Friday, November 18, 2011

Still Shopping, just slowly updating and looking for bread

Time runs away from my when my life become 'unstructured.' I've always needed a regular schedule to get the most of of my time. As I no longer work two jobs my shifts at CVS have less structure then before. So I find myself either with too little time or far too much and I want to spend less time on the computer. I should make a weekly schedule for myself. I keep thinking one of those weekly dry eraser boards would work out well right at where my computer sits.

I'm still shopping for my free items at CVS. I love this buy 3 Hallmark get $3 EB. It's nice to go back and look for some $.99 cards for free to set them aside for later. I also picked up on the awesome Aveeno Lotion deal. (It was buy two get $7 EB) At the start of the week the trail size were not included. In the middle of the week the started issuing the EB. Of coarse I had to try it out to see if it worked. ^_~ I'll be using those EB for the upcoming Black Friday sales.

I really want to get back into couponing more. As I am trying to eat more unprocessed foods it becomes more expensive for me. Take bread for example. Before I would buy any whole wheat bread I liked. Has anyone actually bothered to read all the ingredients on bread? The following is the list from my Organic 14 Grain Bread. (I would expect maybe 20 things to be listed because of there being 14 grains, but it's so much more.)

Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Organic Gain Blend (Steel Cut Wheat, Steel Cut Oats, Cracked Tritcale, Cracked Barley, Yellow Corn Meal, Cracked Rye, Spelt Flakes, Kamut Flakes, Sunflower Seed, Bulgur Wheat, Cracked Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Amarath) Organic Sugar, Organic Wheat gluten, Contains 2% or less of the following: Yeast, Salt, Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Honey, Organic Vinegar, Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Malt Extract, Cultured Organic Wheat Flour, Calcium Sulfate, Sea Salt, Ascorbic Acid (Dough Conditioner), Enzymes, Potato Starch, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Corn Starch

33 ingredients. *blink, blink* So much for simple. Just what the heck is Microcrystalline Cellulose anyway? (A quick search reveals: wood pulp. I've been eating wood?!) I've looked high and low in several grocery stores to find some kind of bread with less than 10 ingredients. I had given up on finding something without having to travel 50+ miles or make it myself and settled on the above bread choice. While visiting my mom we went to the grocery store that carries more 'exotic' (read larger ethnic food section from many parts of the globe) items. Lo and be hold! I found a bread! It's 5 ingredients! It has no sugar! (A little honey instead.) It's organic! How much does it cost? $4.69 a loaf. OUCH!

Don't mind the water drops. I freeze my bread to make it last longer.

Right now my bread cost me $3.39 a loaf. That's relatively comparable to most conventional whole wheat bread in the store with the exception of perhaps the generic. (About $2 or so.) I really want to be buy this bread I've just found. How on earth am I going to afford it? Is it really worth the extra $1.30? I think it is. I'll just have to careful about how much bread I eat.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Budget & Climbing - Where did I go?

Haven't been blogging much. One reason has been computers freaking out on me. It's clammed down and everything appears to be running smooth. (Although every time it makes a strange sound I start to panic.) I also now have the ability to grab pictures off my camera! I hate doing posts without pics, but what can I do? Sweetheart had gotten a new computer, but then the hard drive died. He only had it for about two months! So we waited three weeks the replacement and we have it back now. (Thank goodness!)

Another reason I haven't been blogging is I needed a break. One where I wasn't posting every couponing trip I managed to make. I've been making fewer of them as I've gotten worn out and run into the 'coupon burnout.' I'm still buying coupons and using them when I spot a good deal, but not nearly as many. So what have I done with my time?

I've been reading and cooking. Wondering how exactly I want to switch from conventional to less processed and more organic options. I had started a post about it, but it got far to long and lengthy for my taste. I think it's going to be a product by product sort of change. Some things were simple enough buying whole wheat flour and then organic whole wheat flour. Others not as much such as cutting out processed sugar or finding a bread with less than 5 ingredients that will not have my traveling 35 miles and paying $5 a loaf. I'm trying.

Ideally I would like to follow the rules listed below:

1. No refined grains such as white flour or white rice (items containing wheat must say WHOLE wheat…not just “wheat”)
2. No refined sweeteners such as sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or the artificial stuff like Splenda
3. Nothing out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label
4. No deep fried foods
5. No “fast foods”

Please see Real Food Defined: AKA The Rules, as spelled out by the Lisa the author of 100 Days of Real Food. (It's the site that got me interested in changing my diet.)

I like that these rules are simple and to the point. The simplicity is wonderful, but it's what also makes them hard to follow. No buts, only ifs, no exceptions, no loop holds. Mostly I'm having issues with rules 2 and 3 as stated before. I think I may make a few of my own exceptions as I go (such as Hellmann's® Mayonnaise, something Sweetheart will not compromise on), but that is for another post.

The Budget

Bills (Electric) $100
Bunnies $30
Car & Renter Insurance $46
Car Repair $60
Cellphone $36
Clothing $10
Cruise 2012 $0 *Completed Savings Goal
Free Money $20
Gas $120
Groceries $120
Health $10
Rent $100
Student Loans $372
Emergency Funds $20 *Decided I need a bigger fund

Grand Total: $1044/month (Take home pay.)

No changes for this month. I need to use extra cash for a gift or two . . . After that I think I am going to split it three ways: Paying off Loans (40%), Fixing up Kori, my car (40%) and Computer (20%). The only other additional element to the budget is what I've been earning with Swag Bucks. (Yes, this is my referral link.) I've been doing well enough to earn $25 worth of Amazon credit a month. It's not a lot, but I'm using to further my goal of unprocessed organic food. That amount is almost 20% of my month grocery total! It's a lot in my book. ^_^

Hamburger Salad, it's tasty!

Grand Total Last Month: $39,519.14
New Grand Total: $39,219.38
Amount Paid Off: $299.76

Slightly better than last month. I moved one of my loan payments a little early because of the way pay days fell this past month. I figured I would save myself a little bit of interest. Fingers crossed I actually have some extra money at the end of this month to pay off more!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October Budget and Climbing

Due to card reader issues I had to find a stock photo. I dislike using them, because they are not really my own. Sorry!

I really thought my computer had died on me. Now it just seems temperamental. It doesn't always want to start up and freezes fairly often when I do manage to get it going. I briefly had use of my XD/SD drive yesterday before it decided to not read anything. My sound said it was on, but didn't actually work. I'm hoping between my dying laptop and Sweetheart's dying laptop I can limp along until I actually have money to buy a new one. Thankfully there will be 3 holidays between now and the end of the year, plus an additional paycheck in the month of December.

I got my first paycheck on Friday that I need to apply to my new budget. This does not look promising. Only an extra $10 left to apply towards anything . . . not so good. I was really bad and didn't think about it until after, but I placed an order with Lock 'n Lock before getting my paycheck and looking at my new budget. Oooppss. I still have some extra cash from the past few months, but I need to be really careful with what I buy from now on. I can't go spending my 'free' money willy nilly any more.

But I want it! *Puppy eyes of doom!*

The Budget

Bills (Electric) $100
Bunnies $30
Car & Renter Insurance $46
Car Repair $60
Cellphone $36
Clothing $10
Cruise 2012 $0 *Completed Savings Goal
Free Money $20
Gas $120
Groceries $120
Health $10
Rent $100
Student Loans $372
Emergency Funds $20 *Decided I need a bigger fund

Grand Total: $1044/month (Take home pay.)

Not sure what exactly I'm going to do with any extra money. Kind of tough to decide. I will need a new computer at some point soon. (Fingers crossed I can hold out until Jan at least!) I also know there will be work to be done on Kori and more than likely new tires for her as well. I also really need a bigger emergency fund because I'm very nervous about how close to the edge I feel at the moment after looking at the numbers. I'd like to avoid more stress if possible.

The morning sun was perfect on these flowers. ^_^

Grand Total Last Month: $39,763.80
New Grand Total: $39519.14
Amount Paid Off: $244.66

Ouch? That is not a number that I wanted to see. I didn't make any extra payments last month in an effort to save up for that promised cruise. I wanted to at least take that pressure away from me so I wouldn't worry about it. With a number like this I would love to just pour all my extra money into my debt. ARG! This is a frustrating scenario. This next month will be just as rough and then November will come. November has two holidays in it and I'm working both. Thank goodness for the extra cash flow a head.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Computer Died!

Crud. Will have to see if I've got some way to get something soon. :(

Friday, September 30, 2011

CVS - Part II!

I actually bought these on Monday, but Tuesday morning I woke up really sick. Fevers are a funny thing. I started feeling better by Thursday, just not up to doing much. I thought I would get in a post, but my computer will not read my XD card. WHAT? It's slowly dieing . . . My CD drive died about a year ago, the sound died a month ago and now my SD/XD reader died. Currently my computer is telling me it's Jan 1st 2007?!

Crud. I need a new one.

So now I finally have my laptop up and running and got my picture onto it via my boyfriends computer and am not sick. So on with the trip!

2 Colgate Optic White @ $2.45 each = $4.90
Renu Sensitive $8.99
Soft Soap Body Wash $3.00
Soft Soap Bar Soap $3.00
Total Before Coupons: $19.89

2 $1.50/1 Colgate Optic White (from a Smart Source)
2 $1/1 Colgate Optic White CVS (my boss said it's a store coupon, so there it goes)
$2/1 Renu Sensitive
$1/1 Soft Soap Body Wash
$1/1 Soft Soap Bar Soap
Total After Coupons: $10.89 (I can't find my receipts for the tax)

$2.00 EB Colgate Optic White (manual print, 2 offers, limit 2)
$7.00 EB Renu Sensitive
$4.00 EB Soft Soap
Net: $2.11 profit! Love my CVS!

Monday, September 26, 2011

CVS - It's been too long . . .

Mostly summer clearance and the St Joseph's baby aspirin that was free after EB.

While I haven't stopped shopping at CVS (I work there after all), I have stopped posting all my trips. Now that I am no longer employed at my part time job (see here) perhaps I will have time and energy to actually get around to posting more regularly. Seems like it's good timing with some good weeks not to long past.

This is from two weeks ago. The Fig Newton Fruit thins were a nice freebie. I really wanted to try these since I've seen them out, but didn't want to pay for them. They also don't exactly fall into my 'less processed' food plans. (See here.) I think I may have some rules for myself soon, but I'm still toying around with a few ideas. I was lucky to get this as about 1/2 through the week or so the coupon stopped printing. I think it was underestimated how many stores got and people ran out quick.

Free tampons, free allergy 5ct (this kind actually worked for Sweetheart!) and a bottle of vanilla (because mine 'home made' hasn't matured yet in it's flavor) for 75% off wraps up the week. Oh! The Reese's are a favorite of Sweethearts and he had a birthday not long before that so I got them as a special treat. I nabbed a bag for $1! (Sale $2, and a $1/1 10-20oz bag from the coupon center.)

I still have two or three items to get this week. I would wait to post, but I don't want to procrastinate because that's what got me off track from posting in the first place. (Hoping for toothpaste, contact solution & body wash.)

3 Dawn Dish soap @ $.99 each = $2.97 (raincheck)
2 Excedrin Migraine 8ct @ $.99 each = $1.98 (I gave these to a friend last night. ^_^)
Thermacare 1ct $3.79
Schick Quattro for Women Cartridges 4ct $8.99
Total Before Coupons: $17.73

3 $1/1 Dawn Dish Soap (Hand Renewal Only), adjusted down to $2.97
$5/1 Schick Quattro for Women Razor or Cartridges (, no longer available)
Total After Coupons: $9.76 + $.12 tax

$1.98 EB Excedrin (limit 2)
$3.79 EB Thermacare
$4.00 EB Schick Quattro for Women
Net: $.11 cost (so basically a little bit of tax!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saving Sunday - Shrinking Packages?

Is it just me or are P&G packages getting smaller? At the beginning of the year Tide went from 50oz to 40oz. (Did anybody else catch it?) Now they are making their dish soap smaller. It's easy to miss the changes until you see the bottles side by side. I wish companies would just raise the prices rather than shrink the package size. It just feels sneaky.