Sunday, February 26, 2012


Once again, I was unprepared for my Wags shop this week. I went in knowing I wanted the probiotic, and a vague idea of how to roll the RR's.

The original vague idea was to buy the probiotic for $7.00 (with $3.00 IP coupon) and get $10.00 RR.
Then spend the $10.00 on the Orange-To-Go drink mix and either Burt's Bees cough drops or Super Poligrip.
Well, they didn't have any Burts Bees, and turned out I had a coupon for $1.00 off the Super Poligrip, making me $1.01 below what I needed to spend to be able to use my $10.00 RR. So I got sandwich baggies, with IVC for $1.19 (or only 18¢ per box after $1.00 profit on Super Poligrip).

But then I had an $8.00 and a $2.00 RR, and another bottle of probiotic was going to be $7.00 after coupon, but then I needed a filler to be able to use a coupon and an RR, so I was looking for other FARR items without a coupon like the Melatonin, then I realized I could get the razors and Nivea lip stuff free after RR with the Super Poligrip profit.

But how to make all that work?

Probably I could have done better had I not been trying to do it on the fly, but I guess I didn't do as badly as I'd feared.

I spent $20.36 cash including tax, but have $15.00 RRs left, so everything only cost me $5.36 in the end.

Flora Probiotic $10.00, get $10.00 RR
- $3.00 PDF
= $7.00 (3.00 profit)

Super Poligrip $1.99, get $2.00 RR
- $1.00 mq from the hexagonal coupon booklet
= .99¢ (1.00 profit)

Orange-To-Go Multivitamin Drink Mix $8.00, get $8.00 RR
= Free

Natrol Melatonin $4.00, get $4.00 RR
= Free

Nivea Lip balm, $2.99, get $2.00 RR
= .99¢ (free using Super Poligrip overage)

W brand Razor $3.99, get $3.00 RR
= .99¢ (free using Super Poligrip overage)

W brand or Nice! sandwich baggies $1.19 w/ IVC
Valentine Clearance 75% off, Mike & Ike candies .35¢ each
Package of cookies clearance .49¢

Friday, February 24, 2012


First, though, FYI, the February Days of Nothing went off the rail. We spent for Valentines, J & Kevin were both sick and had to go to the doctor and get meds again, we took a trip to Florida, J fixed his truck after hitting a deer, had to pay for a new soccer uniform, and who knows what even else. I give up.

Otherwise I haven't been doing any coupon-shopping lately. I had $20 Walgreens Register Rewards I had planned on rolling over into one of the free after rebate items, but then I didn't get back to check to see if the rebates were effected if I used RR's to pay. So then they were expiring the day after we got to Florida, so we just went and spent them on Breyers ice cream and theater candy and some Special K cereal and seeds and 50¢ Arizona tea.

It would have been really nice if this coming week's sale was last week's sale because there is a lot of free after RRs coming up, and now I need some of the Probiotic stuff.  J's doctor recommended it after giving him his 3rd round of antibiotics.  (I had a whole bag of FARR Culturelle I got during Black Friday, but apparently I donated it away, dang it. This is the kind of thing that makes me an Extreme Clutterer. I need stuff if I get rid of it!)

So yesterday we had some gorgeous, 70* weather and I got started sewing my seeds to sprout for the garden.

Sunflowers, green onions, Sweet Banana Peppers, Grand Bell Mix peppers
LOL, I got a little carried away making the newspaper seed pots.
Zuchini squash
Lima beans
So far the newspaper seed pots are holding up to watering okay, they aren't falling apart (yet?).  It's only been one day, though, and we have several weeks to go. We'll see what happens.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February Days of Nothing - Week 1

February Days of Nothing turned into a whole lot of something this week. Talk about plans gone wrong, this week was a train wreck.

Started out spending $6.31 at Staples on a Rebate deal, but that was okay because I'm getting all my money back.

But then there was my Walgreens coupon shop fail, where I pretty much ended up paying $1.74/dz for eggs.

The day I shopped Walgreens, my husband spent the day at his brother's working on his truck, total repairs cost $117.63, plus $45.00 gas.

On the way home that evening, we were both so tired and strung out, there was no way I could go home and figure out something to eat, much less stand there and cook it, so we popped in to Little Cesar's Pizza for a couple of $5.00 pizzas, total $10.70 + a couple of fountain drinks, total $2.12.

Two days later J comes in from work, sick with Sinusitis, again. Another $25.00 Doctor visit and $15.00 prescription.

I owed my middle son some money for gas in my car and misc groceries and stuff he's picked up for me here and there, and he needed some money this week so I gave him $100.00.

I had to give my youngest son $50.00 for a new soccer uniform at school (which is a crock! The team is only four years old, we bought 2 new uniforms the first year, plus a uniform was given to them. They weren't in need of new ones already!)

J spent $5.37 at McDonald's while at work at the urgent care office.

Today I spent $20.00 at Groupon to get a $40.00 coupon, only to find out FTD charges a $19.99 service charge on your order, so you're still freaking paying $40.00 + for flowers. What a rip!
(They had items for $19.99, but they are shipped in a gift box, where I am wanting flowers delivered by a florist.)

But, hey, I only spent $14.90 on groceries this week: 4 gals milk, chocolate milk syrup, and 2 bananas.

Total spent this week $448.84 (not even including any household bills)

I don't see it getting much better the rest of the month, either. Maybe I should've stopped when everyone else did, when the stopping was good, last month.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Christmas Club

Anyone remember the old Christmas Club savings accounts?  I wonder why the banks quit with those? I suppose, with credit cards becoming so prevalent that savings accounts were rendered fairly useless. You can spend now and pay later, as opposed to save now and spend later.

Well, I learned my lesson with credit cards (the hard way, natch). Now, our "credit" card is actually a check card, backed by our checking account. Meaning, if we don't have the money, we don't buy it.

We do have a Sears card, we got when the refrigerator went out. Luckily it went out during an 18-month-same-as-cash promotion so I made sure we got it paid off and didn't have to pay any interest.
We've kept it for buying other bigger ticket items like our riding lawnmower and TV during different no-interest promos, and my dishwasher I bought during a 5% off if you use your Sears card promo, then turned around and paid the bill off with my tax refund before it was due, so no interest!
We haven't paid Sears one red cent in interest or fees in the several years we've had the card.
(Not bragging - just pointing out that if we can do this, anyone can.)

Anyway. This past Christmas seemed harder on me than it's been for awhile. I was trying to think about why that was.
The couple of previous years I was heavy into the coupon/deal shopping, getting stuff free, making profit, buying Rebate items, etc.
Prior to that I think we were still doing better financially. Once upon a time my husband got raises at work, gas was affordable, out health insurance premiums hadn't increased while our benefits decreased.
Before that, eBay wasn't yet ruined by greedy idiots and was still a great place to sell and shop. I remember one year I sold enough to fund my (3) kids entire Christmas, plus I bought my kids and my niece and 2 nephews Gameboy systems with case, games, and other accessories.

Well, this past year I hadn't been doing much coupon shopping, our income barely covers our expenses, and I can't sell my junk. Which left me pretty hard up and scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to buy the gifts I wanted to buy.

So I decided it would be easier if I started myself my own "Christmas Club", saving through the year. Like a pre-paid lay-a-way, but not at one certain store.

Rather than a certain amount per week, I decided on $20 per paycheck.  $20.00 isn't much these days, we won't even miss it, but it'll add up and hopefully make life easier at the end of the year.

I don't know how much we'll end up with, so far J's gotten (8) paychecks since Christmas (remember, he works up to 3 jobs), but sometimes he doesn't always get shifts at the ambulance service, and we already know he's only been scheduled to work (2) days at the Urgent Care for this whole month (suuuuux).

But every little bit will help to make it a little easier for me at Christmas.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This looked better on paper. Everything but the fillers and tax was supposed to be free, but somehow I feel like I spent $30.00 on 10 dozen eggs.
Eggs are on sale this week for 99¢, those were all I really wanted.
The Wet Synergy lube is free after RRs this week, with a $1.00 off coupon, making it a $1.00 moneymaker, or, free eggs. Just pay tax.

I didn't want to keep paying out $10.00 a pop and end up with a handfull of $10.00 RRs, so there was another combination of items that worked out to "roll" the RRs.
$2.00 St. Josephs aspirin (get $2.00 RR)
$3.99 Energy Strips (get $4.00 RR)
$6.00/2 Colgate - $1.00 mqs (or mpp)  x 2 (Get $4.00/2 RR)
= $9.99 (plus filler to get over $10.00)

The first store I went to didn't have any of the Synergy lube, and I panicked thinking I wouldn't be able to get eggs later so I just bought them along with the St. Joe's, Energy Strips, and Colgate.

The next store had everything but the .13 bags for filler. I didn't want .33 pencils or .39 candy. I said, if I'm going to spend .39 on a tiny candy bar, I'm going to go ahead and spend .99 for eggs instead. So I bought a couple more dozen eggs.
Jello is on clearance for 39¢ so I got those a couple of times, instead of candy.

Things went a lot better at the store after that. I found everything I needed in stock, and a 10¢ filler (some kind of trading/game cards). Wish I could just shop at that store all the time, unfortunately it's like halfway across the country from here, nearly an hour drive. And gas is at $3.50 a gallon today.

The last store had the little bags, but I forgot to give her the coupon making them .13 each, so I overpaid for those.

All totalled including tax I spent $37.44, but I still have $20.00 in RR's, so everything cost me $17.44.
If you divide that by the eggs I only wanted, I paid $1.74 dozen.  

Help! Remedies (Funny website, check it out)
Wags has these new Help Remedies products on sale $3.99 BOGO, EXCEPT for the I Have A Blister package.
There are $2.00 off coupons and you can use two at Wags, making both free.

In some instances, some shoppers reported that the 2nd coupon had to be entered at $1.99, but at three stores I used mine at today it accepted both for the full $2.00.

I don't know how long this BOGO sale is going on, sounds like it's been going for awhile, but I can confirm it worked today, so likely this whole week.
If you ask for price check, make sure they scan both. The first one will ring up as $3.99, the other as $0.00. The $3.99 one won't say BGLP.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thinking About Gardening Today

Even though it's been a pretty Spring-like Winter this year, I don't want to be fooled into putting the garden in too early and then be badly surprised by a late Winter cold snap.

But today was just so nice out there, I got the itch to get started.

I saw this idea a couple of months ago while Blog -hopping, to make my own seedling pots using old newspapers.

I cut the newspaper in half, and folded it into thirds.

Then I wrapped it around the soup can, and secured the edge with tape.

Next, fold up the bottom and secure with tape.

Slip the "pot" off the soup can.

Fill with soil (in our case, soil from our compost pile).

I haven't added seeds and water yet, because I'm not sure if it's still too early yet or not.

When I do get plants and get ready to put them in the ground, we'll just put the whole newspaper -pot and all in the ground, and not have to worry about tearing the plant from it's roots pulling it from the little plastic cups we usually do sprouting in.  We have lost a few plants in the past on account of that. The newspaper will bio-degrade, and make a good mulch in the meantime.

Staples Game

I'm not as good playing the Staples (Office store) game as some, but I'm pretty happy with my little deals I got.

Back in November, I went to buy my printer ink at Staples and got a good deal on some SD cards. I earned like $7.13 back on my printer ink, but later figured out I wasn't getting as good of a deal as I would if I were buying it at Office Max.

Anyway, about this time, Staples was having the Free After Rewards batteries deal. I bought (2) at $12.99 each (wish I could have bought more, but I was running low on money at Christmas).

I got a pack of AA and a pack of AAA, which our remotes, video game controllers, flashlights and mp3 players use a crapload of.

After Rewards, they only cost me $1.82 tax.

If I was better at this, I probably would have found a coupon and turned it into a moneymaker. But I'm not crying over paying $1.82 for 2 16-packs of batteries.

Later in the month there was a Free After Rewards deal on 4GB Micro Relay USB Flash Drive at $5.99.

I got (one with each card) and they made great stocking stuffers.
After Rewards they only cost me 42¢ tax.

Then there was the Skull Candy earphones Free After Rewards at $9.99. I also got (one with each card) and they were also great stocking stuffers.

After Rewards, they only cost me 70¢ tax.

Those were some fantastic deals!

So I got my Rewards back, and including the 10% ink Reward, I had a total of $49.10 (one one card).

This week, through today (Feb 4th), Staples has Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security on sale for $55.00 with a $55.00 Rebate, making it Free after rebate.

Rebates are different than Rewards in that Rewards can only be spent at Staples, and if you spend Rewards on a Rewards item, they deduct it from the future Reward. But you can spend Rewards on a Rebate item and get the full Rebate in the form of a pre-paid VISA card that's spendable anywhere.

I paid $49.10 in Rewards, and $5.90 + .41 tax in cash (the original tax was like $3.52 but when I applied my Rewards to the cost, it only taxed me on the remaining amount).

I'll get a $55.00 pre-paid Visa card back, so the Internet Security will only cost me 41¢ after Rebate.

So everything from the batteries to the internet security is Free except tax, which adds up to $3.35.
(Not bad, but since I wasn't really "dealing" when I made the ink/SD card purchase in November, the $7.13 back on the ink is kind of like Bonus money in this instance, so that covered my tax and then some.)

I still have $16.00 Rewards on the other card I'm hoping to be able to find a good Rebate deal before 3/31.

Friday, February 3, 2012

February Days of Nothing - Begin

I enjoyed January's 31 Days of Nothing challenge and keeping up with our spenditures over the past month, so I decided to carry it on into February, too.

I already know we're going to have some truck repair expense, and possibly an out-of-town trip, but hopefully I'll be able to cut back on the grocery expense and kindly balance it out.

First thing I had to do was have a chat with J about his snuff habit.

Now, I know he works 3 very stressful jobs and his nerves are strung out without the added stress of trying to break a nicotine habit, but the thing is, from January 3rd to February 1st/2nd, he went though 12 cans of snuff, and bought 2 more cans this morning.
That's like 3 cans a week, or one every other day. Seems like that's a bit much.

He tries to quit cold turkey, but everytime he does, he turns into a total bitch and I can't stand him. I try to talk to him about cutting down gradually, but he has no self control or discipline. I think he needs one of the anti-depressants like Zyban or Wellbutrin or Chantix, but I read about all those causing so many suicides.
I took Zyban to quit smoking some years ago and I never felt like committing suicide (more like it kept me from killing anyone else), so I don't understand what's going on with that.

Total spent for beginning of February Days of Nothing -
Day 1/2 - $3.40 (can of snuff)
Day 3 - $5.33 (2 cans snuff)

31 Days of Nothing - Wrap Up

The 31 Days of Nothing Challenge is over...

I can't put how much I saved doing this challenge, because I don't have a budget. Pretty much, my budget is to just spend as little per month as possible. Some months that's less, others it's more, depending on if I'm stocking up on sale items or 'investing' in cheap/free/moneymaker items.

I don't really feel like I saved anything because of the amount I spent on stocking up on sale groceries. Probably I did good, and it will save me in the long run, but after being so used to not spending anything on groceries - even being paid to bring groceries home much of the time - for the past couple of years, this doesn't feel too good.

Monthly totals:
$299.29 Groceries

$10.26 amount J spent eating out while working at ambulance service

$280.65 gas for our cars

$146.37 spent on Other things like: Doctor visit, prescriptions; painter's drop cloths and Dye for making curtains; mailing a package; internet expenses; set of headlight bulbs for my car.

$736.57 cost for month (not including the bills)

I'm okay with the Other things expenses, considering the Doctor visit, medicenes, and my car needing headlights. Could have been a lot worse.

J's eating out at work costs were excellent - he usually spends that much per meal and eats out several times a month when he's at his other jobs.

But the grocery and gas spenditures seem ridiculous!
I need to see if I can work on those for February.