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Fist Full of Gift Cards (CC Rewards)

February 19th, 2015 at 01:57 pm

Still busy painting here... Now I'm doing a bookcase for DS's room.

I did get my Chase Southwest points redeemed for $600 in gift cards. When I took them all out of the shipping envelope it really was a fist full of cards. Big Grin

I was able to purchase the new bedding for DS's bunk bed almost completely with some of those CC reward gift cards.

I spent just under $10 to cover what the gift cards didn't. Such a sweet feeling!

And, earlier this week I cancelled the card and had the $99 annual fee refunded. So all is good.

Catching Up - Been Busy with Bedroom Makeover!!

February 12th, 2015 at 02:18 pm

The past few weeks have been so busy for me. Any time I had for the computer was spent updating Quicken, paying bills, shopping for said bedroom or checking email. I did stop in here at SA to read blogs, but I was too tired or pressed for time to post anything.

The project has been clearing out DS's bedroom.
It started with needing to get him a new bed.
He has been sleeping in his crib - converted to toddler daybed, and he is getting too big for that. So I spent a chunk of time shopping for bedroom furniture. After some debate we decided to go the bunk bed route to give us an extra bed for guests. (Visitors currently have the choice of couch or cot.)

I had been searching Craigslist every few days since before Christmas. Saw a few serviceable beds and a whole lot of beds I didn't want. Some beds I saw in stores were so flimsy I was afraid to climb up on them. And some beds I liked were nearly $1800!
Anyway, it was a process. I ended up buying a sturdy bed from a local chain store that cost more than a flimsy bed, but half the price of the Pottery Barn bed that it looks exactly like.
I asked for an early President's Day weekend discount. That saved me the sales tax.
And asked for a discount on the matching chest dresser, which they gave me $50 off. That made me happy I was pushy and asked for a discount.

BUT, before I could have this lovely new big-boy bunk bed delivered I wanted to clean up DS's room.
That morphed into painting a wall yellow (his choice), touching up paint on the other walls, FINALLY painting the room doors, FINALLY painting and installing baseboard and door trim.
I've been doing a lot of painting... darn yellow wall took three coats before it looked right!

But the mess and aching back have been worth it - I am so pleased that one room in my house is 100% trimmed out and clean! Big Grin

The baseboards especially are my favorite. DH's too. We are actually chomping at the bit to do the hallway which has un-painted, un-calked baseboard right now.

I have been using gift cards from the Southwest bonus to purchase the new bedding for the room. That has meant more of my time spent shopping online for just the right things. Smile

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.. the bunk bed is being assembled by the deliveryman right now as I type this!!


September 1st, 2014 at 04:37 pm

Been busy here. We were out every weekend in August.
DD theater performances.
Close friends had their twin's first birthday.
Kids visiting grandparents.
Our nephew's first birthday.
A baby shower for my BFF.

Lots of traveling so we spent way more than usual in gas.

(Beautiful Quicken graph for an ugly total!)

Did a little better in other spending areas - food for one since we didn't have to feed ourselves several weekends.

Gift Giving:
We didn't buy anything for the twins. They have so much family that there was a huge pile of gifts. Our friends have a small house too, so I don't know where all that is going to go!

Our nephew got a box of fruit & veggie pouches from Costco. $12.

For my BFF baby shower I bought two clearance items. A cute outfit for $3.99 and a plush blanket for $5.99. I also bought her firstborn a wooden puzzle (her birthday is next week) for $4.

While shopping I found a very cute long sleeve Roxy shirt for DD. $19. I stashed it for Christmas.

DH is still having short hours at work, which leads to low paychecks. It's tough because we can't pay extra to anything and we still need to get the roof taken care of and I do not want to drain the EF to $0.
Honestly, I cannot remember the last time he had a "normal" 40 hour paycheck. It has been about 18 months since he had a full paycheck AND commission (sometimes netted him as much as $500/week extra).

And it seems it is causing him some depression. Even though it isn't his fault, he is taking it personally (like he can't provide for the family).
I have suggested that now might be the right time to try finding something new or maybe a part time job. I have gotten a lukewarm response to that, so we'll see....

Sunday Shopping. Birthday Gifts.

April 27th, 2014 at 06:17 pm

Went to Target this morning.
I rarely shop there, but the new one is so close to the house it is so easy to get in and out.

I went for shampoo, laundry soap, fabric softener, sliced bread and a gift for a birthday party DS went to this afternoon.

For the first time EVER I texted a number to get a coupon.
It was text TARGET the promo text LAUNDRY1 and get $5 off a $20 purchase of laundry related items. The coupon then came online on my smartphone with a barcode that the cashier scanned.
I like the savings, but what about folks without smartphones? I don't like that sort of exclusion.
**ETA: CCF commented that this coupon was online and in their ad. So I feel better about that. **

For the birthday gift - a giant bubble wand in a tube of bubble soap. I bought five at $1.99/each. DS has two parties next weekend, as well as one at the end of the month, AND his own birthday.
I felt like this is something that is high fun value, but easy on the pocketbook. Plus you can refill the tube all summer long. Smile

DH made homemade Alfredo sauce for dinner tonight. He and DD took most of it over to his boss' house for a birthday party there. DS and I opted to stay home. We are using up some old, opened pasta to have our sauce with. DH bought the cheese and cream for about $8 (butter and garlic we already had on hand) - so this was also an inexpensive gift.

Costco Visit

March 6th, 2014 at 08:20 pm

I suppose we are "luckier" than most - a Costco trip is hassle free for us (if easy shopping is "lucky" Wink).
I might have mentioned the store closest to home is right off the highway between the city I work in and the city I live in.
The store is always super clean and has a large parking lot and is rarely crowded during the week.

This afternoon I stopped in for gas and some *stuff*..

Gas was $3.53/gal.

Here are some of the highlights...

$ 9.59 - 3lb bag Frozen Organic Blueberries
$ 8.99 - 6lb bag Frozen California Strawberries
$16.79 - 2.5lb Fancy Unsalted Whole Nuts (I love these! Almonds. Cashews. Pecans. Pistachios. NO cheap-ie peanuts!)
$ 9.99 - 12ct Happy Squeeze Pouches (Tasty fruit & veggie puree - excellent snack for DS.)
$11.99 - 80ct Cascade Dishwasher packs
$19.69 - Jumbo rolls of TP

I also bought rawhide chews for our dog. Canned tuna. Two cases of Izzy juice/sparkling water (special lunch treats for DD). Good clumping cat litter - 35lbs for $8.59. Ice cream sandwiches. Frozen burritos. Crackers.

As you can see I picked up some staples and some favorite treats.
What's your favorite item at Costco?

Vacation, then Christmas, now nearly New Year.. Oh My!

December 28th, 2013 at 09:59 pm

Our trip was great!
Really my only complaint was that it was 75F-80F (terrible, hu?) and made the Disney parks a bit more crowded than we were used to. (We always plan to go at "non-peak" times to save money and avoid the crowds. We usually wait 15 minutes or less on the really popular rides and less than 5 minutes for everything else.)
I shouldn't complain, even waiting twice as long as we're used to is better than a lot of people deal with.

It was so enjoyable to watch DS's enjoyment.
This is him on the Toy Story ride which he kept referring to as the "yellow glasses ride".

I used a hotel we hadn't stayed in before. While the hotel was nice and the beds very comfy it was too much of a walk to get into the parks. We walked back and forth twice each day in order to take an afternoon nap, so it was a lot of walking.

Yes, there is a circulating bus/shuttle, but I didn't want to pay the extra money, plus you have to wait for it to pick up and drop off. I prefer to walk, although this time it meant some seriously sore feet by day end.

We did pretty well with food spending. Snacks in the car and hotel room. Eating out *only* twice daily was easy to manage.
We ate at the Rainforest Cafe for $12. I had $100 gift card (credit card reward) that almost covered the "splurg-y" meal.
A character breakfast included with our package at n/c was a great treat.
I had my special treat in Disney - a Monte Cristo - that was filling enough for two meals.
We also ate at the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land which I have found to be nearly the same cost as Mexican food anywhere else. You can also get free soda refills there. That meant my DH bought a soda with six trips for refills. Big Grin

We rented a car. A 2013 Ford Focus.
It was good for us. I had calculated that we would be about even driving our own gas guzzling car vs. renting a fuel saving car. Additionally, no wear and tear on our aging vehicle (we drove 1370 miles).
With the costs tabulated we saved a little money by renting the car! Smile

Here it is in Las Vegas at the Excalibur - where we stayed.

We splurged on the Tournament of Kings dinner show. It's where you eat with your hands while watching knights battle. I had seen a similar show while in high school so knew what to expect (good for a three-year-old!).
My family really enjoyed the show. As predicted DS was glued to the action. Big Grin

DH and I hit the blackjack tables both nights, but alas, didn't win big. We have found that we can play blackjack for hours on very little money all while drinking *free* beer. Smile

Vacation Spending:
$1414 Disney package (4 nights/(4) 4-day hopper tickets/pkg extras)
$310 Food
$200 Cash for gambling/souvenirs/misc.
$181 Rental car
$159 Dinner show
$146 Gas
$ 94 Vegas hotel (2 nights @ $29+taxes/resort fees)

DH's boss gave us DH's $500 Christmas bonus early so we could apply it to the trip if we wanted.
(I used the Sapphire for almost everything and will use the bonus money toward the bill next month.)

Both DH and I used paid vacation time, so no lost income.
We saved a few bucks in daycare costs.
My dad stayed at our house so we didn't pay anything for house/pet care. As a big plus, my dad totally spruced up the front and backyard - mowed, raked, swept.. That was nice!

This trip was our Christmas gift to each other. Tiring, but good family time and some funny memories made. I'll tell you it was nice - no shopping, no wrapping, no extra crap!


Christmas was comfortable and low-key.
Santa brought a $25 dump truck set for DS.
Santa used Amazon credit (from selling back the EMT textbooks) for DH and DD's gifts. They cost $0.
Stocking stuffers included personal care products and trip souvenirs.

I got coffee and chocolate from almost everyone. Smile
My boss gave me a nice, crisp $100.

Only my parents were here with us (Yay! no drama!).
I made a nice ham dinner, roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, rolls, pie.

This year I feel like I figured out the best way to warm a ham without drying it out!
I used a roasting bag and set the oven for 275F.
About 10 minutes/lb.
Nice and warm throughout - no dry slices!

I bought a 10lb ham for the extra leftovers. I froze the ham bone for later use and a dinner's worth of slices for a future meal.


Kids are visiting the in-laws until tomorrow. DH and I have been basking in the quiet laziness the last 48 hours.

Next week will be pretty easy. Work one and a half days, then another paid day off. Big Grin
Then.. WOW.. 2014!

$0.99 Teacher Gifts & "Needy" Children

December 7th, 2013 at 02:30 pm

The one item that I have had my DH pick up for me on Black Friday the past few years has been the $0.99 poinsettias from Home Depot.

This year I used them as gifts for DD's teachers.
She was embarrassed to carry a bunch of plants to school yesterday morning. I told her to get over it!
She doesn't think anyone gives teacher gifts now in middle school - it's not "cool". I told her it is important to recognize the efforts of teachers and appreciate them. (My mom is a teacher, so maybe I feel more strongly than most.) And all DD's teachers seem really on top of things and good.


DS's preschool had a "giving tree" for a local community school that serves special needs, at risk and low income children. Last week I chose two disadvantaged children to buy gifts for. My first pass through the names/wishes made me cry - very sad situations - homeless, parents in jail, etc.. Gift wishes were very simple; books, art supplies, dolls, Transformers..

I picked siblings - a nine year old brother (NERF stuff) and six year old sister (American Girl type doll & Mickey ears).

I purchased their wish list items with the Sapphire card and spent $97 total. We will get the gifts wrapped up this weekend so I can deliver them to DS's school on Monday.

Working on getting lots done before our big trip! Big Grin

Shopped *Small* Yesterday

December 1st, 2013 at 03:03 pm

Used my AmEx to buy chocolates for Christmas gifts at a local shop.
I will get a $10 account credit for shopping there yesterday. I was going to shop there anyway so getting $10 back was especially sweet.

I have eaten a lot of chocolate and they make the best truffles I have ever had. Big Grin

The shop is not in the town I live in. However, it was a beautiful 20 minute drive through vineyards and pastures bathed in sunshine.
The drive and the "tasting" certainly made shopping a very pleasant experience.

$10 Credit When U Use Your AmEx

November 25th, 2013 at 08:20 pm

Small Business Saturday.
Shop a participating small business with your registered American Express card this Saturday (11/30) and get a $10 account credit.

Details here:

Time Change. Clothes Shopping.

November 14th, 2013 at 07:20 am

Still not adjusted to the time change. It is actually a good thing for me because I am awake and out of bed early these days.
It is very relaxing to have the house to yourself in the morning. Smile

On the flip side, I am frequently falling asleep on the couch at 9pm. We call our couch "The Life Sucking Couch". Even without the time change if you lay down on it you fall asleep. It literally happens to everyone.

Stopped into Old Navy to see if I could find anything good on clearance. Also wanted a pair of jeans and thought I'd see what they had there. Last time I bought any jeans was about four years ago - maternity jeans. And before that? I can't recall. Six years maybe?

I ended up with five tops and a pair of jeans for $46.
The checkout gal was very nice and she helped me decide between two different tank tops to wear under a blouse. When I left and looked more closely at my receipt and saw she entered a code that gave me 10% off everything. That was a very nice surprise.
That made the tank top less than $3 and these two clearance shirts $4/each.

Happy Halloween! + What We Spent On It

October 31st, 2013 at 02:23 pm

Here are our pumpkins we carved last night.

This year we were pretty lazy in regards to Halloween. We didn't pull out the "fancy" pumpkin carving stencils or anything else. Usually DD and DH decorate the yard with fake webs, some tombstones, strobe light etc.. It just didn't come together this year - other time commitments and lack of motivation.

As far as spending I'm sure we are on the low end of the American average again this year. Smile

$15 - Three pumpkins
$12 - Candy
$34 - Costumes for both DD and DS

DS had a party at his preschool this morning with games and crafts. The school asks that costumes be plants, animals or insects. No monsters, superheroes, princesses, etc.. It does make the celebration feel so much less commercialized and materialistic, which I appreciate.

I saw some wonderful animal costumes - lions, tigers, a hippo, some mice, a sheep...
A darling little redheaded girl as a ladybug. Big Grin
A boy dressed as an oak tree with fall leaves and acorns.

There is a costume "lending library" where you can donate costumes to it or borrow from it. I love that idea. Too bad there wasn't a boy appropriate costume in the box when I checked last week.

I am sure we will donate DS's elephant costume to the school.
Pretty sure it will be too small for next year - darn it.

Tonight we are having dinner with friends early in the evening then T or T their neighborhood. Our contribution to dinner is roasted baby carrots and fresh, organic grapes. Super easy for me - Yay!

May everyone get Treats instead of Tricks tonight!

Groupon Spending

September 18th, 2013 at 02:34 pm

Today is a slow day at work. Because it's slow I was going through my email and ended up clicking on Groupon. Normally I can look and not bite, but today I bought two "specials".

The first was $9. It is a $5 Starbucks card and a bag of Starbucks coffee at Safeway. This is something I would purchase anyway and by getting the deal I saved $3 or $4.

Second was $25 for a photo session. You get the sitting fee for entire party, a few prints and a CD with three images of your choice. I used this deal a few months back for photos of DD and DS. I didn't buy anything "extra" and came away with several very nice pictures. I want a family portrait this time with DH and myself with the kids. Twenty-five bucks is a heck of a deal.

So, yeah that's how my day is going... Spending money. Wink

Back 2 School Stuff

August 16th, 2013 at 02:03 pm

DD had her orientation at middle school this morning. Unfortunately, she didn't get the zero period PE, so we will need to come up with a game plan for the morning drop off. I am probably going to drop off on the next street down and DD can walk over to the school.

We bought new shoes today. A pair for me and a pair for DD. (We now wear the same size.. sheesh!)
The really awesome part was the salesman told me to pull up an online coupon on my phone while I was checking out. He scanned the bar code on my phone and we saved 20%!

That was $26 I saved by having a "smart" phone. I need to remember to check for or ask about online coupons since it seems like this is becoming a more common thing.
What about if you don't have a smart phone? It's not fair, but I guess you miss out. Frown

Later today, or tomorrow, I will take DD for more B2S shopping. We have a new shopping center that *just* opened near us. There is a Target and a TJMaxx. She has a $25 gift card to both stores - gifts from her birthday last month. DH and I agreed to give her an additional $150 in cash. She will make the choices on what she needs (Paper, pens, socks, jeans, tops, jacket etc.) and will have to budget accordingly. She has already decided she is happy to reuse the same backpack she has had for three years in order to spend on something else.

Gifts - Baby Showers. Birthdays. Father's Day. Graduation.

June 11th, 2013 at 08:07 am

I have three baby showers to go to this summer - one for June, July and August. All gals that I am close to. I am aiming for usable, low-cost gifts.

This weekend is my sister's shower. She lives about four hours up the coast from me, so the biggest expense will be the gas. I already gave her our infant car seat from DS, a highchair and several smaller hand-me-down items. I bought a giant box of wipes and a two-pack of rash cream that I will divide between the two of us. I'd like to add one more small item like a blanket, sleeper, toy or book.

Our mom's birthday is this weekend also.
My sister has planned to make a quiche and fresh fruit salad for a Sunday brunch. My contribution is a bottle of champagne.

I made a photo book for mom's gift about two months ago. It was FREE with a coupon I had gotten. I did pay for the shipping which was $4 or $5. I am thrilled about this gift because it is really nice and I was able to get it for so cheap (regular price was $30).

Trying to come up with a little something for Father's Day. Both for DH and my dad... hmmm..

Next month DD has her 12th birthday. I am thinking about taking her to get her ears pierced as her gift.

With all these events coming up I looked at cards over the weekend - whole cow!! When I buy cards I aim for the $0.99 - $1.99 cards. I was blown away at the cost of cards. I saw a very cute Father's Day card - $7.99!! None of the mom birthday cards appealed to me at all, maybe because I couldn't find one that was less than $3.49. Baby shower cards weren't any better.

Sorry to gripe, but please, I could have spent a serious chunk of change just for several squares of folded paper!!

I ended up with one card. A graduation card for our niece who lives out of state and graduated high school a few days ago. It was the second least expensive graduation card at $2.39. I figured buying a card for her made sense; something nice to send $20 in. Everyone else is going to have card-less gifts. Smile

Let Us Eat Cake!

May 4th, 2013 at 04:49 pm

DD needed to bake a cake last night to take to her 4H cooking meeting today (they did cake decorating this morning).

I *KNOW* we have two cake pans. I couldn't find them last night to save me. I think they are still packed away. (We have a kitchen with ZERO storage, so when we moved in we did not unpack all our stuff.)

I had to run to the store at 8:30pm and buy two cake pans ($14). That was after working all day, then coming home and working on the house to get it ready for my in-laws who came this morning for a weekend visit. I was wiped out last night.

Upside? We have two nice cake pans now and we know where they are. Smile

Wrapping Up March. Shopping Successes.

March 30th, 2013 at 01:51 pm

Again, I will say how fast this month went by!
It feels to me as if we should still be in the middle of the month.

March didn't turn out nearly as bountiful as I was hoping. DH made less than usual and the unexpected trumpet purchase resulted in a "break-even" month rather than a "get-a-head" month. Phooey!

Well, on to April!

I scored some nice deals this week.

I went grocery shopping this morning and bought a bone in ham for $0.80/lb. We will have some of it tomorrow (of course), ham/bean soup Tuesday and a ham/onion frittata latter in the week. The ham was $8.60.

I finally stopped at the mall and went to Victoria's. I had my $50 gc from cc rewards to shop with in addition to a $10 off and a free panty coupon. I left the store with a bra, a panty and a "secret reward" gc for use in April. I spent $0 and have almost $10 left on my gc.

While at the mall I bought seven hand soaps and two small hand sanitizers at Bath&Body using 20% off and free product coupons I paid $12.

I reloaded my SBucks card with $20 and received a $5 cash back credit on my cc. SBucks is an occasional treat for me, so $20 will last me six weeks. More if I buy at my grocery store where my club card gets me a grande for $2 for the next month.

Great.. Okay.. Darn.. Sad..

December 18th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Great news: DH had his final exam tonight for his EMT class and he passed the class with a B+. He had an A average all semester, but the final test tonight was really tough and brought his average down. Still, plenty good enough IMO! Now he has to schedule and sit for the national board exam to actually become an EMT again.

Okay news: I am getting my root canal tomorrow. Our OOP will be about $200. I'm not nervous, but I will be happy to get it over with.

Darn IT news: I bought DD a full length mirror for her bedroom as a Christmas gift. I had it in the back of my SUV and this morning the puppy (the nearly 80lb puppy) jumped on it. Totally my fault. It is shattered right in the middle. Argh! Bright side was it cost $15 from Target. Down side is (1) I have to go back to Target and (2) spend another $15.

Sad news: One of our horses will need to be euthanized soon. We've known for a few months that she has a slow growing tumor in her left sinus. She was a rescue horse from a not-so-great home (not a horrible abusive place, just a somewhat neglectful, we-don't-want-this-responsibility type home). The last eight or so years we have done our best to give her a comfortable, pampered, lazy life. I feel good about that because it's been 100% better than what she had before.

Update and Catch Up

December 3rd, 2012 at 04:26 pm

Update on DS - I stayed home with him today. He had a very restless night, but no fever, and this morning seemed to be feeling much better. At nap time he was restless and sweaty. He is starting to sound a bit raspy, but still no fever. Very relieved about that. Smile

Now, to finish that Saturday post...

Happy December to you all! Smile

Keeping busy the past few weeks. Most of my computer time recently has been shopping for Christmas and reading reviews of girls' bikes.

We had a very nice, relaxing Thanksgiving at the inlaw's. I hope all my SA family enjoyed their holiday time too.

My DH, DD and FIL shopped Black Friday. The best deal my DH came away with?
$0.99 Poinsettias from HomeDepot.

I designed and ordered our Christmas cards from Costco. Just pictures of the kids and the kids with the puppy. I picked them up last Sunday so I could use a $5 off coupon. That meant I spent $11 for 50 personalized cards.

After much searching for the best item and price I ordered the tricycle for DS online. I was willing to buy used and I kept checking CraigsList. There was only a pink one for sale near me and only $10 less than new. It's interesting to watch prices fluctuate near Christmas. I've been shopping this trike for several weeks and have watched prices drop and now climb. Same with the ride-on toy we bought last year. I was lucky to buy at the right time. I feel good about this year too. Some online sites are charging $20 to $35 more than I paid for this trike.

The bike I ended up choosing for DD was out of stock when I tried to order it, so I had to restart my search. I ended up ordering a cute Schwinn from ToysRUs for $140 & free shipping. I was surprised when I saw the same bike was $120 MORE on Amazon!

By using 30% off plus $20 credit I bought DH a $35 handheld "stick" blender for $4.70.
I scored a $13 "Disney Cars" book for DS for $7 and four "Gallagher Girls" books for DD for less than $20.

The kids and DH are set except for a few small candy items for the stockings. I have a few gift cards to purchase for my sister, DS's daycare lady and our niece and nephew. I heard something about Safeway doing a "buy $100 in GC and get a $10 grocery coupon". Need to look into that.

Could You Use 30% Off?

November 4th, 2012 at 08:07 am

I frequently use Diapers.com for supplies. The company has expanded to several websites since I started using them. From now until the end of the year they are offering 30% off a single item (up to $20 off) from each of their sites for first time customers. I have not shopped all their sites so I am planning to take advantage of this for Christmas gifts. The offer is displayed on the homepage of each site, just click on it for the codes.

Diapers. (baby/toddler supplies)
YoYo. (for toys)
Casa. (household)
Soap. (soap/groceries)
After School. (sports equipment)
Wag. (pet supplies)
Vine. (natural living)

Hope this helps you get a good deal on something!

Making a List and Checking It Twice...

October 28th, 2012 at 11:55 am

We have started putting our Christmas list together. We have the kids, our parents, my sis & BF, SIL & family, cousins, great grandpa, bosses & coworkers, DD's teacher and the kids' childcare providers. Yesterday and today I started price checking some of the gifts we will be purchasing. Especially the "Santa gifts" - bikes and helmets this year.

Our total Christmas spending is budgeted at $800-$1k. (Of course the goal is to spend less!) This money is regular cash flow from regular income. November is a five paycheck month, so DH and I agreed a portion of the "extra" pay will fund Christmas and the rest will go to cc payment.

I have some gift cards, cc reward points and "loyalty"/frequent shopper reward points that I will use toward gifts. Additionally, I am on the lookout for coupons and promotions, but that is how I always shop anyway. Smile

Automotive Spending

October 25th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

First, I bought gas last night. It was $70 to fill up. I was pleasantly surprised to see the price had dropped to $3.89/gal. That is down $0.60/gal from a few weeks ago! That is a serious difference. Smile

Secondly, I stopped into a local auto parts store for some odds/ends my Pathfinder has been needing. I bought two wiper blades, a package of headlight bulbs, a brake light bulb and a second small bulb for the brake light "strip" in the rear window. The total was $96. Just these little items can add up fast. DH changed out all of the above for me.

I really appreciated the new wipers and headlights with the recent rain I've been driving in.

Halloween Spending

October 19th, 2012 at 04:14 pm

It's a quiet afternoon here at work. I was just perusing the newest issue of Time and there was a little article on Halloween spending.

Average spending on costumes - up 6.8% from 2011 ($43.60 average spent)

Pet costumes - up 19%

Decorations - up 13%

Overall spending is expected to be near $8 billion.

So far we have only purchased one pumpkin. DD got a second one for free at her school's fieldtrip.

I don't know what DD wants to dress up as yet and I haven't thought about a costume for little DS until just now. DH and I won't be needing costumes.

I will buy some candy to pass out. I know that we will end up buying some sort of decor item. Maybe just some fake cobweb - that would be nice and cheap. Smile

What's the Halloween spending looking like at your house?

Ankle Still Aching

October 16th, 2012 at 03:13 pm

A few Mondays back (a month back, just checked the calender) I fell and twisted my ankle. It was puffy and swollen for pretty much the whole week after. Then it was bruised and tender. Now it just hurts occasionally when I step a certain way or flex it just so. I sure hope it all heals up and I don't have any long term pain.

In other news, I bought DD a new pair of athletic shoes this weekend. October seems to be the time of year when I buy new shoes. Changing season, worn out summer shoes..yada, yada. She can now wear women's sizes. Her shoes were $70. I told her to take very good care of them because they will have to last all school year.

DS didn't get left out. I bought him a pair of jeans and two long sleeve tshirts off the clearance rack at Gymboree for a total of $20. I was pretty pleased with that because the regular price just for the jeans was $23. There were some crazy adorable PJs that I wanted to get, but they were not on clearance and cost $21. I'm going to check (maybe even call the store) in a week or two and see if they get marked down. Smile

Costco Spending

October 4th, 2012 at 04:25 pm

I made a Costco stop last night. We needed paper goods, meat and bag lunch items. I also needed gas.

The price of gas has shot up here. Many stations have it posted for $4.23/gal and up. I paid $4.07/gal last night at Costco. Last week it was $3.99/gal.

I spent $35 on TPaper and PTowels.

As for meat, I bought 10lbs of baby back ribs, 5lbs of New York steaks, 7lbs of ground beef and two 3lbs roasts. $117. We don't normally buy steaks, but those are for DH's birthday dinner.

For school lunches and snacks I bought 60ct string cheese, 36ct 100% juice boxes and 30ct assorted Sunchips. $28.

Slight spending fail: I bought a package of three KitchenAid non-slip cutting boards. $16. We have needed a new set in the kitchen for a long time. I did not *need* to buy them, but it was a reasonable purchase.

Zero Eating Out. Nice Family Visits.

September 8th, 2012 at 09:39 pm

I wasn't "officially" working on the No Eating Out Challenge, but we have not eaten out. Not a meal anyway. I did buy ice cream when MIL visited last weekend. As I said before, it was a nice visit. MIL was way more relaxed.

The last four days my mom and dad came and stayed. With DH gone to Alaska it was wonderful to have the extra help. They drove DD to and from school, watched DS while I was at work and fixed dinner each night. So very nice for me to not have to drive kids around or make dinner after work. I know that helped keep me from eating out or getting food delivered.

On Monday, DD picked 65 apples off our neighbor's tree (with permission of course) and she made three pies. Two 9" and one 6". There were still a lot of apples left so my mom made apple cobbler or an apple crisp the past four nights. It was such a tasty treat to have it fresh and warm topped with ice cream each night after dinner. Big Grin

The visit with my parents was really great. They are so funny.


We did a little shopping this morning. DD had a $10 gift card for Old Navy and $10 in "Old Navy cash". She shopped the clearance racks and bought three really cute tops (clearance) and a hoodie (regular price) and grandma paid the difference of $13.

I spent $0 today. Smile

Starting September *Smiling*

September 1st, 2012 at 05:20 pm

My MIL is visiting until tomorrow. So far the visit has been very pleasant and low-key. Smile

This morning we went to a neighboring town and walked through the main street shops. I bought a birthday gift and card for our neighbor's son for $7. DD and DS are in the bouncy house at his party right now.
I bought two board books on sale for DS for $8.
I bought a pair of handmade copper hoop earrings for myself for $27. Which I thought was a very good price when compared to similar pieces in the same store, made by other artists/jewelers, were priced at $48 and $56.
And, I treated all of us to ice cream (the place that makes all it's own flavors) for $13.

Looking back in Quicken at August we spent $830 in groceries. My goal for September is to be as low-spend as possible in every category, but especially to work on the food spending. Our pantry and fridge are very full, so I do have something to show for that spending at least. September, October and November are usually pretty good as we settle into the school routine and just stick close to home.

Speaking of sticking close to home; how's the gas prices in your area? Ours have shot up. Like $.50/gal in the past three weeks. When I fueled up a few days ago it was $4.09/gal. Blah!!!

Major Frustration, But a Happy Ending

August 31st, 2012 at 10:48 pm

DH left with his boss for Alaska yesterday. They are on a ten day trip, mostly to fish with a little relaxing thrown in for good measure. His boss owns a place there and paid for all the airfare with cc rewards. Pretty sweet deal for DH. Thankfully, DH didn't need to buy any equipment or stuff for this trip like he did two years ago when he went. He has $600 cash with him for food and any other small thing he might need.

This leads to the frustration: Do you remember the textbook I ordered through Amazon for DH?

Well, he really needed it before he left for Alaska. He had already had three class meeting without the book and was three homework assignments behind because he didn't have the book. (He was totally stressing!) Thursday morning on the way to the airport he broke down and bought the book from the school's bookstore at the mega price of $212.

Naturally, the book showed up today. Ugh! So I had two choices. One, to return it to the online seller and further fuel the frustration. Or two, try to return that book to the school's bookstore. I went with option two. I know that is maybe not quite honest, but the book was brand new and it was the *same* book. The bookstore took it back (I had a receipt after all!) and we saved $76. Even if I subtract some $ for time and gas to go to the bookstore three times, we are still $50 better off.
I am very happy about that savings.

I am planning to leave a remark about how long it took to get the book on the seller's review comments.

Hubby's Class Book

August 23rd, 2012 at 09:00 pm

I stopped at the junior college's bookstore to pick up the book DH needs for his EMT class....

It was $212!

No, I'm not kidding!

As soon as I had a chance at work I checked Amazon and found the same book for $129. I ordered it and added expedited shipping for $6.99.

A difference of $75!!!

I would have been more than happy to buy a used book, but there is an online code for each book and it can only be used once. That is a really crappy thing to do because most classes require you to go online and take the quizzes thru the online set up. Pretty much forces a lot of students to buy it new. Phooey!

Once DH is done with the book I am going to look at selling it back to Amazon. They had a note that stated they would buy the book back for $51. I would be very happy to recoup some of the cost at the end of the semester; right before Christmas. Smile

Back To School and Investments

August 21st, 2012 at 09:30 pm

Tomorrow is DD's first day back to school. I can hardly believe the summer went by that fast! DH started his twice weekly EMT class tonight, so he's back to school too.

DD went to the dentist this morning for her regular check up. Everything was fine and the visit was 100% covered, so there was no OOP. I also found out we have a $88 credit there from an insurance adjustment. I am sure it'll be used. She'll need sealants on her new molars maybe next visit.

Our next stop this morning was JCPenney's for their free haircut. (Thanks CCFree!) We gave the stylist a $4 tip.

DD and I did a bit of clothes shopping while we were at the mall. DD scored on a pair of clearance jeans at Penney's for $6! I bought a plain tshirt at Old Navy on clearance for $3. A few days ago I bought a clearance shirt at Target for $3.
Can't beat those clearance racks! Big Grin

Tried to look up the bonds that the kids were given and I couldn't get them pulled up. I have an email into my cousin to see what I need to do. Very frustrating to spend over an hour messing around with a very user UN-friendly site. Blah!

I did use my $1k to buy into a new mutual fund for my ROTH. I wanted to split it between mine and DH's, but the minimum initial purchase for this fund I wanted was $1k. Meh, DH won't much care, he doesn't keep tabs on the ROTH's. I guess that is the "What he doesn't know won't hurt him??" Theory. Wink

Wedding Spending. Shopping. Fair Spending.

August 7th, 2012 at 11:40 am

We went to wedding #2 this weekend. It was very nice and I'm glad it went smoothly. And I'm also glad it's over now. Smile DD looked lovely in her dress and really helped out by keeping the two young ring bearers in line. DH looked very sharp as the best man. I picked out the pink ties that he and the other groomsman wore.

Geez, I had no clue that ties were so expensive. I ended up picking the lesser priced ties and still they were $21 each. Pink looks nice on DH so hopefully he'll have an opportunity to wear the tie again.

We gave the couple a $25 Lowe's gift card and the least expensive cute card I could find. $27.xx total.

We stayed Friday night at a hotel and I drove home Saturday night. We didn't end up leaving until 9pm, but it was so good to be back home and sleep in our own bed. Also great not to spend $$ on a second night in the hotel!


Sunday was a lazy day. I had a $10 off $30 coupon for Kohl's. I bought myself a pair of yoga pants (I was combing thru all the clearance racks for a shirt and couldn't find anything I liked. Grr!) and a replacement plate and bowl that had been broken from my set. That came to $30.62. After $10 off and an additional 10% off I paid $20.80. Smile

I also went to the grocery store and used another $10 off $50 coupon as well as a few other "Grand Opening" coupons from the booklet they mailed out. I am also finally signed up and using the Just4U online coupons.

Last week I saved $62. My total spent was $72 on a bunch of groceries.

This week I saved $45. My total spent was $66.

I have two more $10 off coupons to use in the next two weeks. Smile


We are going to the county fair on Thursday. Our county has two fairs. This is the larger two week long fair with a huge flower show. I'll try to take pics to share.

DD wanted to see Miranda Cosgrove, the star of the TV show "iCarley". She is having a concert at the fair and the tickets were $20-$30! I told DD she would have to pay for the ticket herself. So, she saved her birthday money and a few weeks worth of allowance and she bought two tickets. She is taking a girlfriend with her. I also told her if she wanted to ride the rides she'd have to buy her own wristband too. I told her I'd drive them, pay for parking and pay for the admission, but that was all I was willing to spend.

I am very proud that DD didn't whine or complain about me not paying, she just figured out a way to make it work. Big Grin

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