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Archive for March, 2006

Spring blooms in-store coupons

March 29th, 2006 at 02:58 pm

It's the end of the winter quarter, and the new Spring coupons are blooming in stores now!

I had a chance to do a walk-through today (okay, so I'm avoiding thinking about my father's health), and here are a few things you can be looking for in stores now:

8th Continent Soymilk, $1 coupons around the necks, exp. 12/14/06

Science Diet free can of cat food with 3.5 pound or larger bag; coupon is on bag

PetSmart is loaded with Kong Stuff'n Hounds gourmet sauce 50 cents off and loads of recipes.

Ragu has been having recipes, but the new pullout brochure includes a 75 cent coupon on Organic pasta sauce.

Check the milk and dairy aisle - 2424milk.com has coupons for free weeks at Curves.

Kraft is offering $1 on produce with purchase of their parmesan.

Keebler Right Bites, loose coupons, $1 on two (7/15/06)

Lysol has two separate rebates; look for long almost unnoticable cardboard tear pad holders in the cleaning aisle. Buy 2 Lysol wipes, get any one product free ($4.19 limit), and BOGO by mail ($2.99 limit) for Lysol products. Through 6/7/06.

Ascenia still has the $50 coupon booklets, including $1 on Bayer, $3 on Dermal Care, and lots of Ascensia savings, all good through 12/31/06.

Advil has a new $1 loose coupon; look for in it the pharmacy area.

Vault tear pads remain: buy 2 get 1 (5/31/06)

Smartsource in store is restocking their monthlys and has some nice new quarterly coupons as well. Double check the expiration dates, because March's coupons may look just like April's coupons for the monthlys! The latest:

$1 on two Birds Eye Farm Fresh (5/21/06)
$0.50 Texas Toast (6/30/06)
$1 on 3 Healthy Choice (4/29/06)
$1 on two Vlassic (5/5/06)
$0.35 one Hungry Jack (6/30/06)
$1 on 3 Pillsbury dough products (5/20/06) (replacing Perfect Portion exp 4/24, 0.75 on 3 exp. 4/24)
0.35 on Friendship cottage cheese 96/30/06)
$0.50 Land of Lakes butter (6/15/06)
$0.35 Land of Lakes spreadables (6/15/06)
$0.55 Land of Lakes half and half (5/31/06)
$1 Yoplait Go-Gurt 4 pack
0.50 on two Yoplait yogurt cups (5/22/06)
$1 on two Cheerios (5/22/06)
$1 on two General Mills cereals (5/22/06)
$0.50 two Chex Mix (4/24/06)
$1 on three Chex mix, bugles, pop secret, etc.(5/20/06)
0.35 Smucker's toppings (6/30/06)
$0.50 Mamma Pella (7/31/06)
$1 one Pam (4/30/06 but a new date should be coming)
$1 on Carapelli olive oil (4/16, but a new date is reported)
$1.50 on two Boost (5/31/06)
$1 Speed Stick (5/30/06)
$1 on Febreeze (5/31/06)
$0.75 Cottonelle wipes (6/18/06)
$0.50 Chinet(4/30/06) (replaces the Dixie coupon expiring 4/9)
$1 Scott TP (6/18/06)
$0.50 Dawn (5/31/06, and should continue monthly)

Popsecret (4/24/06), Benadryl (4/30/06), Fruit Gushers (4/24/06), Land of Lakes 50 cent, 75 cent, and others (5/15/06), and Tetley canisters (4/30/06) are still around, but will be replaced by other offers.

Hope this helps, and happy shopping!

That stubborn grocery budget followup

March 28th, 2006 at 12:37 pm

Okay, for those of you who thought the budget-by-gift-card was enough to send you back under the covers…you’re not alone. I read recently that only 1 out of 9 people can stick to their grocery budget.

So on to the tough questions: if the ball in the pit of your stomach is growing and turning, why? Is your budget unrealistic, or are you not just quite as committed to it as you thought you were?

Me…well, no, I hate sticking to a budget LIMIT. After three or four weeks of what feels like denying, disciplining, or just plain punishing myself with a chore that goes on forever, I usually splurge. I hate being told what I can’t do, even if it’s my own idea! What I AM is GOAL-ORIENTED. So for me, what usually works is the CHALLENGE: how low can I go? If I did $130 last week, can I do $120 this week? If I saved 30% off the bill with sales and coupons, can I get to 50% this week? I’m at the point where anything less than 50% feels like failure!

And, I don’t resist all the temptations. Yesterday, I had a very short grocery list, but passed by the Ghiradelli caramel chocolate squares. Unadvertised special. NOT a good sale, but YUM!

Now, I have two pounds of See’s chocolates my sister brought on her visit. A large box of Godiva from Valentine’s day we’ve never even opened. I threw out several boxes after the holidays, and still have a few tins of favorites we whittle away on. But I saw the Ghiradelli’s, and I had to have them! So, I balanced the budget by putting back a box of Slim-fast bars J. Still came in at 72% off the total price, and well under $100.

There are quite a few other tricks to get the grocery bill down…and I will follow up later.

Right now (warning, gross to some readers!) I’ve got to unwad my receipts for taxes. DH walked by (his) pile on the kitchen table, they soared – floated – drifted down to puppy territory. He thought they were VERY tasty and made for a great new game of CHEW UP THE RECEIPTS. I don’t think I can explain to the IRS that the dog ate them…so we are drying out the slobbery spit enough to smooth them out and tape them back together. Good thing I love the dog and hate taxes!

Costco/BJ coupons

March 28th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

The following coupons came out for BJs and Costco (April). With apologies, typing is a low priority Smile

BJs warehouse coupons 3/23 – 4/22:
$1 bounty glass and surface
$1 off bounty paper towels
$1 any Swiffer products
$1 off any Mr. Clean product
$2 Berkley & Jensen Disinfecting Wipes
$1 off Tide 200 oz.
$1 off Downy whitening
$3 off Kleenex


Costco coupons April 7 – 23:
BOGO Scotch Tape
$2.50 Pilot G2 Gel Pens
$50 off Viewsonic 2” wide LCD monitor
$100 off JVC 30GB hard drive camcorder
$3 Huggies
$1.50 Folgers
$1.50 Bounty
$2 off diet Pepsi
$25 off Braun rechargeable toothbrush
$2 Q-tips
$4 Pull-Ups
$160 off Compaq notebook
$6 Depend or Poise
$2 Dove body wash
$5 Olay
$7 Olay Regenerist system
$1 Kirkland water
$2 Crest
$2.50 Glide
$4 MCI prepaid phone card
$3 Nivea
$2 irish Spring
$2 Dove, Degree, and/or Axe deodorants
$20 JBL Speaker System
$3.50 Lysol spray
$2 Dove shampoo/conditioner
$3 Gatorade
$3.50 Huggies wipes
$10 Nicroette
$5 Nature Made Triple Flex or Cholestoff plus $3 rebate
$2 kirkland vitamins
$3.50 Tylenol/Viactive/Pepcid
$4 Cetaphil cleanser
$4 Joint movement
$3 Caltrate or Centrum
$4 Schiff Glusoamine
$2.50 Aleve or Bayer
$3.50 Citrucel/Tums/OsCal
$3.50 Metamucil
$3 Jergens Natural Glow
$2 Scope
$2.50 Reynolds Wrap foil
$3 Dove soap
$1.50 Cascade
$1.50 Dawn
$4 Nestle variety pack
$3 Cheer liquid/powder
$1.50 Kirkland fabric softener or sheets
$3 Airwick
$1.75 Always
$100 off plus $30 rebate Microsoft Office SBA 2006
$2.50 off Scotch-Brite sponges
$3 JetDry
$3 Woolite
$2 DelMonte tomatoes
$3.50 Electrasol
$4 Jellybelly
$1.50 Mayo
$2 BirdsEye Garlic Chicken Meal
$2 Softscrub
other offers online, including a $150 g/c for purchasing Gamin GPS

Katwoman, here's your Ionic Breeze deal!

March 26th, 2006 at 03:06 pm

Katwoman, you inspired me to find a deal on the Quadra...

so, a few choices:

First, if you don't mind reconditioned (30 return and 5 year warranty in place), the sharper image outlet:

http://ionicoutlet.com/

Professional Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $149.95



Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier - Black with Burltech/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $149.95


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP Silent Air Purifier with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Gray/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $199.95


Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier - Gray
Regular Price: $349.95
Special Price: $139.98


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech/Factory Reconditioned
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $199.95


Professional Series Ionic Breeze GP Silent Air Purifier with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech
Regular Price: $549.95
Special Price: $219.98


Professional Series Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier
Regular Price: $449.95
Special Price: $179.98


Ionic Breeze GP Desktop with Ultraviolet Germicidal Protection - Burltech
Original Price: $199.95
Now Only: $49.98

They accept all the usual sharper image gift cards, etc., coupon codes...


My Points has a $50 gift card for Sharper Image...

Oh, if you want BRAND NEW, there is currently a special offer for the ionic breeze from sharper image,
http://www.sharperimage.com/offers/marquad/

$50 off, free shipping, and free gift; also 50% off your second one. You could sell one on eBay and keep the other...

Or,

http://www.sharperimage.com/google_0306_100offIB/

This offer is good for up to $100 off your first purchase of an Ionic Breeze® Silent Air Purifier. $50 off your first purchase of the Ionic Breeze® Quadra® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $349.95) includes FREE Standard Shipping and a FREE Ionic Breeze® Air Freshener for Bathrooms & Small Spaces (regularly $69.95) while supplies last. In addition, the new exclusive OzoneGuard™ front grill is included FREE with the original Ionic Breeze Quadra (regularly $39.95). You will receive $100 off your first purchase of the Professional Series Ionic Breeze ® Quadra® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $449.95) or the Professional Series™ Ionic Breeze GP® Silent Air Purifier (regularly $549.95) with FREE Standard Shipping and a FREE new and improved Ionic Breeze® Air Freshener 2.0 for Bathrooms & Small Spaces (regularly $79.95) while supplies last. In addition, the new exclusive OzoneGuard™ front grill is also included FREE with the Professional Series Quadra (regularly $39.95) or the Professional Series GP (regularly $39.95).

decisions, decisions...
I'm still looking for a better deal!

Desperate Measures for Grocery Budgeting

March 24th, 2006 at 03:36 pm

Quite a few people set a budget for groceries they believe is totally reasonable, and yet they cannot manage against it. There is ALWAYS SOMETHING that prevents it.

If you are truly desperate to keep yourself inline, here is a surefire tip:

DISCLAIMER: I'M NOT A FAN OF G/Cs, but in this CASE THEY ARE A MUST.

First, determine what your budget is for the week. Say it's $100 a week, $400 a month.

Go to the one store with the best sales and deals, and coupons, whatever you have to work with. Or a few select stores. Purchase gift cards for the budget. You can get one $100 card each week, or 4 $100 cards each month. And you don't have to do it ahead of time; you can walk up to the counter, purchase the card, walk back out to your car and lock up your wallet.

Very seriously here. Do not enter back into the store with any form of payment other than the prepaid card. No cash, no credit cards.

Bring a cell phone if you like, most have calculators, or you can call your SO to help choose priorities. But as you fill the cart, remember that you cannot go over, and you have no means to pay more than your budget.

If you KNOW that you ALWAYS forget something, and must go back to pick up items later, save $10 or whatever ON THE CARD (i.e., you can only spend $90, to keep $10 on the card for emergencies in the week).

Now the good news is, if you are under budget, you can apply that money to the next week. If you go over, force yourself to put something back.

For those who keep a stockpile, and a separate budget for that, again, keep a prepaid card and only charge against that for the stockpile. It will keep your weekly budget separate and manageable, and also help you see how you are managing the stockpile budget.

The cards don't have to be store specific, they can be any kind of pre-paid debit card. But they have to be cut off limit, no exceeding, and the store cards tend to force you to stay focused on that one bill. Running around to more stores, shopping lots of different ads and sales, can be highly effective for stockpiling, but can kill a weekly budget by not recognizing all the little things that are adding up. If you want to shop for a FEW things at a second store, again, give yourself a specific budget on the card, or a separate card, and DO NOT EXCEED.

It's difficult. It may seem cruel. It may seem impossible. But when you force yourself to make choices, you start managing your budget.

After a few weeks, decide if your budget is realistic. If it is, are you able to start managing it without restraints? Keep going until you find the right budget or the right shopping habits.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, do NOT treat the cards as gift cards, fake money that doesn't count and you can add to. They are the ONLY money you get. No loose change, no cards, no wallet!

Good luck!

$23 in Pfizer coupons!

March 24th, 2006 at 02:46 pm

Divine intervention; if I don't have coupons, they find me!

I received yet another eversave.com offer. I've been ignoring them for a few month, but I finally signed up as a Pfizer advisor. I'd signed up before, but never saw the stage where they invite you to print coupons. I thought COOL, 8 $1 coupons on their products. Listerine, Purell, Zantac, Lubriderm, Neosporin, Sudafed...I lost track. PRINT ALL.

Well, they wouldn't print. The cheap ink cartridge from 123inkjets will only print lime green (first experience with a recycled, and I'm going back to the real thing). Seriously. They printed, but I don't believe any store would take them!

Then a new page opened asking if the coupons printed correctly. I said No.

Received another screen inviting me to call them to receive the coupons by mail.

1-800-223-0182

So I called, and asked for Promotions. The woman had no idea what I was talking about, and connected me to the nicest person who I think I've ever received support from. She asked which products the coupons were for, and after I named off 3, she said, you know, we have a coupon package for $23 off our OTC products, would you like that?

SURE

Oh, and can I sign you up for our email program to receive our coupons? It's not part of the standard programs offered on the site, but thank you so much for calling us and pursuing this and your obvious loyalty to our products.

Wow. Sure.

So, more coupons are coming. And, it's their standard number, anyone can call.

Of course, this is how I get overrun with coupons, but if I need them, they will be there, and if not, I will pass them on!

Karma.

A day herding elephants

March 24th, 2006 at 02:36 pm

Well, that's what DH calls a day spent trying to move others into action. Nothing major, just trying to get the coupon trains together. It's very exciting, but I'm frustrated, as are other members, with one member who is always on top of others to keep the train running quickly, but has sat on the current packet for two weeks. Since I've poured more than $30 into this particular train, constant mail outs, and priority mails and trying to sort out the mail problems, and have not received back a train in 4 weeks, I'm a bit bummed.

This week our supermarket has TRIPLE coupons, and I don't have any coupons left. Well, not for anything I need.

But, it happens. And, we've got 4 new trains going, with fabulous members. It's very exciting. So I'm working on wish lists. Dropped by a new store today, but all their in-store coupons expire 3/31, so doesn't pay to try to send them on.

I love coordinating these trains and trying to help people cut down on their bills. I do try to find as many wish list items as I can.

So, anyway, maybe this is providence. I'm trying not to spend any money, and triple coupons definitely inspire me to shop! I'll take whatever good I can find. It's not like I actually need to buy any more food at this point, and I did start up the trains to get rid of my unusued coupons -- and the temptations!

Plus, the coupons and trains are a way to deal with my stress without spending money. It's too easy to hang out looking for deals when I'm avoiding something stressful, and thinking of the upcoming visit with my family is pretty stressful!

I did receive 5 free Lean Cuisine product coupons by calling them up and complaining about the quality of 2 of them. They also sent a letter that they would refund if I sent the UPCs, so DH is handling that.

God has a sense of humor?

March 23rd, 2006 at 01:44 pm

My niece sent this to me. It's going IN to the stockpile of humor. For all you moms:

To those of us who have children in our lives,
whether they are our own,
grandchildren,
nieces,
nephews,
or students...
here is something to make you chuckle.
Whenever your children are out of control,
you can take comfort from the thought that
even God's omnipotence did not extend
to His own children.


After creating heaven and earth,
God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing he said was
"DON'T ! "

"Don't what? "
Adam replied.


"Don't eat the forbidden fruit."
God said.

"Forbidden fruit?
We have forbidden fruit! ?
Hey Eve..we have forbidden fruit! "


"No Way! "

"Yes way! "


"Do NOT eat the fruit! "
said God.

"Why ? "

"Because I am your Father and I said so! "
God replied,
wondering why He hadn't stopped
creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later,
God saw His children having an apple break
and He was ticked!

"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit? "
God asked.


"Uh huh,"
Adam replied.


"Then why did you? "
said the Father.

"I don't know,"
said Eve.


"She started it! "
Adam said.

"Did not! "

"Did too! "

"DID NOT! "


Having had it with the two of them,
God's punishment was that Adam and Eve
should have children of their own.

Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

BUT THERE IS REASSURANCE IN THE STORY!

If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself.

If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT!

1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.


2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.


3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.


4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.


5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.


ADVICE FOR THE DAY:

Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.

AND FINALLY:


IF YOU HAVE A LOT OF TENSION AND YOU GET A HEADACHE,
DO WHAT IT SAYS ON THE ASPIRIN BOTTLE:


"TAKE TWO ASPIRIN"
AND
"KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN"!!!!!

All good things must come to an end

March 23rd, 2006 at 11:25 am

All good things must come to an end...so that new and better things may take their place.

Sigh.

DH just informed me, after putting sister on a plane, that after doing taxes he has realized our burn rate (spending) is too high to sustain our retirement. Meaning time to go back to work. Or something.

Not unexpected. I mean, when he decided to retire at 40, I was completely taken by surprise. I'm afraid I came along kicking and screaming. I LOVED my job, I had worked hard to have a great position in a great company with a great salary. Leaving two six figure incomes behind was not my idea of security. Living on NO INCOME except investments, not my idea of a good time.

But it's been several years, and DH is my best friend, and we've gotten used to it. Love spending time volunteering with troubled and abused children, counseling, working at the woman's shelter. Love spending time with DH, gardening, all that.

So, a new plan. A new challenge! It's time to see if I can make this a year without spending. Well, DH just about fainted at that. But I mean, stick to the basics, don't buy nonessentials, cut our discretionary spending (DH said I can't say remove, just limit, or I will not make it...hmmm...a gaunlet?)

So, HOW LOW CAN WE GO?

HOW LONG CAN WE LAST?

I'll keep you posted.

My Points and other rebate sites

March 23rd, 2006 at 11:15 am

There are quite a few rebate and reward sites out there. I wish I had realized it before last October, while I was still spending!

On rebate/rewards shopping sites, you go to their website, log in, and then go through their link to whatever store you want to shop at (amazon.com, EddieBauer.com, etc.). Some sites, like eBates, give cash back (my favorite!), a % of your purchase price. So, for drugstore.com, they may give 5% back, for Yves Rocher, 8%, etc. Every three months they send a check of the total. Very nice after the holidays!

Other sites, like Club Mom, My Points, etc., give points per dollar. Very much like the rewards credit cards do. You then redeem the points for g/cs or items.

The trick is to figure out which site gives you the most on any given purchase. It's not easy: a $25 g/c from Club Mom takes about 5000 points, while a $25 g/c from My Points takes about 3200. But each site gives a different number of points per dollar!

A few tricks before spending:

first, go to a coupon code site, like www.247malls.com, find the store, see what codes and discounts are available. (If it opens the store site window, just close it, and remember to write down the coupon codes the 247malls window displays).

Then go to the different reward/rebate sites and determine which gives you the best return on your purchase. You can use the codes when you check out.

Now, MyPoints has links for shopping, such as Barnes and Noble, Eddie Bauer, etc. But, if you go to "easy points", you will also find memberships, free trials, and other offers. You earn additional points by signing up for these offers. My Points also sends emails, you receive 5 points for reading the emails, but extra points for taking advantage of the offers.

An example. I get an email, join a book club, get 4 free books, only buy one more instead of the normal amount, get 1000 points. Join two clubs, get 4000 points. If I go through the links to sign up for the offers, I receive the offer, and the points add up towards the gift cards or other rewards.

Now, MyPoints has a new membership, my points insider-club. For a $1 trial (month), you receive a $10 rebate check, and they pay ALL S&H, return shipping, etc., for any purchases made through their site. While this is great for Eddie Bauer, or other shopping, it's fantastic for the clubs and deals.

An example of the insider-club:

Sign up for BMG music, 12 CDs for free with membership. You receive 250 points for signing up through MyPoints. BUT, there is a $3 S&H fee on EACH CD. Not so free. Now, go to insider-club, and submit the S&H for full rebate. You receive a check for the $36 (or whatever it comes out to), plus if you don't like them and return them, insiders-club pays for that.

Same for book clubs, etc. The S&H really adds up, but if you do the free for a month, free but just pay S&H, and other offers, collect the points, earn a gift card (I just received a $50 to Home Depot), and have all these freebies.

Sell the freebies? I'm using mine as gifts. Who knows what you can do.

There are many other clubs. I do prefer the cash back sites, like eBates. Club Mom I've tried, but they lost my purchase record TWICE, and hence all the points I earned.

Most sites also offer referral bonuses, where if someone signs up from your link or email, you each receive a bonus, points, cash (ebates is $5 CASH).

So, that's how it works. Any more questions? I've only been using these sites for a few months, but I'm happy to explain what I can.

S&H rebates are adding up!

March 23rd, 2006 at 10:46 am

I'll admit it, I was skeptical, but yes, My Points is coming through with all the S&H rebates I've submitted. So, all the book club memberships, coffee club memberships, etc., the books/DVDs/coffee is actually FREE. No nasty S&H to ruin the deals!

$40 back so far, plus the $10 sign up rebate.

Still think this would be a good way to buy books, DVDs, etc for free and sell them on eBay or half.com or any of the other sites. But I haven't done it before, and not sure how it would work.

I did promise to post about My Points and the offers I'm doing, so I will set up a separate blog for that.

I'm also thinking about blogging the steps I took to half my prescription costs. Anyone interested in the step-by-step details?

Ending the day, and the visit

March 23rd, 2006 at 10:42 am

Sister's visit was a bit shorter than I realized. Spontenity does that.

So, DH is running her down to the airport and doing errands.

Dinner last night, Dreamfields spaghetti (low carbs, and was $1.29 minus a $1 coupon, so 29 cents!) with a jar of sauce, added tomatoes, onions, olives, mushrooms, tomato sauce (cracking down on that pantry stockpile!), a few herbs and spices, and YUM.

A trick everyone should know - if your sauce is sour or too acidic, a touch of sugar (or sweetner) will soften the blow. A touch of parmesan melted in will make a mellower sauce and reduce the acidity too!

So, a quick run through breakfast, dog to vet, sister packed. She is joining the website, so guess I'd better not vent too much anymore Wink

feeding company, continued

March 21st, 2006 at 04:05 pm

It really hasn't been bad. Still able to work against the stockpile of food. Sister's blood sugar is doing fine. She keeps commenting that we are eating so much healthier than usual, but seriously, we are eating the same, I just tucked away all the sweets we rarely eat!

On the stockpile: First, gave 10 paper bags filled with non-perishables to Second Harvest, and another 10 to Harvest for the Hungry. And, two bags of personal items to the woman's shelter. No bragging intended. I grew up in poverty, and when I have, I try to share. Getting it free with all the coupons and sales and challenges, and trying to be reasonable on what we are going to get to before the expiration date, it's just an anonymous gift to pass on blessings as I've been blessed.

Anyway, barely made a dent. So...Sunday night we had large salads, mixed greens, the remaining fat free feta, grated carrots from the veggie tray, mushrooms from the veggies, and dried cranberries, slivered roasted almonds, and grated parmesan and swiss cheeses from the freezer. Used up the rest of the raspberry dressing bottle #2. Also broiled 6 grain pumpkin seed bread with a drizzle of butter and honey, just a touch. Dessert was diet Breyers ice cream bars. B-day gifts were freebies: a $30 diabetic cook book, a $25 set of these games she plays, and a leather organizer for her briefcase. Yeah freebies! All things she wanted.

Dinner last night...leftover pasta. Hadn't cared too much for the Bertolli bag sauce, and adding Bertolli alfredo sauce (pantry) made it a bit soupy. So, for last night, I took a bag of the Fast Fixin's popcorn chicken and baked them, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli and a few tomatoes from the veggie tray, added in leftover cooked broccoli, leftover veggie dip, half a carton of non-fat sour cream (leftover), some parmesan, some milk, and the chicken. Served with Pillsbury garlic bread twists (free item). Everyone thought it was great, so guess we're doing okay. Still wishing for the potroast myself...

Tonight, using up the fresh spinach bought for the sister's visit. Made spinach salads. Added the last of the mushrooms and tomatoes from the veggie tray. DH will only eat boiled eggs if they are GRATED, so boiled 6 from the free Land0Lakes pack, removed most of the yolks to soften pups food with (still teething), shredded the whites and mixed with mozzarella and a touch of parmesan from the frig/freezer storage. Bacon from freezer (3 pounds still to go) fried in shreds, drained. Newman's Own honey mustard lite dressing. I'll serve with the remaining broiled honey bread.

Summer I often use garbanzo beans and zucchini instead of the eggs and mushrooms. But, going with what we have Smile

So, that blows the stir fry I was going to do with Jen's alternative to soy sauce. Used up all the fresh veggies. Still not sure what tomorrow will be.

busy day, good savings, awful spendings!

March 21st, 2006 at 03:46 pm

Well, started off the day getting some things ready for two new coupon trains. Got side tracked by company, realized when the mail came that a coupon train member is two weeks late sending them on. Been trying to contact her for a week to no avail, and I'm not sure if I should be worried about her or irritated that she has hijacked the train to start her own.

After that, I sent Sister out shopping, Entertainment book and coupons in hand. She had fun, and gave me a chance to catch up on a few things. Not enough, but, at least a few emails.

Savings, FINALLY received the Kimberly-Clark rebate, the Barber rebate, the Orajel rebate, three Weis rebates, and a Colgate rebate I don't even remember Smile. Total in was $60.

Shopping, yesterday a whirlwind, spent $75 on a $200 total, so saved $140. I hope to start a new way of calculating to show savings by NOT spending as well as discounted. Hmmm...

Shopping online, sigh, I needed new makeup, which I haven't purchased since I retired. Sister has conjunctivitis, so everything is going. But, I'm sensitive to many cosmetics. REALLY sensitive. So, I wasn't sure what to get, and there were all these super deals in my inbox. So, I think I placed 4 orders. Granted, one was a $1 for $120, which I will need to cancel, and chances are that I will be allergic to it. But it was FUN thinking about some new makeup. And a few bath soaks. Some days you just need a TREAT.

Deal of the day, probably drugstore.com. They are having a sale, AND $10 off $100 philosophy purchase AND $10 off $100 beauty.com purchase. By logging in to drugstore.com, through eBates (5% cash back), then heading to beauty.com from their site, I received $20 off the $100 order, plus free shipping, plus 2 $5 off rewards, plus their 5% rebate, plus 5% from my cc (counts as drugstore). So, really, not bad.

Yves Rocher, %5 back through eBates, 20% discount code, 2 for 1 on most items, free shipping, and some free gifts.

So, despite the spending, here are the new totals:

TOTALS:
2006 extra income challenge: $3556
2006 grocery savings: $5481

coupons for company

March 18th, 2006 at 02:00 pm

We are doing pretty well, sister and me.

For last night, I had meetings the entire day, so when I arrived home, DH popped 3 pizza's (Trader Joe BBQ Chicken) into the oven, and I pulled out the remaining veggie tray. Pretty tasty.

Corgi has decided he likes to eat raw broccoli. He hovers under me and waits to see if I drop anything when I'm preparing. Last night he snuck some off sister's plate. SIGH.

Tonight, birthday dinner, and I'm back to the stockpile! First, received $3 in Barber chicken coupons from the train, and they were half off on sale last week. So, for $1.50, we picked up 6 stuffed breasts. Perfect for tonight. I also fixed up the fresh asparagus DH bought last week, sale, some bread sticks (pillsbury 10/$10, bought one with a doubled 0.50 coupon, FREE), and a family size bag of the new Uncle Ben's ready rice. Again, coupon/sale/FREE.

Today, sent sister shopping. She had brought coupons for me to do her shopping, but the grocery had Schiff's Niacin half off, $7, on a bonus package, and she had brought a $3 coupons, so she did well. Don't know what else she bought, but *I* didn't have to go shopping and spending.

YEA for coupons!!!

Freebies stash for company!

March 16th, 2006 at 01:20 pm

I've said before, I'm not much of a freebie person. But, I've found some neat benefits from ones I've signed up for.

Today, sister is full of antibiotics and meds. Still coughing and feeling rotten. Enter the packages of ColdEeze and cough drops. Aches and pains - samples of aspiring, motrin, Tylenol.

We receive company and overnight guests regularly. Business, pleasure, friends and family. I always keep a basket of toiletries and other needs in the guest room and guest bath.

Now enter the freebies. There are post-it notes by the bed, disinfecting wipes, pledge wipes, sewing kit, activity books for the kids, crayola packs, and on and on. Sleep aids, vitamins, calcium, any common item that might be needed.

Bathroom, samples of shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, deodorants, soaps, cotton swabs, toothbrush and paste, floss. Make up and skin care.

There are also formula samples, sippy cups, baby wipes, little things left after my miscarriage, but nice for guests!

I've always kept "trial size" products, as I traveled over 100,000 miles each year. The trial size freebies are very nice preparing for travel.

My challenge this year has also been to find cheaper products. I'm allergic to fragrances and chemicals, as is my sister, so when I find a product that works for me, no matter how expensive, I usually keep with it. I've bought several large sizes of different brands, and found the cheaper stuff to be a waste, since it has to get tossed out. But with the freebie samples, I am trying things before buying (isn't that the idea?), and have found several products I love that are MUCH less expensive than what I was spending.

I still don't grab up every freebie that shows up. But ones that I can use are great!

One trial membership that has really paid off

March 16th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Today I received a $50 g/c for Home Depot from MyPoints. An added benefit to doing the trial memberships with g/c's through their site.

Also received a $10 rebate AND my first S&H rebate of $5.95. I submit EVERYTHING that comes through their site for S&H rebate; with the $1 trial membership to mypoints insiders-club, they refund S&H and any returns.

Ideally for them, most offers, like Avon or BArnes and Noble come with free shipping on the offer. But they also offer the 12 DVDs for $1 (plus S&H), and the S&H on those freebies is $3 each. But, under the trial membership, I signed up for BMG through mypoints, and ALL those DVDs S&H is being rebated.

I haven't done this with the book clubs. Yet. I purchase loads of books all year, and probably will sign up on a special offer. For example, if mypoints has 4000 points for joining three book clubs, and each club is offering 4 free books and the first half off, and I-C covers all the S&H, then they really are free books.

Continuing the membership is $6 a month. So far worth it, but I'm still monitoring it.

Anyway, that's another $60 for the challenge. $1 out for the membership.

TOTALS:
2006 extra income challenge: $3496
2006 grocery savings: $5351

Preparing for Company, and SHE IS HERE

March 15th, 2006 at 02:35 pm

Yesterday I went through the pantry, and freezer, and put all the chocolate, cookies, nuts., and non-diabetic-friendly foods into paper bags that went into my master bedroom closets. We had quite a bit left from Christmas, favorites that we just have once in awhile. Made sure all the Slim-Fast, diatetic, non-Soy, low sodium, heart-healthy....foods were prominent.

I had picked up a HUGE veggie tray, which I broke into Monday night. Love veggies! So, as you all have reminded me, I won't be responsible, and I won't be an enabler.

She arrived last night, and after a very long day of flights, she was glad for the veggie tray.

Then, she started coughing. She had a cold before she came out, but she said it was almost gone. She coughed all night, I'm sure it's broncitis. Literally all night, none of us slept. Terrified the dog, who wet all over me when I picked him up.

So this morning, she slept, while DH and I ran to a meeting. On the way, I called my Dr. and made an appointment for her. TODAY. I know if I asked she would say she was fine and get worse and worse, as she did this the last two times she was here. She's an elementary school teacher, and she picks up colds.

DH took her to the doctor, and called to say they are at the pharmacy picking up antibiotics and breathing meds and decongestants and all. So, I'm happy she came, sorry she is sick, but so very glad I "encouraged" her to see the doctor.

She did bring a small pile of coupons. I will have to sort through.

The stockpile: well, dinner last night, before she came, was two Lean Cuisine chicken alfredos with a pound of broccoli microwaved and then added in with some parmesan. We always buy fresh parmesan, and this had been around awhile. DH cooked it, and was happy.

Tonight, well, granted I bought the mega pack of salad greens at Costco for DS. But I used half to make 3 salads, fried up the pound of 96% lean beef (Trader Joe's, not cheap) with taco seasoning, chopped onion, added half to DHs salad, then divided the rest between DS and mine. Added tomatoes, mushrooms (fresh), and a can of olives from the pantry, some nonfat sour cream, some shredded cheddar from a sale/coupon/rebate, cilantro dressing, and a small amount of crushed Frito's to make 3 taco salads.

I love to make dinner up first thing in the morning, and have it ready to eat, or at least cook, at the end of the day.

Salads are great for this. You can leave the dressing off until serving. Put a slice of dried bread under everything, and any water will get soaked up and the ingredients stay crisp.

So, I probably should be serving soup, but the salads are made, and she says her throat is fine. If it's NOT fine, then I'm going to do like ya'll said and not take the blame. Her choice.

Roast and Stew recipes to reduce your stockpile

March 15th, 2006 at 01:59 pm

I seriously wish *I* had a roast in my stockpile. But, for those of you who do (or have 4) here are the recipes as promised:

Beef Stew

2 ½ pounds beef for stew
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup salad oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups water
4 beef-bouillon cubes
1 tsp salt
½ teaspoon Worcestershire
¼ tsp pepper
5 medium potatoes cut into chunks
1 pound carrots, cut into chunks
1 10-ounce package frozen peas

Cut meat into 1-½ inch chunks. On waxed paper, coat stew meat with flour; reserve leftover flour. In 6-quart Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat oil.

Brown meat all over in oil, a few pieces at a time; remove pieces as they brown. Reduce heat to medium

To drippings in pan, add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring, until onion is almost tender. Stir in reserved flour.

Gradually add water, bouillon, salt, Worcestershire, pepper; cook, stirring, until mixture is slight thickened.

Add meat; heat to boiling, stirring. Reduce heat to low; cover; simmer 2 ½ hours until almost tender, stirring occasionally.

Add potato and carrot chunks; over medium heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in frozen peas; cover and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Serve.


*********************

California Beef Stew

3 bacon slices, diced
2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
water
1 cup dry red wine or juice
1 beef-flavor bouillon cube
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsps salt
¼ tsp thyme leaves
1 strip orange peel (or equivalent)
18 small white or pearl onions
¾ pound small mushrooms
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
½ cup pitted ripe olives, drained

In 6-quart Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, fry bacon until crisp; push bacon to side of pan.

To drippings in pan, add stew meat and cook until well browned. Stir in 1 cup water, wine, and next 6 ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 2 ½ hours or until meat is fork tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile in covered, 2-quart saucepan over high heat, in about 1 inch boiling salted water, cook onions 10 minutes; add mushrooms; cook 5 more minutes; drain.

Blend cornstarch and 3 tbsp water; stir into stew; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened. Add onions, mushrooms, frozen peas and olives; cover; cook 10 minutes or until peas are fork-tender. Serve immediately.


NOTE: At the “simmer 2 ½ hours”, you can dump all together except the cornstarch rue, and let it go in the crock pot. Add the rue and bring to a boil to gel the sauce.

***************************


Pressure-Cooked Beef Stew

½ c red table wine (or water, or apple juice or tomato juice…)
2 Tbsp salad oil
2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
¼ pound lean salt pork, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 16-ounce can tomatoes
1 large onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
½ garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp thyme leaves
3 parsley springs
12 stuffed olives, halved (optional)
1 3-ounce can whole mushrooms, drained
hot cooked noodles or rice (optional)

Prepare marinade: In large bowl, combine wine and salad oil. Add beef chunks and turn over to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning often.

About 30 minutes before serving: Drain meat; discard marinade. In 4-quart pressure cooker over medium-high heat, fry salt pork until golden; add been and cook until well browned. Add tomatoes and their liquid and remaining ingredients except mushrooms. Cover and bring cooker to 15 pounds pressure as manufacturer directs; cook 20 minutes. Remove cooker from heat and reduce pressure quickly as manufacturer directs before uncovering. Add mushrooms and heat. Discard parsley and bay leaf. Serve over noodles, rice, potatoes, bread, or plain.

*******************************

Beef Bourguignon

1 8-ounce pack sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
20 small white onions
3 pounds beef for stew, cut into 2-inch chunks
all-purpose flour
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ c brandy (or apple juice, or other liquid)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps salt
½ tsp thyme leaves, crushed
¼ tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups red Burgundy (or other liquid)
butter or margarine
1 pound mushrooms, sliced

In 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon pieces until browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to paper towels to drain; set aside.

Discard all but 3 tbsp. Drippings. In drippings in Dutch oven, cook small white onions until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. With slotted spoon, remove the onions and place in a small bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, on waxed paper, coat meat chunks with 3 Tbsp. Flour. In drippings in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook meat, several pieces at a time, until well browned on all sides, removing pieces as they brown.

To drippings in the dutch oven, add the chopped carrot and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Return the beef to Dutch oven; pour brandy or substitute over all and set aflame with match. When flaming stops, add reserved bacon, garlic, salt, thyme leaves, pepper, bay leaf, and burgundy. Cover and bake in 325F oven 3 ½ hours or until fork tender (or cook on stove like a roast).

About an hour before meat is done, in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in 2 Tbsp hot butter or margarine, cook mushrooms until golden brown, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl with spoon, mix 2 Tbsp softened butter or margarine and 2 Tbsp flour until smooth.

Remove Dutch oven from oven. Into hot liquid in Dutch oven, add flour mixture, ½ tsp. at a time, stirring after each addition, until blended. Add reserved onions and mushrooms to Dutch oven. Cover and bake/heat until onions are fork-tender. Serve

counting my options, stock that is

March 14th, 2006 at 06:29 pm

Surprisingly, or maybe not, I rarely see anyone blog about major investments. Granted, no one wants to divulge personal info. But a big part of saving to financial security is investing.

One of my first forays into stocks was through my companies options. Coming from the pure halls of academia, I was a bit insulted that a company would think stock options would ever glue me to the corporation. After all, options were just the right to spend money on the company, and by the time you changed tax structures and paid capital gains, it seemed more like a loss than an investment.

But, after assuring myself that the company understood I was above such games, I accepted the options. At $5 a share, didn't seem like much. Picked up a few more at $15 a share, again, 3000 options just meant I'd need $45K to purchase them.

Five years later, the stock had split twice, and sky rocketed to $82.94 a share. My $5 and $15 options, split down, presented a new challenge of purchasing before they expired but at the proper rate to maximize the return and minimize the taxes. It was an intriguing game, and very worth while.

These days I'm looking at flipping a short term CD that's coming to term into a more profitable investment, maximizing my portfolio, following different markets and developing strategies. Can't believe how far I've come.

It all started with those first stock options.

Everyone starts some where. Small investments, low risk, whatever it is, take what comes and work with it. You might be pleasantly surprised.

A BIG thank you to the coupon train members!

March 14th, 2006 at 06:15 pm

I never thought I'd be one for exchanging coupons. I have way too many! But organizing these, finding the coupons and offers that people need, is really rewarding.

I've really been rewarded, too. Yesterday's savings on groceries really came from the trains. First, because I am picking up coupons that are available, even if I don't think I will personally use them. Example, I picked up a few $1 off Breyers light ice cream. Rarely eat it, would never have looked for the coupons. But I had them, and the sugar free was on sale yesterday, $1.18. Had a $1 coupon...so DS gets ice cream!

Also, just the extra coupons the train sends. DH must have Ensure (or Boost) every day for his cancer, and it was on sale and I had 5 coupons for Ensure and 2 for Boost. DH agreed to try Boost, since it was sale/coupon.

DS is bringing a pile of coupons with her, so I will be sorting through and sending them off to the trains. And looking forward to the mail bringing more in!

Thanks to all for letting me help coordinate the trains.

Savings, Rebates, and Income this week

March 14th, 2006 at 06:06 pm

A few things came in the mail:

1.a full size product to test

2.coupon for a free box of Kashi

3. coupon for a free box of Wasa and other coupons

4. $10 Brand New You rebate

5. $20 AmEx prepaid card

6. coupon for free Nature Made product

I think I can use the AmEx cards for some of the trial offers if any more come up.

It's only Tuesday, hopefully some more will be added. At least it buffers some of the spending for company from yesterday.

We do need to travel shortly, and we are working at getting the best rates with the least hassles. DH booked a "fully refundable" flight just to have something booked for the day out and back. When he told me what it cost, I told him I could deal with more hassles if he could find something better. He actually did, one more layover, but $600 cheaper EACH.

So, this morning he called United to cancel the fully refundable tickets, which were twice the price of nonrefundable, and they told him refundable tickets were only refundable for 24 hours after booking.

He actually got the executive tone in his voice, speaking to United, which I haven't heard since he retired. A truly ticked off and restrained irritation sound that the boss has when you bring him ridiculous news that costs his budget money. I heard DH say, "so the fully refundable tickets are only refundable for 24 hours, does that make sense to you? Where exactly is that written in the clauses", etc....so they did refund the money to the cc.

So after the company comes and go, we will come and go, a day out and a day back to see my father before he passes on.

I think this is one of those times when I realize just how lucky I am, and how blessed I am to be married to DH. When he is struggling, I carry the weight and watch the finances. When I need the break to deal with all this in my family, he picks up the slack and keeps pulling us in the right direction. This balance is so critical to succeeding in all ways, and I think we're successful in the right ways.

If you thought the Ziploc freebie was bad...

March 13th, 2006 at 04:03 pm

I'm having one of those days. Truly. No time to even read through the forums.

First, checked email, and I have an UNKNOWNDOMAIN UNKNOWN SENDER email from my blog! I didn't open it, but checked the subject line, checked my blog, and someone had anonomously (sp) posted marketing garbage as a comment on my blog! I deleted the comment. Not going to open the email.

Also, got an offer to blog for another site. Geez. Not sure how they got my email through the site, but how inappropriately rude!

I sat in a meeting this morning, where I made "brilliant" recommendations, which were dismissed, then I mentioned that another person NOT responsible for anything in the project had requested I bring it up, and BINGO, the man in charge totally jumped on the idea. Now, I've been an SVP for a very long time, I know how to be assertive without being offensive, and I usually don't get this garbage or bother with it. But it came back around to me, and it just came out that I am NOT going to be treated deferentially to a man, and if my bringing up the idea was not good enough, I would happily step aside. ACK. This isn't me, but something in me said I'm retired, they asked for me to be here, and I'm not going to play this game.

Probably anxiety about my sister coming out tomorrow, and our getting ready to fly out to visit my dying father for the last time. Totally stressed.

So, savings. Let's see. While I was zooming around deep cleaning for my sisters allergies and immune system, and Lysoling and Febrezing (anti-allergen) and spraying Oust for the puppy smells (they bother her), I wondered if someone didn't have a single product that would do all this. Neutra-Air, the fragrance free smells like aerosol chemicals. Oust fragrance free doesn't, and doesn't get DH's asthma going, etc. So I wrote to SCJohnson to ask if they had, or were going to have, an Oust that was also anti-allergen. Complimented their product, all that.

Received back a NASTY email. I've been involved in patent and corporate law for twenty years, I understand the issues involved in receiving someone else's ideas, and corporate politics and privacy and competitive games, and non-disclosure agreements. But seriously, they sent me an email that if I had a patent they would send me a preliminary legal form, and if not, bug off; that they probably had the idea in the works already but it took years, and they had a marketing team, and they did not want to hear any ideas from consumers. I know customer service and support requirements well, and my DH and I were both taken aback.

I emailed back a "fine, not what I intended, I will use something else" type of note, and they responded with my two emails and their original response nowhere to be seen in the correspondence log.

So, I am done checking email for today.

Shopping for sister's foods and needs and requests:

$100 at Trader Joe's
$140 at Costco
$200 combined from 3 grocery stores

still not everything she needs. We called to get flight info (she never told us, but we are supposed to pick her up, she doesn't want to rent a car), and she has a major cold, and PINK EYE.

I love her so much, I'm happy to take care of her and help her, but I'm a bit stressed at this point.

I still need to buy the coffee she can drink (LOTS) and LOTS of Coffeemate (doesn't that have soy?).

Savings on the shopping was $120, not great. Not even going to count it as savings, since it was such an expensive day.

Time to destress before I post any more, or read anyone else's blogs. Hot bath.

Ah, and I splurged $5 for a large tray of sushi at Costco. Dinner is served. NOT on my challenge, but sometimes ya just need a treat.

question on soy sauce alternative?

March 12th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

DH and I eat stir frys, and asian cuisine, fairly frequently. I used to work in Pac Rim, and I love the food. Healthy, tasty, lots of veggies, fish, sashimi, so healthy. Love Australian pumpkin soup, although I never got used to the fried egg on my hamburgers.

Anyway, sister is very allergic to soy, and so soy sauce, and most asian dishes, are out. Trying to figure out what to cook that she CAN have (everything seems to have some soy product in it!).

Anyone know how to substitute soy sauce?

I thought of Vegamite, but I'm out and not heading to New Zealand any time soon. Any other ideas?

THANKS

update on the stockpile

March 12th, 2006 at 03:22 pm

Well, I haven't worked things out for the DS visit yet, but DH and I have been doing okay. DH made Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine with sides of veggies for a few nights. And, we cooked up two of the Mrs. Smith's pies. Never eat them, but they were having a free-with last fall, and they needed to be eaten...yeah, that's it...Cherry Pie with the new no trans-fat crust was really good.

Last night, browned up a bag of the chicken strips, (the $7 bag we got for half plus a double $1 coupon, which was what, $1.50 for two pounds?). Made a dipping sauce with a jar of jelly (freebie with prepared pantry), the leftover raspberry vinigrette dressing, a touch of mustard and nonfat mayo product. A two quart casserole full of fresh asparagus, steamed. And of course, the last of the pie for desert. Tonight, leftovers.

I enjoy the challenge of the sauces and things. So much of the stockpile in the freezer and pantry is there simply because it was a great deal, but is something we rarely eat. Like PIE, and BREADED anything.

Tomorrow is grocery day, DS needs special foods for her various dietary challenges.

Energy Savings i want to try

March 11th, 2006 at 01:25 pm

The April issue of Kiplinger is "how to save on everything". They have some great tips.

Our G&E is getting deregulated in a few months. Incredibly, they decided to "help" consumer by easing them in with a 20% increase that would grow to a 70%, and they would CHARGE INTEREST on the difference over the months.

There was an objection, of course, so then they decided they would simply increase rates by 70%.

There are lots of politics going on about this.

In the meantime, I want to look into some of the things Kiplinger points out.

First, I want to check out "kill a watt", $30 at amazon.com. Kiplinger indicates you can measure the stealth electronical usage of any appliance or electronic device with this. So I would be able to answer the question of how much energy is used by things that draw power just because they are plugged in (but turned off)

Second, I want to look into the Smart Strip Power Strip they say is $31 at smarthomeusa.com. The strip prevents the electronics from drawing electricity when they are off, and supposedly pays for itself within a few months.

We already have the programmable thermostat.

Saving when Company comes

March 11th, 2006 at 01:17 pm

Something about having guests fill the house, cooking and cleaning and shopping and entertaining simultaneously, and savings tend to go out the window.

I'm really feeling this right now. My DS, whom I love dearly, just dropped a 4 line email which finished with the line that she will arrive here Tuesday.

She lives on the opposite coast of the USA, so not a simple trip.

Didn't say how long she is staying, but usually 2 - 3 weeks.

So, cleaning and cooking to do. A new puppy to introduce to new people.

My DS is diabetic, with heart disease, obesity, and is battling breast cancer. Combined with DHs cancer, and DSs soy allergy, and cooking gets a bit tricky. Shopping and saving do to.

In the past, I've stocked up from diabetic-friendly.com, all the sugar free treats and cough syrups and whatever she might need to have treats. I've also gone completely neurotic trying to accomodate her requests for fresh veggie trays available at all times, her outrage at the number of carbs in a Lean Cuisine I served with a huge platter of fresh asparagus and other veggies. I've made super salads, counted carbs and fats and used the right oils. She's been on the Mediterrean diet, the ADA diet, a protein diet, and whatever she needs, I've cooked for hours, spent more than I ever would for my own family, and really really tried.

But every morning, she gets up and says her blood sugar has gone up. It's not supposed to do this. Diabetics sugar goes down at night. Everyone's does. Or should. So I spent three weeks last October going insane trying to cook and give her snacks and have everything available that she needed.

She's a shopper, too, so we spent almost every day, from 6 am to midnight, SHOPPING every outlet on the East Coast (okay, a slight exaggeration), with her getting guilty that I wasn't spending anything and she was, and me trying to handle everything. Spent a small fortune on 90% off clothes for DH, nothing for myself, but that's how it goes.

Three weeks after she left, I was pulling up the bedskirt to vacuum, and found a pile of molding cookies and cakes. Homemade from Mom, and VERY non-diabetic.

And I'm pretty irritated about it.

I don't want to make her feel any worse than she already does, I mean, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, she's pretty sensitive about EVERYTHING. Then again, I am angry spending money and time and EFFORT to make everything okay when she is sabotaging herself, and me by proxy.

On the other hand, I think I should make the effort, do what I can for my part, and let her be responsible for her own actions.

DH is ticked off, too. But here we are, and she is on her way, and I want to see her, and I know she needs a break from all the family problems at home. I love having a sanctuary to offer.

I don't want to break the bank. Don't want to break myself, or my DH.

So...it's a low energy day. I just don't feel like getting ready for company, but I know I should. The freezer is stuffed with things I need to use, but it takes extra effort to make them perfect for everyone. DH has his own dietary requirements.

Oh, yes, she can't cook. Seriously. With our Mom, you'd figure she would be able to fry a chicken, but DH will NOT eat anything she makes, and she's happy not to help with anything.

So, BLECH.

Thanks for the rant.

monthly coupon sites

March 11th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Having a low energy day. Blog about that later. Anyhoo, spent the afternoon surfing through the monthly coupon sites for anything new. All printables, but if you find a coupon you want, you can usually contact them and request it directly.

Anyway, monthly coupon sites, for those who aren't already signed up, are:

HomeSolutionNews (Lysol, Jet Dry, Airwick, Electrosol, Veet, Old English, Rid-X, Spray-n-Wash, Glass Plus, Easy Off)

WebMD (lots, through coupon.com, but a different selection than you get from other coupon.com sites)

Landolakes

ConAgra (or simpleanddelicious.com), make Healthy CHoice, Banquet, Orville, too many to list here etc.; need to click through all the different web sites, or go through the simpleanddelicious newsletter.

AllYourRooms (Georgia Pacific products like Brawny, Dixie, MardiGras, Quilted Northern, Vanity Fair, Angel Soft, and Sparkle)

chj.scjbrands.com (clean home journal update) (SC Johnson products, like Ziploc, Saran, Glade, Windex, Scrubbing Bubbles, Oust, Pledge, Fantastic, Shout, Drano, Off, Raid)

bettycrocker.com

boxtops4education.com

everydayeating.com

homebasics.com (Unilever)

Foodnetwork.com

Allrecipes.com (various partnering brands, powdered by SmartSource but different selection)

and the new basics, like

BrandNewYou

etc.

Too much ink and paper since only one store here takes internet coupons, yet they really do make a difference in our budget.

Individual site coupons, you can deactive the print and have Bricks mail them to you on coupon inc. veri-fy paper, which is logoed if you scratch the back with a coin, so most stores WILL accept them as a standard manufacturers coupon.

Hope this helps someone. At least I have my list now Smile

Rx gift card and other offers from RiteAid

March 11th, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Rite-Aid has joined the others, and this week is offering a $20 g/c for any transferred prescription. Grab your local paper, and check it out. They also have a price match or better guarantee.

This is the first national offer I've seen; the local grocery pharmacies still have $20 for transfer, and even an $80 glucose monitor.

Rite-Aid also generally gives out general use g/cs, like Discover cards, so they are much less limited.

Rite Aid is also offering:

$25 worth of money saving coupons right away

Special product offers

New product announcements

Advance notice of free health events and special sales
if you register with them:

https://www.myriteaid.com/prescription_check.jsf

new gift card offer

March 11th, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Actually, I received three different offers for the same trial membership:

$20 Barnes and Noble g/c, Netmarket
https://www.netmarket.com/global/scripts/secure/PromoTemplat...

$10 Barnes and Noble g/c, Netmarket
https://www.netmarket.com/global/scripts/secure/PromoTemplat...

free MP3 player, Netmarket
https://www.netmarket.com/global/scripts/secure/PromoTemplat...

They are all through mypoints, another site may have other offers. I haven't done this one, either.


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