Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Grocery totals

So, the numbers are in!    Last count I was at $371.57 with a budget of $500.00.   I did not include purchases for Easter in this budget.

I purchased some odds/ends at Big Y including the crash and burn post from last week totaling $23.19

I went to BJ's last Thursday when my DD came home for a surprise visit and I purchased snack items for DH's last two weeks of March into April lunches as well as a huge jug of Tropicana OJ totaling $51.31

Drumroll please!

Total spent in March $446.07!  Under budget by $53.93.  I am transferring that to our HSA account right now.

Let's see if April can be even better.

Easter Dinner lasts 5 days!

I hope everyone had a pleasant holiday. DH wanted prime rib and I always want fish. With Gpa P and the Uncle here for Easter dinner we spent $78.30 on a rib-eye roast,  a cake and 3 pounds of Chefs cut Cod. 

I had the last four extra large baking potatoes we had gotten at Costco, as well as I picked up some fresh asparagus and mushrooms at the local Produce Market totaling $7.29.

Easter dinner fed four adults with two of them having second helpings. Lunches for three adults on Monday and Tuesday.

The bone ends of the roast was put in the crockpot last night and with the leftover meat, leftover mushrooms, an onion and lots of black pepper has become a delicious soup for Wednesday's dinner.

I plan on making an asparagus quiche tomorrow with the last of the asparagus. I think that total spent of $85.89 was used wisely.  I had allotted $100 total for this meal (not included in monthly grocery totals) And there is still cake left!  That in itself is an Easter Miracle.  LOL

Friday, March 25, 2016

Making money on Facebook tag sale pages

My husband and I were cleaning out our electronics from days gone by. I found a DS lite in a drawer with one game that was actually mine from 2007 when I was recuperating from surgery. We saw that they were going on eBay for as much is $40 without a game so I posted it on the local Facebook page.

Mint condition game system, one game, carrying bag,  outlet charger and car charger. A little boys going to be very happy for his birthday because his mom snatched it up within two hours of me posting it.

And my wallet was $40 heavier!

Twitter helped me save processing fees! (referral link)

As some of you may know, I own a business.   Credit Card payment acceptance is a necessary sign of the times.  Almost 80% of our clients pay with either a Debit/Credit Card.  Every $1000.00 in sales usually costs me $29.50.  That's a significant amount!

So, when my processing company Square made an offer to share a referral link on Twitter and Facebook to get $1000 worth of processing for free I took them up on the offer. I shared the information twice on Twitter. Believe it or not two people signed up through my link! By them choosing to start processing credit card payments with Square, they helped me save almost $60 in processing fees. That's a score. So below you will find my referral link for Square. If you have a small business or even if you want to take credit cards at your next tag sale this is a win-win for both of us. You can process up to $1000 in credit card charges and I can process up to $1000 in credit card charges and we will save the processing fees.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Crash and Burn What a difference in price!

I love Stonewall Kitchen products, but they are so pricey!

75% off makes it a steal!  Two boxes of donut mix.  

More than 50% off the pretzels.   Nice snack option.   

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Saving money on a favorite take out

This is the DH's favorite sandwich shop.  I am found of their salads, and their eggplant (no sauce).  We were at Costco recently and I realized we could get $100.00 in giftcards to this local shop for $79.99.  A savings of $20.00.    It was well worth the upfront out of pocket fees, to have an extra $20.00 to spend in the future.  A gift card is now in his wallet, one in my purse and the other fifty dollars put away for the future.  

Checkout 51 Update!

Payment did come through!  Odd it comes from a Canadian bank.  It is in USD, which is good!

March Grocery purchases

Happy to say that I have been quite frugal this month.  I set aside $500 for food purchases.   Some of the purchases are actually good into April.

At Walmart I purchased 2 large bags (48 links each) of Jones Turkey Sausage, 3 twenty four ounce bacon packages, one large Land o Lakes light spreadable butter, Four four packs of yogurts, two lemon Chobani yogurts and an 8 count box of bakery donuts on clearance.  Total spent was $56.97

At Shoprite an 18 count eggs, 4 cases of water, 8 pounds of Land o Lakes butter (regular and sweet), A package of Margarita hard salami, Irish Cheddar cheese, 3.5 lbs of cabbage, a head of iceburg lettuce, 4 lbs of sugar (remember when bags were 5 lbs?) and a 2.5 lb corned beef.  $58.31

Produce Market, 4 lbs of mini carrots, stuffed bread, chicken cutlets (was feeling ill last few days, wanted some cooked chicken to put on a salad) 2 lbs of asparagus 1.69 lbs Broccoli, 1 lb swiss chard, sour cream, longhini sausage, spring mix, bananas, celery, 4 pounds spaghetti squash, 4 deli salads, grape tomaotoes, 2 salad cucumbers, yellow, red, green peppers, 2 lbs of mushrooms $92.75

Costco, Twin pack skinny pop corn, pop chips, 10 lbs onions, 18 pack Thomas' english muffins, Smoked salmon, beef rib eye steaks,  spiral ham, Rack of Lamb, 10 lbs baking potatoes, case of Starbucks Cafe Verona K cups.  $147.50

Total spent $355.57 at stores, plus $16.00 for farm eggs (4 dozen, great price!)

I anticipate only spending a bit more for dairy and veggies/fruit the rest of the month.  I will be under budget.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

First attempt at pretzels

DH had a craving.   We had purchased a mix for chewy pretzels last time we were in PA.  

Warm from the oven they were tasty.  They got hard very quickly however (within an hour)  The rolls were not a good idea, and they went to the wildlife.  Next time I will try one of the many recipes online.  I did find the idea of 2 cups of water with 3 Tablespoons of baking soda dissolved into it as the reason that pretzels brown the way they do.  Each pretzel was fully dipped in this mixture. 

These can be purchased online from

Garlic is coming up!

Last fall I planted loads of organic garlic.      You can see that gardening post HERE.

Here it is this week!    So amazing what nature can do.    

I have also planted two rows of spring mesclun.    One regular and one spicy!    Here is hoping.    

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Yard clean up

I love spring!    Clean air, birds chirping.    Winter doldrums melting away.     I have been spending time getting my flowerbeds cleaned up.     Just little pockets of work, so to not hurt my shoulder and to spread out the tedium.    

Back bulb bed.    This area is where I put yearly Easter Hyacinth gifts, post Easter plant sales and freebie daffodils from neighbor when she changed her yard color scheme two years ago.    That was a great freebie score that I used all over our yard and shared with friends.  

Cannot wait til things start blooming

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Drying Clothes in a new way

These are 3 of the 6 dryer balls we purchased at the Vermont Country Store last month.  I wanted to find a way to save on Dryer Sheets AND save on electricity when using the dryer.  I do hang all of my work clothes/under things to dry, but DH's work clothes and towels I run through the dryer. 

As per their website:

Stop throwing money away on those costly fabric softeners and dryer sheets loaded with harsh chemicals, and start treating yourself and the environment right with these all-natural dryer balls. Handcrafted from pure New Zealand wool, they not only soften your laundry, reduce static, and help eliminate wrinkles, but also save you time and energy by cutting your drying time by 25%. Each dryer ball lasts up to a whopping 1000 loads and is hypoallergenic.
  • Handcrafted from pure New Zealand wool
  • Approx. 3" dia.
  • 100% chemical free
  • Eliminates the need for expensive fabric softeners and dryer sheets
  • Softens your clothes, reduces static, and helps prevent wrinkles
  • Reduces drying time by 25%
  • Lasts up to 1,000 loads; 6 hypoallergenic dryer balls per box.  We paid $24.95
Well, so far so good.  I am using the lowest heat setting, and I am saving about 15-20 minutes in dryer time as well.  I think that this was a good purchase. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

4 things about me (started by Sluggy and CTMOM)

A fun way to share some things about me. 

Four songs I listen to:  I tend to not listen to music when not at work, but if I did, Led Zep, Aerosmith, anything Baroque, Parsonfield

Four things I hate:  pain, beating around the bush, dishonesty, feeling cold. 

Four places I have worked: a liquor distributor, a private music school, a private elementary school, a private music school (my own!)

Four things I love to watch:  The walking dead (don't judge!) HGTV, historical documentaries, Shark Tank.

Four places I have visited:  California, Canada, Las Vegas (where DH and I married), all New England.

Four things I love to eat:  all veggies, eggs, all seafood (not bivalves, allergic), cheese

Four favorite drink:  coffee hot, coffee iced, water, real lemonade

Four shows/plays:  Evil Dead the Musical (DD's first interactive play experience), Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, (can't think of another at the moment)

Four things I am happily anticipating:  Gpa P going to FL for a few weeks, visiting Amish Country again in April,gardening, SPRING!

Four things I am dreading: I can only think of one thing, possibly needing to return to the Dr's to deal with a pain issue, doing DD's taxes

Four items on my bucket list:  I must admit that I made one in 2007 when recovering from a major illness/surgery.  I have done everything on it except pay off our house and  see my DD settled in her adult life (though she is almost there!)

For names I am called:  Ms.Sandie, CiCi, Mrs. J, Mom
Four people I think will respond: CTMOM, CTBARGAINMOM, TRAYCEEBEE , Maybe Sluggy

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Okay, we have all seen the ads.  Free shipping on ANYTHING?  Well, we finally looked into it for three reasons.

Reason 1 we have been talking about replacing our TV Stand.  We got a new larger TV almost two years ago, and can you see the dip in the stand?

Then we got this catalog in the mail

Then we saw an ad again saying Free shipping.

Well, what a deal we got.  Solid wood TV Stand.  Weighed 271 pounds!  Delivered FREE!  I also had a 10% off code AND it was on sale.  Total spent 165.60.   Yes, did need some assembly, took DH 3 hours, but look!

And I posted the old one on Facebook for free just to my own friends and one of my old student's parents are coming to get it on Saturday.  The dip is no longer there once we took off the too big for it TV.     This student's grandmother was actually a trainer for me years ago in an international children's music program.  Love sharing with people who were part if my world.  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Look what I just got for just under $16

Well, sort of.  I used a Swagbucks Giftcard, Two rebate Visa Cards (from a Proctor and Gamble and a Staples rebate) to get us this for the house:

A Bissell CleanView with one Pass

It got great reviews.  Total gift cards applied was $80.00.  I paid $15.70 and $5.71 of that was tax. 

Now I can bring the old house one to the studio.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Cash back apps

Cashed out with three programs. SavingStar I chose a gift card to ITunes worth 20 dollars.  Not sure how that works.   I received it within 24 hours via an email code.   I still have 3.65 in the app.  I normally get a paypal payout, but I wanted to get some things on iTunes.

IBOTTA I cashed out with 22.65 into my paypal account.    I got it in less than 3 minutes.  This impressed me.   So CTMOM at I say this one is a definite for you!

Checkout 51 was a check.    I emptied the app of 20.75.    Let's see how long it takes.    I did get this notification.

So, we wait and see!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Big Y Shopping Trip

Last Thursday I did a trip to get produce and a few deals.    

Bananas .49 less .25 IBOTTA,  Cucumber .99 less .25 Checkout 51, Zucchini 1.28, Eggplant 2.39, Celery 1.67, Onion .93 less .25 IBOTTA, Organic baby carrots 2.28

Minute Rice 2.39 less $1.00 Checkout 51, Big Y bread .99 less IBOTTA .50 Progresso Soup 6.00 less 1.00 SavingStar and .50 IBOTTA

2 lbs of 90% Ground Beef, 2 lbs of Turkey cutlets, 2 lbs of ground chicken breast.  All were part of the 4 for $20 deal.  All but one package of turkey cutlets was used in the meals posted earlier today.  I froze the last package of Turkey for another meal later in the month.    I did receive the deal price on everything even though I bought 6 items.  

Total 49.41 spent less all app deals 3.75 = $45.66.      The best part?   I used a $50.00 gift card that DH bought on Cyber Monday for $45!

Sharing a dish I may not have not told you about and other meals this week and part of last week!

I don't have a name for this dish other than my chicken eggplant concoction.  1 pound of chicken breast browned and then cubed eggplant (peeled) is added as well as a tomato.  I add a bit of liquid (sometimes chicken stock, this time water).  The secret is the spice mix I use.  

Tandoori spice!  I am almost out, and don't remember where I got it.  Will need to look into making my own blend. 

This week we have also had Meatballs (beef/pork) with sauce.  Fellows had ziti and I had spaghetti squash.  3 servings for me throughout the week.  DH and Gpa P had for dinner Monday and Gpa just finished the last of it yesterday. 

I also made a chicken meatloaf with another pound of ground chicken, the last of some frenchs fried onions, one egg, bread crumbs and more of my friends Tomato Jam.  Yummo. 

A package of turkey cutlets were just baked with olive oil and a Garlic blend that I purchased from a Tea and Spice shop back at holiday time. .  I will write a another post about this store, loved it, can't wait to go back. 

DH also made chili with one pound of ground beef.  I did not have any of that, but I think there might be a smidge left. 

All of the meat was purchased (except the pork) at Big Y last week as part of their 4 for $20 sale.  I used a gift card.   I just wasn't organized looking through the freezer (the one at the house is mainly bread now, LOL) I have to do a transfer from the studio freezer.  Yes, I have a freezer at the studio.  Silly I know, but we would have had to do electrical work in the basement at the house in order to get one put in here (didn't want to put one in the garage again)   I had the write energy source already at the studio, so that's where it is.