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Archive for April, 2006

The parable of weed-killers

April 17th, 2006 at 03:22 pm

Okay, I have to have some humor!

Today I returned from meeting and needed to DO something. So I put down weed killer. Yep, not kosher, don't care, it's the only time of year where the plants are still down and out of the way and the weeds are freely accessible. When you have two acres, MASS weeding can be required.

Besides, DH was digging grass out of the ground cover. ICK.

Gardening is a great time for reflection, and I remembered back to the early days in my career. After the professorship, but before the VP. I was called in to do some consulting for a major company developing a chemical that was a fertilizer/herbacide (if we can't kill ya you'll mutate and grow!).

One of my coworkers asked me to help with her garden. Living in CA, everything is supposed to be green. Her garden was, well, DIRT. After looking around, I asked her what happened to her plants?

She responded that she accidentally gotten weed killer on them.

I inquired as to what she had done to save the plants.

She responded, well, nothing, I figured they would know it was a mistake and grow back.

Seriously.

If she had washed the stuff off immediately, it would have been no harm, no foul. Instead, DIRT and ashes.

The moral of the story?

Too many times we make mistakes, and assume a miracle will occur and things will right themselves.

Reality is, hope for a miracle, but take responsibility to fix your mistakes as soon as possible. Maybe you've spent too much, maybe you've taken on a debt you can't manage. Take action.

My father once told me, if miracles were routine, they wouldn't be miracles. And if God gave us each 3 miracles to last our life times, half of us would use them up immediately, and the other half would never use them waiting for the right timing.

Believe in miracles. Just don't assume they will happen. Otherwise they wouldn't be miralces Big Grin

Coupons in stores today...

April 17th, 2006 at 03:08 pm

Okay, in stores today:

$1 Jergens Natural Glow

exp. 12/31

Look for a loose pamplet and a "Jergen's featured area" type promotion.

If you're on one the savings advice coupon trains, they will come around. Feel free to ask!

Waiting for Surgery

April 17th, 2006 at 03:05 pm

Life takes funny twists and turns somedays.

I've spent most of today waiting for word on Mom's surgery.

Since she refused the ambulance to the ER, they assumed she was ambulatory, and said they could take care of her at the local hospital (rural). They actually expected her to walk to a wheelchair! As soon as they had they x-rays back, they realized she had shattered her hip socket. So they transferred her to a larger hospital where they were going to do emergency surgery.

As of this morning, they still hadn't operated, and since she's diabetic and she was NPO awaiting surgery, well, not good. My DS left for her own home after she took Mom to the ER, so Mom is on her own. And for someone with such a high pain tolerance, it's hard to get medical attention!

DH and I are at odds; I want to go out there immediately and take care of my Dad. He is so close to passing himself, and if anything happens I don't believe he will be able to get help.

For today, I've been answering calls and contacting friends who all want to provide support out there. Waiting for news. And trying to stay busy!

clean underwear and old clothes

April 16th, 2006 at 01:05 pm

Just got a call from back home. Mom fell and broke her hip. Evidently it wasn't too bad; she was at church, and insisted my sister drive her home to change clothes before she went to the hospital. She didn't want to wear good clothes to the ER.

That's my Mom. Frugal. Most people would probably worry about having on clean underwear and being embarrassed about their appearance. Not Mom. Who CARES what a few doctors and nurses think? She's in her 80s, but those Sunday best clothes might get stained or cut up in the ER. (And she's right, I worked in the ER for years. They will cut off clothes and run lines, procedures and speed taking precedence over politeness and protocol like undressing and folding your clothes.)

Yes, I'm upset, and another crisis in my life. Yep, got to go argue with her Medicare and insurance. But also a reminder of how much I love this woman. How much like her I am, even if I don't always want to be. The values and common sense she instilled in me.

E is for Embarrassment. Embarrassment, like worrying about how you look while they are cutting your clothes off of you, well, that can cost money. And there is no excuse, not even a broken hip, for wasting money.

I actually bought groceries!

April 16th, 2006 at 12:51 pm

AGH!

Well, actually it was interesting. I haven't really purchased groceries in weeks. I'm still working at getting the stockpile down. But, I wanted to look for some organic product coupons (new train member!), and blow off some steam.

I found the coupons. AND...remember it is Easter weekend! In all the commotion I lost a week, I'm afraid.

I *did* have the $5 off any purchase and the 5% off next purchase check out coupons from Giant still in my purse, with a few others. So, sent DH to get a ham. I hadn't thought through a menu at all. He wanted yams. They aren't in season, and last winter when they were, we were in yet another crisis and didn't buy and stockpile in the freezer like I usually do. So, I suggested we do the acorn squash/apple dish. Asparagus WAS on sale.

I made the mistake of telling DH that I didn't have a plan, and to just get what he wanted. So, we also have blackberry cobbler, biscuits, real butter.

Still, everything we need for $50.

And, I am using the stockpile a bit. Skipped the pineapple/apple jelly glaze and used the apricot preserves from the pantry stockpile, along with horseradish and mustard I needed to use. Great glaze. Old brown sugar softened up to replace maple syrup, with cinnamon and raisins and such to go in the squash/apple dish. Everything is prepared and ready to cook. Guess I'd better get to it!

Happy Easter!

New coupons in Stores

April 16th, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Friday we did some "emergency" holiday shopping (more on that to follow). Found the latest coupons in store:

55 cents one Post cereal bars, exp. 6/30
$2 GoodNites training pants exp/ 6/18
$1/2 Go-Gurt exp 5/20
$2 on Nivea AND FREE SAMPLE on bottle necks! exp. 10/31
$1 Star Olive Oil (tag on neck) exp. 12/31/07
55 cents Del Monte organic tomatoes 12/31

New Lysol rebate: buy 2 TOILET cleaners get one other Lysol product free ($4.19) exp. 5/31

Rite-Aid pharmacy area booklets, allergy care with $10 of savings

Safeway is introducing their own organic brand "O Organics", and has $1 any O product coupons in their new picnic booklet. Also $1 off their soup, and $5 off deli trays.

If you like trial memberships, you MUST have this url!

April 14th, 2006 at 04:37 pm

If you are interested in trial memberships, this is the list of those that trieligent is running. Click on any of the links and see what offers they currently have (note that reward sites sponsor additional offers, so for example, not every MyPoints offer will be listed). The customer service email and phone numbers to cancel are all here too, one stop "shopping".


http://www.ecustservice.com/

Yard Sales?

April 14th, 2006 at 03:03 pm

Well, I've been wondering since the holidays what to do with the old weight lifting bench and some other things that are taking up room in the basement.

I planned to use the Play It Again Sports, but it closed.

I just received a note in my mailbox that the community is having a yard sale.

I've never done a yard sale, never even been to one. The closest I've come was my Mom having one when I went to college, and her selling everything out of my room, even my guitar. But me, never occurred to me.

I have contributed to them, but for charities. Usually I just donate anonymously though.

So now I'm thinking, hmmm....I was going to sell the old DVDs and books online, maybe I should just put everything into the community sale.

DH of course had a near heart attack. Growing up wealthy, he is surprisingly cool about the ideas I get for saving, and usually appreciate. But a yard sale, other people, nose in our stuff, absolutely not. Good weekend to be away from the house.

So NOW, I'm wondering if I call the coordinator and ask her to sell the stuff and give her 50%, is that reasonable? Is half.com or ebookdrop really better for the smaller items. Or is it better to just push it all out the door?

Anyone have experience with these things? HELP?

The OTHER "E"

April 13th, 2006 at 03:08 pm

The other E is for ENVY.

I realized this as I was responding to email this morning. My sister wrote to say Mom was signing her house over to my sister. Because *I* and my brother have houses, and she doesn't. Of course, she has a State funded pension plan, and no mortgage hanging over her head. But she admits she is so jealous that she can't stand that our niece just bought a house.

Now, we've all made our own choices. My sister doesn't do without. She enjoys what she has. But ENVY, that's a killer. She ENVIES my weight, because she's overweight. She ENVIES my health, because she didn't take care of her own. She ENVIES the things I have, but she choose to spend her money on other things. Like vacations every 3 months. I have had maybe one vacation every ten years.

I've been the one who paid out for my parents prescriptions and big screen and stereo system and housekeepers and camcorder and medical bills anything else they wanted or needed. I'm not bitter about it, but it's just a fact. We even pay for my sister's email account.

It occurred to me during this whole hideous mess, what an impact ENVY can have on our finances. Keeping up with the Joneses, needing 200 pairs of jeans because someone else has them, wanting to NOT be on a budget because your peers aren't. Wanting what everyone else seems to be putting into THEIR carts at the grocery store.

But ENVY is a funny thing. People ENVY my success, my lifestyle, what they perceive it must be like to me be. But I don't know a single person who would be willing to live through what I have. My sister left home long before I was there, eating out of garbage cans as my parents struggled to survive. She wasn't there when Mom had a breakdown and I kept things going. She wasn't there when DH and I were working 72 hour shifts every few days getting our degrees. She wasn't there when I had to give up my career and start over because DH was relocated. Or when I lost my friends in 9/11, or from cancer, or anything else.

This last year was particularly bad. My sister showed up last June to tell me the man who raised me was not my father. Sure enough, turned out our former minister was, and he tried to have me aborted. I subsequently had my fourth miscarriage. My beloved dog died, my "father" became critically ill, I was mistaking diagnosed with cancer, our finances were messed up. I cut coupons, sign up for freebies, do what I can. My sister doesn't.

Of all this, she is envious. The THING, the house, the money, is more important to her than anyone or anything else. And she COULD have saved and budgeted and did the things that we did. She has a master's degree, she made her own choices.
She envied people their clothes, their cars, their STUFF. She envies my house. In the end, I'm not sure what price she is willing to pay for this envy.

But I do know, ENVY is the 5th E. And perhaps the one that costs more than any other.

update on using up the grocery stockpile!

April 13th, 2006 at 02:39 pm

Well,

it's been a tough few weeks, and cooking has been a low priority. But a great opportunity for DH to heat up all those tv dinners. Healthy Choice and Lean Cuisine, a frozen pizza, lots of bags of frozen veggies. So, we are continuing to make progress, even if I'm not "cooking".

Haven't really been shopping, other than to look for coupons and pick up a few things like soy milk (has to be fresh refrigerated). I just had to laugh -- DH said he was going to pick up "a couple of donuts", which we haven't eaten since my nephew lived here. We went to the checkout, and there was a dozen! I asked him, and he said they just sounded good.

Next morning, he's getting breakfast together, and I said what about the doughnuts? He responds that he can't eat them for breakfast, because of the caffeine/sugar rush (will feel ICK). So I ask if they are for dinner/desert/evening. He says no, can't have sugar late at night or he won't sleep.

So I ask him when he plans to eat them, and he says he doesn't, they just sounded so good!

Another BUDGET BUSTER. WANT but no NEED.

But, we are back on track. Last night I used up chicken strips from the freezer, added teriyaki sauce, two bags of frozen veggies and some leftover broccoli, put it on a Lipton side of rice (with extra Minute Rice thrown in to cut the salt).

Tonight, the remaining chicken breasts, with some enchilada sauce, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, taco chips or something, cheese, all from pantry.

And, I continue to send my coupons off to the trains. Removing temptation. ACK. Great when I hear that other's are able to use them, though.

YIKES, but not too bad

April 13th, 2006 at 02:32 pm

We made it to Home Depot and Lowe's today to start picking up fertilizer, weed block, weed killer, etc. I'm always amazed at how much it takes!

Home Depot was $140, but between two g/cs from the holidays and the g/c from mypoints reward ($50), we ended up spending $12.

Lowe's, $100, but had quite a few g/cs from trial memberships, so spent $0.

Costco, sigh, we purchased some bulk items, which are cheaper than at the other places. Like Holly Tone and slow release plant fertilizer. DH couldn't pass up 2 DVDs, always a temptation since they are smack in the middle of the store. I haven't even HEARD of these two movies, the comedy I wanted I resisted. But..$150.

So, lots of stuff, and work to do, pretty good savings, but still SPENT.

using the GARDENING stockpile

April 11th, 2006 at 02:07 pm

It's that time of year. Everything has suddenly decided Winter is done and gone, and it's time to blossom. Which means DH and I go into overdrive.

We have an "easy maintenance" landscape, 2 acres of botanical gardens carefully chosen for low maintenance. After all, we were both working 24/7 when we bought the house, and it had two acres of bad grass, all the way up to the doors!

Gardening in San Diego was easy. Well, maybe that isn't the right word. I always wondered how the apartment and hotels had such perfect gardens, always blooming, until I drove in to work at 6 am and saw the landscaper pulling pots out of the ground of the "old bloomers" and replacing them with identical plants that were fully in bloom. Cheating!

On the East Coast, we had not a clue. But we've dug and pulled and eventually converted most of the land over to gardens. And they are pretty easy to maintenance. Except for twice in the year: Spring and Fall.

Spring means pruning, trimming, whacking, removing, cleanup, fertilizing, and everything in between. Usually we attack this in early March, after the "last frost" (that never is). But this year is OBE. Catchup time. And it's working well!

Spent two days cutting down ornamental grasses, old perennials, lilyturf and St. Johns Wort, raking, piling.

Now, I may stockpile groceries, but DH stockpiles gardening supplies. I made a focused effort to use up all the Holly Tone and Miracle Gro, etc., last year. But we have 75 trees, and every year he purchases more than enough tree fertilizer spikes. Then we never find the time to dig them in. The basement has PILES of evergreen, fruit tree, regular tree stakes...and so many bottles and containers of this and that.

We have the huge pile of mulch he just purchased, spontaneously, then decided we wouldn't have time to do it ourselves. He only purchased 30 yards, and we use about 100. But, we CAN do it ourselves, it's exhausting, and we need to weed and fertilize and all that first. My goal is to get this done, get caught up, and support his idea to mulch ourselves this year. BIG savings. But SO much work.

So for now, time to COLLAPSE.

Using rewards to get more rewards.

April 10th, 2006 at 04:47 pm

Well, I'm pondering this.

So far, for doing trials at MyPoints, I've gotten lots of gift cards, free books and CDs, a couple of needed purchases, and have "earned" $100 back in rewards from all the points.

For Club Mom, they give points for all purchases at your local sponsored grocery store. And, 500 points per article you submit, even if they don't publish. So far from buying groceries and writing I've received $45 in grocery gift card as rewards.

The interesting point is, say you get a $25 grocery gift card from Club Mom. You use it, $25, to buy groceries, and the purchase is credited towards more points. There is no distinction made that you are using a g/c, let alone that it came from them.

You can also get Home Depot gift cards from most reward sites, use them to purchase Home Depot g/c through eBates at 3% back and no shipping, so you actually make money on the "free" money.

You can use the other reward gift cards like cash for any online transaction through eBates or other rewards and get more rewards.

Strange.

Oh, for everyone who has received the trial membership g/cs, you can use them to purchase numbered gift cards. Found this out in buying the computer, used 12 $10 g/cs and they converted them to 2 $50 store g/cs and 2$10, with "numbers", so they can also be used for online purchases. Which give more rewards...

Personally, I'm just pondering the loop in the system. But it was interesting to find out that it's a perpetual rewards cycle. I wonder just how much mileage someone could actually get from dealing the deals.

Rewards and Rebates to add in

April 10th, 2006 at 04:31 pm

DH did a rebate on the BEHR paint! Found the offer, filled it out, and we received $15 today! Amazed, and proud of him. He did the paperwork for the computer rebates while I cleaned house yesterday. All things in balance. We were both exhausted at the end of the day.

I also received another $10 gift card for our local grocery story, courtesy of Club Mom.

So, $72 from the other day, plus $25.


2006 $20 challenge: $3643
2006 grocery savings: $5681

Answer on MyPoints questions, S&H, etc.

April 9th, 2006 at 03:46 pm

Apologies for having been offline and not received your question.

Insiders-Club does indeed refund all the shipping for BMG. Odd, but true.

This is how I've done it:

1. Receive email from BMG on new offer. Open email, sign in to BMG site. Check it out.

2. Close site window, but don't logout.

3. Go to www.mypoints.com. Select category "music". When it comes up with the BMG 12 CDs for one offer, click, the BMG sign in screen comes up, sign in, and order normally, enter promo codes or whatever you have. Log out.

4. You will receive the confirmation email from BMG that you just ordered xxx.

5. When you get your order, submit your claim.

I'm not sure you need to go through all these steps. Mypoints account page should show all your click throughs, and if you show a click through to BMG, they have a record corresponding to your purchase.

This doesn't work for the book club sites, so I think it is just for BMG. But I'm not sure.


Of note, Mypoints has the points/offer for BocaJava Club. You can cancel any time, but if you want to continue purchasing their coffee, eBates has just added 12% cash back on BocaJava orders!

Men Don't Buy Tampons and other Budget Busters

April 8th, 2006 at 02:02 pm

Keeping costs down, and staying within a budget, can be overtaken by events (OBE) fairly easily. Even with the best intentions, things happen.

When I was newly married, maybe 6 months into this adventure, I kept us on a very tight budget. It wasn't easy, we were both post-grad, and while others were taking copious notes on molecular breakdowns of disease patterns, I was filling the margins of my notebook with menus, shopping lists, and other planning. Superwife in training.

One week, I pulled back to back 36-hour shifts. And, I ran out of tampons. DH, however, was heading out to Longs Drugs to pick up some film, so I asked him if he could pick up a package of tampons.

The blood drained from his face.

Now, we'd shopped together for six months, he'd been physically present when I purchased tampons. I always chose the same brand, same box, same package design. How hard could this really be? He was getting a Ph.D. in rocket science, after all!

I gave him THE COUPON, which had a nice picture of the item on it.

I didn't hear from him. You would think he would come in proudly bearing gifts, but no. I called up to his office, he said they were in the car. I went to the car. Hmmm...

the conversation that followed went something like this:

"honey, where are tampons?"

"in the bag"

"WHICH bag?"

"you know, in there somewhere with the other stuff"

"these aren't tampons"

"they were in the right area"

"but you know what the box looks like"

"they all look the same"

"but there was a picture on the coupon. did you USE the coupon?"

"um, no. A guy can't use a coupon for tampons"

"and why did you buy a 100 foot super extension cord? we live in an apartment, nothing is 100 feet away from a plug"

"we might need one someday"

"and what about this car buffer? you haven't washed the car since we've lived here"

"i might"

"but there's no place to plug it in"

"we have a new extension cord"

"why?"

"well...I didn't want to be seen hanging out in that aisle. people will think I'm weird or something. a guy can't just buy tampons. and I needed to buy stuff to cover up the tampons. you can't just carry those around a store"


So, my $3 tampons cost around $100. So much for the budget.

23 years later, we've both adapted to married life. We both learned that day that nothing reeks havoc on a budget quite like embarassment.

It's not uncommon for people to be embarassed and self-conscious about budgeting their finances. Shopping the sales, using coupons, making sure discounts and items are properly credited, buying a product that "feels" like second-rate, all can bring out the EMOTIONS of shopping. When the emotions are let loose, so is the money.

One trick several friends use to stay on track on the grocery aisles is to carry a series of index cards.

On one is printed the word STOP.

On one, the phase "YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE IN DEBT. YOU DO DESERVE FINANCIAL SECURITY" as well as things like "YOU DESERVE PEACE"; "YOU DESERVE TO HAVE NICE THINGS. YOU DON'T DESERVE THAT OVERPRICED JUNK"

On one, "DON'T BE EMBARRASSED THAT YOU ARE TOO SMART TO WASTE YOUR MONEY LIKE THEY ARE".

"YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEND TO LOVE"

or whatever else does it for them. Those cards get carried around along with the shopping list and coupons, and they actually do help them remember that the budget is a blessing, not a curse.

Remember, Donald Trump shops at KMart. The heiress of a well known flour company uses coupons and shops sales. Rich people who stay that way don't waste money.

Hang in there.

answer to mommom

April 8th, 2006 at 01:18 pm

You asked for the blog page on gift card offers. It's on my 3/9 page:

gift card with trial

Pfizer coupons came!

April 8th, 2006 at 01:12 pm

While I was "out", the $23 in Pfizer coupons arrived (blog 3/24, I think).

Very nice package. All are good until 12/31/06

$1 Listerine
45 cents pocketpaks
$1 Efferdent
$1 Benedryl
$1 Sudafed
$1 Pediacare
$1 Sudacare VaporPlug
$1 Visine
$1 Lubriderm
$1 Bengay Rub or Patch
$5 Rogaine
$5 women's Rogaine
$1 Zantac
50 cents Rolaids
$1 Dramamine
$1 Kaopectate
$1 neosporin


If anyone on the coupon train wants any coupons listed on my blog, let me know. If they aren't on your wishlist, I don't always know who can use them!



This week's in-store coupons

April 8th, 2006 at 01:01 pm

Give me 90 minutes to wait around, and I'll give you a pile of coupons!

Here's what I found waiting for the car and computer:

In April magazines (Redbook, BGH, etc) look for an insert from funandfamily.com

75 cents French’s Onions
35 cents Kozy Shack pudding
50 cents T. Marzetti dressing
50 cents McCormick Dry seasonings (2)
35 cents Reynolds FunShapes Baking Cups or Pans
Free recipes booklet (S&H)
$3 Refresh Dry Eye Therapy
$1 Refresh brand product




In the Pharmacy aisle

Save up to $6 with Glucerna Savings card

Aquafresh TRY ME FREE White and Shine mail-in rebate (up to $3.69) - exp. 1/20/07

$1.50 Nature’s Resource (pull up the label from the bottom right corner) - exp. 12/31/08




Loose coupons in-store
$2 Fresh Express salads exp. - 6/30/06
75 cents Fresh Express complete salad exp. - 6/30/06
20 cents Pepperidge Farm breads - exp. 8/31/06
$1 Keebler Right Bites (2) - exp. 7/16/06
8th Continent Refreshers TRY ME FREE mail-in rebate (up to $3.75) - exp. 12/10/06
Buy Two Coke get One Coke ZERO free exp. - 4/30/06
ATHENOS Hummus Taste Guarantee mail-in rebate (up to $4.99) – exp. 6/30/06

New Pillsbury Bake-off brochure:
10 Pillsbury product coupons – exp. 5/31/06 (75 cents off Toaster Strudels, too!)




SmartSource in store coupons:

$1 Deer Park water – 5/7/06
75 cents any Powderade OptionT – 6/30/06 (and it’s 10/$10 here!)
50 cents off Mamma Bella bread – 7/31/06
$1 on 3 Popsecret, bulges, Gardetto’s or Chex Mix – 5/20/06
$1 ANY Cottonelle for Kids (TP or wipes) – 06/16/06
75 cents Cottonelle wipes – 6/18/06
$1 on 3 Pillsbury dough products – 5/20/06
$1.50 (2) packs Boost – 5/31/06
$1 Vlasic (2) – 5/5/06
$1 Gogurt (2) Yoplait yogurt – 5/20/06
75 cents Red Baron singles (2) – 4/30/06
$1 (2) Birds Eye Farm Fresh – 5/21/06
50 cents (2) Yoplait cups – 5/22/06[/i]


And of course, for the car:

Mopar
$10 per axle on brake pad/shoes
$10 per pair Shocks
$25 se of 4 goodyear tires
$20 per pair Line Struts
6/13/06

$20 challenge grows in midst of chaos

April 8th, 2006 at 11:48 am

Well, despite all the crises around, the mail box has been filled with rebates and rewards. Insiders-club rebates, shopping rebates, club rebates, survey payments, and even a new contract for a few hours of time. $72 to be deposited. Will have to do the totals later.

I have to get caught up with memberships, offers, and reinbursements. Not having the computer for email, rebate forms, and all the other info required for getting back money has been a pain. DH overtaking the computer and dislodging my carefully organized space, well, I've probably lost a few gift cards in the piles. But, I'll get caught up.

I hope :0

For the person that asked, the insider-club trial is $1 for a month, the standard monthly fee is $6 a month. You can claim up to $250 a year in S&H, plus $500 in return shipping I believe. Also, make sure you sign up for the Access card, free with membership. Access is usually I think $20 a month (not sure), but is part of your insiders-club benefit and gets discounts on movie tickets, restaurants, loads of coupons for say $1 sub at the local convenience store, as many as you want, etc.

A Rollercoaster week for Spending and Saving

April 8th, 2006 at 11:18 am

I'm back!

It has been a wild week. The computer crashed Thursday, Friday 3 am we left for the airport, 18 hours later we were at the hotel by my parents. Spent the day, Saturday, with them, and caught a flight back on Sunday, getting in Monday morning.

I've said it before, but there is nothing like a crisis to throw savings to the wind. DH made all the travel arrangements, and he did a great job. Until we got to Hertz. Now I know perfectly well that our insurance covers rental cars. But, DH being very tired and grumpy and not looking forward to me falling apart upon seeing my father, took not only the liability and collision but even the medical insurance from Hertz! More than doubled the cost per day. And was in NO mood to be challenged on it.

Hotel, we had a great deal through the airline, who unknown to us used expedia. Of course, the clerk asked us to confirm we booked through expedia (for their rate) and DH said no. She almost fainted. We did get it straightened out.

One benefit to traveling, especially on weekends, is, well, COUPONS. The first weekend of the month is when all the inserts come out, and the local paper had the P&G Saver. 11 of them, actually Big Grin The airport had several newsstands, with the advantage that we could browse through to see which ones had coupon inserts, and for $1 a paper get the maximum number of coupons. There are, of course, all the discarded papers, and coupons, left behind by travelers who have boarded their flights. And always the traveling businessmen who just can't be bothered with these silly things falling out of their papers.

So, a good day for the coupon trains!

But the flights, hotel, rental car, and even parking for the weekend (DH used the closest parking, not the cheapest), ran up quite an unexpected bill. Add in the kennel (DH felt pretty guilty about putting a new pup in a kennel, so signed him up for 5 walks a day, spa treatment, which literally cost more per day than MY hotel!!!). ACK.

So, Monday we crashed, picked up the mail, the dog, etc. Tuesday, well, computer and I were both down for the count. Wednesday, computer was still down. Agony! I borrowed a browser, logged in to find 400 emails, and, well, managed to sort through enough to get the info I needed to get the coupon trains out.

Thursday we dropped off the last coupon train at the post office, and as we pulled out of the parking lot, the driver's side window fell in and would not come back up. DH was not amused. Personally, I was giving thanks that it had NOT happened at the airport -- how would I explain to my family we could not fly out because the car could not be locked up -- or any other time. We were 1/2 mile from the dealership. Drove it over, and while DH had a meltdown, it was my turn to step up. We needed a tail light fixed, but we did not need the 75000 maintenance done, as we had part done last year, and the sparks had just been changed when we had the engine light problem a few months ago. I noticed the rebate forms for brakes and shocks and picked a few up, saw the banner that if you mentioned to the sales person you would receive 10% off, all the things DH was too exhausted and stressed out to notice. Turned out the brakes were shot, and quite a bit of work had to be done. But, I remember that our maintenance agreement came with a borrowed/rental car, and held them to it.

He had already decided to buy a new computer. That scam a few months ago was still generating problems, and the laptop was getting old. We had previously done a deep clean search for the money jar -- DH dumps change whereever, even in boxes still packed from his old office. Also a few penny jars and coin jars, add in $200 for old travelers cheques from DH's last trip to the Hague, and my old foreign currency I had never converted back from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand...and we had $900.

From the g/c and other offers, I had $120 in Circuit City gift cards. They also had a sale, and a discount, and stacked rebates totally $400. So, we invested in a new computer without putting too much more on the credit cards.

While they were setting up our new system (came with the package), we had 90 minutes to spend. So of course we went couponing! Piles of new offers and coupons. I almost wish I hadn't sent the trains out. (Actually, one coupon train package was over one pound of coupons, so I don't think I could afford to have sent more, but still, great coupons!).

I'll post the findings later.

Friday we decided we needed a new power conditioner/backup system, and while we were there picked up a new laptop for DH. Came with a free printer and $400 in rebates.

So, for the first time in a VERY long time, I have $ against my credit cards.

The good news is, the CD matured yesterday, so the money is freed up to pay the debt off. But you know, it's really uncomfortable having $8-10K on credit cards!

If we hadn't been cutting costs, prescriptions, groceries, clothing, for several months, this week would have ruined us. And these things happen to everyone. If you need an incentive or a reminder for the importance of saving, ask yourself how you would handle my week in review. Family crisis, emergency travel, car breaking, computer breaking, life coming full blast. Nothing to plan for, but something to prepare for.

Now that I've used up our reserves and exhausted my ideas, I've got to start from scratch, preparing and saving. So I'd love to have some advice from everyone else, how DO you prepare for these things, and what are some fresh ideas on how to handle them when they come up?

Good luck to all, and thank you all again for your warm wishes.

down but not out!

April 5th, 2006 at 01:01 pm

Hi everyone!

My computer has crashed, I spent a wild weekend on planes flying east coast to CA and back Friday-Sunday (!), and DH is working on rebuilding my computer. Maybe buying new with the money we've found! I'll post on that later. Right now I'm on a borrowed line, but wanted to let you know I appreciate all your comments and I'm going to get back to answering them and boring you all with my musings soon!

Thank you all for the kind wishes. It was wonderful seeing my father, impossible saying good-bye for the last time, and not knowing when he will pass. Quite a whirlwind of emotions.

Of course, promptly became ill when I got home...for those of you looking for humor in savings...(graphic icky warning!!!): Have you seen the commercial recently where the man refuses to hang up a phone call, even though the stove catches fire?

Well DH is working on my computer. I'm simultaneously coughing, sneezing, throwing up into a garbage can while stuck on the toilet peeing and pooping. I want DH to come hold my head and give me something better to throw up in. He hands me a plastic bag and informs me he has just spent 30 minutes on automated calls, paid $65 for a one time tech support phone call, and he is not hanging up! Now that is disciplined savings.

Or he just didn't WANT to hold my head while I was sick Smile.

Blog to you later.

Thanks again for the kind words and prayers.


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