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Archive for January, 2009

Spending and Saving

January 31st, 2009 at 03:39 pm

Well, today was a spending and saving day. I have my checking and savings accounts at different places (for good reason), so I went to an atm and got $80 out ($20 for my mad money, $40 for set aside for my conference in June, and $20 for savings). I went to the credit union and deposited the $20 to my savings, bringing the balance to $60. Yes, I have $60 in my savings!

At Dollar Tree, I bought 3 quarts of broth and 1 package of bubble mailers for $4.29. This is a really good deal on this stuff, as broth at my grocery store is about $3.00 for just 1 quart. This is the cheapest for buying bubble mailers also.

At Dollar General, I bought Electrasol, mayonaisse, crackers, tuna fish in foil packets, and an LED nightlight for $14.22. I used $0.75 in coupons here.

At Big Lots, I bought cat food, a canister of raisins, and an 8 oz measuring cup for $8.05. The only thing I don't like about this store is that you can't use coupons, but they have very good deals on stuff.

At my regular grocery store, I used 4 coupons which were all doubled, used my own bags, and bought as much as I could on sale. My savings was $12.40 and I spent $46.67.

For the most part, the coupons are courtesy of some very nice coupon trading partners at Thriftyfun.com. I have not drastically reduced my spending as a result, but I have reduced it and it has allowed me to weather the budget storms a little more easily.

At Walgreens, I bought some Duracell batteries which were on sale $2.00 off. I also had a $0.75 coupon and the capability of sending in a $3.00 rebate, bringing the cost of the batteries from $11.99 down to about $6.24. Woo-hoo!

Money Surplus?

January 30th, 2009 at 06:36 pm

Wow. This is weird. This has not happened to me in a long time. It is now Friday and next Friday is my next payday. I just paid the rent for February and made a credit card payment. I still have $334 in my checking account. The only thing I have to do in the next seven days is set aside money for my conference trip ($40) and buy groceries (~$80). Because we haven't been driving much, our gas tanks are nearly full. I think I will put $20 into my savings "just because." This is nice. Big Grin

Not Money Related

January 25th, 2009 at 09:30 am

I am having a problem at work that makes me wonder about my future there. A particular co-worker frequently shows up at my desk and shouts in me in full view of members of the public and other co-workers. I have been working there nearly four years and a good portion of the time, this person seems normal and actually helpful, but it's like she turns into a different person and blames me for problems that are actually someone else's to deal with. Despite reporting to the boss about this, he doesn't seem to think this is a problem, but it seems like harassment. From what I have been able to find out my workplace does not seem to have rules against harassment that is not sexual or race-related, but they do have a conflict resolution procedure. My boss is at a conference, but when he comes back, my mentor and I will talk to him about what my options are. I am not sure what I should do. I really like living here and I love my job. I am keeping my fingers crossed while also putting aside extra savings just in case.

Got Paid Yesterday, Savings Deposit, Coupon Savings, and More Debt Paid

January 24th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Well, I got paid again yesterday and went shopping today. My savings deposits automatically come out of my pay and into the savings account at a credit union. My savings balance is now $40.00. That doesn't sound like much, but I haven't had that much in savings in months. (Yeah!)

I went to Walgreens and bought Qtips, Bic shavors, Band-aids, Blue Diamond Almonds, Walgreens brand liquid hand soap, Crest Glide Floss, a birthday card, and Oil of Olay fash wash. Three of the items were on sale and everything except the birthday card I had a manufacturer coupon for. For the almonds, I also had a Walgreens coupon for Buy one get one free. I saved over $10.65. Woo-hoo!

At Dillons, I bought quite a few things, too numerous to mention here, and had several coupons amounting to $3.45. Two of them were doubled, several things were on sale, and I took my own bags. Total savings amounted to $8.53.

At Dollar Tree, I only bought puffy shipping envelopes. It's silly, I know, but it is the best place in town to buy them. The post office charges highway robbery rates for them.

At Big Lots, I paid $15.02 for several things I needed.

Recently, I discovered it is possible to use coupons at Dollar General, my favorite place to buy peanut butter, Hellman's mayonnaise, and cat food. I used $2.00 in coupons here.

Some of the items I bought today were stock up items using coupons that would expire soon. But I feel really good about it.

I also put some money into the Conference Challenge, bring my total to $1343.76.

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Oh, as an update, I will add that I made another payment on Hospital Debt #1, bringing the balance to $878.58.

I also filled a customer satisfaction survey for Walgreens. I know that some people say those things are nonsense, but one time I did actually win a $5.00 gift card. This month, the prize is $1,000. I could definitely have that. Big Grin

Spending Today and Conference Challenge

January 17th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Today, I went grocery shopping. My money for shopping was limited due to an out of town trip I had to make for work yesterday. I will be reimbursed for the mileage on that trip, but I won't get it until the end of the month. The bad thing is that I would have like to have done some stock-up shopping like I did last weekend, because there were some things which were on sale that I also had coupons for.

At Dollar General, I bought trash bags, mayonaisse, and tuna fish in foil packs for $11.64. I figure I saved at least $5.00 here, because all of this stuff is a lot higher at my regular grocery store.

At Walgreens, I had a raincheck from last week for Hunt's Tomato Sauce at 3 for $1.00 with a store coupon. The store is completely out last week, so I got a rain check. Total cost $2.12 and saving 66%.

At Dillons, ground chuck was on sale for 30% off, which amounted to $2.44 a pound. That's cheaper than regular ground beef at Aldi's. I also bought some Chicken of the Sea tuna salad in little cups that I think will make awesome lunch when combined with some bread, an apple, and some trail mix. Apples in the produce aisle were 10 pounds for $10.00. Wow. I also used my own bags. All this amount to $5.96 off.

The total amount I budgeted for groceries was $60.00 and total spent was $55.25. I didn't use any coupons, but didn't have any that were for what I needed to buy, but I will need to buy a lot of other things next week for which I do have coupons. I am so happy that I'm almost dancing.



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As an update, I am happy to report my Conference Challenge amount is up to $1256.90. I am aiming for $2000 to insure that I don't have to use the credit card. In addition, I posted a message on a discussion board for the conference requesting a roommate. Another person in Illinois has responded and we are getting to details worked out. We need to make hotel reservations at the conference hotel or another nearby hotel.

Doctor visit and Coupons

January 14th, 2009 at 05:53 pm

Well, I went for a visit to my chiropractor who does acupuncture and other alternative medicine. She said I am pretty ship shape for a change. When I first started going to her about 1 year ago, I had eczema on my back so bad that it was making me scratch all the time. My asthma was majorly bad, too. I have tried all the standard treatments of inhalers, pills, and allergy shots and nothing worked until I started getting acupuncture and taking vitamins and minerals. So hoo-ray there!

I am also a member at Thrifty Fun (http://www.thriftyfun.com). There is a lot of information there like recipes, tips to save money, and a forum for swapping coupons. If any of you would like to swap coupons and save more money, go to the website. No, I am not being paid for this. I am just a satisfied user of this free website and want to spread the word. I have lots of coupons for stuff I don't use right now and would love to trade them for something I do use.

No Spend Day for Me!

January 11th, 2009 at 07:07 pm

Hello, everyone. Well, today was a no spend day for me. I know I have had some in the past, but I just realized that I should try to keep track. Big Grin

Conference Challenge Addition and Walgreens Shopping

January 10th, 2009 at 04:44 pm

My hubby gave me excess, loose pocket change today. Who am I to turn it down? It is found money and therefore goes to the challenge, bringing my total to $1254.97.

I had great success at Walgreens today. I bought about $32.00 worth of merchandise for $16.01. For everything I bought, I had coupons (except the shampoo) and they were on sale. (I should add here that I planned out my shopping list extensively on paper and did not buy anything that I want rather than need.)

Palmolive detergent 10 oz (Qty=2) - I had a $0.50 manufacturer coupon plus a Walgrees coupon for $1.00 for each bottle, plus it was on sale for $1.79. If I tallied it up correctly ($2.58 - $2.00 - $0.50), it came to $0.08 I spent on it. I have never used this brand, but I thought why not?

Tom's of Maine toothpaste 6 oz (Qty=2) - I always buy this brand of toothpaste and have, until recently, been able to get it at Big Lots for $2.50. It was on sale for $3.99 and I had coupons for $1.00 for each tube.

White Rain Shampoo $1.00 (Qty=1) - This shampoo was on sale for $1.00 for 18 oz. I didn't need shampoo right now, but this is the brand I buy and I have been wanting to do a stock-up of certain things as a type of savings account.

Nature Made B Complex vitamins (Qty=2) - These vitamins were on sale buy one get one free. I also had coupons I downloaded from the manufacturer website for $1.00 each, bringing the total to $3.24 each.

I did pretty good with my other shopping too. I saved $0.50 at Dollar General because Cottonelle toilet paper was on sale. I also saved $5.37 at Dillons with coupons, sales, and using my own bags. This feels good. I like this game.

I was talking to the hubby tonight about our finances. I gave him an update on the amount left to pay on our medical debts. He asked if he thought we should use the tax refund to pay off mine, the lesser of the two. I said absolutely, but that it will still a little over $100 that we have to pay. After I go to my conference next June, I will get a $1500 reimbursement check towards the end of June. I can use that to pay the rest of my medical debt and a good hunk of his. He proposed this whole payoff strategy. I was very surprised to say the least. Usually, he wants to blow part of the tax refund on shineys. Things are looking good, as his attitude is changing. I think it is because he wants to buy a house and I don't feel comfortable doing so until the medical debt is paid off, which will free up our budget somewhat. Big Grin

Payday, More Debt Paid Off, and Other Stuff

January 9th, 2009 at 08:34 pm

Well, today was payday, so I have updated my totals at the right.

1) Hospital Debt #2 paid $75.00 on it, bringing it down to $1927.60

2) Paid $66.00 to cc - must get total and update it later

3) deposited $20.00 to savings, bringing my total to $20.00. I had to deposit $5.00 just to open the account and that was all I had at the time.

4) was supposed to set aside $80.00 for the conference challenge, but something went kafluey with my order at Sonic today and it wound up being only $68.00. I will get more money tomorrow to bring the total to $1264.46.

My net worth is going up a little. Cool. I plan to shop at Walgreens and other stores tomorrow and use the coupons I cut from the walgreens circular, the Sunday paper, and ones that other people sent to me. I must go now and make my shopping list. Big Grin

Nature Made Vitamin Coupons

January 8th, 2009 at 05:20 pm

I just found a new way to save money. I use Nature Made vitamins a lot and noticed on their website at http://www.naturemade.com that you can earn points towards the purchase of more vitamins. You just create a free user account. When you buy Nature Made vitamins, just log in and tell them what you bought. I got coupons just for creating an account. I think I should start keeping track of how much I save with coupons and sales and put some of it into my Challenge. Yippee!

Conference Challenge Addition

January 8th, 2009 at 04:36 pm



Well, I don't know exactly when, or how, it happened, but apparently, I added to my Conference Challenge Fund. But I forgot to update my total here. Silly me. I must have been having what my friends say is a "senior moment" but I am not a senior. Oh well, my total is up to $1184.46. Tomorrow, I will add $80.00 more in, bring it to $1264.46. Woo-hoo!

Walgreens Coupons and Sales

January 5th, 2009 at 07:43 pm

Maybe you all have already seen this, but while eating lunch today, I perused the Walgreens ad and coupons. They had 3 coupons I clipped for using on Saturday when I will do my shopping:

- 3 for $1.00 on hydrogen peroxide
- 3 for $1.00 on Hunt's Tomatoes Sauce
- Save up to $10.00 on several items, including Soft Soap, Tom's of Maine, Colgate, Palmolive, Irish Spring, etc.

I am not sure how much peroxide I will buy, but at any rate, I do need it and it will only cost me $0.33 a bottle. There is a limit of 6 on the Hunt's Tomatoes Sauce and I use it a lot, so I will probably buy the limit. I can't get that brand anywhere cheaper than that. I use Tom's of Maine toothpaste a lot and wish I could buy more than 2, but there is a limit. I don't usually use Palmolive, but unless I can get Dawn at Big Lots at $1.60 (which does happen sometimes), this looks like a good deal. I also need Nature Made vitamins which are on sale Buy One Get One Free. I watch for that sale, as it happens once about every couple of months.

I totalled up what I think all of what I want to buy would normally cost and what it will cost with the coupons and sale and there is almost a 50% savings. Wa-hoo!

Used CC rewards for Debt Payment

January 4th, 2009 at 04:11 pm

Hello, folks.

Someone else mentioned that they had used rewards points on a credit card to pay down their debt. The only things I was aware of that I could get from mine was cash (but you had to have about 10,000 points), merchandise which I have no intention of using, or useless gift cards. Well, tonight as I sit here eating my frugal tuna salad with peas, I thought "why not?". So, I logged in to see if I could use my points for anything like getting cash via paypal, check, etc. Something useful would be nice. Well, miracles, miracles. I could cash in my points and get a check or get a credit on my credit card. I could also get gift cards. I decided to go for option #2. Paying down the debt is going to give me a better return than anything else. It wasn't very much, considering the amount owed on the card, but it is something. Once it posts, I will log into networthiq and update my debt total. Cool. I feel very accomplished and blessed. Thank you to whoever mentioned that in their blog.

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As an update to this, I will log in and check my rewards occasionally, and if I have enough, I will keep doing this. Big Grin

Failure and Success

January 3rd, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Well, I have a little bit about failure today and little bit about success.

I got a survey check in the mail from Opinion Outpost, which was designated for the Conference Challenge. However, my checking account only had about $8.00 left in it after doing the grocery shopping, so I deposited it to checking for regular spending.



My success has to do with decreasing the amount spent on groceries. I have in the past usually spent around $80-90 per week on groceries for two adults and two cats. This week I got it down to $52.94. Woo-hoo! It does seem to go up and down depending on whether I need to buy toilet paper, detergent, cat litter, etc. I look for coupons, but I never seem to find any for Arm and Hammer Cat Litter and a box is around $8.00. I think that's a lot, but we have tried cheaper brands, but they don't seem to work as well. I know I don't really need to buy certain brands, like Hellman's mayo or Starkist tuna, for example, but my husband doesn't like other kinds.

Aldi $7.84
Dollar General
Dollar Tree $2.15
Big Lots $6.65
Dillons $27.39

Hellman's Mayo $4.00
Tuna Fish in Foil Pouch $1.10 (2)
Filtered water $0.45 (3 of these)
Tomato sauce $0.75 (4 of these)
Starkist Tuna $0.82 (2 of these)
Ground beef $2.49/lb (6 pounds)
Beef jerky $3.69
Chicken broth $1.00 (to make soup - already have chicken)
Pencil holder $1.00
Whole wheat bread $1.79 (2 of these)
Egg noodles $0.99
Canned beans for chili $0.55 (3 of these)
Eggs $1.29
Diced canned tomatoes $0.90 (3 of these)
Trail mix $1.00
Macaroni $1.33
Spaghetti noodles $0.70
Quart freezer bags $1.00
Snack zip bags $1.00
Tomato puree $0.60

Total $52.94

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Oh, I just located a place to get Arm and Hammer cat litter coupons.

http://www.armandhammer.com/

Conference Challenge Addition

January 2nd, 2009 at 10:56 am

I got a survey in the mail today and they sent me $1.00 to complete it. It's going directly to my Conference Chalenge, bringing my cash available total $1134.00. The total funds available total $2009. I need to actually have about $2000 in cash, though, as I will not be able to get the $875 until I get back from the conference. That means more surveys to answer, points to redeem, and coins to cash in for paper money.

Not Money Related

January 2nd, 2009 at 08:29 am

My profile photo has changed. We had friends over during the holidays and they took pictures of our furbabies. Here is another similar picture.



It's very unusual for them to sit together like this, but they were both trying to get away from our friends' dog, an adult 38-pound pug. I think they were actually afraid of him. Here's a couple of pictures of the pug. He is really cute and seems to like cats, but they didn't like him.

Our friends went to Sonic while they were here and this is him waiting for his order.




They brought the Guitar Hero game with them and this is him playing Guitar Hero.



7 Principles of Mindful Wealth

January 1st, 2009 at 02:46 pm

I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters about health and money and a link to this was in one of them. The author has a lt of practical ideas about how to attract wealth. I thought I would share it with all of you.



http://www.naturalnews.com/Report_Mindful_Wealth_0.html