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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!

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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

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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

June's Grocery Spending

July 1st, 2012 at 02:31 pm

Okay, June is over and the official grocery spending was.... *drumroll*

$598

This includes $156 spent on the weekly delivery of organic produce. I am going to reduce our frequency to twice monthly. First, to save money and second because we are getting some fresh food right from our backyard now.

I would have spent $93 less in June if I hadn't gone yesterday (last day of June) to get the $10 off coupon and the movie tickets reward.

Saturday Doings. Checking Acct Fees.

June 30th, 2012 at 01:17 pm

This morning I went to the grocery store. Safeway is running their spend $75 get $10 off coupon promo this weekend. I also needed to spend $9 on selected dairy items by the end of the month to earn two tickets to the new "Ice Age" movie.

I spent $93. Included in that was several boxes of cereal priced at $1.88/box and a few BOGO free items.

The snag came at checkout when the coupon printer didn't print my movie ticket vouchers or my $10 reward coupon. Had to go over to customer service and after a few minutes she got everything for me. Smile

Other Saturday stuff:

Bought new sneakers for myself and DH. $83 total.

Bought a new set of scrubs for work. $42.

Going to pickup DD from camp today. Yay! I've missed her and can't wait to hear how camp went. Big Grin

MIL is coming this evening to stay for two nights.
Two nights is just fine. Wink
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A $3 service fee was charged on our checking account this month. A checking account which is supposed to be free. Rolleyes

Do you remember when I posted about having to change my account a few months back (Oct. I think) and I thought it was so odd that it was called "College Checking" but it didn't matter what your age was or whether or not you were in college.

When I called today I was told that because our account is "College Checking" it's only free if you're under 24. Doesn't matter that I was told in the branch that your age didn't matter. *Really..Grr!*
And I guess it doesn't matter that it's been free for months and neither DH nor I have been 24? (I wonder if my birthday last month triggered this fee to start? Hmm.)

The CS rep for the bank asked if I'd like to change my account to a "Value Checking" package.

"You only need to keep a $1500 average daily balance for it to be free. Otherwise it's $9/mo."

Hu? Let me see... I can keep what I've got for $3/mo or switch and every few months (or maybe every month) I'd get charged $9 because the A.D.B would be too low. No thanks. I'll stick with this for now.

As I've said before I would consider a switch to our credit union. The advantage the bank has over the CU is: Convenience. Lots of branches/ATMs/easy online uses.

I do plan to stop at the branch where they told me age doesn't matter. And I'm a bit curious; sound like age discrimination?

Attempts to Maximize Rewards

June 2nd, 2012 at 04:18 pm

My $15 Starbucks gift card came in the mail today from BoA. It was a reward for using that cc to pay our cell phone bill. I hope I get more email offers like that ... SO easy to "earn" free treats! Smile

I treat myself once weekly or less. I have been taking advantage of special offers and Free drink coupons from a client at work the past few months. I've only spent $12.30 in the past three months. $10 of that was to buy a $15 giftcard using a grocery store promo. I used my empty Stbks ground coffee bag to get a free drip coffee while I shopped today.

Speaking of grocery store promos; Safeway is doing the spend $75 & get $10 promo this weekend. I went to the store this morning. I am thinking I will go again tomorrow and buy a gift card for groceries to earn another $10 reward. Provided I can do that.

At some point this month I will probably buy some gc for groceries just to 'max out' on my 5% back on grocery store spending. June is the last month. Until I started reading posts here I would never have thought to do that. Smile


Gearin' Up for Summer

May 26th, 2012 at 09:22 am

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Big Grin

School is officially over. This past week we bought little "Thank You" goodies for DD's teacher, music teacher, office staff and her daycare. She had a class party on Friday and brought croissants. I wrote final payment checks to the lunch lady and daycare.

Now I am working on registrations for summertime camps for DD. The past several years she has gone to a weeklong horseback riding day camp. We work it out with one or two school friends to all go on the same week. That way we share the driving. This year I will drive the girls every morning. This is good for me because itís only a little out of the way on my way to DSís daycare and my work. Then the other mom will do all the afternoon pick-ups. Again, perfect for me because I don't get off work until after camp is over. It's really a problem for working families because most day camps don't last the whole work day. Some will offer "after hours" daycare for an extra charge, but sometimes that is only until 5pm.

Anyhow, going to register for a week of horse camp and a week of 4-H camp. 4-H camp is a sleep-away camp; a first for DD.

This weekend we need to shop for a new lawn mower. Our old mower was given to us about four years ago and now it's done for. Hopefully we'll be able to snag a MD Weekend sale.

Other than that we don't have any other plans to go anywhere.

Saturday Spending. EF Chip.

April 15th, 2012 at 10:41 am

*groan*
Yesterday's spending.

I knew there would be a bunch. Then to top it off DH wanted to have french bread with dinner. He is on a diet and he gets to splurge/cheat one day per week now. Anyhow, he headed off to the grocery store for french bread and he took both kids with him. When he came home he had spent $60 and had changed the dinner plan to homemade pizza. Rolleyes HeHe! He's as dangerous in the grocery store as I am!

Okay Honey, it's YOUR splurge day, but it would've been much cheaper to buy take'n bake pizza.

It wasn't just pizza making stuff. He also bought stuff to make sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast this morning. And DD talked him into a box of cream puffs.

Trying to remind him that we'll be spending money in Hawaii in a few days...

Saturday, 4/14
$ 60 Safeway.
$150 Cell phone bill.
$196 PG and E. Gas and electric.
$325 CC payment.
$ 43 Garbage service. Auto-pay every 3 months.
$149 Comcast. Cable TV, Internet, Home phone.
Dinner: homemade pizza, frozen yogurt, cream puffs.


Friday, 4/13
$78 Safeway
Dinner: Loaded Baked Potatoes (baked potatos with bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onion), green beans, fruit, frozen yogurt.

Thursday, 4/12
$0
Dinner: green salad & homemade cheesy potato soup (frozen from a batch I made about 3 wks ago), fruit, chocolate/peanut butter ice cream.

Wednesday, 4/11
$11 Lunch & tip.
$74 Gas. Fill-up at $4.13/gal.
Dinner: pasta w/homemade tomato sauce, fruit from the new box.

Tuesday, 4/10
$0 Starbucks. Free drink coupon. Smile
$86 City water/sewer.
$92 Diapers.com.
Dinner: more Easter leftovers and pizza leftovers.

Monday, 4/9
$0
Dinner: Easter leftovers.

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Additions to the EF yesterday

+$ 6 Three SF Giant's Win 4/12, 4/13, 4/14
+$ 3.25 Coupon savings

New balance: $3036

Nice Easter Weekend. EF Additions.

April 10th, 2012 at 11:54 am

We had a very nice weekend staying home, dying eggs cleaning the house up and cooking. The weather was lovely. We had a relaxed visit with my mom and dad. Dinner was delicious.
I hope everyone had a nice weekend also. Smile

I almost had to go all around town to find egg dye. On Saturday I went to Safeway for groceries and planned on getting dye there, but they were all out. (I seem to remember that's what happened last year too?) Later in the day we ran over to CVS and they were out except for a few (like three!) "fancy" sets. I like the $3 sets with dye tablets, stickers and a few shrink wrap things. This set was $5 and had feathers and glitter. But it had the dye and that's what we really needed. I told DH that I need to remember to buy early next year because dying eggs is a big deal in our town!

I also cat sat this weekend and made $50. I am splitting this between EF and a CC payment.

We have a chunk (approx. $4k) in the EF set aside for the roof. To help me keep track I am just reporting "regular" EF additions and balances here.

$2975 prior balance
+ $25 Regular transfer
+ $ 2 Giants win 4/9
+ $25 Extra money
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$3027 Current balance

Daily Spending

April 5th, 2012 at 08:03 pm

Daily Expense Log

Sunday, 4/1:
$18 Whole Foods. Items for DH's diet.

Monday, 4/2:
$11 Lunch out for me.
Coconut curry chicken with veggies, rice, soup, eggroll and tea. Plus tax and tip.
$156 Betty's Organics month of service.

Tuesday, 4/3:
$35 DD's After-School Enrichment class (baking).
$45 Second class (pottery).
$ 4 Starbucks.

Wednesday, 4/4:
$ 8 My lunch. Salad and jalapeno poppers.
$13 Safeway. A few items needed for dinner.

Today - Thursday, 4/5:
$19 Sears. Vacuum bags.
$ 0 Victoria's Secret. Free panty. (I was there to return stuff)
$42 Local ham store for Easter ham.
$81 Costco gas. Fill-up. $4.15/gal.
$112 Costco. Food stuff, TP, DH's tobacco.
$1776 Mortgage.
$90 V. Secret Online. Dress and clearance top.

Thursdays are my errand day because I get off work early. Thursdays are usually a peak spending day.

Day Off.

March 27th, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Yeah, I have another Tuesday off. Just slow at work this afternoon. It's a good day to be home because it's raining out. I have several things I should be doing here at home, but I'll probably spend my time playing on the computer while DS takes his nap. Smile

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Last night DH called the fraud dept at the bank and everything is all straightened out. He was on the phone for maybe six minutes? The amount is credited back to our account as of this morning. Smile

I am going to wait a few days before I order diapers from Diapers. and I am going to use a cc from a different bank (the BoA maybe) so I don't create a problem. It probably doesn't matter, but just in case... I might even wait until I get the formal letter from the bank that everything is cleared up.

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I received all my stuff from Victoria's S. One of the swimsuits is really a good fit, so I think it's "the one". Two out of three dresses fit very nicely, but I must limit myself to just one. I also ordered a bra and a nightie that I will keep.

Here is the swimsuit:

(BTW, it doesn't look this good on me. Wink )

I will still keep looking until we go to Hawaii in case I find something I like better. If I do I will still be able to return this suit.

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I have a big soup cookbook. I have made several recipes from it. I think of Monkey Mama when I do because it's published by Taste of Home. This afternoon I am going to make a lentil, rice and veggie soup for dinner. It has things DH is allowed to eat on his "purification diet". As of this morning he has lost 8lbs. Smile

I will have to stop at the store for a few little items. It won't add up to much, but I shudder at the thought of adding to the food spending for this month.

I'm Not KEEPING Everything!

March 12th, 2012 at 04:09 pm

The trouble with clothes shopping online is that you can't feel it and you can't try it on. We all agree with that right?

Well I'm looking for a swimsuit for the Hawaii trip and I went to Macy's and tried like six suits on and didn't like any of them. Yesterday I was looking at Victoria's Secret. Naturally all the suits look good on the models, but how will they look on me?

Now, with VS you can't just run to the store to try anything on because the stores just carry the undergarment side of things.

They "forced" me to buy several suits in different sizes just so I can try them on at home and then send back what I don't want.

Yeah, that's what I did yesterday. And I ordered a few dresses to try on as well.

Like I said, I'm not KEEPING everything, so I really am not SPENDING what the total came to. Embarrassment

*The* Bathroom Post

March 4th, 2012 at 11:52 am

Rounded up all my receipts for the bathroom.

Receipts
$ 70 - drywall, Hardibacker, screws, tax (Home Depot)
$276 - Tile for shower (Home Depot)
$101 - Grout, thinset, spacers, sealer, tax for above (Home Depot)
$133 - showerhead, tub spout, handles, drain (Amazon)
$ 59 - shower curtain & liner (Bed, Bath & Beyond)
$ 89 - curved curtain rod, rollerball curtain hooks (Signature Hardware)
$ 42 - paint, primer, paint tray, roller, tax (Home Depot)
$126 - Tile for floor (Home Depot)
$ 84 - Hardibacker, more thinset, tax (Home Depot)
$ 68 - caulk, tile drillbit, tax (Home Depot)
$634 - Vanity cabinet, granite top, backsplash, sidesplash, sink (Signature Hardware)
$140 - faucet and drain set (Signature Hardware)
$221 - toilet (Amazon)
$ 40 - toilet seat (Amazon)
$ 23 - misc. supplies (wax ring, plastic pipe, razor blades, etc..) tax
(OSH/ Home Depot)
$ 49 - light fixture, bulbs, tax (Lowe's)
$ 15 - Oil Rubbed Bronze knobs (Amazon)
$127 - towel bar, towel ring, tp holder, robe hook (Amazon)
$ 16 - Lather/Rinse and Clean/Fun prints (Amazon)
$ 41 - frames and mats, tax (Aaron Brothers)
$ 26 - Two each bath towels, hand towels, wash clothes, tax (Costco)
$ 16 - memory foam bathmat, tax (Costco)
$ 0 - labor Smile
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$2337 - Total


Adjustments
-$400 - Visa gift cards Christmas gift from DH's bosses.
-$200 - Home Depot g.c.Christmas gift from MIL
-$ 75 - Home Depot gift card
-$ 25 - Home Depot gift card
-$ 31 - Returns
-$ 40 - Returns
-$ 5 - saved by using discount gift card from Plastic Jungle
-$213 - CC reward gift cards sold to Plastic Jungle
-$ 28 - 5% cash back on Amazon purchases
-$150 - city water rebate for HE toilet
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$1170 Actual OOP cost

I was aiming for $1k which I think is pretty frugal for a bathroom overhaul. By having a smaller bathroom we saved a bit on floor tile and only having space for a 24" vanity, but pretty much the other costs would have been the same.

PICTURES!

**Before**


**After**

Working this AM. Spending $. Getting a 1099 now?

March 3rd, 2012 at 09:16 am

My co-worker wanted the day off, so I am working for her. That bathroom reno post will have to wait a few more hours.. Smile

I had the day off on Thursday, which is a half day, so working today will give back those hours. I like that. Thursday was a lot of running around and spending money. Pharmacy: $10. Grocery: $190. KMart: $32. TraderJoe's: $38. Re-ordered checks: $23. DD's school band is playing at a SF Giants game. Tickets for her and DH for the game: $60.

Last night I stopped at Costco and really stocked up esp. on meat, fruit and spices. $240.

And I bought gas. $4.19/gal! $73! Frown

Yesterday we received our federal refund. (We received our state refund last week.) Both checks went straight into savings because they are earmarked for the new roof.

So here is what really bugs me - we got a 1099 in the mail Thursday! It was postmarked Feb. 27. Isn't that wrong? Don't you have to have all your tax stuff sent out by Feb. 1?

This is the 1099 I was waiting and waiting for and just ended up filing on Feb. 12 when we never got it. Now I'm going to have to file an amendment. *Grrr*

AmEx Rewards

February 20th, 2012 at 01:04 pm

I am at work today, but it is pretty quiet. I think many people just assume that everywhere is closed. DH has the day off and is doing the stay-at-home-dad thing today. I am happy about that. Lots of good one on one with the kids. Smile That and everyone is a bit sick, so it's good that they can all be at home resting.

So, last month I signed up for a Gold AmEx to earn 25,000 worth of points. My plan all along was to use this "free money" to help offset the bathroom remodel costs. AmEx has a feature where you can pay with points directly to Amazon. I also figured I could redeem for Home Depot cards as well.

Trouble is/was that I couldn't get the points posted to the account fast enought to help with any Home Depot spending. And the Amazon thing equals $1 to every 14.2 points. Which would mean that my 26,209 points would get me only $184.57.

I checked into using the points to book our rental car for Maui. Which would be a $1 = 10 points transaction. But, the rentals were thru a more expensive rental company so I really didn't feel like that was the best (highest yielding) option either.

Redeeming for a cash gift card would be $1 = 20 points. Even worse!

Here is what I ended up doing:
The Old Navy GC were a straight up conversion at $1 = 10 points. I bought five $50 cards and one $10 card. The $50 cards I sold to Plastic Jungle for $212. The $10 I will use myself in the store or give to DD as a special gift, or something like that.

The Chase card I'm using to purchase the items from Amazon is giving 5% back.

After all the calculations my "free money" works out like this:
$212 - cash from Plastic Jungle
$ 10 - gift card
$ 13 - 5% Chase reward
$235 total,
which is a "loss" of $25 if I could have just cashed out the 26,000 points to $260. But that's better than the $185 I would've gotten if I had just used the points directly for Amazon.

Vanity. Toilet. Towels.

February 6th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Vanity:
Last week (Tuesday) the vanity set I ordered online arrived. Well packed. No damage.

It is beautiful!
The granite top is really beautiful!

I am so happy I found it. Much better quality than anything I saw at the home improvement stores. Much less expensive than anything at the specialty remodel stores. Smile

This is a pic from the website. Mine has a different granite top and faucet.

Toilet:
Last Tuesday DH ordered the toilet I picked out. He would have had it within two days, but it is on backorder. Frown
Hopefully we get it this week.
We will pay more than the water rebate of $150. This model cost $220.

Towels:
I have been looking at buying a new set of towels to complete the "new" bathroom. Last time I bought towels was about eight years ago. So I was looking at Macy's, Kohlís, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target etc.. etc.. My friend (ex coworker) works at Macy's so I could get her discount. I was looking at spending between $50 and $70 for a six piece set (pair of towels, washcloths and hand towels).

Then I went to Costco for a few things and *blam* towels.
Never paid much notice to the towels at Costco, but I bought a set with two washcloths and two hand towels for $9.99 and two bath towels at $6.99/ea.
Yay! Six piece set for $24. Big Grin

Splurge.

January 30th, 2012 at 09:39 pm

I have been casually looking for a new bedside table lamp. Something pretty and inexpensive. Then I saw this lamp on Etsy..


I kept going back to look at it. I couldn't find anything I liked half as much for the same price.
I finally sent the seller a message and offered $35 less than her listed price. She accepted the offer. So I splurged. Embarrassment

Still Added to the EF. Weather Here.

January 23rd, 2012 at 05:18 pm

Well...*sigh*...my 49ers lost last night. Frown

I did transfer $10 to the EF because we made it so far in the playoffs and the game last night stretched into overtime.
New EF balance: $2080.
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It rained like crazy over the weekend, especially late last night. It really came down. I am glad, we really needed rain.

The weather has cleared now and we are supposed to have a week of clear, mild days.

We only had one *tiny* leak around the last old (yet to be replaced) window in the house. Phew!

The plan is to use the tax refund to get the new roof this spring/summer.
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Oh, last night I ordered the shower curtain and liner. I used the gift card code from Plastic Jungle which worked out just fine. I was going to try a coupon code for 20% off, but I couldn't find anywhere on the checkout to enter it!?

Bathroom renovation cost so far: $868.

Shopping & Football

January 22nd, 2012 at 08:36 am

Last night I used Plastic Jungle and bought a $50 Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card for $45. That way in a roundabout way I will save on my shipping.
($7 to ship a shower curtain. Grrrr!)
Could not find any free shipping or %/off coupons that were valid online either.

Thanks mjrube94 for commenting about doing this. I have never done it this way before, but have thought how it would be a good way to save.
(Usually I think "I should have bought a discounted GC." after I make a purchase! Wink)

I don't have the gift card code yet. Plastic Jungle says it takes them about 24 hours to process. I have the curtain and liner all picked out.
Hope I love it.
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Going to run over to the grocery store now. As predicted we need milk. We also need butter and eggs. I will try very hard to only pick up those things and no extra on sale items. Smile
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More football playoffs today.

GO NINERS!!!

After they win today they'll be in the Super Bowl! Big Grin

Rain! Big Online Purchase.

January 19th, 2012 at 06:21 pm

It's FINALLY raining! Yippee!
It's been so dry for so long I am so glad to see and hear the rain. Smile

Of course ask me how I like it after it's been raining for three weeks straight. I'll be feeling differently then.
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Today I orderd the bathroom vanity, complete with countertop and sink, and a curved shower rod with cool little roller-ball curtain rings in oil-rubbed bronze.

I looked at a lot of vanities in person and online. The ones I saw in person were either cheap crap particleboard at the home improvement stores. Or high end soild wood at the nice kitchen & bath remodel stores. The place I ordered from online has excellent reviews so I am crossing my fingers.

It is solid wood and comes completely assembled. (Like a nice piece should.) None of that flat box, you assemble type thing. The set (vanity, granite top, backsplash and bowl sink) cost about as much (or less) as many of the vanity only options I saw elsewhere. If the quality is as good as it is described on the website I will be getting a great deal.

I have never made such a big purchase online, especially without seeing the product in person.

I also really hope that the granite color I picked looks like it does on the computer.

Used $400 in Visa gift cards that DH was given as a Christmas bonus to pay for most of the order. The remaining $323 came from a bit of DH's side work.

Reflecting on Today's Money Issues

January 18th, 2012 at 10:35 pm

We loaned $600 from our EF to MIL. I drove to her bank on my lunch to deposit a check into their account. She talked to DH, so I have no idea why they needed the money. I think it's just to get them through until the 1st. DH said we'd be paid back then. I don't really mind lending the money. She has asked before and always paid us back when she said. When we've needed a little money to get us through in the past MIL has always helped us.

Although, I think the last time was maybe seven years ago and she kind of kicked up a fuss about when she was going to get repaid... Rolleyes
(We always paid her back quickly BTW.)

Anyhow, for now the current EF balance is $2,070.
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Got to call my bank and rattle a few cages. HeHe.
They had a little promo where if you tried the bill pay they would credit your account $10.
Okay, for $10 I tried it, but I hadn't gotten my credit. I called once about two weeks after I did the bill pay thing and the CS rep said to give them about 6 weeks. They had two months now, so it was time to call again.
No problem. Now I'm $10 richer. Smile
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Oh, the cell phone company is charging us for two plans!

When DH bought his iPhone the guy changed his plan, but left my phone on the old plan. The past two billing cycles they've charged us for both family plans. I told DH about this after I saw the first "new" bill at the end of December. He is the one who is the account holder of the cell phone account. I love my hubby, but dealing with things like this is his weak point. He still hasn't contacted them. Now we've gotten the second bill. I haven't paid either bill and I'm not going to until they fix the account.

I figured when they turned off his phone he'd hop to taking care of things. We'll that plan backfired a little today - They turned off my phone! His phone still kept working totally fine! Well my phone getting turned off did jump him into action. He called and was on the phone for close to an hour. I was surprised he really had to fight to get things straightened out. I overheard part of the conversation and it was getting pretty heated. He had to ask for a supervisor like three times.

I figured it would be simple.
Call. Explain situation. Charges removed. The end.
I mean who carries two share plans in the same family, but doesn't share them?

It seems DH has won the battle. The old plan was removed and credited back. And, he asked for his "upgrade fee" be credited back and I believe he got that too in the end.

I want to see all the credits post to our account before I pay.
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I have been searching for a bathroom vanity, shower rod and shower curtain. I have narrowed down what vanity and rod I want, but not a curtain yet. I think I have looked at 500 shower curtains.
Why am I so picky?!

There is one at B, B and Beyond that I like, but I can only buy it online and they want to charge $6 S&H. Phooey!

I'll keep looking.

Christmas Preparations - Continued

December 13th, 2011 at 01:59 pm

The 49ers lost their game on Sunday by two points. Blah!

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Our tree looks wonderful! DD picked it out this year and it's the tallest one I think we've ever had. I put the tape measure on it and it was 7.5 feet. Very full and dark green. Two out of three strings of tree lights were dead this year. Angry
(They were working just fine when I packed them away last year. I hate that!)
Made a run to the hardware store for some new sets. About $36 for three 50' sets.

DH hasn't had any time (daylight time) to put lights up on the house yet. We also have an inflatable Santa, bought on clearance, that we are going to put in the yard this year. He did put our green bulb in the light post light so we've got a bit (wee bit!) of festive color out there.

I really love when we get the decorations up. Things look so merry and colorful. I have always enjoyed decorating for Christmas.

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Had a 20% off coupon for Kohl's. It ended on Sunday so when I bought lights I stopped in there and did a quick look around. When I didn't find anything worth standing in line for I gave my coupon to a lady with a cart load of stuff. Merry Christmas! Big Grin

Yesterday I got another 20% off coupon in the mail. Smile

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My order from Amazon is trickling in a few boxes at a time. I ordered eight items and I think only four of them are being shipped together. I ordered last Tuesday. $112 total. Gifts for multiple people. DD's boots, DS's fire truck board book, calendar for co-worker, etc...

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Getting set to order my Christmas cards. I use Costco and plug in pictures of the kids and dogs. $14.95 for 50 cards/envelopes. Going to try to finalize the card online tonight so I can pick them up Thursday or Friday. I want to have them all mailed off by Saturday 17th.

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Poor DD is home sick today. Vomiting last night. Frown
She has her class Christmas play tonight. We are all hoping she will feel up to that.
And, we are all hoping we don't get what she has!

My DH is Crazy Brave. Lobster. Saw Santa!

December 4th, 2011 at 02:22 pm

Sure, he has run into burning buildings, cut open mangled cars and has performed CPR. BUT, today he headed to the mall on a Sunday in December AND he took both of the kids with him!!!

For THAT I give him the brave badge.
LOL!

Such a nice break for me. I am watching the 49er game and having a nice fresh cup of coffee with eggnog mixed in. Yum.

-----
Last night DD and I ran all over town searching for a pair of solid red tights to go with a black and red dress she has. We searched about 12 of the outlet stores before we went to Kohl's. There we found one pair and it was lying on the floor kind of under another rack. We grabbed them for $9. Kinda pricey, but supply and demand I guess. Smile

Afterward she and I went to Safeway. They are doing the buy $75 get $10 off next purchase deal again. I didn't know that ahead of time or I would have split my basket into two transactions. The total was $210. Well at least I earned one -$10. I will need to go back in before the 14th(?) to use it.

The splurge item I bought was lobster tails. On sale for $5/tail. I have had them before and they are pretty darn good. Better than some restaurants and for $5 how could I pass it up??? DH boils them a few minutes then grills them on the BBQ. He doesn't care much for lobster, so more for me and DD. Big Grin

Steak and lobster for dinner tonight with rolls and corn. $27 total for "fancy" dinner makes me Smile.

------
This morning we went to a friend's house to see Santa. She has her dad dress up so she doesn't have to take her children to a mall Santa. I think it's because of the germ factor. It's pretty cool that she invited several families over. Free pictures with Santa!

When we got back home I spent about 1.5 hours cleaning up the backyard. Poop patrol, cleaned the hen house, cleared out the garden box and swept the patio. DD raked up a bunch of leaves. It's another gorgeous day with beautiful clear blue skies. A bit cooler; about 60F right now, but so mild. This type of weather makes it easy to be outside doing things.

My Eyes Are Bugged Out From Online Shopping!

December 3rd, 2011 at 02:38 pm

I have been doing a TON of online shopping, but before you get the wrong idea I have not done much buying...yet... Wink

This year more of the gifts we're getting will be from online. And those that I have not or will not buy online I have LOOKED at online. You know reading reviews, comparing prices that sort of thing.

One example is DS's Santa gift. After searching and looking at a 100 different toys DH and I decided on a battery powered ride-on quad that I found on WalMart's site for $50. Amazon had one in stock for $62. Nobody had it for less. In fact some non-battery types (sit and scoot) are selling for more. Naturally, Wally's website was out of stock, but they showed my local store had a "limited number".
Forced me to go to the store to buy it. It was more expensive in the store. Rolleyes $60.
I went ahead and picked it up because I was there and they had only two. I'm keeping an eye out for any sale on it so I can get a price adjustment.

Here's the kicker: When I was on Amazon just now they have them priced at $125 and up!!!
Is this the hot toy for little boys this year?

DD's Santa present is a new pair of boots that she can wear when riding motorcycles. That's another Santa-ish gift she's getting - a little dirt bike! DH and in-laws bought it from a family friend for $300. It's in excellent condition and is valued at $1200+ so I guess that was a good buy.
Anyway, I think I have picked out a great pair of boots for $40. I have looked at about 400 pairs of boots over the past three days. That's the good thing and bad thing about online shopping - You get a lot of choices!

I have a running wish list on Amazon of gifts for family and when I'm done changing it I will put it in the cart and click the BUY button. I plan to that by Monday or Tuesday.

I ordered a pair of earrings for my coworker online last night. $19.44.

I'm going to put the computer down now for a little while. But I'll be back soon. Big Grin

Grandma is in the Hospital

November 22nd, 2011 at 01:04 pm

My 85-year-old grandma is in the hospital. Frown
She went in on emergency because of a serious GI bleed. She is now in the ICU. The doctors have her feeling much better after giving her several units of whole blood, plasma and fluids. They still have not found where she is bleeding from and last night she had another bad bleed. They are not allowing her to eat anything either.

She is about 7 hours (driving) from my house so we are not able to visit her. Frown

Today I ordered her a Red Poinsettia basket and a balloon from a florist near her hospital. Total $52. Yes, pricey, but I wanted her to have something that will brighten up her room and let her know we are thinking of her. It's a living plant that she'll be able to take home when that time comes. I did use a $10 off coupon, but delivery is more expensive the next few days because of Thanksgiving. Rolleyes

If the weather is cooperative I will drive up to see her Friday or Saturday. We will already be half way there because we're having T-Day with my parents and staying over with the in-laws.

Money Out. Tiny EF Add.

November 18th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Some recent expenses and EF additions.

- $285
Eye doctor exam and six pairs of monthly disposable contact lenses. I don't have vision insurance. My last eye exam was two years ago. I usually wear my disposable contacts much longer than a month. (More like four months at a time.) I will make six lenses last me awhile. Smile

- $125
Baby DS's 18 month-old doctor visit. Self-pay.

- $46
Christmas gift shopping. Three BE makeup gift sets.

- $230
Costco. Chicken meatballs, two tri tips, two pork loins, 2.5lbs dry-cured bacon, two dozen eggs, 1800+ Q-Tips, 36pk Pepsi, 28pk V8, gallon Orange Mango juice, 3pk Boursin cheese, 10lb Krusteaz pancake mix, Copenhagen (DH's bad habit), 2lb roasted almonds, 52pk razors, two pack chocolate Cheerios, 18pk Uncrustable sandwiches, (I'm missing something???) and dinner for four at the food court.

- $64.
Costco gas. $3.64/gal.

+ $25
Regular EF auto transfer.

+ $10
49er win this past Sunday

Tank Top Tale

November 10th, 2011 at 05:08 pm

Remember the cute racerback tank tops I bought at Old Navy a few weeks ago because I thought they were on sale? Well, I took them back yesterday and guess what? They were on sale (for real this time!) for $4/each. They had one left in my size so I picked that up and the cashier adjusted the price for the two that I was going to return.
I ended up with three tanks for the price of one!
YAY!
Big Grin

Visit. Weekend Happenings.

November 6th, 2011 at 04:15 pm

Skip to the end if you don't want to read about MIL's visit.
Smile

-----
MIL's Visit:
MIL left early this morning before any of us woke up. Naturally, there was drama with her visit but not all of her visit was bad.

She came Thursday night. Watched DS and took DD to school on Friday. Treated to pizza delivery on Friday night. Very nice. Smile

Saturday we went shopping at Kohl's and had a nice trip. She and I enjoyed shopping and visiting.

By Saturday evening things were going downhill. DD was in tears because MIL said she'd never bring crafts to our house again after DD didn't wash out a paintbrush. Then MIL tells me she would've rather bought KFC for dinner on Friday. Which would have been okay with us, but she picked pizza, but only after she said she wanted to go out for Mexican. Rolleyes

When DH and I got home from our "date" Saturday night DD told me that she had been crying again. MIL got angry that she wasn't helping her clean DD's room. MIL told DD that she would never stay in DD's room again. *Nice way to foster a loving relationship with your granddaughter hu?

I told DH that two days/one night seems to be the "sweet spot" for a visit from MIL. More than that and things go bad. He agreed.

She's called twice since she left. Apologized to DD and cried to DH because she doesn't feel FIL gives her enough love and attention.

While she was here, she and I talked about some of their financial issues (could write a whole post about that.) The biggest thing is that they've been in their house for 20 years. They bought it for $120k. They owe $240k. Current value is about $145k.
Cashed out in a refi and used the money for RV, new truck etc. None of which they kept.
BTW, she's glad they haven't paid off their house. They wouldn't have any tax deductions then. Yeah really!
-----

Weekend Happenings:
At Kohl's I checked out the clearance racks and found a shirt for DS and a set of PJ's for DD, both were $4.80 each. Will be Christmas gifts. I also found girls T-shirts that are meant to be colored on, like a page from a coloring book, with markers that come with the shirt. $4.40 each. My first thought was to grab a few to hold on to for birthday gifts for DD's friends. Decided we will use them as party favors for DD's party. The girls can color them together at the sleepover and then take them home. My grand total was $32 for 5 shirts, 1 PJ set and 1 toddler shirt.

DH and I had a nice date night. Saw the movie "Moneyball" with our free passes. Afterwards we had a great steak dinner with drinks for $62 total.

Now I'm having a cozy and relaxing Sunday watching football and just lounging about. It's been chilly out so we have a toasty fire going.

I have chicken enchiladas all ready to go in the oven for dinner later on. Ice cream cake for dessert. Yum!

The 49ers won their game so I will transfer $10 to the EF.

Payday - Whew!

October 28th, 2011 at 09:58 pm

Deposited DH's paycheck this evening so it will credit to the account tonight. I had let the checking account dwindle down to $19.80!

Stopped at Costco.
$66 in gas. It's 3.66/gal here.
$96 inside. I ended up buying a few more items than I had planned. Needed paper towels, laundry soap and ground turkey. I added Halloween candy, Nutella (coupon), frozen breakfast sandwiches (coupon) and a set of baking sheets ($4 off). And I saw plenty of other things I would've loved to have gotten. Like: hummus, bacon, Italian sausages, cheeses, pie, pizza, steaks, sparkling water, cute sweatshirts for DD, $50 value giftcard for $40, and so on and so on.

I also wrote two checks today.
$136 for DD's afterschool childcare.
$75 for DD's school lunch account.

I will send out a $300 check tomorrow for horse board.

Goes out as fast as it comes in, right?

Good Marketing: I Bit and Spent

October 27th, 2011 at 05:39 pm

Do you all know what Bare Minerals makeup is? If so, you can skip the next part if you'd like.

In case you don't, it is a very fine powder makeup that you "buff" on your face using makeup brushes. It is a San Francisco company, but sold worldwide (I believe). I don't wear makeup very much or often. However, I have mentioned before that I have Rosacea so my cheeks and nose can get very red, blotchy, icky. This makeup really helps cover that and has a very light feeling. I bought a starter kit about two years ago and am just starting to run out.
(I told you I don't use it very often!)
However, I am going to try to make an effort in the mornings to "do" my face because I feel better on the days I do.

Bare Minerals company, Bare Escentuals, sends me emails a few times a week. Today's email was get a free eyeliner when you stop in at a BE boutique. I was planning on hitting the mall to go to Macy's for a clearance toddler costume so I was like "Cool!" I'm already going through the trouble of going to the mall and I'll be getting a freebie.

Make a purchase and you get a free eyeshadow too.

See where I'm going with this?

I stopped in and chose the Midnight blue eyeliner. It might last forever for as often as I use eyeliner! Also had some questions about other products I wanted to try. Redness Remedy, two of the face cleansers, some moisturizer. (I have no beauty routine and would love to start treating my skin, esp. face better.) So the gal sat me in the chair and washed, moisturized and "make-up'd" my face. Hey, free pampering: I should do that regularly. Big Grin

Think I like the redness product, but didn't buy any.
Liked the eyeshadow primer. Can use alone. Super easy to apply, but didn't buy any.
Really loved the foaming cleanser - I bought it.
(The other cleanser was really nice feeling too.)
Really liked the moisturizer - bought it too.
Got a free eyeshadow because of my purchase! Big Grin Pretty golden sparkly color. Subtle enough for wearing at work/daytime. Name: Enlightened.
$46 spent on Moi. :O

I bit on the freebie and ended up buying.


My "treats" with the reusable shopping bag they put them in.

New Shoes. Doing Surveys.

October 25th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Bought new shoes for the kids on Saturday.
DS's first real pair of shoes! Awwwww..SO cute. Big Grin
DD got a pair of athletic/running shoes. I tend to wait until October-ish to buy new school shoes for DD because it's warm enough that she wears summertime shoes until about now.
We have a little outlet mall in town and there is a Stride Rite (w/other brands) store that I have shopped at for years. I always bought Stride Rite shoes for DD when she was younger and now I will for DS because I love the quality. The prices at the outlet average 50% less than the retail stores. And I think the outlet has a better selection. I spent $53 total.

Both Stride Rite and Old Navy had a survey website on their receipts. Normally I don't bother, but knowing I'll be shopping both of these places again in the near-ish future I did both surveys. Just did them tonight for $5 off at the shoe store and 10% off at O.Navy.

Do you ever do the surveys on receipts?

CC and Retail Therapy

October 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Quite a few of you are doing so great on getting credit card rewards - Good Job!
I haven't gotten any super juicy offers. One $250 offer with a $99/year fee, so I totally wrote it off. But when I read Monkey Mama's post about the cc company refunding the fee I thought "Shoot! Maybe I should've gone for it."
I will "earn" a $250 cash reward from my current card by next month. My points total is this [----] close. Smile
Of course I will use the money to pay on the card.
-----

I had a moment of weakness and actually let myself spend money on clothes for myself. I know that sounds funny, but most of you can relate. It's really hard to 'justify' spending money on a frivolous thing like clothes for yourself unless you need it for work or to land a job.

I had set out for Old Navy because they were having a sale on their active wear. I need a new sports bra and I wanted a new top because I'm always wearing DH's t-shirts to the gym.
Instead I found this cute, simple dress. Very comfortable. Can be dressed up or down. You know one of those types of things that you never find when you're looking for it, but is right in front of your face when you don't have any money?
I was ready to put it back when I asked the checker to scan the price and see if it was on sale at all. It was 30% off making it $23.
A classic type piece for $23. I went for it. Embarrassment

I also bought a SF 49er t-shirt and two racer back tank tops.



I wanted to get a shirt for DS. It had the Superman logo on the front (DS's name starts with an "S") it would've been very cute, but it was $15!!! For a toddler shirt - I don't think so!

I thought the tank tops were on sale, but when I got home I looked at my receipt and they weren't; it must have been the other style. Frown
These were $10.50 each. I really like the style, but I am going to take them back and I will buy them when they go on sale. Old Navy puts their tank tops on sale all the time.

Struck out on the sports bra and no work out tops since I'm returning what I had intended to be gym wear. So I will be shopping for those items still.
Rolleyes


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