Saturday, December 27, 2014

Easy soup

Looks good doesn't it?

So easy to make, and CHEAP!  Two boxes of organic vegetable stock ($2.00)  One head of Escarole (.89)  A good scraping of some nutmeg, A cup of diced ham taken from the freezer (free, as already accounted for in previous totals).  4 cups of water.   Gpa P will have this for his lunch today.  He has a huge appetite, if I haven't mentioned that before.  He may consume most of this for one meal.  Hopefully DD will have some too.   Total for entire 6 quarts of deliciousness, $2.89.  

Friday, December 26, 2014

After Christmas Purchases and FB sale

Christmas was very nice...after I got over the emotional muck-a-luck of missing my Mother In Law.  Wonderful woman.  Spent time at my Mother's, which we don't do very often.  My sister and BIL were there, as well as our daughter and her BF.  Was very nice.

I am very blessed with students who are generous gifters.  I had $85 worth of Target Gift Certificates, which I used today very wisely.   I was at Target by 7:15 a.m.   It was quiet, but festive, with the few shoppers there in good moods (the Starbucks being open didn't hurt).  I headed right to the 'holiday section'.  Was I looking for ornaments or gift wrap?  No way.  I wanted Glad and Ziploc items!  I was prepared, with an envelope of coupons in hand.

There were 4 carriages worth of shoppers by this section, and one wife noticed I was piling gallon ziploc bags into my cart.  Are they on clearance?  They should be I replied, but I haven't checked the actual pricing yet.  Her husband took one and ran to a price checker, and we heard him should $1.49!  That was the price for all of the bags and plastic ware containers!  She put one in her cart and I said, take another one, and here's a coupon for a dollar off two!

I put 10 ziploc gallon bags in my cart, as well as 21 gladware and ziplocware containers.  Here is the pic!  Please notice my Kitty on the stair above the loot.  :)         I have great storage in my basement.

I also purchased two parchement paper rolls (I was out), Method wood cleaner for our dining room table (also out), two Betty Crocker Peppermint Cookie mix (holiday 50% off!) a new loofah for DD, a Tazo Chai Concentrate, and 12 holiday Glade Oil packages in scents that I find light and appealing for the studio.

I had them ring it up in two separate orders (Glad/Ziploc and everything else) due to other savings opportunities.

The ziploc/glad order after sale and coupons was $33.16 including tax.  I used gift cards.  I then submitted my receipt to Savings Star and have already received $7.00 back in rebates.  Total cost (though it was all gift money $26.16 after rebates/coupons)

The rest of the products (parchment/loofah/method/glade/cookies) with a Target deal of being on sale (2.39) buy 3 get one free (got 3 for free) Tazo (got free with coupon) and coupons for all Glade products purchased I paid $37.14 including tax.  I then submitted for a checkout 51 rebate on the Glade (an additional dollar).  Total cost after coupons/rebate was 36.14 and paid for with student gift cards.  $62.30 with no out of my pocket!  And still have gift card money left for another day.

I brought everything home, Had a quick bite to eat, and then hopped back in the car to meet a woman in the Walgreens parking lot for her to purchase some of my Santa's that are food themed.  She paid me $20.00 for three of them.  I was happy they were being gifted to a relative who was opening a food based business, and now I was going to use that money to again purchase things for our household without taking money out of pocket.

DH and Gpa P LOVED the Cook's half shank ham I purchased several weeks ago at $1.49 a pound at Shoprite.  DH was usually a Carando Spiral Ham only type of guy.  He asked me if we could get the same price, and I said I thought the sale was ending this Saturday.  He suggested I go back before then.  After I made the sale, I got back in the car and drove to Shoprite.  They still had some of the hams.   I got a 12.81 lb ham that is dated February 18th for 19.09.  Great way to spend the Santa money.

Back to the house, put the ham in the fridge, grab another cup of coffee and meet my DS at Bj's wholesale parking lot for our birthday adventure.  I had gotten her a gift membership for her birthday gift, plus a spending gift certificate.  We went to get her registration done, to find out they were having a sale on memberships!  She got a 14 month membership for $40....not the $50 that I had purchased it for.  They gave her the balance on a gift card.  So she had more money than she expected to spend!  She enjoyed finding all sorts of new products.  I loved that my birthday gift from her we found there.....the new 'non messy' play sand.  Much cheaper here, with more items then buying at Brookstone or Michaels.  My Mom gave me a snowman miniature kit, that they recommend using the sand with.  (I collect snowmen related items....a great winter collection that I leave out at the studio and house until the thaw happens)

I did not buy any deals at the warehouse store in terms of holiday sale....but I did get bagels/lox/cream cheese as a treat for the weekend, as well as more Skinny Pop, tomatoes, cucumbers, sour cream and a treat of guacamole for me. Michael's prepared eggplant (two 2 pound trays.....might be cheaper to purchase all parts....but I know it tastes like my grandmother's, and it will be a quick meal for the nights it's just me and DD) A huge tub of Snyders pretzels on special for $2.00,  Salami sampler for DH, plus a rechargeable battery charger and batteries.  $108.00 out of checking account.  Plus I got to spend several hours with my sister.

Then DH and I went to the mall (oh my...the insanity) to return the Brookstone pillow I purchased him (I did get a side sleeper one, but it was a hugger side sleeper, not his preference.)  An even swap, and I got to see some decorations.....I wasn't that impressed with the hooplah I had heard about the Frozen Santa display.    I also checked out Lush (DH gifted me the Ocean Salt scrub I absolutely love, as well as a new to me Ice Blue bar soap.  Very nice.  They were having a B1G1 free sale, but it was only on holiday gift sets.  I told him I would rather just use up my gifts, and then replenish these two I absolutely love products when I need to.

All in all, a great day.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A way to use up the apples

The crock pot is a wonderful tool.  I used it for the first time to make a crumb 'dump' cake to gift to a family.        I peeled and sliced 6 apples.  I placed them in the crock pot on medium (after spraying it with Pam)  I then sprinkled cinnamon onto the apples.  I dumped a .43 cents (after sale/coupon) box of cake mix combined with more cinnamon and then topped with pats of butter (one stick).    4 hours later, YUMMO!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Deals

I have set a few new challenges for myself financially.  DH is supportive and participates enthusiastically (most of the time)

Pay cash for all holiday purchases.  Try to find the best deal for our wallet.  FREE is FANTASTIC!  Here are a few examples:

CVS Trips

Trip 1
Store in North Haven didn’t have good labels on products.  Items in the flyer couldn’t be found.  I did buy a Starbucks Espresso (gave to DD when I got home) and a Kraft Mac and Cheese.  Got two ECB’s back that represented full price paid.  $1.50 and $1.00 back .   I did pay 2.50 plus tax out of pocket but they gave me back 2.50 in ECB.

Trip 2
Store in Wallingford also didn’t have good labels, but I now had a few more minutes and glasses on.  I purchased DD a lipstick (Loreal, final cost .99 with ECB and coupon)  Two bags of Hershey’s kisses (final cost 1.00 each with ECB and coupons), gum and candy for stockings free after ECB.  I paid $10.09 after coupons/ECB’s.  I received  $7.99 back in ECB. 

I know that I have to now spend the ECBs (I used the first two on the second trip) But I will use those ECB’s to now buy more ECB deals that will work for stockings until I run out of them. 

Bob’s Stores
We haven’t been going to Bob’s, as DH was not happy that most of their coupons would not be honored on the products he wanted.  But I feel that if we aren’t going out of our way, and get items for others for next to nothing we should look!  Bob’s lets you stack certain deals.  He went with me for Trip 1, which was on the way home from an out of state trip.

Trip 1
Newington Store
Paid .54 cents for leggings for DD.  This was after sale/10 free coupon that said we miss you/25% off friends and family. 

Trip 2
Hamden Store
Combined with a license renewal, drop off items to a friend trip.  I had a Birthday $10 reward/$10 on any purchase and can be combined/25% off of one item.   I got DD a 30 dollar sweater for $0.00!  I even thanked the manager and asked them to tell corporate that they are very generous.

Kohls has some great stacking opportunities.  I have added together birthday $10.00 rewards, Kohl’s cash, discounts for percentages off and free shipping codes.  I have used my Kohl’s card and then paid it off immediately!    I will admit, most purchases were for me, but I did get DD a beautiful swing coat for only $40.00 (regularly $190!)   I gave it to her to wear for Thanksgiving as she needed a new warm wool coat.

I got myself my first ever cashmere sweater, was $160, on sale for $49.00.  I have $30 in Kohls cash and I got an additional 30 percent off (after the Kohls cash was deducted)  $13.30 out the door!

I made sure any other purchases that were ordered online included AT LEAST free shipping, but I also used discount codes for all but one purchase.  I also did every order I could through  Mypoints, and have almost 10,000 points that will go towards some gift certificates for our household after the holidays.  I will do a Mypoints post at a later date. 

I did pretty well.  I had one horrible experience with an ebay purchase that I am still trying to rectify.   I have returned the watch that was shipped in a manila envelope.  Yes, that’s right.  No box, no inches of bubble wrap.  Wrapped in the purchase slip and mailed in a manila envelope.  I was offered an exchange (I don’t think so!) or a refund.  I sent it back in a BOX, return receipt requested, and if I do not get my refund within 5 business days upon receipt I will dispute with my credit card company.   I haven’t paid off that balance yet.     I use credit cards when it is a company I cannot pay with cash (i.e. other state) and I then pay off the card immediately upon receipt of an acceptable product.

All in all, I think we are on track for our budget.   Even including staff (mine and his) gifts!  I’m very pleased with what we did this year.