:07 pm

I went to Walgreens and Safeway this morning. At Walgreens I got paid to buy 4 Right Guard deodorants and they each had a free trial size of body wash attached. They are on sale BOGO, but some of them had the trial size body washes attached and some of them didn't. So I made sure to get 4 with the free body washes. All of them will be donated.

17.96 - 4 Right Guard deodorants
.62 - taxes
-8.98 - 2 free for BOGO sale
-6.00 - 2 $3/2 coupons
3.60 - I got a $4 RR back for buying 4 Right Guards, this made me .40c

At Safeway I got a bag of Fresh Express asian salad kit for .50. It was on sale for $2.50 and I had a $2 coupon. I have some left over ham so I will have that and a large salad for dinner tonight. I also got 4 large Symphony chocolate bars for my nieces. On sale for $1.50/each. I had a coupon for buy 3 get 1 free. So paid about $1.12/each. I'll go back tomorrow and get another bag for tomorrows super.

And I did a price match a Walmart last night. Walgreens had Russel Stover sugar free candy on sale, buy 1 get 1 free. But they didn't have the variety I wanted, which is the butter caramel, (so good). I got 4 bags at Walmart for .75/each after the sale. Very good price.

My niece called for over an hour Friday night. She lives with 3 other girls. She's very pretty, but she doesn't really think about it much. She likes to dress up, but she's not vain. Anyways the other girls are all chunky and man-hungry. My niece is outgoing and likes to talk to people, but they get upset and say she is trying to get all the guys, blah, blah, blah. Makes my niece unhappy. So they went out and she didn't talk to anyone, so of course none of the guys came over and that made them even more unhappy. They asked her what she was doing and she said, "you get unhappy when I talk to guys and now you're unhappy when I don't talk to them, what do you want from me?"

I told her she is perfectly fine the way she is, and she shouldn't try to change herself for someone else. They will still find something about you to dislike, because the problem is them and they can't acknowledge that, so they blame you. If you change yourself, you'll be unhappy, they will still be unhappy and now everyone is unhappy. Stay the way you are and at least you will still be happy and true to you.

It helped some, but it's mostly that age group of girls. They are all juniors in college and I don't know why they think having a man in their lives will fix everything. You need to like to live with you and be happy with you, before you can expect to be happy with someone else.

She said she felt better, but it won't last. When you have 3 people picking on you, it's hard to live that way. Next week is her spring break. I told her to come down and stay with me or mom for a couple of days. We'll go shopping and to the movies and I promised her mom would make her good food. She thought that was a good idea and I hope she does it. I know she wants to go skiing with her boyfriend and she has some homework and working at her job to do, but I'd love to have her come spend some time with us and get away from a stressful living situation.

I hate these kinds of conversations with anyone. There's nothing you can do to help, you can just listen and offer support. I can just tell her she's wonderful and I love her. I can't change the way they act or the way she feels. I like it better when she tells me she needs an idea for an essay or groceries or something like that. Things I can actually do something to help.

My niece said she doesn't want to talk to her boyfriend about this stuff, for one thing she's only been seeing him for about a month and for another she says he doesn't want to hear about girl drama. She's smart to know that and not fill his ears with all the crap about her roomates.

I finished reading the library book Sweet Silver Blues by Glen Cook. Sci/Fi - ok

Jack and Jill

March 9th, 2012 at 09:50 pm

I got this movie free from Redbox yesterday using a promocode. It was ok, not really my kind of movie, but I didn't see anything else that I hadn't either seen or was in stock. I like action and/or sci-fi mostly.

I did some price matching at Walmart today and got two dozen eggs for .88/each. I also got 2 trial size ReNu contact lens solutions for 1.47/each and used $2 coupons giving me overage which I used to pay for a dozen of the eggs Smile

I got some metamucil and crest mouthwash samples in the mail. These will go to the food pantry along with the ReNu solutions. I got the ink I ordered just 3 days ago, that was very fast. The jello is due today.

Speaking of jello, Safeway has it on sale for .88c this week. But they only had cherry in the sugar-free kind that I like. I think I'll price match it at Walmart and get some rasberry. I did get 10 of the cherry. They had strawberry and lime, but I don't care for either one of those flavors.

I ordered a Roku box from Walmart last night. @ $75 with tax. They will ship it to the store. I used shopDiscover to order it so will get 5% back. If I like it I will order Hulu and cancel my cable. I'm still debating about signing up for the Amazon prime for the streaming downloaded videos. I'll probably do that too, and still save at least $30/month. The just bumped the cable $5/month.

I finished reading my book Something Wicked by Catherine Mulvany. Paranormal - ok.


March 7th, 2012 at 08:35 pm

As part of my cleanup of my bits and pieces notebook I'm transferring the quotes to my quote book. I've had this book for over 20 years. I keep all kinds of quotes in it, not just financial ones. Sometimes it's not even a quote, just I liked the way the sentence worked. Many of them have to do with reading.

Here's a couple of the funny ones.

"You are what you eat, which sort of accounts for vegetarians I guess."

"He could finesse an elephant through a keyhole without any grease." - Stephen White

"Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a crime. For a first offense that is." - Robert A. Heinlein

"I don't know why people stand and study the dead that way. It makes about as much sense as paying homage to the cardboard box your favorite shoes came in" - Kinsey Milhone

"God, don't start telling me I'm normal. I've had all the bad news I can take for today." - Jan Burke

"He would have to increase his IQ by 10 points to be considered an idiot"

"OK, I can buy the virgin birth, but where are they going to find three wise men?"

Here's a few of the financial ones.

"Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?" - Cicero

"It isn't the man who has too little who is poor but the one who craves more." - Seneca

"Thrifty in its adjectival form, originally meant "having success and good fortune as well as respectability."

"Many wealthy people are merely the janitors of their possessions." Frank Lloyd Wright

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strenthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help man permanently by doing what they could and should do themselves" - Abraham Lincoln.

That last one seems very apropo for today's times.

I got a blood test yesterday and they wanted to put a hold on my credit card first. I guess they changed their system. Used to be they would bill the insurance company, they would pay their part and then they billed me and I would pay my part. They said too many people weren't paying and they had to write off too many charges. They said their profits have gone up by 100K since they started this method.

Then the hospital called this morning. I had set up an appointment to get an xray next week on my one remaining kidney to see if it's ok - no stones. They said I would need to pay upfront with them too. I guess too many people aren't paying their bills.

I finished reading the library book The Unquiet. Mystery short stories. OK, the only one I really liked was the one by J.D. Robb.

free jello

March 7th, 2012 at 12:10 am

I ordered 24 sugar-free cherry jello from Amazon yesterday. It was $32.20 but using the Subscribe and Save option I saved 15% or $4.85 and got free shipping. That comes out to about $1.14/each for the large size of jello. That's .02/c more than Walmart. I used gift cards I got from Swagbucks so they were free. For some reason the other flavors were more expensive. I would have ordered rasberry, but I will get it from Walmart.

Today I did a check on Epson ink for my new printer using pricegrabber and they said it was cheapest at Amazon. I checked Staples were I normally buy, but Amazon was almost 50% cheaper. I got 4 cartridges for $20.49 vs almost $39 at Staples. I ordered 2 sets and only paid $3.99 in shipping. Even though I would get 10% cash back at Staples and wouldn't have to pay shipping it's still much cheaper to order from Amazon.

I did some shopping at Walmart yesterday and 2 free Life Choice cereal bars that I will give to my nieces. I got one tube of Vaseline lotion for free for me. And I got a bag of 60 ct Arm and Hammer Toss N' One laundry detergent. They had a try me free rebate sticker on them. I sent in the rebate and will give the detergent to my oldest niece.

I did a price match on Nature Made vitamin D 1000 iu 100 ct. Target had it for $3 and I had a $3/2 coupon. I got 2 bottles for $1.50 each. I entered the codes on the Nature Made wellness site and have enough to cash in for another $7 coupon.

I got my metformin prescription refilled at Walmart and the price has tripled their too. It's gone up everywhere at the first of the year. It's a fairly cheap drug that almost everyone with diabetes is on. It's been around for over 20 years. I don't know why the price has tripled.

I finished reading the library book Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz. Romance/mystery - good.

jetsam and flotsam

March 4th, 2012 at 08:07 pm

In my living room sits my comfy dark brown leather recliner. Beside it is a reading lamp and a 3 drawer nightstand. On top of the nightstand is my large water bottle on a coaster, a tube of chapstick, a container for nail tools, pens, pencils and scissors, a small tube of lotion, a bottle of lens cleaner and a lens cloth. There are anywhere from 3 - 5 books waiting to be read or in the process of being read. And there are 2 notebooks.

One notebook is to keep track of recipes, menu ideas and health related ideas I read or see on TV. The other notebook is interesting websites I read/hear about, things to look up, tips and hints on doing things and interesting quotes.

I finished the notebook with the interesting tidbits in it and before throwing it away I'm going back thru to see if there is any information I want to look at again. Some things I just write down and never get back to. Some I check out right away.

Here's some of the interesting websites I had written down in the notebook.

Free birthday treats. Lists birthday offers in your state for either adults or kids.

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Fax Zero - lets you send documents from your PC as if you were faxing them for free.

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Sunday Saver - lets you see all the Sunday ads in your area, even if you don't get them in the paper. Very good for price matching at Walmart

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Gift Card Granny - a buy/sell gift card aggregator. Lists gift cards for sale from various sites at what value or lists what various sites will pay for your gift card.

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Get free printable stationary so you can print just one or two sheets if you need it instead of buying 50 pages. My mom liked this one since she stills writes lots of letters.

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Deposit Accounts - compares bank rates for savings, checking, CDs etc

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wisebread - personal finance and frugal living forums

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DMAchoice - choose what kind of junk mail you want to receive.

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free shipping promo codes -

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book scouter - where to find who pays the best for books you want to sell

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learn languages in one minute increments

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clicker - TV guide for the internet - enter shows you want to see and it tells you who has them

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cheapism - tells you the best cheap product to buy. Sometimes you don't want quality, you just want cheap

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amazon filler item finder - when you need a dollar or two more to get free shipping

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I need a bargain - online bargains aggregator, aggregating coupons, sales, promotions, discounts, and online sales

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Most of the other sites are well known or were duds, these were the most interesting to me.

I got a $10 rebate check for Brita water pitcher I got last month. It was a moneymaker. I also got a sample of Burt's Bees daily moisturizer cream.

I went to Walgreens and got 4 tubes of Colgate toothpaste that I made money on and will donate to the food pantry.

$3.00 - sale
.21 - tax
- .75 - q
2.46 but get back a $3 RR so it's a .54c moneymaker x's 4 = $2.16

I got 4 cans of mushrooms with the overage from the toothpaste.

I ordered a $10 Walgreens gift card from MyPoints - cashing in. I made enough swagbucks to order 2 more $5 Amazon gift cards.

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

February freebies

March 1st, 2012 at 07:37 pm

I did slightly better in February than January for freebies. I got 108 items worth $448.23 vs January total of 105 items worth $300.10.

Here's what I got

1 reward check for $78.88
1 Lipton Green tea 0.79
3 Lipton green tea samples 0.99
2 boxes Kleenex cool touch 1.98
3 20 ct boxes Advil PM 14.00
1 crystal light sample 0.50
2 Enfamil baby formula 10.00
1 3 ct Cascade dishwasher tabs 1.00
1 2 year subscription Better Homes and Gardens 20.00
1 St joseph aspirin 2.00
1 Sheets energy strips 5.00
1 Sundown vitamin D3 4.00
1 Ubiquinol CoQ10 15.00
1 Artic Naturals omega 3 10.00
1 Nature's Bounty Omega 3 9.99
1 Nature Made multivitamin 10.59
3 Kraft mac and cheese 2.97
1 King Soopers large eggs - 1 doz 1.63
1 Eggs land best eggs - 1 doz 2.99
2 boxes Target brand mac and cheese 1.28
2 Yes to Carrots body butter 3.98
1 Olay bar soap 0.97
1 St joseph aspirin 2.00
1 Sheets energy strips 5.00
1 bottle lens cleaner and wipe 1.00
4 3 packs Benefiber 7.99
1 box Jello 1.12
1 month Showtime 12.99
2 $5 Amazon gift cards 10.00
1 free book 7.99
4 M&Ms heart candy 2.00
4 6.2 oz Colgate Toothpaste 4.00
1 celery bunch 1.36
1 6 oz David sunflower seeds 1.25
2 bunches radishes 1.98
2 bags coleslaw mix 2.98
2 8 oz mushrooms 2.49
1 lb Primo Taglio turkey lunch deli meat 5.00
2 magazines 1.00
2 500 sheets copy paper - Staples brand 10.98
2 8 ct ballpoint pens 11.98
2 2 ct 200 sheets Kleenex 5.98
2 8 oz packages mushrooms 4.98
2 UP2U gum packages 2.58
1 breakfast at The Egg and I 10.00
5 packs Kool-aid 0.95
1 $25 coupon Safeway groceries 25.00
4 Nivea lip balm 4.00
1 Scrubbing Bubbles toilet bowl cleaner 4.00
1 Cascade trial size dishwashing soap 0.97
1 50 ct Nature's Bounty B-12 9.39
1 lb. Farmlands bacon 5.99
1 100 ct Nature Made magnesium 4.94
2 4 ct Olay soap 12.98
2 Lady Speed stick 5.00
1 Scrubbing Bubbles toilet bowl cleaner 8.99
4 Nescafe individual coffee sticks 4.00
2 30 ct Ultima Flora probiotics 20.00
2 twizzlers 0.50
2 200 ct Nature Made magnesium 15.98
2 Walgreens sunflower seeds 3.37
2 Glade expressions 6.98

I overspent on groceries again. My goal is $200/month and I spent $238. Really need to stay on top of that this next month and come in under $200 to get my average back in line.

I finished reading the library book Lothaire by Kresley Cole. Paranormal - very good.

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
-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.


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
-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
-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
-4.00 - q
1.34 - but I got a $4 RR so another moneymaker

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

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

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...

Text is and Link is

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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.

Text is and Link is

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

Text is and Link is

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

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.

Text is and Link is

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.

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