Friday, May 28, 2010

Changing Gears!

June is coming up quickly. It’s time for me to review and see how much debt I have exactly. Now this doesn’t include any interest on the loans. (That accumulates daily and is difficult to keep up on.) I should have done this last month to see how much exactly of the principle is getting paid month to month. It would have given me a better idea as to how long this process was going to take.

This month the grand total comes in at slightly over $47,000! So I under estimated when I first posted my total. *sigh* Ah well. It’s good to know exactly where you are. On the bright side I’m two months ahead on paying for one loan. I’m not going to stop. I’ll just keep paying as always so if an emergency comes up I’ll have some cash to spare.

On another note I’m shifting my focus to saving as much as I can. I have an emergency fund, but the car inspection is coming up. Last year I paid out about $1500 to have it all fixed up. Now there are more problems with it including: shaking when breaking at specific speeds (something warped again it’s happened before), slightly squealing when breaking at slow speeds (something needs oil or it’s just a little rusted) and the power steering is gone (I got fresh fluid last summer, maybe there is a leak). So um . . . yeah. I’m saving for the car inspection half afraid that it will wipe out the savings entirely if I don’t.

Why do I keep a car that cost me so much to get inspected?

1. I own the car free and clear. I bought it for $1000 as a collage student. At the time I had decided that there was no point in me getting a car with car payments to make every month. I was a ‘broke’ college student. I had also decided not to get into more debt.

2. Because I own the car my insurance is that much less expensive. I don’t have to pay out extra because I might end up in an accident where the car is wrecked and have an outstanding balance to pay.

3. I’ve now had the car for 4 years and have paid out a total of about $4000. (I have all the records.) That includes the $1500. Some of its just normal wear and tear no matter what car you get. You’re going to have to pay something for it. The amount also includes brand new tires for the car. Averaged out $1000/year isn’t bad for a car as old as this.

4. I can’t afford to buy another car free and clear with the money I have now. Not at least getting one that does not cost as much to fix and needs this much up keep.

5. I also get satisfaction of knowing my car is probably at the point where its value can’t go much lower. A quick check of blue book value puts it at less than $500.

6. She may need a paint job and have a few rust spots, but I love Lizy the Luminia, as I have dubbed her. Mom gets a kick out of the name and calls her Tin Lizy.

If by chance Lizy doesn’t bankrupt me I’ll use the extra money I saved and pay off more debt. In the mean time I’m all for fixing Lizy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Ice Cream @ Friendly's!

I saw a sign outside the restaurant after my sweetheart's parents treated us to dinner. Just though I might give people a heads up.

When: Saturday June 5th, 12:00 - 5:00pm
Where: Participating Friendly's (It's on the corporate website, so hopefully all of them!)

CVS trips and the search for Jergens trail size lotion

I attempted to find the Jergens lotion again, this time at Walmart. No such luck! I think I am going to try the Walmart on my way to work. If I can't find it there, I'm going to give it up. No sense in going here there and everywhere just to find the thing. It's a waste of time and gas that way. I try never to go out of my way to get something based on those two ideas. If I happen to be in close promiscuity (walking distance) I'll make a stop. Otherwise not a chance.

Two CVS trips. One from last week, no time to actually write about this.

last week I bought:

Dawn Hand Care Dish Soap 9.5oz $.84
2 Rimmel Lip Gloss $3.98 ($1.99 each, clearance!)
Bert's Bees Lip Balm $2.99
Total Before Coupons: $7.81

Coupon Dawn $.84 (Adjusted down from $1/1, Simple Home booklet)
2 Coupons Rimmel $1.99 (Adjusted down from $2.00/1, no longer available)
Coupon CVS Bert's Bees Face $2.99 (Adjusted down from $3.00/1, CVS coupon machine)
Total After Coupons: FREE + $.25 green bag tag scan

This week (Sunday) I bought:

2 Old Spice Body wash $8.00 ($4.00 each)
2 Stride Gum $2.58 ($1.29 each)
Total Before Coupons: $10.58

Coupon Old Spice Body wash BOGO $4.00
Coupon Stride Gum BOGO $1.29
Total After Coupons: $5.29

EB printed at the bottom:
$8.00 Old Spice Body Wash
Net: $2.71 profit + $.25 green bag tag scan

I could have had a higher if I hadn't bought the gum. I'm completely out and figured I would still net a profit using the coupon. I had thought about using two different coupons for the body wash which would have gotten me free deodorant. (Buy One body wash Get One deodorant free, Buy One deodorant Get One body wash free) A quick check at the supplies tells me we don't need any for the moment. Better to have a bit of a $$ maker instead.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Feeling Down = New Resolve!

*Note - We all have some bad days . . . I don't plan on posting them all. This is just the first one I've had since I started this blog. I figured it's good to remember this climb isn't always easy.

Have you ever had one of those days where you’ve just hated something about your job or maybe the job itself? I get them every now and again feeling fustrated and trapped. I generally get that way when I feel rather over worked. In reality it might not have much to do with the job itself, just working. I got hit with one of those days really hard on Friday.

My sister graduated and is now job searching. She had an intreview for working with foster care. From what we know the job has flexible hours just based on the charactrisitcs of the job itself. (Like say a home visit when the child is home.) How I would love a flexible schedule, but such is not for me in retail. Instead I have swinging shifts, although I almost always get evenings.

Evenings are okay until friends want to go do something during the week. (My sweetheart got to eat out with friends while I was working on Friday. I found out as a called with a quick question on break.) On the weekend the don’t want to get up early or plan on doing all the stuff the ‘need’ to get done done. (Saturday when I tried to get together with friends for lunch.) I understand not wanting to clean the house or running errons after working all day leaving it to be done on weekends . . . I just feel a bit left out. Maybe I need more social time.

When I’m out of debt I’m going to only be working one job! That’s my plan. If I don’t have debt I can have more free time to spend with friends and family. It’s days like Friday drive me forward and strengthen my resolve to get this done as quickly as possible. It’s not say I will not take a break ever now and again. (A weekend of camping latter this summer?)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Always Check Your Reciept!

Yesterday was a reminder to myself to always watch the price as an item get rung up. it was just a small filler grocery visit of orange juice, bread and fresh fruit. While there I always check the price of a few items, because not every sale at the grocery store is advertised.

One of my favorite kind of hot dogs if Hebrew National. They're so good! Unfortunately they are also on the expensive side, $4.99/7 hot dogs. YIKES! According to the tag they were on sale for $3. At the register it rings up at $3.99. My sweetheart runs to double check and be sure we didn't make a mistake and then we have a confused clerk looking through the sale flier only to see several other brands of hot dogs on sale. (Unadvertised sale!) Another clerk (a supervisor perhaps?) runs back to check on it. We were correct in reading the price tag and because it rang up incorrectly we got it free. SCORE! A favorite item for FREE! It pays to keep a close eye on the register screen as you get rung up. ^_^

A stop at Weis markets made a good deal for Wacky Mac pasta. I like the name and the colorful noodles. A 10/$10 sale is awesome when paired up with 2 $.50/1 and 2 $1/2 coupons. Six bags of pasta for $2! Sweet!

My trip to target was not nearly as fruitful. Jergens has a $2/1 coupon at There is a short form to fill out (it's listed as an offer). The coupon does not specify any size restrictions. This usually means you can get a trail size for free. They don't have it. *growls* They also didn't have Kraft Homestyle deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, which I got a manufactures coupon from Kraft's First Taste. Nor did they have Kraft's 100 calorie cheese packs.

I am happy to say they did have some other items I was looking for. In my transaction I bought:

4 Nabisco 100 calorie pack cookies $10.16 (4 different kinds, $2.54 each)
Bic 7 count pens $.99 (found a bonus size)
Kraft Mayo w/ Olive Oil 12oz $2.64
Total Before Coupons: $13.79

2 coupons Nabisco BOGO $5.08 (via facebook for liking their product, $2.54 each)
Coupon Target Free 100 calorie pack wby 3 $2.54 (
Coupon Kraft Mayo w/ Olive Oil Free $2.64 (Kraft's First Taste)
Coupon Bic stationary product $1.00 (
Coupon Target Reusable bag $.05 (just bring in a reusable bag, first time I've done this one)
Total After Coupons: $2.48 (Good deal.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Today's CVS Trip

Had a nice trip at CVS. A quick glance at their cosmetic section and there appears to be quiet a bit of clearance. These items have bright pink (50% off) and green (75% off) stickers on them denoting exactly which ones are on clearance. If there isn't a sticker on it, it's not part of the clearance! As with all CVS clearance these items are not returnable. (At least not at my store.)

Items I bought:

4 puff 108ct tissues $3.34 ($10/12)
Aussie Shampoo $2.99
Aussie Hair spray $2.99
Blade Raiser $6.99
3 Revlon Lipgloss $5.97 ($1.99 each clearance!)
Total Before Coupons: $22.28

Coupon $1/1 Aussie Shampoo
Coupon $2/1 Aussie Styling product
3 Coupons $2/1 Revlon, changed down to $1.99 because of clearance
Coupon CVS $3 off a $15 dollar purchase
After Coupons: $10.31

EB printed at the bottom:
$6.99 Blade Raiser
$4.00 Aussie products
Net: $.68 profit + $.25 green bag tag.

Congrats Class of 2010

My sister graduated on Saturday. W00t! Go sis!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Cost of Eating

One more day and then I have $60 for groceries over the next two weeks. In the mean time I've wondered what my meals cost me. Take a typical packed lunch (or more often dinner of mine).

Sandwich = 1 Arnold Select Sandwich Thins ($.32) + 2 Hillshire Farm Hearty slices of turkey breast ($.52) + Mayo (we'll call it free) = $.84
Mott's Healthy Harvest Apple Sauce, any flavor = $.35
Fruitables juice box = $.31
Total Cost = $1.50

Now typically I'll pack an additional something on the side, chips from a large bag, crackers, maybe a cookie. None of these options cost me more than $.50. So we'll call the meal even as $2.00. If I pack a P&J sandwich instead it will probably cost me about $.25 - $.40 less. I know there are ways to cut back such as buying regular bread. Let's just say I'm picky. I better enjoy what I'm eating or why bother with it at all?

Last night I made pasta. Not for dinner but for some latter meals. This meal was a great bargain. I bought the pasta on sale for $1.00 and had a $.50 coupon. My local grocery store doubles coupons to have up to a $1.00 total value. I received the pasta free! While having the sale on pasta they also put one of favorite pasta sauces on sale, Newman's Own 2/$4.00. At the time there was an internet coupon for $.50 on any Newman's Own product. This coupon also doubled up to $1.00. Excellent pasta sauce for $1.00! Get the idea?

While I could have stopped with just sauce and pasta I was in the mood for some beef. So out of the freezer comes 1/2 pound of beef to cook up. I don't recall the price on this. I think the numbers would have worked out to about $2.66/pound. I don't buy a pack of meat for more than $4.00 general because I won't use it that quickly and I only have the freezer from the refrigerator to use.

Pasta = Free!
Pasta sauce = $1.00
1/2 pound Ground Beef = $1.33
Total cost = $2.33/4 servings = $.58/$.59 per serving!

I admit to adding a little bit of cheese to mine. But at less than $.60 a serving it's quiet all right. In addition to the pasta I would love to add some vegetables. I've got some wonderful bags of vegetables your throw in the microwave to steam. I managed to snag each at $1.00 a bag. Again divided into 4 servings it still only brings the meal up to approximately $.85/serving.

Better than fast food eating in either scenario!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday CVS Trip

It’s another good trip to CVS. (To bad I didn't see anything that interested me at Rite Aid.) I used my pocket money for these transactions, but I only paid out just over two dollars cash thanks to previous Extra Bucks purchases. (Had to do it in two transactions to keep out of pocket costs to a minimum.) Sweet Deals! An add bonus to my trip was finding a ‘Prepare for Allergy Season” booklet that had some store coupons in it. I don’t know if other CVS stores will be putting this out or not.

Coupons included in the booklet (all coupons expire 12/31/2010):
$2.00/1 off Zyrtec Excludes Trial Size
$1.00/1 off Benadryl (ETS)
$2.00/1 off Visine
$3.00/2 off Zyrtec, Benadyrl, Sudafed PE, or Visine (ETS)
$3.00/2 off Tylenol Cold or Sinus, Sudafed Pe or Neosporin (ETS)

My first transaction I bought the following items:

2 Right Guard Deodorant 3.0oz ($2.49 each) $4.98
2 Crest Toothpaste 4.2oz ($3.50 each) $7.00
Schick Hydro 5 Blade 4ct $8.99
Total Before Coupons: $20.97

Coupon Crest toothpaste $1.00/2
Coupon Right Guard $3.00/2 (
Coupon Hydro 5 $5.00
Total After Coupons: $11.97

EB printed at the bottom:
Crest toothpaste $7.00
Right Guard Deodorant $4.00
Schick Hydro 5 $4.00
Net: $3.03 profit + $.25 green bag tag

In my second transaction I bought:

Bayer Aspirin 32ct $1.00
Cottenelle 12pk $4.99
2 Benadryl 24ct ($4.99 each) $9.98
Kotex U Overnight 14ct $4.99
3 Dove .5oz ($1.00 each) $3.00
Reach Floss 55yrd $1.99
Total Before Coupons: $25.95

Coupon Bayer Aspirin $1.00
Coupon Cottenelle $1.00
Coupon CVS Cottenelle $2.00 (Received in the mail a while back. I’ve been waiting for a good sale.)
Coupon Benadryl $5.00/2
Coupon CVS Benadryl $3.00/2 (This is one I found in that booklet.)
Coupon Kotex U $1.00
Coupon CVS Kotex U $1.00 (Available online at
2 Coupons Dove $1.50/1 (Dove website. Went to show my mom, but no longer printing.)
Coupon Reach Floss $1.00
Total After Coupons: $7.95

EB printed at the bottom:
Kotex U $4.99
Reach Floss $2.00
Net: $.96 cost!

Two orders together Neted a profit of $2.32. I would have made and additional $2.00 if I hadn't bought the Benadryl, but $.99/24ct box isn't bad.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Over Budget? Not Quiet . . .

As with any budget at some point the money runs out. I’m now out of grocery money until I get paid on Thursday. I actually ran out on Wednesday with my last shopping trip at rite aid. Anything I buy has to come out of my free money . . . I think I should I recall it pocket money.

Looking through my cabinets I find I’m low on two of my packable lunch staples: Mott’s apple sauce (one flavor or another of the healthy harvest) and Fruitables (a vegetable & fruit juice drink). I’ll only need to buy one pack of each so the estimated cost comes to almost $5. This means I only have $10 for the week. I still need to get a newspaper on Sunday. So only $8 left to spend as I like. Time to check the ‘stash.’

I happen to have a ‘stash’ where I put all my extra pocket money from the week, minus change. When I find I need money for things and I’ve over done my budget I go there first. I also have this money set aside in case I want to do something that would take more than my $15 that I have for the week. W00t! I have $8! To bad it’s mean it’s all but cleaned out again.

A second CVS trip. Items I bought:

4 Sobe Life Water $3.18 ($1.59 each, BOGO)
CVS Natural Citrus Mouth Rinse 250mL $.99
Venus Embrace Raiser $8.49
Total Before Coupons : $12.66

2 Coupons BOGO Sobe Life Water $3.18 ($1.59 each coupon)
Coupon CVS Citrus (only!) $1.00 (Available at under in store coupons)
Coupon Venus Embrace $3.00
Total After Coupons: $5.48

EB printed at the bottom
Venus Embrace $6.00
Net: $.52 profit (Forgot my green bag tag!), used EB to pay for transaction plus $.51 ($.48+tax) out of pocket.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drug Store Shopping

Today’s Climbing the Money Pit deals with shopping. I don’t know about other people but I need to buy things to live. Some items are more necessary than others (food vs makeup). While I do not intend to makes this into a savings blog, there are many out there, savings is a part of getting out of debt. The more money I save the more money I have to pay off debt.

I’ll start off with the drug stores. These are easy places to get stuff for just a little bit of money or even free! I think I am better at navigating the CVS system since I’ve been buying stuff from there for a lot longer. When I moved out from my parents I ended up in an area that has some Rite Aids close by. I’m hoping to get their system down. It will take some time though.

My first trip was to CVS. I bought the following items:

Colgate tooth paste 4oz $2.99
Nivea Body Wash 16.9oz $4.88
Nivea Body Wash 16.9oz $4.88
Nivea lip balm .17oz $2.99
Nivea lip balm .17oz $2.99
Reach dental floss $2.99
Total Before coupons: $21.72

Coupon Colgate $1.00
Coupon BOGO Nivea Body Wash $4.88
Coupon Nivea Body Wash $1.00
Coupon BOGO Nivea lip balm $2.99
Coupon Reach dental floss $1.00
Coupon CVS 2 off of 2 body wash $2.00
Total after coupons: $8.85

EB Printed at the bottom
Colgate $2.00 EB
Nivea buy $15 get $5.00 EB
Reach dental floss $2.00 EB
Net: profit of $.15 + $.25 for green bag tag scan. I didn’t pay much out of pocket as I used EB from previous purchases. To keep things on here simple I plan on list all coupons except the EB. The goal here is to look at the end result. If you have questions on how this works please visit for more information. Or find a blog that will help get you started.

My second trip was to Rite Aid. Items I bought:

Carefree liners $.99
GE 15W light bulb $5.99
Motrin PM 20ct $5.99
Themacare Neck 3ct $6.99
CG liquid makeup $6.99
CG powder makeup $0.00 (BOGO sale)
Lysol wipes $3.49
Lysol wipes $0.00 (BOGO sale)
Total Before Coupons: $30.44

Coupon liners $1.00
Coupon light bulb $1.00
Coupon Rite Aid Motrin $3.00
Coupon Motrin $2.00
Coupon Rite Aid Themacare $3.00
Coupon Themacare $1.00
Coupon CG BOGO $6.99
Coupon Lysol wipes $1.00
Coupon Lysol wipes $1.00
Coupon Rite Aid $5.00 off a $25.00 or more purchase
Total After Coupons: $5.45 + tax (essentially I consider it just paying for the light bulb.)