Home > Archive: January, 2006

Archive for January, 2006

Super saving, but still not

January 31st, 2006 at 12:14 am

I had a great plan to finally take advantage of the SuperFresh sales. Since they are always out of stock by Monday, I decided to go first thing Saturday, when the ads came out. They had a great rebate, the Pepsi rebate for $10 was doubled to $20 for their store. So...

Made it there. They had Pepsi packs 4 for $9 if you had the paper coupon and purchased $25 additional. Hmm...had the $25 g/c from the free prescription...and they actually had great sale prices with things I had coupons for...

Unfortunately, the sales prices hadn't been put into the computer yet, the girl was new and wouldn't go off of the paper I carried in to the store (they don't have them available ANYWHERE inside). The free with purchase didn't ring up free. And DH was SO sick of the store he didn't want to argue about it. Using the $25 g/c, we spent $18 for $88 in groceries, but it should have come out even. Rats. Granted, I will get the $20 rebate, unless they mess that one up too. Seriously, I can't win at that store.

Made it to Weis, picked up TP for the Kimberly Clark rebate, got that one off.

Finally, the frig is cleared of rebate slips and receipts and UPCs taped on to them. I won't count the rebates as income/savings until they are in hand.

I did get $120 in gas and gift cards. Not bad for a $5 investment. I did actually try and use all the memberships. Haven't canceled any yet.

Now, putting the coupon train together, organizing things a bit. I've got too many things going at once. It just seems like all the rebates and special offers and trials come in January. Which wouldn't be bad, but keeping track of everything, even the MyPoints that weren't credited, and choosing which rebate site gives the best deal on that day, well, it does make the head swim.

Having a cold makes it swim a bit, too.

The pup, however, remains lively and chewing up everything in sight! I have stitched up every seam in every toy with binder's thread, but he still finds ways to chew more holes. Can't wait for those baby teeth to be replaced by something not quite so sharp.

So, totals so far:

Savings for 2006 - $3600
$20 challenge - $2320

Recovering lost money!

January 25th, 2006 at 11:49 pm

Another day, another dollar? I've spent most of the afternoon tracking down all the points/rewards/credits that I have earned on various sites and surveys. I'm quite surprised at how many credits had not been credited to my accounts, even though I had the emails confirming them. It has paid off though. I tracked down at least $200 of credits and gift cards never received, and they are now on their way!

I'm also pleasantly surprised with Weis market. Between their free "clubs" that reward purchases, their automatic online rebates, and their cash back, besides their sales and double coupons, I earned $38 back in addition to the savings. And it's set up so I am automatically credited for all these deals, without even being aware of it!

Yikes, power is getting flaky, storm coming through. More later...

my challenge for the week

January 24th, 2006 at 09:02 pm

I checked over some bonus points I was waiting for to claim a gift card at MyPoints, and realized that MOST of my offers had not been credited. I checked with them, and several older than 90 days were credited. Others, still waiting on. So I checked Club Mom, survey sites, etc., and found several things not yet credited.

So, my challenge this week is to go through all of my rewards, rebates, payments, credits, and track them. If they haven't been recorded, follow up, and follow through. Surveys alone are over $100 this month. Besides all the little fake surveys that lead you to a site to buy something. I want my points!

Also, trying to organize the coupon trains, get everyone's info in order and prioritize coupons and wish lists. I'm swamped with coupons, but not all may be useable. I also need to track down a few wishes and see what I can come up with. It's amazing how they bury the coupon sites!

two days of savings

January 24th, 2006 at 08:57 pm

Did pretty well. Tried out the new grocery store and checked out their prices, their rewards, their rules, etc. Tried a few deals and am waiting to see them show up online. Neat! Still saved more than half plus $20 rebate will come automatically.

Also, did the deal at SF. They filled my free trial prescription for $0 and issued the $25 g/c for their store.

Today, received two $10 gas g/cs, a target $25 g/c, and turned another rebate.

Savings for 2006 - $3500
$20 challenge - $2130

Brand New Me Rebate and Aquafina rebate completed!

January 22nd, 2006 at 07:46 pm

Whooh! Yesterday I found a local store that actually takes internet-printed coupons. They have some interesting deals, too. We drove in to register for a store card, sign up for one-check rebates and rewards programs, and checked out the store. Nice. The savings are a bit difficult to figure out, since there are in-store savings, sales, "club" special savings, and automatic rebates all to figure out.

So, picked up two of the items I needed for the Brand New Me Rebate, used a coupon, that they doubled.

SF had the Pillsbury Grands for $1.29, instead of the usual $2, and had a coupon $1 on 2 which they doubled, so I got my last item for the rebate at 58 cents for two.

SF also had Aquafina half price, $5 for a 24 pack, with a mail in rebate for $5 back on two, so did that. Home before the mail came :-) so had them in the mail same day. DONE.

Still have the Kimberly-Clark and others to work on, and not much is on sale this week.

I did receive a $10 incentive for a product testing, and qualified on two more surveys that each paid cash. It's adding up to a nice sum for the month. Just need to request the check, but seems like they are always adding too it, and you can't get paid if it's less than a certain total, so I keep waiting. Not complaining, keep adding to it!

Am getting $50 for another survey. I've also got a nice rewards tally at e-Rewards. They are just starting up, so send lots of "paid" surveys, and even though they don't have a great reward catalog, it is getting better every few weeks, so I am hoping that by the time they have some great rewards, I'll have earned enough to get them. Always nice to get in early on things ;-)

So, won't count the income until it's in my hand. $10.

Savings for 2006 - $3353
Extra income challenge - $2095

spent some, saved some...

January 20th, 2006 at 10:39 pm

I have been using the same mismatched set of hand-me-down pots and pans since before grad school...23 years...pretty sad for the daughter of a formerly famous cook! Now that I'm retired (well, trying to be), I cook almost every day, and we are trying to stick to a commitment to use EVERYTHING we purchase. No more wasted produce or meat DH forgot to tell me was thawing in the frig. AND trying to eat healthy.

So, DH gave me a new Celephon (?) chicken fryer for Christmas. True love! It came with a promise that if I liked it, he would buy a set. For me, of course. He microwaves, no cooking.

Today Bed Bath and Beyond had a sale on their 10 piece cookware set, and I had a 20% off coupon. So, we got them. And, they gave us a $50 g/c for their store in the deal.

DH has already committed the g/c to my sister's b-day. Nice gift!

Club Mom also gives points for purchases at BBB. HOPEFULLY I will soon reach a reward level.

But, it was a TERRIFIC Christmas gift, and I would rather save the $150 than to have it wrapped under the tree a few weeks ago!

Also, let's insurance has kicked in, and I met the deductible, so my scripts were $18 each, instead of $300 each (just two). Ah...hopefully the premiums will be covered by the savings eventually.

Superfresh is also having a deal, $25 g/c with any new prescription. Since I was seeing the Dr. today anyway, had her write a script for a free trial. SF is a bit irritated, and is waiting until Monday to give me the g/c...I wouldn't normally be quite so, um, frugal, but I have gotten taken every week on their ads, and frankly I don't trust them to come through with this offer either. No way would I pay for a script from them only to find out that once again they won't honor their own coupon.

I finally email Kimberly Clark about their Scott tissue and paper towel coupons. They email them to me every month, and I can't print them, and they don't have a request-by-mail link. They were very nice, and sent 4 coupons to boot. Nice timing for the K-C rebate.

So, nothing special. Using up the last of the carrots in a quiche for dinner. Tonight our Sunday coupons will come, and I'll skim over them and a cup of coffee tomorrow morning. I've already got a full load for the next coupon train, so it had better make it back to this station soon!

Savings for 2006 - $3353
Extra income challenge - $2085

How do you keep track of all the rewards and other stuff of the day

January 19th, 2006 at 11:40 pm

Geez Louise! I tried to log in to all the sites I have "reward" memberships in, like Club Mom and MyPoints and eRewards, etc today. Wrote down all the totals, looked through all the rewards, tried to determine what hadn't been credited and what I still needed and if there were any easy points, etc. AGH. It's pretty crazy. I've never done these memberships before, but free money sounded interesting. There really is a draw to sign up for a deal to get those few extra points, though, even if you normally wouldn't be interested.


Kimberly-Clark responded to my query: We apologize for any disappointment, however, the order form for the Kimberly-Clark $10 Rebate Offer is only available in the coupon insert section of the Sunday, January 15, 2006 newspaper. Of course, it is available online, just not their site. So, I posted it from the other site.

Got some VERY nice feedback from a survey site, and a technology forum that pays.

Had a short work out, dinner is Healthy Choice and Birds Eye. Got to clean out that freezer.

Haven't decided what the saving challenge will be for next week. DH and I really need to start that again. Somehow the Corgi has wiped out all our time! And budget...

The agony of the unused super deal!

January 18th, 2006 at 11:34 pm

It happened. Seriously. Yesterday eBates doubled to 10% cash back at My credit card doubled to 10% back on drugstores. gives 5% rebate. And is having a clearance sale, 40-70% off!!!! All the stars aligned, so to speak.

I went through the sale list, but there was NOTHING that I needed. If I had a few hours, I could have searched through all the freebies with purchase and made myself feel worse, but really, I'm fully stocked, and nothing to buy. So, it happened. I logged off and stepped away from the deal.


Savings isn't saving if it isn't SAVING, and if I don't need it, it's just a waste. But oh, the agony!


January 18th, 2006 at 11:30 pm

Patience really isn't my forte. I'm waiting for Club Mom to credit my account so I can request my g/c for groceries. Waiting for other rewards to get posted so I can claim them. I want my money.

eBates is sending a nice check, but not until mid-February. Everything must clear. Surveys must be credited. Sigh.

The hardest part, though, is not spending more on something to see the credit. I need 20 points from Club Mom. I've purchased enough, but I'm just waiting, and if I placed a different order...but then again, I don't need anything.

Running on empty, but I'm still running!

January 17th, 2006 at 11:02 pm

Just one of those days that has turned into a week!

Savings, well, I went to SuperFresh yesterday to pick up a few of their advertised sales. They double coupons up to a $1, but they are QUITE picky about it. As usual, they were already out of everything. In one day. Personally, I think they are just loss leaders, as they do not seem to restock the shelves at all for sale items. DH thinks it's a warehousing problem...but it was irritating. I did get Kotex "on sale" with my coupon, seemed like a good price and it works for the K-C rebate. But, today Grocery Game printed Giant prices, and Giant's 2/1 sale was actually a better deal. Sigh.

Several of the Grocery Game deals did not exist at our store, and the coupons they show aren't correct for our area. But, they are great at showing what a "regular" price really is, so I can evaluate the sales price with coupons. So, I'm keeping the membership for awhile. $1 a week is still $52 a year, but I'll monitor it.

So, today, went to Staples, exchanged my empty ink cartridge for $3 coupon, which I used for some file folders. Definitely MUST get better organized.

Giant, groceries, here I am NOT going to buy anything until I clear out my freezer and pantry a bit...but I am still working on a few rebates with sale items/coupons, and then a few sales. Not a great deal, $150 down to $75. VERY disappointed. I refuse to buy anything just to get the rebate back on it. Other items, though, paper towels and TP. Orajel for the dog, who is preparing to lose his teeth.

Also bought a larger crate and pads for him online. Petco had a sale, plus 15% off. Went through ClubMom to get the 6 points/$1 spent. Fairly sure getting the cashback from eBates would be a better deal, but I am SO close to getting the $25 g/c for Giant through ClubMom. We'll see. Calculating all this out has my head spinning!

Bought heathy edible bones online, too. $10 for 3 in the groceries, and $1 a piece at The dog is CHEWING. He's gained a pound a week, up to 9 pounds, but he can go through a small Dentabone in less than 5 minutes. And he's getting more and more determined about it. I am getting concerned about all the treats he is going through, so I'm trying to find something he will chew for awhile. He doesn't gulp, just chew chew chew chew chew! Jaws of steel. I'm calling him our little land shark. He tried to eat a bounce sheet that was stuck to a fleece blanket yesterday.

Little things are suddenly paying off. So many paid surveys I've qualified for, and follow up tasks that pay even more. It's great, but it does take time that I suddenly don't have.

It's cold. DH and I are disagreeing once again about the draft from the garage. You can feel the wind coming in straight through the kitchen garage door, but DH reminds me that all houses need airflow. But then again, we just recaulked all the windows and insulted the outlets, etc. Seems to ME that we are plugging leaks when the flood is already coming in!

Coupons, picked up more coupons and rebates in the store today. Got a coupon train to keep running!

I did get a fairly good deal on orajel, the tooth pain product with the current rebate. It was $10, ouch, but they doubled the $1 coupon, and although the newspaper had a $4 rebate, the box had a $5 rebate, so that will go into the mail tomorrow.

DH promised today would be a catch up day. But, all this running around takes time. We haven't found a routine since the pup came. Didn't get our workouts in today.

Lunch we actually ate out at Taco Bell, shopping ran later than expected. That's how it is when NOTHING is on the shelves. Just lots of errands. Dinner, carrot and wildrice soup. DH requested it, and it's perfect because I have everything for it. Usually would use up fresh carrots, but we picked up DM canned carrots at 10 cents a can for the DM rebate, as well as Broth, and a freebie on wild rice, so a bit of tarragon and pepper, and we're in business.

Savings today, not sure, I have spent so much on doggie crates and doors, that money saved is just to try to get under our usual budget. Doggie expenses were never planned. Worth it.

Well, enough rambling. Better go see what everyone else has posted, and where things are on the bullet train!

Oh, actually got the confirmation mail that I won the Breathe Right strips contest! THAT will help.

free gift cards with free trials are pushing my ethics...

January 15th, 2006 at 09:45 pm

Hmm. I consider myself an ethical person. But I keep getting these offers for trials of this or that, $1 for a month or a sample and such, and $20 gift cards for gas or grocery or even AMEX. So, I succumbed to two yesterday. $40 in cards for two free trials that I know I will cancel. Doesn't seem right. But then, I didn't come up with the offer, and I didn't email it to me.


Not much in the mail lately. Did get a hooded sweatshirt we won on Saturday. It's listed at $40, but really, where do they come up with these values? I haven't entered contests lately, though, so probably not going to be bringing in so many benefits.

Changing from retirement to consulting for the company to free lancing now, is quite challenging. I didn't realize all the benefits, and pot holes, there would be for women free lancing their own business. I need to establish something more formal, I suppose. Too much to think through right now.

Coupon day, and another pile came in. Seriously, I am so overstocked on groceries right now I will have to send most off. I am out of Downy, which is a pain because I specifically asked DH to check if we were out and he said we had too much, so of course I go to do laundry today and nada. The one thing I am never able to stockpile sufficiently is laundry products.

Hopefully stopping smoking is going to cut the laundry down considerably, and I can get that part of the household back under control. The pup is chewing EVERYTHING now, though, especially fleece blankets and anything in sight, so quite a bit of slobbers to wash off.

So, 2006 total savings so far is $3253
2006 "extra income" so far is $2035.

I'm not counting rebates or gift cards until they are in my hand.

brookstone shure ear buds are fantastic!

January 14th, 2006 at 06:10 pm

Wasn't sure how much I was saving by getting the Brookstone Shure MP3 ear buds for DH. He is never without the Jens MP3 player, and he usually goes with Bose for the headphones and sound quality. But, I read up on the Shure, and they are rated extremely well.

DH says they are his FAVORITE gift of the season. They weren't on sale, although I received a $25 brookstone g/c for the order. But of dozens of gifts he received, they were the hit.

So, having a gift that is LOVED, that is a real savings. And a joy. Yeah!

Total cereal coupons paid off - free cereal

January 13th, 2006 at 10:32 pm

Not a huge savings today, but I had purchased 5 boxes of Total cereal with $5 coupons, getting an $8 in store rebate. Those boxes each had a $1 coupon, so today I went back to do it again, but they had a different Total on closeout. Hmmm. $1 a box and a $1 coupon on each...they wouldn't give me the $8 rebate though ;-)

Several of the new General Mills boxes are labeled with coupons inside, especially for the Brand New Day partnership. So, maybe I will take the $1 coupons and go back tomorrow for more free cereal and coupons. But where am I going to store all this cereal? Ah, the agonies of wanting to get great deals.

Got the coupon train started. Over an inch thick envie, so hopefully something for everyone. I forgot about the holiday Monday, no mail, and I definitely want to get the coupons around before they expire.

Tonight, I'd better get hopping. Turkey divan, use up the turkey and broccoli and cheddar. DH says to USE THIS UP BEFORE I BUY ANY MORE. But is it buying if it's free? Hmm...too philosophical.

Much more going on. Maybe I will breathe this weekend.

Savings today, $23.

so far behind I think I've come full circle

January 11th, 2006 at 11:20 pm

Yikes, the computer or internet or SOMETHING has been flaky all week, and I'm running so far behind on things! Have not even been able to read the forums, or check my usual sites.

Working on getting a coupon train together. Hate to waste them.

Connected with an old friend and received a $2K retainer. Nice.

Brief workout, brief meeting, brief puppy interaction. Dinner will be leftover turkey breast, potatoes, veggies. Maybe dump together a Turkey divan with the turkey and broccoli tomorrow.

Two rebates sent off. No new deals in today's mail.

Got to run after the pup!

Brand New Day Rebate deals

January 10th, 2006 at 10:49 pm

I was not going to do the Brand New You rebate ($10, buy 10 items), as they are not items I regularly use.

However, SF had GM cereals for 4/$10. I planned to purchase Total, but they only had a few types on sale. Then I saw the GIANT boxes of Cheerioes and Honey Nut Cheerioes, something like 40 oz? anyway, $2.50 each, but I had a $1 coupon on each which they doubled, so two boxes for $1, regularly $9. They also had the Chex Mix at 99 cents, and I had a coupon, down to FREE, as well as Progresso soup, with a coupon, down to $0.30.

So, 4 of the items for less than $4. I might make this one pay off. I am definitely holding off to see if the other items go on sale, though. Yoplait Nouriche, one bottle, is $3 here, which would wipe out the rebate!

That part is hard. I like to get rebates accomplished, finished, out the door, and not need to remember two weeks from now what I still need to purchase, save UPC and receipt, is it on sale, etc. So, I will wait and see on this one.

General Mills cereal coupons paid off, and Del Monte rebate form in the mail!

January 10th, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Well, I am trying to stick to not buying groceries for awhile and living on our stockpile. But I got some great deals today I couldn't pass up...well, maybe shouldn't is the better word...

SF, total was $39.86, down to $10.33 THAT's MORE LIKE IT.

Giant, $186 down to $85.

Mostly cleansers, Viactiv, things on sale but still adding up. They did have buy 5 General Mills cereal at regular price and get $8 off at total; the smallest cereal was $3.50, but had $1 coupons off the back of the Total boxes from this weekend, so $5 along with the $8 certainly helped the total. Did buy some Breyers on sale with coupon, which I would not have done if it wasn't listed in Grocery Game as a super saver, and it just sounded good! Very bad.

Made up for it with by buying the 20 cans of DelMonte for the $10 rebate, all on sale, cut and packaged for tomorrows mail!

So, 2006 total savings so far is $3230
2006 "extra income" so far is $35.

shampoos at Trader Joes

January 10th, 2006 at 10:32 pm

Thanks for the info! We have a Trader's Joes in the next town, and I shop there once a week or two, but I've never priced their personal products. I have allergies and sensitive skin, so I'm fairly cautious about trying things. That's why I was so surprised that the Dove didn't make me sneeze or my hands peel and such. I will definitely give TJ's a try. I didn't realize they were so reasonably priced.

Glysomed free samples and other Monday savings

January 10th, 2006 at 10:28 pm

I emailed Glysomed regarding where to purchase their products in my area. They responded that they did not have a store locator, but would send free samples. And they did!

Nutro dog food samples came, too.

Checked up on credit card dividends, and they are applying 5% cash back on gas, groceries, and drugstores. Nice. Trying to sort out which bonus program is best for each site is a bit crazy. Club Mom points, cash back from eBates or Mr. Rebates, or eRewards or all these other point programs. Cash back is always my first choice, but Club Mom allows members to earn GCs to grocery stores, and a few of their sponsors give good deals on points. I was trying to work it all out, but it would require coded spreadsheets! So, going with best guess, eBates plus credit card as standard cash back, and other offers as they present themselves.

Received a $10 gc award for a survey.

That makes total "extra income" of $35.

Dove free samples not working out.

January 8th, 2006 at 06:14 pm

After using the free Dove shampoo and conditioner samples, my plan was to switch over from my Biolage and Keratase to the Dove. So much cheaper.

But after 3 weeks, maybe a little longer, my color has washed out, my hair feels thin, and I'm disappointed! My color isn't much of a change from my actual color, but it always lasts 4-6 weeks. I switched from highlights to color to bring the costs down.


Now I need a new plan. Pantene?

Mega muffin day, or how to use leftovers without really trying

January 8th, 2006 at 06:09 pm

We got off to a late start yesterday, but we did bake 50 dozen large muffins. DH, and I, go through at least 4 or 5 a day. Used up the 20 cups of fresh frozen blueberries from our garden, all the old cereal, oatmeal, eggnog, juice, coolwhip, ice cream, iced over frozen bars, stale graham crackers, christmas cookies (grind em up), holiday chocolates, free granola, old protein powder and drinks, eggs, syrup, etc. Total use of 3 cups of flour and one cup sugar. Mostly use oatbran, bran, oatmeal, and cereal to keep them super healthy. Old canned pineapple, oranges, whatever needed to go. Cleaned out the freezer, pantry, and frig. Total cost DH estimated at $50 plus leftovers (which would have been tossed), so not bad. Taste excellent, too!

I am not positive they save so much money, I don't buy the $1.95 Starbucks ones, but DH will buy Costco or Trader Joes if we run out. I do it for the healthy good-for-you start to the day. DH says it saves a minimum of $250 a year, though.

Also had a chance to clear out the freezer to make room for all the muffins, as well as find stuff that needed to be used soon. Discovered 6 whole chickens, a turkey breast, and several platters of chicken breasts. We haven't had the horrid winter that was anticipated (yet), so I've kept shopping instead of staying home with the stockpile! Time to start cooking!

Last night, final left overs of the deli/veggie platter from New years. meats and cheese got all chopped up, mixed with egg beaters (cleaning out the freezer!) and evap milk, and baked in two free with coupon pie crusts for excellent baked omelet/quiche. Yum.

Today, wow, my 'mix and stir' hand and shoulder are a bit sore. I've got a good 3 months to heal before we do it all again, though!

When it stops being fun, it just stops

January 6th, 2006 at 10:38 pm

Blech to the entire morning. Why is everyone in such a MOOD today? And how many surveys can they possibly send me in one day? Only one paid. Count that when the $ comes, not until.

Thanks for the info on the rebate. I will try to be careful. I am already not thrilled that I spent money to buy the stuff just for the rebate. I RARELY do that. Blech to that too!

Savings, spending, did okay today.
Pet store, picked up a free 6.6 pound bag of puppy food from a coupon. Saved $9
PetSmart, $38 down to $15 with coupons and sales. Saved $23
Giant, generic stuff to prepare for muffin baking. $22 to $15, saved $6
TJ, base for muffins, oats, oatbran, organics, etc. $86.
Won 4 bottles Vaseline Renewal, which came today. $10 save?
Won year of nasal strips. $360 save.

Total save today: 9 + 23 + 6 + 86 + 10 + 360.

Total save for week: $3100.

Today was grocery savings day

January 5th, 2006 at 11:30 pm

I rarely go to Superfresh, as they don't restock the shelves on their sale items, and not friendly, and expensive on anything that's not on sale. But, we did a quick run through for chicken at 79 cents a pound and turkey breast at 89 cents a pound, 6 Lean Cuisine for $10 but they doubled a $1 coupon, etc. Came to $84.79 before coupons, $32.73 afterwards.

Giant, higher than hoped, but I am stocking a few items to start the muffin bake next week. Takes piles of cereal and oats and STUFF for 50 dozen muffins since I don't use flour. Bill came to $117, down to $65 after sales and coupons. I also purchased the items for the Colgate rebate, spent $6 to get back $10. Not sure it was worth it, as it's not what we usually use, but should work out.

Also sent back a pair of LLBean boots. I love their products, but this duck boot didn't hold up after 3 years, and they have a life time guarantee, so I shipped them back. I normally wouldn't have, even with the guarantee, because they are after all used, but MD does need a new pair now. Postage was prepaid at $5.85, which is cheaper than if I had paid it at the post office. The boots are $89 in the current catalog, so important savings for us.

Also, received 4 free Claritin tablets which hubby uses, they cost $1 each without coupons here, so saved $4?

Days total:

Totays savings: $52 + 53 + 89 + 4. I'll count the rebate only when it comes.

2005 summary

January 4th, 2006 at 10:14 pm

Skimmed through my journal and receipts to see just what I've saved since starting this project in October. It's not easy to track all the little things, like rebates and freebies. But

grocery -- store log shows savings of $1700 since September.
costco -- savings of $1500
Rx -- savings $2000 since Nov. 1
Magazines, other cost cutting -- more than $500
insulation - budget was $700, and it was free.
Holiday gifts saved about $2200, plus hubbies was $1000K

So, without going into the details, that's still over $9K just from focusing back on saving and not spending!

THANK YOU EVERYONE! You all have such great ideas, reminders, and advice!

[Is there any way to track daily costs through the journal? It's a pain to go through each entry to find them.]

Starting Challenge

January 4th, 2006 at 08:00 am

want to get this started. I'm still struggling between this as a challenge to SAVE $5000 or to GENERATE $5000, but if I keep arguing with myself, I'm never going to start!

I think I will use this both to do things more frugally than I would have otherwise. I'll count the savings, but that's the easy part.

I would like to take the old exercize equipment and see what Play it Again Sports will give us for it, be it buy or consignment. Typically we would just donate all to Goodwill or Salvation Army and take the write offs, which we need. Hubbie would divorce me if I tried a yard sale.

I'm also looking at all the little things that come in. Rebates, new ways of spending and shopping and savings that I've started doing since coming to this site, and are keeping a regular pile of checks pinned to the frig.

Not sure what to do about the deals. As I journaled yesterday, I used customer loyalty rebates and offers to buy $58 at drugstore. com for $5, plus free shipping, plus 5% back from eBates and 5% back from my credit card for drugstores. So, do I count this as $53 to my challenge, or should that just be kept as savings. Hmmm.

Saved $2500 yesterday by cancelling my annual professional memberships. It's been an expense for the last 25 years, so does it count towards the challenge? Hmmm.

savings with LEFTOVERS yum!

January 4th, 2006 at 12:36 am

I did forget to log the savings from "recycling" our holiday meals. The ham from Christmas, 1/3 eaten, 1/3 out for use, 1/3 bone meat etc. frozen for soups (split pea, lentil...). Cookies, frozen some, eaten TOO many. Pretty easy reuse.

News Years has been a bit more fun/challenging. We purchased makings of a meat/cheese tray, and of a veggie tray, made some protein dips, and have been working it off since New Years Eve. Having a gourmet chef for a Mom probably helps. Last night, hot melted sandwiches, with meat and cheese piled and a bit of dip to hold it together and moisturize the bread. Fried in butter, but the dips are non-fat, so hopefully it balanced. Tonight was open-faced hot beef sandwiches, used up the roast beef, tiny bit of turkey, lots of mushrooms and onions, a few freebie McCormick gravy mixes, touches of this and that, a bit of the provolone stirred in. Poured on bread, with a slice of provolone on top. Pretty tasty!

Tomorrow I'll probably take the leftover ham and cheese with the eggs and make quiches. Maybe broccoli one, too. They are lowfat and high protein, except for the ham and cheese. Non-fat evap milk works VERY well to richen a non-fat quiche, and adds protein. Egg whites, egg substitute, etc., helps even it out too.

So far, we've had about 5 meals from New Years trays, MD including last night's remaining sandwiches in his lunch today. Maybe a stir fry to use up the last of the veggies. Hmm. This is the fun part of saving! Creating!

Saving on Memberships

January 3rd, 2006 at 06:21 pm

One of my goals for the year is to clean up all the loose ends that are unneeded expenses.

The first area is memberships.

Professional memberships look great on the resume. I'm retired now, except for consulting and such, and my credential themselves are worth more than all the "fellow of"s. I don't use all the credit card offers, and "benefits" that come with the memberships, and I don't need the "networking". So, time to drop all those grad school fears that I needed a bunch of titles to prove myself. My work proved itself, and I became the person everyone was trying to network WITH. A strange "rite of passage", I suppose, but it's time to let the fears go.

Four professional memberships I have all came due this month. Annual dues range from $150 to $1000. They renew automatically if not canceled. I canceled them ALL today, $2500 SAVINGS from previous years.

Second area is shopping memberships.

This one is a bit more complicated. Comparing cost of membership with actual savings over the year. They wouldn't be selling memberships if they weren't making money on them.

Barnes and Noble. $25, 10% on all purchases, so I would need to spend $250 on books etc. a year to make it worthwhile. Probably will. But, MD and I EACH have a membership, and we can combine them as a single household membership, and save $25. Done.

Roadrunner Sports. $25, 5% savings and discount on purchases. Have used this quite a bit in previous years, running and workout clothes, but the savings are much better at Dick's clearance racks, or online at REI. Definitely paid for itself in SHOES this year for the whole family. But I really need to look at this one.

American Greetings. $25, 3 memberships. My whole family uses this, especially my sister for her school work. But I did scoop up the "free year" membership from the freebies section (thank you Kimmie!), so $25 savings! $25 for VIP discount. I have used this extensively since we retired, and especially for nice gift sets and paints and canvases and things that are difficult to find locally. I'm stocked up for now, though. Sister uses it quite a bit for crafts for her school, but the freebies section has pretty well maxed her out on teacher ideas and supplies, so this one can go. $25 saved.

GNC Gold card. $25, 20% savings every month. Just renewed this, and we do get protein drinks, etc., but we are well stocked. I'm stuck with it this year, but will have to consider it for next year.

AAA Roadside assistance. $35 I don't use this regularly, but they were the only company to respond, even though we have dealership roadside assistance, etc. There are discounts, I've received coupons books at the outlets and a very nice travel game set. They just updated their web site with other benefits, so I need to look at this one in more detail.

I'm sure there are more, and I am definitely going to be watching for them on the credit cards. Auto renewal isn't always a time saver! Still, thats $2575 "saved" against last year's spending.

Today's savings, using up those December rewards!

January 3rd, 2006 at 05:58 pm

Made two purchases today, but I actually resisted the temptation to go beyond the "rewards" money earned and just spent the free money!

First,, I had a $47 rebate, plus they emailed a link for $5 off of a $50 order. They are having a sale, and usually I get distracted on the site by all the freebies with purchase and deals and stock up on things. But I've already stocked. I usually also ask MD what he needs, as most of the purchases are for him, Biotene, Aveda, things we can't buy locally. He actually ANSWERED me this time! Guess he realized that we have 30 bottles of Biotene mouthwash, so he'd save money if I actually purchased something else for a change!

So, bought two bottles of his Aveda Black Malva (a luxury he WON'T do without), a bottle of TheraTears (eye injury last year pruning trees), and took advantage of a sale on dog toys and treats for the pup. Total was $55, minus the $5 and $47, free shipping, and I get 5% back through eBates. I am pleased that I actually stayed focused and spent wisely, didn't go through the "list" they keep of all the things I've ever purchased and might possibly want again, just used the loyalty rewards and logged out. Yes!

MD has been allowing the dog to chew his workboots. Sigh. Anyway, the dog ate through his Yaxtraks, which we really need when the ice comes. So, the $25 g/c from making a purchase at Brookstone last month went to a $20 pair of new Yaktraks. Also picked up one item on sale, but it was one that was a replacement for a broken item, which was on MY wish list, but MD keeps saying he can fix the old one. He probably can, but it's been a year. Needs to "get around to it".

I've collected a pile of notices on freebies and coupons and savings, ready to post, and I'm still trying to get my hands around the $20 challenge. Too many possibilities. What counts? Is it SAVING $5000, or MAKING $5000? I get that it's up to me. Maybe I'll keep the journal for SAVING, and use the challenge for PROFITs?

Must think more.

I QUIT SMOKING but tough day to do it!

January 2nd, 2006 at 10:19 pm

My sister emailed today that my father, or Dad, I guess, since I just learned he isn't my biological father, is declining quickly. It's been confusing, he wasn't supposed to make it through Christmas, but then he was doing well and for some reason my mother said he was going to recover fully and now, well, it sounds like I need to get out there soon if I'm going to say good-bye. My heart is breaking. It's been so sudden!

Three weeks today since our dog died. I was informed that the vet was fired. No consulation.

I got on the scale today. ACK. A bigger job than I realized in my last post. I need to lose about 25 pounds. And I was wrong about the sizes hubbie bought me for Christmas. ACK and GASP.

And still, for some crazy reason, I just woke up and decided I wasn't going to smoke today. Quitting was my challenge a few weeks ago, or maybe months? Time has lost meaning as the crises flow together. But in thinking about my savings and earning goals for the year, reading through the forums, I allowed my mind to drift through all the potential savings, cost cuttings, frugalities, and earnings potentials, and scattered among all this was the simple fact that smoking is costing me money. It's costing my health. It's adding prescriptions. It's stinking up my new fuzzy bathrobe. It's burnt holes through my Polartec gloves (and have you ever tried to get smoke out of Polartec? Plastic absorbs!). My ashes are confined to a single pot outside, but the dog wants to sniff and walk though them. I'm TIRED of doing laundry and washing my hair and even fading my hair coloring getting the smell of smoke out. All the little things that you never think about when dumping $4 out for a pack of cigarettes (well, I buy cartons, but the principle is the same).

So, even though it has been a stressful day, and hubbie is in a grumpy mood to boot, I just haven't smoked. I'm a bit irritable, but I get irritable when I can't run 6 miles or hike or need to step out for a smoke at an inappropriate time, or when the horses are sniffing the smoke on my gloves. Or I realize I'm doing 12 loads of laundry a week because of the SMOKE. It is SO out of character for me to smoke.

No New Year's resolutions. I don't believe in them for myself, mainly because it's so likely some crisis will happen and interrupt the resolution, and I don't want to wait for the next year to restart the goal.

I think as I quit, I'll start tracking the costs that decrease, and try to estimate what it has been costing me. I read Jeffrey's article, and I'd like to see what my own costs have been.

Other than that, have lots of little ideas bouncing around for the $20 challenge, but it seems like you need a plan to post the start, and I haven't firmed up a plan. So, I'll keep pondering, and maybe organizing a bit. Nothing saves money like organizing!

The Cost of Gaining Weight

January 1st, 2006 at 10:34 pm

Hmph. I was the exact same weight and dress size for 25 years. I lost weight after the assault, and when I was gaining it back, everyone was telling me to put on a bit more. Just a bit more. I thought I looked great. Husband thought I looked great. But I did gain a bit more on some of the meds, and thought I was okay with it. First time in 25 years I *had* to buy new clothes. I needed too anyway, when I retired and went from business suits to sweats. Then I went back part time, bought some clothes in a larger size for the office. Then I gained a bit more, and a few more clothes. Again. Now, for the holidays, MD bought 5 pairs of jeans one size up for me. While I love him for caring, I hate me for needing it.

I've been resisting. Clothes are outrageously expensive. Last year I switched to skirts, elastic waists and looser, purhcased at clearance sales, boots to go with, stretchy pants, long sweaters. This last weight increase, though, I just said NO, no more money wasted. So, I've been griping about not being able to button my jeans and doing all those pregnant tricks, like slipping a rubber band through the button hole and over the button. Lots of hubbie shirts and sweats.

It's not that I look bad. I went from a size 4 to a 2 to a 4 to a 6 to an 8. Now a 10. But clothes are expensive, and every role, be it wife, athlete, executive, friend, housewife, maid, cook, everything requires something different. There are health reasons for me, also, the breast cancer scare and the family history of diabetes and high cholesterol and heart attack, GI, etc. Insurance. Risk. How I feel physically, emotionally. The worse I feel about how I look or worse, how I am dressed, the more I spend on other things, until eventually I buy some decent fitting clothing. But at some point this has to stop!

My sister does this, too. At 250 pounds, she is always losing or gaining weight, always buying new clothes. Having new clothes is wonderful, but the bills are not. Hubbie also, was a 32" waist when we married, got up to a 40, now is back to a 36". In between, 10 pairs of jeans a year, and countless suits and dress pants and shirts, etc., and the cost is absolutely staggering to look back on.

So, this year, I'm going to manage my meds AND my weight, and get back down one size. I have a closet full of clothes I liked at that size. If I go down two, fine. No more, and certainly not up.

end of year deals

January 1st, 2006 at 10:15 pm

I took advantage of some online year end clearances yesterday to stock up on gifts for the upcoming year.

The best offer, I think, was from Yves Rocher. Half price on the entire site, 4 free gifts, including a wrap and a wallet organizer, free samples, 20% off everything coupon code, and 15% back through eBates. They had previously sent samples of 15 different perfumes, so I knew which I liked and which gave me headaches. I love their hand cream, some bath gels, and I placed 3 orders, so received 12 gifts, plus more than 70% off of the things I purchased. Most will be gifts during the year or for next Christmas.

I resisted the urge to buy everything on the holiday clearances just yet. Winter sales will still be better in a few weeks, and nothing is urgent. I would like another pair of fleece gloves and a hat, although I have a set that is in poor condition, they still work. All the things on MY wish list that didn't come, well, I did without them before Christmas, and they can wait another year. Just little things, like a better CD organizer for the basement gym, as I cannot manage to get the CDs to slide in and out of the carosel we currently have. So I've been using a cardboard box. Not urgent, it works perfectly fine. There are just quite a few CDs.

I haven't started up my goals for the year yet. Still feeling VERY happy to survive the last year, after the intense few months we've had.

Happy New Year to all who are celebrating today, and to those who celebrate on different days, a good day to you too!

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