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.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saving Sunday - Mailbox!

Okay, I'm posting this on Monday. (Luckily I can back date this.) I'm behind on my blogging. I thought I was all caught up, but nope. Running late, again. Why? My boss let me know that as of the 23rd I would no longer be employed at my part time job. He would keep me if he could ("I want to take this out as long as I can"), but the company acquiring his doesn't need me. That doesn't really inspire me to blog much. The good news is I'll get one more paycheck this month, so I can keep my current budget. ^_^

These are items I've gotten in the past month. I haven't been keeping up the the free items as much as I would like. I still love getting these in the mail. A gift to make me smile.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Donation Box

It's been some time since I did one of these posts. Deals are a bit fewer and harder to come by. I've also been tired and stressed lately, so with my busy schedule unnecessary shopping is being kept to a minimum. Lots of this stuff is from a while back and it was time to pack it up and give it away.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Budget & Climbing

I'm worried. Worried about what will happen when my part time jobs ends. This month started out relaxing. I went camping with a few of my college friends. I had a great time, even though it rained & rained. There was a severe thunderstorm that caused us to sleep in our cars and and a house close by. (It was bad.) Still lots of fun, but that relaxed feeling is gone.

I have two budgets to run under for the month. I am assuming that before the month is out I will need to switch to the minimum budget. My Sweetheart has already agreed to pick up most of my part of the rent. I will only be able to afford 1/3 of what I currently do. My boss told me to expect about two weeks . . . I'm thinking he means the 15th. I was hoping to be able to finish out the month. *fingers crossed*

The Budget (regular)

Bills (Electric) $104
Bunnies $30
Car & Renter Insurance $46 *Forgot to change this last month
Car Repair $100
Cellphone $36
Clothing $20
Cruise 2012 $50 *A trip that's been in the works for about 3 years.
Free Money $40
Gas $120
Groceries $120
Health $20
Rent $310
Student Loans $372

Grand Total: $1368/month (Take home pay.)

*Extra funds to be put into savings as I'm not sure when exactly my job will end. I might need the money to 'cushion' a week to make the switch between pay check cycles.

The Budget - minimized

Bills (Electric) $100
Bunnies $30
Car & Renter Insurance $46
Car Repair $60
Cellphone $36
Clothing $10
Cruise 2012 $0 *Gotta make do with what I got.
Free Money $20
Gas $120
Groceries $120
Health $10
Rent $100 *Sweetheart will take over most of the rent when I'm down to one job.
Student Loans $372

Grand Total: $1024/month (Take home pay.)

*Extra funds, treated the same.

The Climb, I feel as if it is slowing to a crawl. I'm still getting somewhere . . . I'm just not sure how the next month will turn out. I had taken some extra funds this month before I knew for certain I would be losing my job shortly. I was really, really hoping I had until the end of the year. No such luck.

I don't really know where I can come up with extra money. Do I need an alternative to working a second job? (Selling on ebay? Creating something and opening an esty shop?) Should I try and find another part time job? Am I going to find one with such a flexible schedule? Will I have an understanding boss if I need to suddenly change my shift last minute? (That would be a tough one to find.) Will it pay as well as this job? If it doesn't, how many more hours will I need to work? Do I have the energy to work two jobs still?

The last question leaves me to believe I shouldn't jump to find something right away. I'm tired. I know there are other people who work two, three or more jobs to make ends meet. I'm running out of steam and fast. When I've been working too much it starts to affect my health. Headaches, stuffy nose (could be allergies or a cold), upset stomachs and digestive systems . . . I notice I feel better when I have just one extra day off. It's time for a break. So when this job is over I will not look for something else until January. I need to chill out.

Monthly Climb!!!
Grand Total Last Month: $40,125.68
New Grand Total: $39,763.80
Amount Paid Off: $361.88

I can get out of debt! I will get out of debt! Just have to do it one small step at a time. My steps might be smaller and slower, but I will do this.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Breaking the Bank

I've been worried for a while. Worried that my part job will come to an end. An end quick and sudden. I know it's coming and there is nothing I can do about it. I have an idea when it might end, but not an exact date.

It's been up in the air for a while. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. My boss is of that age where he would like to retire. As a small business owner it means either going out of business or selling it. Ideally that latter. He's found a buyer and at some point soon they should be signing a contract for it all. When that happens, my job is gone.

At first we (Sweetheart & I) thought it would be fine, as it was implied they were keeping the current employees. Then they did interviews for those on a salary and then the hourly employees. Sweetheart had his interview and it will be on a trail basis. No surprise really, it's almost as if getting a new job with a new company. (A sort of probation period.)

I however was not asked to interview. It's been a little over a week since the hourly employees got interviewed so I asked my boss if I would still have a job once the sale and moving was complete. He told me I wouldn't be working there as soon as he signed the papers. I can't even help with moving.

Now it's a waiting game. Will I still have a job at the end of this month? How about until the end of next month? Or maybe the one after that? There have been at least three dates for the 'takeover' that we've been given. We've passed each one so far without a fuss. So I really wonder how long it will be until it's done.

In the mean time I'm not going to pay extra on my loans. I'm going to save all that I can, because I don't know for sure how it will work out. I've asked Sweetheart to do the same, just in case. I've reworked my budget and it looks short by about $200 a month. Sweetheart says he'll help with that part. Life will be okay . . . just a much tighter budget than before.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Expanding The Grocery Budget

Vanilla Beans to make Vanilla Extract & Pumpkin Pie Mix, meant to get plain pumpkin, but this works just as well for my pumpkin muffins.

In my last post I talked about wanting to go organic and unprocessed. I realize that on a tight a budget as mine this is an extremely daunting task. (If anyone knows an easier way speak now please!) I need a way to expand my food budget with out actually putting in some cash. Enter the Amazon stage left & Swag Bucks from stage right.

I've found that many 'savings' bloggers are also members of something called Swag Bucks. It's a web site that you 'win' Swag Bucks at random for using their search engine. That's their main thing. There are many ways to earn Swag Bucks such as 'watching' tons of SwagTV. (I usually just run them in the background while I do other things on the computer.) There are also daily polls, surveys, special offers (such as signing up for netflix or credit cards) & so much more.

Just a brief summary. There are many bloggers who would be more than happy to tell you about Swag Bucks. Me? I'm just letting you know how it fits into this picture. One of the many rewards to be redeemed using the Swag Bucks you've earned are Amazon Gift cards. As soon as these show in Swag Bucks I'm adding them to my Amazon. So far I can usually earn about $10-$15 worth of Amazon credit in a month. Not bad.

Amazon sells almost everything under the sun it seems. This includes food. In my search I've managed to find organic versions of vanilla beans, canned pumpkin/pumpkin pie, oat meal, flour and more. I'll have to buy it in bulk for many items (25lbs of flour?!), but it's almost like getting it 'free'. I've talked to my mom and she's willing to 'split' the cost on some items given she thinks she can use them as well.

Yippie! Now how do I go about actually going unprocessed, organic & local?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Groceries Are Not Cheap

$15.82 was the cost of items above. That's not a lot of food for that amount. My budget is only $60 for two weeks, that's one forth of it! Outrageous! One of the biggest expenses from this particular trip was the organic cinnamon. It's well worth it because I need it for my raisin & cinnamon baked oat meal and my pumpkin muffins. Nummy!

For some time now I've been following a blog about eating real whole food. (100 Days Of Real Food) I've thought about going organic for sometime, but have come across the idea that it's even better to eat less processed foods. The best combo is unprocessed, organic & local. Unfortunately it's expensive! I read through the original 100 days and then 100 days on a budget. No getting around it, it's a costly undertaking.

So how exactly do I go from a $15 per person per week budget buying what ever appeals to me and is affordable to real food? I don't know. I hope that I can make some starting rules for myself. There is no way on earth I could afford to go complete 'real food' as I would like, but I can try darn it!

First I need to do some major research and price checking. I already started by writing down prices from Target of items I would like to buy. (Or at least fit my definition of 'real food' for the moment.) I've also looked into a local Dairy farm that has milk (obviously), chickens, eggs and beef for sale. It's only about 15/20 minutes from my apartment! That's exciting! Not so exciting is the price $4 for a 1/2 gallon of milk, $4 for a dozen eggs, $10 per pound of cheese? Yikes! What am I getting my limited budget into?

Monday, August 15, 2011

CVS - Freebies!

It's a good week to stop by CVS and scan your card. Most individuals are getting coupons for free Caramello bars and CVS band aids. Some even luckier people are also getting the the free Carefree! (Although from what I've seen on the boards, it's not an entirely new coupon. Just taking it's good old time getting to everyone.) My store ran out of the Caramello bars on Sunday, so we started subbing any regular sized Hershey Bar. Also out of the specified CVS band-aids, so we are subbing any CVS band-aid up to the listed value on the coupon. We're going to run out of those by tomorrow I think. Then what? Wish we had been told what the items would be before Sunday . . .

Jack Links Jerky $3.50
Caramello $1.19
5 G Fit 02 @ $1.00 each = $5.00
2 Ghirardelli bars @ $.92 each = $1.84 (75% clearance)
Care Free 20ct $1.67
CVS Band-Aid $3.79
Total Before Coupons: $16.99

$1.19 Free Caramello Bar
$4.29 Free CVS Band-Aids (scanned at full value on Sunday, now it asks the cashier for a price.)
$1.87 Free Care Free 20ct (again scans at full value)
Total After Coupons: $9.64

$5 EB G Fit 02
Net: $4.64 (Not bad for Jerky & chocolate!)

Will I do another trip this week? Maybe, because on Saturday I ran short of time and couldn't pack dinner. I ended up buying some jerky & Starbucks for my meal. (Not that healthy. A bit expensive, but I had EB to burn.) I currently have $9 towards the gas rewards. I'm debating about buying up some TP to finish it off. It's time to check the stash.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shopping, or Not

Trip from last month.

I haven't been shopping as much lately. Part of it is because I don't see as many exciting deals as I did a year ago. Another part is all the change in policies. (Rite Aid anyone?) The biggest reason is I'm a little burnt out. I've built up a nice health and beauty stock pile for myself and my Sweetheart. (We don't need anything for a while.) I really want to work on my grocery stock, but with the cash so tight, there is hardly room for extras.

I wonder what direction I should be taking this blog exactly. I started out wanting to write about getting out of debt. I thought a monthly update was good, but I need some more content in between. So my shopping trips got posted. I think I would like to refocus a little on the debt climbing. Not sure how, but I'll give it a shot. Hopefully I'll come up with something soon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August Budget & Climbing

This month went by so fast! It's unbelievable. It's been a long month with a chance to learn and grow. I've enjoyed some more training on the Rx end of the store. I'm really hoping to find some time to jump back there and work on my newly acquired skills. Alas, my co-worker hasn't come back from leave yet. Hopefully soon.

I've also learned an important lesson about frozen food. Pictured above is a bento I made a while back. Those strawberries had been frozen at one point. Frozen strawberries are good. Thawed berries are bad . . . very bad. I'll never to that again. Are there any fruits that are okay to freeze and then thaw?

The Budget:

Bills (Electric) $104
Bunnies $30
Car Insurance $36
Car Repair $100
Cellphone $36
Clothing $20
Cruise 2012 $50 *A trip that's been in the works for about 3 years.
Free Money $40
Gas $140
Groceries $120
Health $20
Rent $310
Student Loans $372

Grand Total: $1378/month (Take home pay.)

*Extra money tallied up at the end of the month. All extra funds are to pay off one of my student loans.

Ah! The taste of fresh strawberries! Seriously, what was I thinking about thawing them out?

No obvious changes to the budget this month. My internal change is going from weekly pay checks at CVS to bi-weekly pay checks. It's got me all over the place this month. I had prepared myself for the switch but I had too little and then too much money in my account. I'm a little at a loss. So . . . I took only a $100 extra for payments this month. I'm going to wait and see if I can't get this to all balance out somehow. In the mean time:

Monthly Climb!!!
Grand Total Last Month: $40,482.25
New Grand Total: $40,125.68
Amount Paid Off: $356.57

It's lower than I had hoped, but I'm getting there. Other than the extra $100, which had normally been paid there was nothing to fill out extra payments this month. I'm expected to bring home a larger than normal check because of working a few extra hours for the next check. I would really like accelerate the pay off plan. just have to wait and see what happens.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saving Sunday - Mailbox!

I love getting samples in the mail. It makes me smile. ^_^

Saturday, July 30, 2011

CVS - Lots of Sales!

By the end of the day Sunday we had been cleaned out of almost all the really hot deals. My store doesn't normally see so many couponers in one day. I was sort of shocked! Luckily we got more items in on delivery so I could finally buy my deals. (I didn't forget my coupons this week!)

*Please note I did this in multiple transactions, but to simplify things I have it listed as one.

Bengay $6.29
Skintimate $2.19
Oral-B Floss $2.99
Renu Sensitive $7.89
2 Schick Quatro Disposable 3ct @ $9.79 each = $19.58
3 Soft Soap Foam @ $2.00 each = $6.00
U by Kotex Liners $3.49
Total Before Coupons: $45.44

$5/1 any one Bengay
$1.50/1 Skintimate Cream Shave (not shave cream . . . so close)
$1/1 Oral-B Floss
$2/1 Renu Sensitive (signed up at the manufacture web site)
$9.79 BOGO Schick Disposable
$2/1 Schick Disposable CVS coupon (From
2 $1/1 Soft Soap Foam (I'm out of ink, so I couldn't do three)
$1/1 U Kotex Liners
Total After Coupons: $21.15 + $.22 tax

$2 EB Bengay
$10 EB wyb $20 of selected products (Skintimate & Schick)
$6 EB Renu Sensitive
$3 EB wyb 3 selected soft soap items
$2 EB Kotex U
Net: $1.63 profit! (Good trip!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saving Sunday - Mailbox!

Just a quick picture post. Does instant coffee make for a good coffee milk shake? Just wondering.

Friday, July 22, 2011

CVS - Two Days To Spare

It's Friday and I finally made my purchases yesterday. I need to work on not being so forgetful. I'm happy to say I was able to get the small Gillette Shaving Cream. Not much else this week. The tea I needed for a raincheck came in. ^_^ I'm actually buying it for a friend for when he comes over to dinner.

Gillette Fusion Shave Gel $2.27
4 Nestle Diet Green Tea @ $1.25 = $5.00 (raincheck!)
2 Oral-B Tooth Brushes @ $1.99 each = $3.98
Total Before Coupons: $11.25

$1/1 Gillette Fusion Shave Gel/Cream
2 $1.25 Nestle Tea Free Coupons
$1.25 BOGO Nestle Tea
$2/2 Oral-B Indicator
Total After Coupons: $4.50

$2 EB Gillette Fustion
$1 EB wyb 4 Nestle Tea 20oz
$2 Oral-B (two offers)
Net: $.50 profit!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This was from last week's sales. I keep forgetting to bring my coupons to work with me so I haven't made any purchases for this week yet. I grabbed these on Saturday night quick. I feel so strange working a Saturday night, but it was a nice change of pace. I usually enjoy putting up signs. I just don't feel like I'm very quick at them.

Dove Body Wash $5.99
Red Vines $1.00
Total Before Coupons: $6.99

$2/1 Dove Body Wash CVS Coupon Machine
$1/1 Dove Body Wash MQ
$.75/1 Red Vines 5.x oz CVS Coupon Machine (I'll try it for a quarter.)
Total After Coupons: $3.24 + $.18 tax

$2 EB Dove Body Wash
Net: $1.42

It's hectic at work again. My one co-worker is out on leave. My boss and I have no idea for how long. I have a feeling I might be putting in a few hours of overtime again. Everyone is taking vacations at the moment so the help is harder to come by. My boss and I have vacation time coming up soon too. I hope we can use it. On the brighter side I got to use the bento box again. Not my blue one, the pieces from the other set fit into the bag.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Grocery Shopping!

Vegetable run! June 29, 2011

Time to catch up on this one as well. Again I don't have pictures of everything that I bought nor do I have all my receipts. It's a good thing I pay cash for groceries otherwise I would go way over budget. My major shopping for the past two weeks was done on Wednesday. I'm so glad that I had a day off to start catching up. (Today is baking day!)

They sent out more $10 off $20 purchase! I love cutting the bill in half. I ended spending more because they had the steamer bags on sale for $1. That's my buy price as I haven't seen it go much lower. I managed to hold on to my receipt this week and confirmed that coupon double. At least $.50 and below do. I really should ask CS about that.

Total Price of Merchandise: $42.98
Sales Savings: $10.33
Coupons: $10.90
Coupon Double: $.90
Total Spent: $20.85

This was an expensive trip for the items I got. I bought Turkey Burgers for dinner to have with a friend. I'm happy to say everyone thought they were awesome. $4 for 4 burgers isn't too bad, it's at least cheaper than eating out. (Which Sweetheart and I have been doing far too often lately.) The other big expense is the nutmeg. I want to attempt a better spice mix for my pumkin muffins. (It worked)

Total Price of Merchandise: $33.52
Sales Savings: $1.49
Coupons: $2.75
Coupon Double: $.25
Total Spent: $29.03

I leave a picture of my first use of my bento box. ^_^ I love it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

CVS - Catch Up Time

It's time I caught myself up on my CVS trips. It's difficult to believe I haven't posted a clear cut trip in about two weeks. I don't have photos of everything mostly due to the fact I don't feel like dragging everything out. I did manage to get photos of some items.

Remember the Dove deal at the end of June/beginning of July? I went a little wild on the men's care items. I had a raincheck from when the deodorant was on sale for $.99. What a deal! Now if only I had realized that it would leave me $1.05 short of the EB I would have only got four for $.99 instead of five. I got a raincheck for the body wash at $3.00 so I could finish off the deal.

Transaction 1:
5 Dove Men's Deodorant @ $.99 each = $4.95
Dove Men's Deodorant $3.00
2 Dove Men's Body Wash @ $3.00 each = $6.00
Nexxus $3.24 (clearance!)
Pringles $1.00
Total Before Coupons: $18.19

3 $2/1 Dove Men's Deodorant
$3 off BOGO Dove Men's Body Wash
$3/1 Nexxus (coupon from a mail sample a while back)
$1/1 Pringles to Go CVS Coupon Machine
Total After Coupons: $5.19


Net: $5.19 cost

Transaction 2:
2 Dove Men's Body Wash @ $3.00 each = $6.00
Total Before Coupons: $6.00

$3 off BOGO Dove Men's Body Wash
Total After Coupons: $3.00

$5 EB wyb $15 of selected Dove products
Net: $2.00 profit

Grand Net: $5.19 cost + $2.00 profit = $3.19 cost

Last week I was excited for the Always Infinity deal. $.99 for the small box is an awesome price! I only wish the limit had been higher. I miss those days when limits were typically two. Ah well, take what you can get. Also got a bunch of 2 liters of Coke for $.69! Sweetheart loves this stuff. (The coke isn't included in the transactions below.)

Always Infinity $3.99
2 Oral-B Toothbrush @ $3.00 each = $6.00
Total Before Coupons: $9.99

$1/1 Always Infinity
$3 off BOGO Oral-B
$2/1 Oral-B
Total After Coupons: $3.99

$2 EB Always Infinity
$2 EB Oral-B (2 deals)
Net: $.01 profit/Free

I was happy to see the one Christophe shampoo marked down to 75% off. I saw on the boards that it went down at other stores about a week ago, but my store finally caught up. There are some coupons on a 'blade' in the aisle of $2/1 full sized product. (A 'blade' is a piece of cardboard that sticks out from the shelving with some kind of advertising or label for a section. Some of these will have coupons.) The conditioner also went down, but the coupons are limit one per customer.

The other clearance item were these black bags. I only found out about it because a customer bought one and it rang up at $.25. That's 90% off?! The customer was surprised, but didn't say anything about it. I went back to our hallmark section and checked it at the scanner. Sure enough it was 90% off. I tried a smaller size and then a different color in the same size and they were all regular price. Hmm . . . So I bought all that we had. Thinking about it I bet someone made the mistake and included these in the Father's Day & Graduation clearance. Yesterday was the last day for those. How lucky is that? ^_^

Balance Bar $1.69
7 Black Hallmark Bags @ $.25 each = $1.75 (90% off)
Christophe Shampoo $2.07 (75% clearance)
Total Before Coupons: $5.51

$2/1 Christophe Shampoo
Total After Coupons: $3.51

$1.69 EB Balance bar
Net: $1.82 cost (worth those bags!)

As a parting note, what does everyone think of the new look of the EB? I'm not so sure I like it. I feel like we use enough paper already . . . I suppose the corp isn't happy with the EB redemption rate with most customers. Sorry about the fuzziness.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July Budget & Monthly Climb

Pumpkin Muffin!

I'm far behind this week . . . ARG! It's time I sat down and made myself a posting schedule. It's the only way I'm going to really keep up. I've gotten out of the habit. Thankfully next week will be a great opportunity to be all caught up. I asked off for an extra day and the following week I'll only work 4 days at CVS instead of five. This week I'm working 6 days and I'm really getting worn out.

I've been baking a little bit when I get the chance. This is the start of blueberry buckle. I found the recipe at Totally Target. I modified it by using whole wheat flour and raspberries. It's an awesome breakfast. Yummy!

The Budget:

Bills (Electric) $104
Bunnies $30
Car Insurance $36
Car Repair $100 *Need to save for future repairs & regular oil changes (Expensive!)
Cellphone $36
Clothing $20
Cruise 2012 $50 *A trip that's been in the works for about 3 years.
Free Money $40
Gas $140
Groceries $120 *slight increase
Health $20
Rent $310
Student Loans $372

Grand Total: $1378/month (Take home pay.)

*Extra money tallied up at the end of the month. All extra funds are to pay off one of my student loans.

A few changes this month. The biggest thing is my minimum loan payment took a huge drop. $100 dollars! But my monthly budget went up? Huh? $50 for a future trip + $40 additional in car repairs + $20 for groceries . . . it just gets eaten away. Ideally I would take the extra money and keep paying off more of my loans. There are expenses I know that are coming up. I could probably skip the cruise money, but I rather have more than necessary than not enough. Once the trip is over I will put all the extra back into my loans. With the way things have gone lately I should still have extra money at the end of the month.

Monthly Climb!!!
Grand Total Last Month: $41,243.79
New Grand Total: $40,482.25
Amount Paid Off: $761.54

WOW! That a huge number! I'll admit that technically $240 of that should be applied to next month. It makes more sense to show it here as I've paid off another loan! It was going to be finished off in Feb of 2012, that's 7 months early! As a reward to myself I bought a bento box. My rule for my rewards as I pay off loans are to use no more the one month's minimum payment. In this case $100!

I was happy to find Groupon with a great deal of Lock 'n Lock. A $50 credit for $25. My chosen box would have been about $20 so I splurged a little bit more to get some extras. The credit did not include shipping so all told I spent about $32. That means I have that extra to pay off more loans. (Actually I had just enough extra to finish off that one loan and buy my treat. So I get to start my new budget right away.) I haven't had the chance to use my bento yet, but I do have a plan for it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick Post

Hope everyone had a good holiday. Sorry, I don't have any pictures at the moment. Of coarse I'm behind again. My schedule's been all switched around lately (a co-worker has been missing a lot of time at work with issues at home) and I've barely had time to adjust. (Yes, I got OT again.) I need to get up last week shopping trips & my monthly climb. Yesterday was a holiday, but working in retail I work most holidays. I figure it's a way to either earn myself an extra day off or pay off my loans a little faster. (Or some combination of both?) Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to squeeze something in.

Just keep smiling. ^_^

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saving Sunday - Mailbox!

It's been a long week. These are some of the surprises I've gotten in my mailbox. I must say I was rather shocked to see the full sized bottle of shampoo & conditioner. (Actually 30% bonus size!) I love getting freebies in the mail. It just brightens my day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Madness - Catch Up Time

It's been a busy week and it's time to catch up with all the shopping I've managed to get in. This week looks as if will also get crammed together. I'm so hoping I can keep on top of things better. *fingers crossed*

Sometimes I hate grocery shopping. I love actually going to the store and picking out what I'll be eating. I love being able to choose organic versions of items when possible. (See the Nature's Promise Ketchup?) What I hate is when I get to the checkout. I think I managed to get some good deals (pasta on sale for $1 and a $1/1 coupon = free!), but things add up quickly. For the money I spend I feel as if I don't get a whole lot. I do the best that I can. I could certainly do worse.

Total Price of Merchandise: $43.95
Sales Savings: $6.35
Coupons: $5.50
Coupon Double: $.50
Total Spent: $31.60

Occasionally I'm asked by my parents to pick up some things. I would like more time to go shopping for them, but often I get asked to pick up things only two or three days before I see them. As I only get a chance to visit about every two or three weeks my next visit is when I need to bring the requested items. I didn't do too badly. $47.97 CVS retail price for $25.53 between the sales, my discount & coupons. Not bad for last minute shopping. (This trip was done on June 18th.)

My own CVS shopping was done late this past week. Things just kept slipping my mind. I better not that happen this week. I'm hoping to get in on the Dove deal! (See here.) I also treated myself to the nail polish pictured here. I love the sparkle it has. I got $5 EB Beauty Club reward and wanted to splurge a little. $7.89 for that one bottle! Ah well, I really love the color. Short and simple summary for this trip.

Total Price of Merchandise: $29.76 (Not pictured 3 more Honest Teas)
Sales Savings: $5.90
Coupons: $2.00
Extra Bucks Received: $17.48 (I included the Beauty Rewards even though I actually spent it.)
Net: $4.38, not bad

Last, but not least was a trip to Old Navy. Last year they did a spectacular special on camis for $2. This year it was on tanks. I'm lucky I was able to get in about 15 minutes after they opened. It was busy! I could have gotten 10 total, but only ended up with 9. I actually made a deal with a friend that I would buy 5 for me and 5 for her. She would then go in and do the same if there was anything left. She managed to find me 4 and only one for herself. We swapped tanks and the difference in cash. I love how it turned out, some for me and some for her. ^_^